Holloman single parents: “You’re not alone”

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sondra Escutia
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
When Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Scott's marriage ended more than three years ago, she had to quickly learn how to balance her new dual role as an Airman in the U.S. Air Force and a young single mother. For her, it was a combination that brought with it uncertainty and challenges.

"I had to figure out how to be a single parent. It was very scary," said Sergeant Scott, an MQ-9 Reaper Instructor Sensor Operator with the 29th Attack Squadron. "The last thing I wanted to be or had even planned for was being a single mother. That was not in my life plan at all. Now I had to figure out daycare, getting to and from work, etcetera, on my own."

By the time she came to Holloman in June 2009, she had learned many of her options as a single military mother, but the lack of a single parent support group at Holloman left her determined to reach out to others in the same situation.

This is when she created the Holloman Single Parents Network. The SPN is a group of military parents who share information and experiences by meeting once a month. The goal of the network is twofold: to make sure all single parents have the information they need while also providing support through other single active-duty parents.

"Being a single parent does not mean you need to get out of the military. It does mean you're going to have to make some changes," said Sergeant Scott. "It doesn't mean you will get special treatment but you can start thinking outside the box, figuring out the resources you have and making it all work."

Once a month, the network meets to share personal stories and ideas, to discuss important topics and to learn what resources they have available to them.

A few of their recent guest speakers include the 49th Wing Legal Office, who spoke to them about child custody and other legal matters; the 49th Force Support Squadron first sergeant, who discussed their options with the Child Development Center; and the Airman and Family Readiness Center finance officer, who explained their G.I. Bill benefits and transfer options.

"We want the single parents to have the information they need to make the decisions they need to make for themselves and for their children," Sergeant Scott said.

Staff Sgt. Latoshia Green, 49th Medical Support Squadron, became a part of the network for this reason, and also to meet others in her situation. She said she enjoys being part of a group she can relate to on a personal level.

"It's a good place to meet new people, but I think the biggest thing if you are a single parent is that it's a good place to get truthful advice, there's no sugarcoating," said Sergeant Green, now the vice president of the network. "I like hearing people who have been through what I'm going through and I think it's easy for people to give advice or overshadow you if they've been in your situation."

Along with providing support and information through the network, Sergeants Scott and Green also make it a point to let the parents know what kid-friendly events are happening in the local area and have organized multiple network get-togethers.

"When we first started, a lot of single parents were like 'I'm new here, I'm by myself, I have a kid, I have no idea what to do out here,' so I said 'Okay, lets start looking for things to do,'" Sergeant Scott said. "Now we send e-mails letting people know what's going on every weekend, and we're just trying to make sure people know what's going on so they're not stuck in the house."

Since its initial creation through base-wide emails, the SPN has grown to a group of more than 30 single active-duty mothers and fathers. It was also recently opened up to military members married to other military members, whom essentially become temporary single parents when their spouse deploys.

All in all, being an Air Force member requires commitment to three core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all you do. Add that to the dedication required to be a single parent and inevitably, it is a challenge. But through the SPN, these single active-duty parents are reminded that while it is difficult, it is possible and well worth it.

"You're not alone. You're not going to be the first or the last single parent in the Air Force and there are ways to make it work," said Sergeant Scott. "If you just became a single parent, join the network. We have the resources to get you started in the right direction."

The SPN meets the first Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m. in the Community Activity Center, and their next scheduled event is an Open Mic Night at the CAC on Oct. 23, open to all I.D. card holders 18 and up.

For more information, check out the SPN Facebook page.