It may have been a few days after the actual Valentine’s Day, but for 250 single moms in the Springfield area it was a night as special as the official day of love, candy and cards.
The local single moms support group Single Momz Rock hosted the 7th Annual Valentine’s Day event in conjunction with the Springfield Victory Mission. The event’s theme, “Warriorz” (with a “z” mimicking the group’s name), was focused on women being strong in the daily battles of life.
“This year’s event was truly something special,” Single Momz Rock founder and Captain Springfield Janelle Reed told OI. “It’s always an honor to see women come together each year for it.”
The main speaker for the night, Jennifer Barnes Maggio, is the founder of The Life of a Single Mom and was a 2017 Top 10 Most Influential Leader in America. She shared her story of growing up in a broken home, being thrown out by her father when she became pregnant as a teen and overcoming an abusive relationship with her children’s father. She encouraged the single moms at the event to let go of the hurts of their past and focus on their futures where they can determine the paths for their life.
The event also featured a special performance from 15-year-old Springfield area native Anastasia Phelps. She was born with hydrocephalus (also known as water on the brain) and was diagnosed with autism at age 4. At age 9, she suffered a neurological injury that caused her to shake continually for two years, resulting in a loss of most of her short term memory and 42 points from her IQ.
At age 12, Phelps began to write poetry and as way to express herself and in March 2018 at age 15 she placed 5th in a national speech and poetry competition. She is a motivational speaker to students with an anti-bullying message.
Entertainment was provided by the Sanctuary of Praise and Urban Praise Choirs.
The single moms were also given professional portraits from Delores Albers Photography and CRNewell Photography. Over $12,000 in door prizes & gifts for the moms were donated by area businesses.
Reed said the event leaves the moms with a sense of belonging and empowerment to help them face the difficult times.
“The encouragement and inspiration that was received by these ladies last night was beyond imagination,” Reed told OI. “They left feeling like they can survive this week, whatever may come their way. Survive this month, even knowing they have no idea some nights how they will get up and do it all over again the next day. Survive this year, because they know they have people in their corner cheering them on. What a wonderful feeling!”
Below are some of the sights of the evening: