Ignite The SPARC
Single-parent resource program connects families to the Jewish community.
Karen Schultz Tarnopol I Contributing Writer
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Delivering mail: Yakira "Kiki" Hyman, 9, with her brothers, Yishai, 9, and Yair, 11.
hances are, if you're
a single parent, you
are consumed by such
thoughts as "How am I
going to afford every-
thing now that I'm a
single parent," "What
am I going to do to
entertain my kids all weekend," "How
in the world do I fill out these college
scholarship applications" and, of course,
the dreaded "What's for dinner?"
These thoughts are probably keeping
you up at night, away from the sleep you
so desperately need now that you are "do-
ing it all."
Whether you have little ones at home
or kids in college, single parenthood has
its innate challenges, and sometimes you
just need a little help.
38 April 2013 I
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Metro Detroit and their children of all ages
Detroit has brought back an essential
that connects them to the Detroit Jewish
program for single Jewish parents in
community and all of its resources —and to
our community. SPARC (Single Par-
With firsthand knowledge of what it's like
ent Alliance & Resource Connection), a
program under the umbrella of Federa-
to have been a single parent, SPARC Coor-
tion's Alliance for Jewish Education, was
dinator Amy Newman says, "Being single
parents has enough challenges; we want to
originally created in 1992 under the name
Single Jewish Parents Network
make life easier for them."
(SJPN). Due to budget cuts, that
SPARC recently reached out
to the community via focus
program was forced to close in
groups to discover what needs
Fortunately, thanks to the
were specific to single parent-
support of private funding and
hood that could be addressed.
a committed advisory commit-
In response, staffers are creating
tee, SPARC is igniting Jewish
broad programming to meet
families once again.
SPARC is a network for single
"We really want to make our-
Jewish parents — divorced,
selves available to parents with
Amy N ewman
widowed or never married — in
kids of all ages," Newman says.
"Even empty nesters and parents with
kids in high school are still single parent-
ing, and they have a unique set of needs.
We meet families wherever they are in
their age and stage of parenting."
SPARC's resource connection is the
concierge that will connect single-parent
Jewish families to resources available to
them. For example, "Jewish Family Ser-
vices (JFS) has an entire pro bono legal
team," says Newman. "People can make
an appointment at JFS to become part
of its system, and once they are in that
network, there are so many things avail-
able to them. Many people are simply not
aware of their options."
Additional services available in the
community include health and dental
care, mental health services, domestic
and substance abuse counseling, food,
housing, clothing, Jewish education and
camp scholarships, career development,
financial advice, financial planning and
"There are all kinds of things you really
need as a single parent. When I was a
single parent, I didn't even know these
things existed so I didn't take advantage
of them," Newman says. "We really hope
to get the word out to people that we are
here for them and, if we can't help them,
we will help them find what they need."
SPARC hopes to empower single par-
ents by providing them with the informa-
tion, skills, resources and social opportu-
nities to help them get back on track to
once again provide for their families.
Not only will SPARC connect people to
services in the community, it also will
connect single parents to other single
parents and kids of single parents to other
kids of single parents.
"Kids want to be around other kids
who are in the same social situation as
they are," Newman says. "When they are
all in the same social dynamic, i.e., single
parents, two homes, etc., there is a level of
comfort that comes with that."
SPARC is building a community of
likeminded families to support one
another and to create opportunities for
social interaction as well. The program is
using social media, focus groups and Jew-
ish geography to get the word out about
upcoming events, including its first event
that took place March 3 at Detroit Kid
City in Southfield, a mini-Detroit play
city complete with an automotive factory,
bank, barber shop, pizzeria, etc.
Lilah Glazer, 6, of Farmington Hills
attended and was very busy working her
way around "town." She ordered people
sandwiches, did the mail, went shopping
and worked at the school. When one of
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