coronavirus

Being a Single Parent During a Pandemic

Local single moms offer words of advice and encouragement to other parents in North Texas

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The coronavirus crisis hasn’t been easy for anyone but if you’re a single parent, it might feel even more overwhelming.

Working from home or searching for work, learning how to homeschool your kids and trying to keep the food supplies stocked are just a few of the hardships.

However, some local single moms are sharing some encouragement and positivity for other parents to find some encouragement from, especially those who may feel like they are drowning in the never-ending responsibilities.

Debbie Cornelius of DeSoto is working from home, running a non-profit to feed other families in need during this pandemic, and trying to raise a teenager – all at once.

 “I’m the energizer bunny so I’m usually getting about four hours of sleep. If I can get myself a good four or five, I’m good,” she said.

As the founder of Power Inc. Family and Children Services, she’s handling all of the administrative work but because the pandemic forced her to cut down on staff, she’s now taking on additional roles.

Debbie Cornelius learning how to become a teacher to her teenage daughter at home.

She’s running errands, picking up supplies, shopping for food and delivering meals to struggling families during the pandemic. Her group is helping to fill the gaps in the community that the school districts are unable to reach.

She says she does it all through prayer.

"I’m a strong believer in God and in order to get through this, I have a strong foundation in my God," she said.

She says the willpower to help others -- be it struggling families through her non-profit or her own daughter -- is another thing that keeps her going. She also goes easy on herself when things are difficult.

“I’ve learned not to blame myself. I’m can only do what I can do. So there may be some shortcomings. With that being said, I try not to be so hard on myself," she said.

She hopes other parents will take the time to do something for themselves and stay strong through the difficult moments.

“Take a break. Don’t feel bad for saying that, ‘I need a break.’ It’s OK. And take that break,” Cornelius said.

Meanwhile, Tiwangi Kyle of Dallas is living a very similar situation. She’s also a single mom, working from home and running two very busy non-profits to help families during the pandemic.

Single mom Tiwangi Kyle is also juggling work, non-profit needs and homeschooling for her son during the pandemic.

“I’m having to do Zoom, I’m having to teach, I’m having to run my nonprofit, I’m having to do case management 101 with my clients,” she said.

So clearly, she was already juggling a lot even before the pandemic.

She’s running the Ginger Beasley Foundation, which normally served at-risk families with food, children’s programs and other needs. Now, they’re focused on packing 1,300 meals for families in the DFW area and delivering those meal kits to families who might not be able to drive to pick up meals from the local school districts.

"Sometimes the stores don’t have the food so I’m going from place to place to place making sure that there’s food for those 1,300 meals that we have to commit to," she said of the many hats she's wearing right now. “Now we’re delivering door-to-door to eliminate parents from having to walk to school, we’re in low income areas."

Her other non-profit is DFW Economic Solutions, which runs a very important program called TAMAR (Transformative Approaches to Managed Aftercare Reentry), which is approved by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to provide transitional housing for men and women who have been released from prison. They are nearing their goal of 75 clients and is planning to acquire a new living unit in May through a partnership with the Rusty Diamond Network.

Let’s not forget about the 6-year old she’s now learning to homeschool, as well as the 19-year old and 23-year old she’s also caring for during the pandemic.

She says it’s important for single parents to take a breath, stop and take some time for themselves to rest.

 “I do want you to think about you because, in this whole equation, the dominating factor is you,” she said. “We put the cape on and we want to do everything but we don’t reach out for help. Reach out for help! If you need help, reach out for it.”

Both of the mothers are hoping to help other single parents right now in their time of need. If you need assistance or would like to help, click here to connect with Power Inc. and click here to connect with the Ginger Beasley Foundation.

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