Patrice Harris is a single parent raising a 16-year-old son and knows the harshness that comes with parenting solo.
The emotional burden of wondering if you’re doing enough to provide and maintain a healthy household is coupled with the daily stressors of finances, schedules, housing and more.
In 2019 and driven by her faith, Harris stepped away from her career in corporate America to form a local nonprofit and help other single-parent families know they don’t have to navigate parenthood alone.
The GOODE Foundation (which stands for Giving Others Opportunity, Driving Evolvement) aims to connect with, support, and uplift single parents through self-reflection, behavior changes and a network of resources. The nonprofit is based in Federal Way and offers services to the South King County area, said Harris, a Kent Meridian High School graduate.
In 2020, Harris, founder and executive director of the foundation, surveyed a majority of local single mothers and fathers of various income levels to determine what resources are lacking and where the foundation could help.
A common theme is the emotional weight from “trying to do it all, not making time for themselves, and being in survival mode to maintain a household,” Harris said.
The United States has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center report. Almost a quarter (23%) of children under the age of 18 in the U.S. live with one parent and no other adults, which is more than three times the amount of children (about 7%) around the world who live in single-parent households.
Harris created a path of healing and transformation for single parents through G.R.A.C.E. (Grounding, Responsibility, Accountability, Community and Edification). The 21-week workshops help parents identify root causes within themselves, then provide a range of resources such as budgeting and money management, education pathways, mentorship, and life goal planning.
“We want to be a part of our clients’ lives and give them hope along the way, so they know that there’s someone looking out for them,” Harris said.
This June, two women are graduating from the nonprofit’s workshop program.
“We’ve seen such a huge improvement in these women’s lives,” Harris said. One woman, from Texas, escaped an abusive marriage and found safety in Washington. Through the nonprofit, she’s been able to secure housing, a job, and regain her sense of self-worth, Harris said.
The other graduate transitioned into a better job and was able to move out of her parents’ home.
“Hearing these stories, even if its not in high quantities, we’re still excited because they are bettering their lives,” Harris said.
Launching her nonprofit in March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, forced her and her staff to quickly adapt.
Virtual meetings, required due to pandemic health and safety guidelines, proved to be beneficial for attending single parents — they could tune in from their kitchen while making dinner, listen in after putting their children to bed, or participate without fully giving up their parenting duties for an hour or so.
The GOODE Talks are weekly opportunities for conversations where single parents can share, openly and honestly, about the challenges faced and solutions found, along with the frustrations and joys, she said.
Ideas of a sustainable future and success are in the eye of the individual beholder, Harris said, but “holistic and healthy livelihood for you and your child — we see that as win.”
To join a weekly talk, a workshop or for more information, visit thegoodefoundation.com.