My JP Community Experience
From bonding with other JP moms to connecting with staff, Miranda R. has experienced the supportive community that JP co-creates with moms.
Editor’s note: One of JP’s pillars is to create a supportive community. At JP Rochester-Southeast MN, moms were recently asked to tell about a time the JP community showed up for them and vice versa. This is Miranda R.’s response.
Let us break this down a little. First up is community. When I think of community, I think of a group of like-minded individuals working towards a similar outcome or goal. The goal of this community is in the mission statement itself: “to disrupt the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children, two generations at a time. When a mother invests simultaneously in her personal and professional goals and the education of her children, she can re-author her family’s outcomes and act as a change agent within her community.” This community is made up of an entire tribe of caring, compassionate, loving individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
So, you want to know about a time that the JP community showed up for me when I needed them to? To be completely honest, I have not had a time or a moment where they did not show up for me when I needed them. The first time the JP community showed up for me was in the beginning when I was juggling a full-time job, being a full-time mom of two young girls, and a full-time student pursuing my Bachelor of Science in public health. I was pushing through without a sense of community and feeling very isolated while pursuing my goals. I was never far from a crash and burn(out). I thought this was just the “cost” of having kids on my own and was something I needed to push through and deal with on my own.
When I received my acceptance call from Family Services Director Katie Ticho, I quickly became part of a community and no longer had to go through this alone. Fast forward to E&L when I received my first dose of other JP moms. I was able to have vulnerable conversations with other moms reaching for similar goals and feeling so connected on so many levels because of our past and the futures we wanted to create. Complete strangers, sharing stories and growing the community.
“I was able to have vulnerable conversations with other moms reaching for similar goals and feeling so connected on so many levels because of our past and the futures we wanted to create.”
Fast forward to my first coaching session with Bri Rollins, a.k.a. my personal problem solver. If I have a problem, barrier, or situation that puts a hiccup in my goals, I run it by Bri. If Bri does not have the answer personally, she quickly finds it. Bri is a large part of my JP community and shows up for me daily. Bri shows up for not only me but for our entire family in a variety of ways. Bri supports me as a mother, a student, and as a woman. This can look like a Zoom call, an in-person meeting, a phone call, or an email. She is always sending me the latest opportunities to connect with the on-campus moms, with JP community members, and staff.
Bri also shows up in my girls’ lives by sending a handwritten note to my 8-year-old congratulating her on her second-grade graduation or in the form of squeezing lemons, teaching finances, and sharing words of encouragement at lemonade day when the line was out the door. Showing up through yoga and meditation, teaching my wound-up 3-year-old deep breathing and calmness (even when the fire alarms are going off). Bri is a consistent supporter who is always there and creates a safe place to land.
Now let us talk about opportunities. The JP community is full of opportunities. To name a few, I have not had a professional photo taken of myself or my kids — ever. JP sends out a Mother’s Day opportunity and gives us the opportunity to participate in family photos. What an absolute treat. Then there are the Tuesday and Thursday meals. This gives the kids an opportunity to come to campus and see our extended Jeremiah family, and it gives me the opportunity to connect with other moms and the bonus of having two less meals to prepare!
One of the most needed and transforming opportunities that I have had so far in my JP experience was the retreat to the Renewal Center. As moms, students, employees, and humans, we are constantly taking care of others, always filling others’ buckets and forgetting about our own buckets. A weekend away without the children at the most jaw-dropping facility was exactly what I needed. I was able to do some much-needed self-reflection, relaxation, and be still with nature and my higher power. I have never felt more grounded, safe, cared for, and renewed.
“I am thankful for the endless opportunities, relationships, friendships, meals, encouragement, and everything that comes with being part of the JP community.”
Finally, I have gained so much trust in my JP community that I opted in for therapy services on campus after avoiding therapy for over 10 years since my trauma (what was I thinking?). I was extremely hesitant but decided that since I was working on my overall self (even down to my credit score!), I decided to take the offer and opportunity. To say the least, I was absolutely shocked by all the work I still had to do. I was physically sick after my first session and had an “emotional hangover” for days to follow.
I was feeling very low, but I got an email for sisterhood hours, and I showed up despite how I felt. The simple question asked by the group leader was, “What’s your name and how are you doing today?” Of course, I was on the side of the circle that was selected to go first. I instantly began crying and shared my current reality of being back in therapy after more than 10 years. Therapy is hard. Self-work is hard. Moms from all backgrounds and situations encouraged me while I sat there feeling so weak…for having the strength to go to therapy and do that hard — yet very necessary — work.
As much as I would have loved to submit a beautiful piece of art, I am not an artist. I am by no means a writer or poet. But I am thankful. I am thankful for the endless opportunities, relationships, friendships, meals, encouragement, and everything that comes with being part of the JP community. I am forever grateful and so very blessed.
Thank you to the entire JP community for believing in the mission and for investing in my family.
Miranda R. is a girl mom to an 8-year-old and 3-year-old. Although Miranda is a Minnesota native, her passion is to help improve the cancer burden in sub-Saharan Africa through her role as an education administration coordinator. In addition, she serves as an executive assistant for a non-profit and is pursuing her bachelor’s in public health.
Photo by Jill Strecker Moosbrugger