Shelter from the Rain: ESME’s Featured Nonprofit
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A Solo Mom inspired organization in Georgia that gives hope to single mothers in need
At ESME, we understand the challenges that come with single motherhood. That’s why it’s profoundly impressive when a Solo Mom picks herself up, through her own gumption and assistance from family, friends, or an extended community, and goes on to devote a good portion of her life to helping others in similar circumstances. Shelter From the Rain founder and director Jennifer Graham is one of these women.
Graham was 16 years old when she became pregnant. Coming from a solid, religious family—her father is a pastor—she did not fear that they would ask her to leave, but she worried that she had disappointed them. She realized that one decision she’d made affected everyone in her family.
When her baby was born, everything Graham needed to take care of him came from other people—that fact was not lost on her. Neither was the message she received from her parents: this is not the end of your life; you can still do what you want to do; you can achieve goals; you can do something significant.
With the help of her parents, Graham moved from Ohio back to Savannah, Georgia, where she could take care of her son and continue with her studies. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in graphic design and minoring in advertising, and earned her MBA in marketing from Saint Leo University. Her full-time job is as a creative director in downtown Savannah. (Check out her ESME interview, “Blending Creativity and Inspiration.”)
In 2008, Graham volunteered at a nonprofit organization, The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home (where she now sits on the board). Inspired by its work and the generosity she experienced as a young, single mother, Graham launched Shelter From the Rain (SFTR) in 2010 and earned 501(c)3 status in 2012.
Graham’s story is compelling.“My personal experience with teenage pregnancy, at the age of 16, has given me a strong passion for outreach and helping other mothers in need,” she said. “I have learned firsthand what it means to be a single mother and depend on the help of others to reach my goals in life. I love to give hope to other mothers through Shelter From the Rain. SFTR is committed to providing support to children in Georgia living in low-income single-parent homes. We develop programs and collect items that will help make life easier for single parents.”
When she talks about why she started SFTR, people are inspired to help and support the organization. We applaud Graham for her compassion and passion—an impactful combination.
Shelter From the Rain provides assistance to single mothers and children in need through acts of kindness that nurture the mind, body, and soul. Its programs include:
- Pantry Pal (supplies for low-income single-parent homes)
- Baby Bundles (items for mothers with young babies)
- Mommy Meetup (motivational talks, exercise, or lunch to get moms connected while their children play)
- Queen’s Corner (support for single mothers through notes of encouragement, gently used clothing/shoes, and small gifts)
- Building Blocks (supplies children need to learn and help for mothers to educate themselves in order to provide a better future for their children)
- Career Central (tools moms need for job preparation)
Its Career Central program captured the attention of the local NBC affiliate (WSAV-TV), which recently featured Shelter From the Rain’s Job Search Assistance event on its station.
If you are a single mother in need of help with your job search, the next Job Search Assistance event is being held on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.at the New Covenant Church, 2201 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia, 31401.
And if you happen to live in Savannah and are in a position to help, SFTR is running a Sweet September Drive throughout the month of September (at the Savannah Church of God, 3033 MLK Boulevard, Savannah, GA, 31405) collecting items to help support local single mothers.
You can contact Shelter From the Rain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.