Single mothers not alone in London

Currently there are 17,000 single mothers living in London, Ontario.

Single Women in Motherhood (S.W.I.M) is a non-profit organization in London whose mission is to empower single mothers with high hopes of turning their lives around for a secure future.

According to S.W.I.M., in Canada there are approximately 11.7 million children who live below the poverty line. Forty-five per cent of those children are from single-parent households. While here in London, there are 21,000 single parent families and approximately 82 per cent of those parents are single mothers.

On November 6, 2008 S.W.I.M held their second annual seminar with inspirational speakers, educational workshops, and even had a greeting by the Mayor of London herself, Anne Marie De-Cicco-Best.

Ann Marie Ricketts, a single mother of three, founded S.W.I.M in 2001 after being inspired by one of Canada's multi-billionaires, Michael Lee-Chin.

Charlene Maginn is one of S.W.I.M's inspirational speakers. She shares her powerful story with women who are currently in the same position as she was many years ago.

“I myself was a single mom for almost seven years before I remarried. I grew up in an abusive alcoholic home, married a violent alcoholic, and became an alcoholic myself,” explained Maginn. “My daughter, Pamela was just 18 months old when I recovered from my addiction. Once I had completed a college education, I was able to begin an amazing career in business development that allowed me to fully support my daughter and me. I feel extremely blessed to be where I am today, but I could never have done this on my own.”

Single mothers are encouraged to take the next step, and understand they are not alone in raising their children. There are other mothers who need guidance and support despite the situation that led them to where they are today.

Mothers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to attend S.W.I.M seminars, as they will empower women to remain focused and on track.

An education provides opportunities that may not be readily available without school.

Maginn returned to college as a single mother at the age of 24.

“I really wanted to be there (college),” she said, “and I had such a desire to learn. An education will open doors that would otherwise stay closed.”

Fanshawe College Counseling Services in F2010, help explore “options” with students who may be scared or pregnant and are in need of guidance.

According to Lois Wey, Manager of the Counseling and Student Life Success Centre, the Fanshawe service provides options for students in order to have them set goals for themselves.

“We do not steer a student in one way or another,” said Wey. Having a baby does not mean a woman has to give up her rights and future opportunities.

According to Maginn, life can truly be a miracle if we want it and are willing to work for it.

Whether it is an unexpected or wanted pregnancy, S.W.I.M. encourages women to keep their vision and focus their energy on the bigger ‘prize'.

Life after a child will change drastically, but it does not necessarily mean for the worse.

“Once I learned how to make mature decisions about my life, things just took care of themselves,” said Maginn.

Having a child is a life altering moment that requires a mother to continually grow.

Keep a sense of individualism and carry through your studies in order to pursue a career you will be happy with.

The S.W.I.M. goal is to continually grow by developing workshops, seminars and training sessions that will teach mothers coping strategies, money management and parenting skills.

If you seek further information about where to turn for valuable answers, visit