By Dorany Pineda
Being a mother is hard, but being a single mother brings with it a different set of hardships.
Neferteri Plessy first witnessed this as a child being raised by a single mother. When she became a mother herself and later dealt with the throes of divorce, she started asking other single parents for tools and tips on how to raise a child alone. From those conversations, she noticed community was missing, so she took action to change that.
In 2013, Plessy found the nonprofit Single Moms Planet to fill that vacuum.
“It’s about how to raise kids together and get along for the benefit of raising kids,” she said. “I saw there were no conversations going on about that … and I wanted to see single mothers come together as one and have a collective voice of prosperity, hope and resolution.”
Though the initial goal was to give single mothers a place where they could offer each other parenting tips, it quickly became a space that empowered women “not to be stuck in the past … [and] not to live a life of regret, but to have a future they can grow into.”
One way it has achieved this is with education. The organization provides mentorship, financial aid, family counseling and entrepreneurial training to single mothers. Much of the way it does this is through online support via blogs, social media and video content. But it’s also a resource center.
“If a mom finds herself homeless or about to become homeless, we offer her resources on how to find housing. We also help them find lawyers for custody battles or if they’re going through a divorce,” Plessy said.
Throughout the year, the nonprofit also organizes fun and educational events for its members.
Twice a year, its Smart Mommy Smart Money event features a panel of experts who talk about business concepts, ideas for financial planning, retirement and life insurance, as well as real estate and buying investment property.
Members also are invited to the nine annual Mimosa Mastermind Brunch and Learn events that encourage and educate women entrepreneurs in business development and ventures. The brunch event also offers something for women wanting to learn about co-parenting, how to get business grants or how to fix their credit.
But Single Moms Planet’s most exciting events involve mothers and their children. Every summer, dozens of single moms and their kids tie up their hiking boots and hitch a boat ride to Catalina Island for a few days of camping. “Everyone gets to kayak, sail, camp and shoot crossbow,” Plessy said.
But beyond planning for the next summer camping trip or the bi-annual money-education event, Plessy is thinking about a future where single mothers across the world can be part of their community.
“We would love to build a platform that we can put in major cities and counties where women need support, because single-motherhood is a global issue,” Plessy said.
“No matter how a woman becomes a single mother, it’s important to support her, to help her out and to lend a helping hand,” she added. “She’s doing it on her own. So together we ask: What are we going to do to make sure our kids are well-balanced … that they don’t get left out and get left behind?”
But Plessy emphasized that the goal of Single Moms Planet is not to “promote doomsday, but to promote empowerment.”
CEO: Neferteri Plessy
Years in operation: 5
Annual budget: $150,000
Number of employees: 3
Location: 1021 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 90405