Bear River candlelight walk honoured women
Each January, a group of enthusiastic supporters walk around the Bear River community carrying candles. Their mission is to honour women, who, with minimal support, care for children.
“It is a community event intended to bring awareness to the women who are raising children, alone,” says facilitator, Angela McMullen. “This is not a cause. It is a reality.”
In fact, more than 80 per cent of lone parents are female.
“As communities, we need to think about ways to alleviate the pressures of lone parenting,” says McMullen. “The walk is an opportunity to do just that.” she says.
“The walk is about honouring the women who make grave sacrifices to ensure that the children in their care indeed receive optimal care; physical, emotional and spiritual,” she says. “It is about the women of yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Women become lone parents due to the death of a spouse, separation from a spouse and unplanned pregnancy. In some cases, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and even great-grandmothers are raising children, due to unforeseen circumstances.
“It is important to empower these women by openly acknowledging their multi-level roles,” says McMullen.
Asha Croggin, a volunteer at the Women’s Place resource centre in Annapolis Royal, says that support is quite simple.
“I’ve heard many times how a small act of kindness, of genuine connection, has been both life saving and life changing. A reminder that you matter. That you are not invisible.
Just because single parenthood (whether by a parent, grandparent or other family member) is more common, doesn’t mean it’s easier,” she says.
“A woman who came into the centre recently shared that she often packs a few extra granola bars in the her children’s lunches to share with their friends who have single parents and are having a difficult time, or deliberately invites them over for a play date around a meal time,” says Croggin.
“Single parenthood, whether by a parent or other family member, is far more common. But just because it’s more common, doesn’t mean it’s easier. Taking the time to reach out, engage genuinely, think thoughtfully of how you could offer a small support can make a tremendous difference in feeling.”
Following the cold walk around the Bear River, participants enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies; a representation of the kindness extended to the women in our communities who are raising children, alone.
“This is not a cause. It is a reality.”
Angela McMullen facilitator