Successful Single Moms Memphis

Success is OUR Birthright!

Memphis Coordinators

Yolanda Gates, Project Teen Moms Ambassador Brilliant, Vibrant, Trendsetter and Advocate for Single Teen Moms, resides in Memphis TN.  Yolanda is the proud single mother of a daughter Cheyenne Sanai and son Darius Caleb.  She is currently studying at Victory University as an English major.  She enjoys reading, writing, mentoring, music and spending quality time with her children, family and friends.  Yolanda serves as the Executive Director of the Infant Mortality Force Memphis’ Baby Feat Project and as National Project Single Moms- Project Teen Moms Ambassador.  Yolanda is described as the quiet storm, deep in thought and ready to serve those deemed underserved and less fortunate. Yolanda has been recognized for her efforts on many levels:  2007-08 Inspiration in Action Recipient.  2011 Memphis Cares Award Recipient, 2011 Volunteer Mid-South Adult Volunteer of the Year Nominee. Yolanda is an advocate for addressing issues that plague our teen population.  Being solution driven, Yolanda designed and implemented G.E.M.S. (God’s Evidence Manifested in Sisterhood) Program to be a listening ear for young ladies experiencing turbulent times, using her personal story as a picture of hope. Yolanda has had a voice in print as she has served as the Editor of the Whitehaven Appeal (2005-07), Intern for Ebony Magazine and recently hosted her own blog “Relatively Speaking”, launching her into entrepreneurship under the auspices of “Relatively Speaking” Freelance Journalist. Yolanda Gates lives by the motto: “Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be a Part of the solution, not the problem.”

Summer Owens, Project Teen Moms Ambassador, Summer Owens is a former teenage mother who knows firsthand the challenges teen mothers face.  After a forced sexual encounter, Owens became a mother at the age of fifteen by a man she did not know.  However, she continued with her education being selected Most Likely to Succeed by her classmates and graduating from high school number eight in her class of over 300 students.  Owens then earned a full leadership scholarship to the University of Memphis and left her childhood home with her son moving to Memphis to begin life as an independent college student.  College life was not without its challenges as a single mother, but Summer’s faith, hard work and commitment paid off as she graduated magna cum laude earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and the title of Miss University of Memphis. Owens continued her education at Belhaven College where she earned an MBA.  With over ten years of marketing and promotions experience, Owens has enjoyed a progressive career which has included marketing management positions for the NBA franchise, the Memphis Grizzlies, and two ServiceMaster brands.  Today, Owens is a senior marketing specialist in advertising at FedEx Corporation.  A mentor with the Adolescent Parenting Program and the Leadership Program at the University of Memphis, Owens enjoys sharing her testimony with the goal of affecting the lives of others in a positive way. Owens has delivered motivational speeches to schools, churches and other organizations that support teen mothers or have initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy.  She is the author of a new book released in June 2010, Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, which encourages, motivates and inspires girls, women, and audiences of all types to eliminate excuses and live life to their greatest potential. Her story has been featured in several media outlets including CNN, the Commercial Appeal, Memphis Business Journal and Memphis Parent magazine.  Originally from Jackson, Tennessee, Owens currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her sixteen year-old-son, Jaylan.

Jackie O, Health & Wellness Coordinator/S.E.P.I.A. Coordinator (BIO Coming Soon)

Joyce Parkinson, Membership Coordinator a woman of possibilities, purpose and power. The proud mother of three is a graduate of Arkansas State University and CEO of JP Connections, a marketing and social media networking company. She is the Founder of Walking Into A New Life, a community organization designed to inform and empower victims of domestic violence through education and microenterprise development. She actively facilitates and/or participates in workshops/conferences throughout the city, in a grassroots effort to bring awareness and positive interaction on a local and national level. She has received a Proclamation from Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and letter of support from Congressman Steve Cohen for her efforts. She is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc-Memphis Chapter where she has served as the Public Relations Director and Chairperson for its Annual Young Women of Excellence for two years. She is a former caseworker, member of Dress for Success and has served as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Joyce now has the honor of serving as the Membership Coordinator for the local Memphis Affiliate of Project Single Moms, as well as the National Celebrity Relations Coordinator. She plans to use her extensive and diverse professional talents and personal experiences as entrepreneur and survivor to help others utilize their strengths and learn more about and become involved in positive community organizations both locally and nationally.

Paris Ducker, PSM Memphis Parent Education Coordinator is a graduate of Leadership Memphis’ Community Leaders Program for Administrative Professionals. She currently serves as a volunteer with various community agencies in the Memphis area such as, Project Single Moms Memphis, which she holds the position of the Parent Education Coordinator, the Women’s Foundation Group of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and she is a Christian counselor and actively serves in her church.  Ms. Ducker is the owner of The V.A.S.T. Group, a virtual office assistance provider and is an inspirational words writer for Ordinary People Magazine.  In order to sharpen her skills as a facilitator and public speaker Ms. Ducker is an active participant of Toastmaster International.  Ms. Ducker is also the proud mother of three children. Darryl (23), Zachary (22) and Savannah (16) and her dog Gracie.   Her hobbies include a passion for reading, music, traveling, cooking, entertaining and learning.   Ms. Ducker is a native Californian and has been a resident of Memphis, Tennessee for 11 years.


2 thoughts on “Memphis Coordinators

  1. What a great organization! I am a single mom in the Metro Memphis area and I work at Bethel University. I feel that getting single moms to commit to education is one of the keys to making their family healthy financially and mentally. I would love to have the opportunity to speak at one of your meetings and share the benefits of post-secondary education. Leadership Memphis supports higher education as well and this is a great way to inform your group of their options in the Memphis area.

    Monty Lane
    (901) 305-3113

  2. I am an “unwilling” single mother of two sons. I say that becasue I always wanted to work my marraige out but was not given the chance.
    I work as a Project Manager for a firm in Memphis TN and I live in Arlington, TN. I am educated with a degree from Tennessee State University and am working on a MBA currently. I am blessed to be able to provide for my sons financially and on my own but I worry about saving money for their future.
    I hold down a $188,000 mortgage and provide clothing, safety, food and a good school district for my sons. I put myself last at every turn, willingly, to sacrifice for them. I have had no social life for 3 plus years and definitely no man around my sons who are now 4 and 8. I try every single day to provide undeniable support, love, kisses and hugs to my boys whom I love very much. I find that I am so busy that I rarely get to sit and dig deep with them into their emotional voids and needs, which I know is so important for them. I feel overwhelming guilt about this and wonder how my relationship with my sons has been altered becasue of the absence of their father?
    I am beyond busy: Paying lunch money, making breakfast and dinner, pumping gas, taking out trash, splitting up fighting children, buying gorceries, getting oil changed, doing homework, talking with teachers, summer camp, school supplies, shoes, paying child care, balancing the banking/budget, paying multiple bills, planning birthdays, teaching them right from wrong, bathtime, getting haircuts, teaching them to tie their shoes/tuck in shirts and ride bikes, cleaning house, lawn care, household supplies – all on my own…And it goes on and on and on. I have accomplished things despite my circumstances: I have secured a great job and I own my own home. I am thankful for that becasue it benefits my sons. But I am sometimes I am so exhausted that I want to quit. I get so overwhelmed that I have chest pains or throw up. I am seeing physical ailments from overwork and stress: I forget what day it is or important dates for children activities. It makes me so disappointed in how my life has turned out. Sometimes I am so angry, so very angry and unhappy. Most times, I look at my sons beautiful faces and think “Look at what HE is MISSING. LOOK!” – I feel for them being without their father. It is tragic.
    Then I am back at it- No time to think ! I have WAY too much for one person to do in life to waste even a moment. I am always moving 100 miles an hour, I struggle with multi-decision making with money, running endless errunds, a demanding job, two bright, inquisitive children, little adult interaction other than work, fine tuning my time management skills and most importantly raising two male children to be strong, intuitive, educated black MEN. I don’t want them to grow up angry or miss out on opportunities becasue they are raised by a single mother. This is what scares me the most…Can a woman truly raise two boys to be REAL upstanding men?

    I no longer will deny that my sons and I need HELP and GUIDANCE.
    I would love to help others as well.

    Marsha Fowler-Howard
    901 338 8653

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