I’m about to use this newspaper space for my own selfish reasons. Oops, not a good start in an Easter weekend, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
It’s a risk I’m willing to take because I know there is a group of teen moms in Fargo who sleep without blankets, so their babies can have them instead. Those same young mothers can’t read stories to their kids after dark because they live in apartments without overhead lighting and can’t afford lamps.
It’s a risk I’m willing to take because I know there are single parents in West Fargo who have to explain to their daughters that, even though they earned the right, they can’t go to a dance convention in New York because it would mean spending the food budget on airfare.
It’s a risk I’m willing to take because I know there is a young woman with a passion for helping others who had to drop out of cosmetology school because she had to choose between tuition and paying for child care.
And lastly, it’s a risk I’m willing to take because I know the feeling of not being able to have what you need. I learned this lesson at an early age.
My parents divorced when I was in third grade. I remember feeling so ashamed at the beginning of every school year when I had to fill out the emergency contact information card. In those days, there was only room for one home address, one phone number and one set of parents.
I remember grocery shopping with my mom and using food stamps.
I remember spending lots of time alone or at the neighbor’s apartment while my mother worked three jobs.
From eighth grade on, I was raised by my father. I remember him reaching into his wallet with no idea how much to give me when I told him I needed money to buy a bra.
I remember him begging me to come out of my room and at least sit with him for dinner, and me being too sad to do it.
I am so thankful for those experiences, because they made me realize something from a young age. People go through tough times. People want to give their children everything, but sometimes everything isn’t very much. People who need to ask for help are not weak, dirty or broken. They are “power” waiting to happen.
I wish there would have been a place for my parents to go and ask for a mentor for their little girl or any other “little” needs they had back then.
If you knew about all of the “little” needs of individual women in this community would you help? I’m banking on it.
With the inspiration from God and the help of Impact Foundation, my friend Chris Linnares and I have started a nonprofit organization called Diva Connection Foundation. Women go to divaconnection.org and post what they need to be their very best and what they can give to others.
After reading their stories, people can offer to help by giving their time, talent or treasure. We don’t duplicate any social services offered by other agencies. We are simply here to help those women who can become awesome forces for good in their homes and communities. They just need a helping hand.
We launched the foundation in December 2011 in Fargo as a website to connect area women. Now, we offer free, local empowerment workshops. We have started a weekly playgroup just for moms in their teens and early 20s. We have already expanded to places like New York, and we hope the mission continues to grow.
Oh the beauty of kindness continues to circulate. As I’m writing this, I just received the news that SheSays wants to embrace our mission by donating a free classified section each Saturday, where we can highlight a few of the needs people have posted on our website.
Are you willing to take a risk and help? Or are willing to take a risk and ask for help?
Please visit www.DivaConnection.org and help us spread the message by “liking” us on Facebook.
Take a chance and help someone, then send me your story. I can’t wait to hear about all of the acts of kindness that will come about, just because you cared.
Send your stories of kindness to email@example.com or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday in SheSays.