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Giving Strength to Loving Arms: How the "Mojo" program enables single moms to work and love their children

Updated on May 29, 2012
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Cost and planning: those are two famous words that enter into our lives as we grow older and learn to live on our own. That doubles and even triples when it comes to balancing out the costs and labor involved with raising our children. You are now in charge of taking care of yourself while providing for the needs of someone too young and immature to care for themselves. It’s not an easy job to handle for two full-time working parents.

So imagine how daunting that task is when a single mother is forced to handle that responsibility on her own? She has no husband or boyfriend to share the financial burden or time demands that comes with raising the young. It is her and her alone that shoulders these responsibilities, which can be a serious determent to the well-being of her health and the proper upbringing of her kids.

Twin brothers Darr and Tom Aley decided that it was time to give single mothers a chance to be a provider for both themselves as well as their kids. By putting their heads together, they have developed a successful business model that accomplishes these goals.

On May 13, CBS news reported a story on a company known as American Mojo (moms and jobs), which is a for-profit company dedicated specifically to offering employment to single mothers.

23-year-old Tameira Lanier is one of Mojo’s most recent employees. Before being hired by the company, she was without work for 3 years, raising a 2 and 5 year-old boy on her own.

"It was terrible for me. I had to go into a shelter and everything,” remarked Tameira as she discussed her story with CBS.

According to the CBS report, it was launched last year and offers fabric lines including gloves and zip jackets as well as some jewelry.

Mojo’s website provides an extensive history into the founding and mission of the company. Tom Aley has a history of investing and managing software and internet companies. During this time, he worked with other business entrepreneurs to start up The Jericho Road Project, which seeks skilled volunteers and matches them with industries that seek people with the talent they need from their candidates. In its heyday, the group helped with a mitten drive to serve homeless children in Boston. Tom believed the concept could be taken a step further by starting a company that would be focused on providing essential items to people in poverty year-round. He approached his brother, Darr, with the concept as the two had started a business intelligence company in 2005. It was sold in 2008 and become the brothers’ first move to launch the Mojo company. Their sister, Cara Aley, came aboard with Tom and Darr as its President, running the stitching, management, and life skills training programs. She was raised by a single mother and was no stranger to the hardships endured by women who are left to care for their kids on their own.

American Mojo Website

The CBS news article indicates the company has built a steady clientele, including sales of blankets to the Dave Matthews band and fleece jackets to large companies like Morgan and Stanley. They have also provided logo wear to various university campuses.

Mojo’s success has enabled the company to pay its employees over $10 an hour. In addition, it provides helpful career training and health care for its employees. The best part of all is that the cost of child care is fully covered by the company. Currently, the company has 23 employees, but plans are in the works to expand it to employ more people and offer the program in other states.

“We're trying to solve a social problem with a for-profit answer,” said Tom in his CBS interview.

As for Tameira, she is still enjoying her life and her new career. She also has dreams to start up her own fashion designs in the future.

CBS News Video

I grew up with a sister three years older than me. By age 12, my younger brother was born. It was not up until my early college years when I began to understand the work and time my parents had to put in to handling all three of us. We weren’t trouble makers by any stretch of the imagination, but we had a lot of growing up to do as any child does. We had to be taken to school, helped with our homework, taught how to do our chores, and have our books and clothes paid for until we were old enough to work on our own. This list is certainly not inclusive of everything they had to do, but it was this kind of work that made me appreciate my parents for what they did for us. One of them had a job of his or her own, payments to make, and obligations to fulfill while the other attended to the daily child raising duties. Oh yes, the roles got switched around more often than not.

Now imagine a mother doing double duty on her own. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for herself. With the time she spends feeding her kids, taking them to the doctor, or cleaning their clothes, it leaves her virtually no time to find the steady job she needs to acquire all these provisions. Children of single parents like those under Coach Penny Hardaway (see story here) will often be forced to live in deplorable home conditions and are more likely to be involved with gangs. The welfare state and public assistant programs can only go so far to help mothers survive their tough times.

Even if a mother does manage to scrap just enough to help her children, her journey alone can become an emotional burden. How can she find true happiness for herself when she’s dealing with kids who are crying from the pains of sickness and hunger? How can she find time to enjoy the things in life she used to like painting or writing? And what kind of emotional turmoil will her kids go through when she has to sit down and explain to them why they no longer have a daddy?

Despite all these burdensome questions, they lead to one direction: no matter what, she has do everything she can to make sure her kids have the best life possible! They are the number one priority in her life.

Now we see that priority can at least to some degree be fulfilled with the help of Mojo. Single mothers finally have a means to get their foot in the door that will hopefully lead them to a better life. Not only are they learning skills that they can build on to help them move up in their career goals, but they also have the means to give their kids a healthy and happy life. The fact that the job covers all the costs of a child’s care is a major benefit. It gives these mothers a chance to provide for the critical needs of their children. While the pay and benefits may not earn them a mansion on Malibu Beach, it will at the very least greatly eliminate the stress of choices that single mothers are forced to make when it comes to choosing between feeding their children or having enough gas money to take them to school.

Of course, there’s more that a mother can do with this job besides finding a better life for her kids. She can focus on taking care of herself. The well-being of her children is important. However, if something were to happen to her or she become so overwhelmed with stress that she couldn’t function anymore, then where would that leave her kids? Most important of all, the kids will grow up with continued love from their mother. They will be part of a happy family with happy memories and admire all that their mother has done for them.

They will grow up to be the kids that will make their mother proud…and she’ll know right then and there that she did not fail them.

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    • lovelife08 profile image

      lovelife08 5 years ago from United States

      I've never heard of Mojo. I will definitely check it out though! Great Hub, very useful.

    • gmaoli profile image
      Author

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Please do and I'm glad you found this useful!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Awesome stuff, G! Great 'Mojo'! There's a very forward thinking company that started here in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada called Western Glove. They are an international jeans co. now. Several years ago they expanded their HUGE manufacturing/head office building, painted it blue, green, yellow, red, orange, etc - and added on a full daycare for employees kids! It's called Kid Gloves - and the whole industrial facility looks like it's made of lego! It's awesome, and i hear nobody ever EVER leaves! We have to do whatever we can as individuals and as a society to make sure both kids - and working moms - are valued!

    • gmaoli profile image
      Author

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you, ImKarn! That sounds like a really good company and I'd imagine the work environment is pretty fun! I feel pretty confident Mojo will start a good trend where the workers and their kids will be given a lot more attention and care. Naturally, this will help the company's profit margins because it boosts morale, but more importantly it make life so much more joyful for these families both professionally and personally.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      Brilliant. It's nice to know they are being thought of. It's a big boost.... and ofcourse if mum is happy, the kids will be happy and calm too.

    • gmaoli profile image
      Author

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Very spot on, Lady_E. A truly happy family is one where everyone in it is happy. Thank you for stopping by to comment!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is an amazing story that your were drawn to because you have an amazing and beautiful soul! Just my oppionion of course. I will share this and bless you!

    • Collisa profile image

      Columba Smith 5 years ago from California

      What a beautiful help to single moms. Thank you for reporting on this - it's really heartening to read. As a single mom who has been able to stay home with my kids, I feel very burdened for those who must also provide, and their kids. I blog to encourage single moms especially.

      Blessings!

    • gmaoli profile image
      Author

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you Collisa! It's hard for me to imagine what it's like for a single mother who has to be at home and look for work since she's the sole provider. I think this program is a step in the right direction to make that possible. I admire you for doing what you can for your children and it's great that you take time out of your day to be a voice of encouragement for other single mothers.

      Thank you for the kind words!

    • gmaoli profile image
      Author

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Angela, that really warms my heart to hear you say that. I try to share any story I can that I hope will bring some real hope and happiness to the lives of others even in the toughest times. With a compliment like yours, I can tell you have a heart of gold yourself and I thank you for sharing this with others. Blessings to you as well!

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I hope that this is a trend for our future, not only for single mothers but for all people who cannot work traditional hours or are caretakers. Or for that matter, in this day and age of computers and social networks, Why do any of us really have to work the 9-5? Voted Up and Shared

    • gmaoli profile image
      Author

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I certainly hope so, Lipnancy. Social networking in particular seems to have finally gotten out of the stage of just connecting with people we know (or want to know) and now becoming a place for promoting a business. I think with enough work, it could be possible to have it be a place of full-time employment. However, social networking and new technology alone are just the tip of the iceberg. The main reason this "mojo" program is such as a success is that it has a very well developed business model to enable this company to run that both meets the needs of its workers and make a profit. If a business model can be made in such a way that helps lift the burden for those like single mothers who have to be both a child raiser and the breadwinner, then other models could certainly be tailored to meet the needs of virtually any worker regardless of their needs and limitations. It all really boils down to the right kind of planning. Thank you for sharing this!

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