Single Mothers Outreach Readies for Empowering Hearts Gala

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By Michele Lutes
Signal Staff Writer

The goal of Single Mothers Outreach is to connect single parents to vital community resources, providing stable environments for families who are in real danger of losing everything.

However, Single Mothers Outreach’s mission doesn’t just include resources, it’s also about emotional support and recognition of the adversity parents face and overcome each day. That’s part of the message behind SMO’s Empowering HeArts gala.

Single Mothers Outreach of Santa Clarita announced six honorees for its ninth annual event, which selects six Santa Clarita Valley women, based on the gala’s theme, by a committee, said Sheril Porter, event chair of the gala. “This year’s overall theme is integrity, and the event theme is ‘Masquerade.’”

Jane Lopez, Janelle Spindt, Patti Handy, Holly Fenent, Andrea Vibe and Rhona Jukes are the six women being honored at the gala on Feb. 8 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Valencia Boulevard.
“The gala is a very moving event,” Porter said. “It’s one-of-a-kind.”

The event is carried out through the art created to tell the stories of each nominee.

Six artists were chosen out of many who submitted their portfolio, Porter said. “Each artist is paired with an honoree and creates an art piece based on the honoree.”
Artists Kirby Lanier, Nancy Schier, Zony Gordon, Aazam Irilian, Cecilia Kikalo and Chloe DeJong will create a piece of art commissioned to go along with the stories of the mothers, and then submitted for further recognition.

“There are two awards, the Dottie award and People’s Choice award,” Porter said.

Porter has been involved with the organization for about a half-dozen years, and being a single mother herself for almost 18 years, she is very passionate about the organization and event, she said. “We say we give a hand up, not a hand out. We help the moms with their single-mother journey, by giving them the help that they need to create an environment for themselves and their children.”

The event raises money to fund programs and services offered at Single Mothers Outreach, which have been around in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1995.

“When you strengthen a family, you strengthen the community; when you strengthen the community, you strengthen the nation,” according to the organization’s webpage.

The Empowering HeArts gala is scheduled from 6-11 p.m. with a sit down dinner, dancing and a silent auction. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to singlemothers 

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