Combining Drive and Empathy: From a Facebook Group to a Non-For-Profit Organization
A Feature on Nadia Wiseman & Single MOMtreal
All the while, struggling with toxic relationship patterns throughout her youth and stuck in yet another unhealthy relationship at the time, she had to decide between becoming a single mother in her twenties or pursuing her career while completing a fast-track Bachelor’s in social work at McGill University in 2011.
“I chose to make half of the salary I was used to and work 20 hours/week instead of full-time in order to reduce my anxiety, spend more time with my son, give myself the time to reflect and re-organize my life to feel that I’m doing something more meaningful with my talents.”
She chose to become a mother and had to drop out of her program at McGill due to financial stress. The father of her son left to live out of the country when he was only two. Since before his birth, Nadia has had the mono-parental responsibility of her son.
After getting back into the work force and having worked as a purchasing assistant, payroll and benefits coordinator and then as a merchandiser and witnessing two young family members pass away from cancer and struggling yet in another unhealthy relationship, Nadia suffered from a panic attack at work in 2016 resulting in periodic paralysis of her limbs.
The wakeup call had happened, she realised she needed to make a drastic change in her life. The realisation prompted her to take a mental break working part time at a community center for almost a year helping a young adult with special needs volunteer at this community center. “I chose to make half of the salary I was used to and work 20 hours/week instead of full-time in order to reduce my anxiety, spend more time with my son, give myself the time to reflect and reorganize my life to feel that I’m doing something more meaningful with my talents.” She recalls.
In April 2017, Nadia satrted a Facebook group to help connect single moms in Montreal, relieve their sense of isolation and share resources. In parallel, she reached out to the community for material donations as she had received such help on her own during tough times as a single mother.
“I felt it was my duty to raise awareness and an excellent opportunity to create the charity I’ve been dreaming about creating. If I had to summarize what made me start Single MOMtreal, I’d say: my heightened empathy, my need to make a difference, my tendency to take initiative, my own struggles as a single mom, my awareness that there is a lack of resources for single moms and the realization that life is short and it’s important to not take your time for granted and to make your dreams come true before it’s too late.”