By day, she is “Captain Springfield”, flying around the halls of the Victory Mission as the outreach and special events manager, making lives better for those in our community who are in need. By night, she’s the role that helped her rise to being named the third “Captain Springfield” in July 2019.
She’s mom. A single mom.
It was from that place that Janelle Reed rose to meet the challenges of being a single mother and create an organization aimed at helping women like her overcome the challenges that single mothers face in our society.
The organization? SingleMomzRock.
The genesis for SingleMomzRock came from Reed’s experience with her divorce.
“Just feeling lonely during those times,” Reed told OI. “Nobody in my circle had [divorce] happen to them yet. I started talking to other moms that I met through DivorceCare and Living Free at James River [Assembly], and I discovered they all felt the same way, like they were just surviving.”
Reed said it was from that place she realized many single moms were looking for connection with those who were sharing the same road of life.
“They were in that survival mode,” Reed said. “They had to. What else were we going to do? But they wanted to be around like minded people who were feeling the same things that they were feeling and discover they weren’t crazy for feeling this way.”
Reed began SingleMomzRock with the intent of giving single moms the opportunity not only to come together to support each other but find ways to have their practical needs met.
“We would create events to bring the moms together,” Reed said. “Then we would work with community agencies that provided resources.”
Reed noted that while she was blessed to have family near her, there are many single mothers in the area who have no nearby family.
“The moms I was meeting, they didn’t have child support, they didn’t have family around here,” Reed said. “So I started meeting with agencies and asking them ‘ just what services do you provide? This is what I’m doing, can we work together?’ And we’ve built a huge community over the last seven years where we can refer people to each other.”
One of the annual signature events by SingleMomzRock is their Valentine’s Day event. Reed said that the original event began as a spur of the moment idea.
“The first banquet was just a fluke idea,” Reed said. “We thought we’d get them together and have dinner. Let them dress up, we’ll have some jazz music, an inspirational speaker.”
They also gave away door prizes so all the women who attended left with something special.
“I think we had over $4,000 in door prizes [donated] that first year,” Reed said.
But one of the things from that first night that sticks out in Reed’s mind isn’t the prizes or the dinner: it was the reaction of a single mother to an act of kindness from one of the event’s hosts.
“We had guys who dressed up in suits who met the moms as soon as they walked in. They gave them a rose and then escorted them to their seats,” Reed said. “Afterward, I had a mom come up to me in tears and say ‘I’ve never had a man seat me before.’ And it was at that moment I said, ‘OK. We’re doing this.'”
Reed said that first event took place in a church’s event room where she and the volunteers cooked spaghetti for the moms. Over the last seven years, the event has outgrown two other churches to where this year the event will be held at the Doubletree Hotel on North Glenstone in Springfield.
“[The Doubletree] is really excited to have us and they’re working very hard to make it special for the moms within our budget,” Reed said.
Part of the growth of the ministry was joining it with Victory Mission where Reed has worked for a little over a year. She turned the event not only into an event to honor single moms, but also a fundraiser for women’s programs at Victory Mission.
“Last year, we raised over $14,000 for Victory Mission,” Reed said. “Before we got started, there was no women’s programming here… We now have case management for the moms, we offer Bible studies, and life skills classes.”
Registration is going on right now for the 2019 Valentine’s Day Banquet. According to Reed, about 50 spots are still available for local single moms.
“Our theme is Warriorz with a ‘z'”, Reed said. “We’ll have a theme the whole evening of having on the whole armor of God to face your battles. We have our battles that we fight every day as single moms and He’s on your side, you just have to make sure to have your armor on.”
The guest speaker for the night is nationally-known “single mom” expert, Jennifer Barnes Maggio. She founded the website “The Life of a Single Mom.”
“She is the single mom expert in the United States,” Reed said. “She’s a friend of mine and she speaks all over the country. To have her here at this event for me is full circle almost. We did ministry together before I did SingleMomzRock and so it’s almost crazy to think that she’s coming here to do this for me.”
Reed said that one of the biggest needs for this year’s event is community sponsors. Local businesses can sponsor tables at the event along with contributing items for goody bags for the single moms and items to me given away in a prize drawing at the event.
If you want to be a sponsor of the 7th Annual SingleMomzRock Valentine’s Day Banquet, would like more information,or you’re a single mom who would like to attend the event, you can contact Janelle at the Victory Mission by calling (417) 483-3479 or visiting the Single Momz Rock website.