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[KHTS] – Single Mothers Outreach announced the 2015 Empowering HeArts honorees and artists at an evening soiree held May 28 at the Sand Canyon home of Moe and Linda Hafazi.

Honorees and artists pose for a group photo at the Single Mothers Outreach Empowering HeArts honoree introduction event. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.

Honorees and artists pose for a group photo at the Single Mothers Outreach Empowering HeArts honoree introduction event. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.

DaAnne Smith, executive director of Single Mothers Outreach, said the six honorees were chosen from an extensive list of nominees by a committee of 22 volunteers.

The theme for this year’s Empowering HeArts event is “perseverance,” said Smith.

“I am very excited about this year’s honorees,” said Smith. “Their stories are powerful and I hope will inspire other Santa Clarita women who are struggling, but persevering.

Smith said the six women were chosen whose lives personify perseverance and triumph over challenging circumstances.

“For the first time, all the honorees are, or were, single parents and this fact was pivotal in their perseverance story,” she said.

Empowering HeArts is an annual celebration of women who have changed lives and shaped the Santa Clarita Valley. The fundraising event brings the worlds of social action and artistic expression together in an annual arts competition. Each honoree is paired with an artist who will portray the honoree’s story in art.

Left to right, DaAnne Smith, Lindsay Schlick and Martin Rodriguez announce the honoree and artist pairings for the 2015 Empowering HeArts fundraiser for Single Mothers Outreach. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.

Left to right, DaAnne Smith, Lindsay Schlick and Martin Rodriguez announce the honoree and artist pairings for the 2015 Empowering HeArts fundraiser for Single Mothers Outreach. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.

The 2015 Empowering HeArts honorees are:

Abi Caruthers

Caruthers directs a women’s support group, Women, Inspired, and is president of a non-profit organization, 100 Women for One. She was abandoned by her mother, who left her at a boarding school and never returned and was raised in England in foster care. She came to the United States at age 19, and as a homeless, young, single mother, she successfully faced and overcame her personal challenges, and has dedicated her professional life as a Certified Hypnotherapist to supporting and empowering others in need.  She is paired with artist Kirby Lanier.

Melanie Cross

Cross raised three children, including a daughter who suffered from viral encephalitis as a toddler. The disease left her daughter disabled and required constant care. Her employment as a custodian at her children’s elementary school helped Cross work her way through college. She earned a Master of Science degree in nursing, holds numerous medical licenses, and teaches nursing at several universities. Cross’s community service to the Santa Clarita community includes provision of home hospice care, counseling, and emotional support for grieving families. She has served as interim director of Santa Clarita Special Olympics and has volunteered as a summer camp nurse, assisting organizations that serve people with disabilities including Adventures Elite, Capernaum Fun Life, and LETMESAIL Inc. She is paired with artist Chloe deJong.

Kristin Drucker

Drucker became a single mother of a one-year-old after the break-up of a seven-year marriage. Working through adversity to provide the best life possible for her daughter, Drucker educated herself in the parenting skills that she subsequently shared with other single parents, through her church and Single Mothers Outreach. When faced with financial ruin, Drucker enrolled in a Financial Peace University (FPU) class that changed her life. The financial management skills she gained  ignited her passion to share those tools and strategies with other single mothers. In 2008, Drucker began teaching FPU classes at SMO. She has helped more than 170 women pay off $133,000 in debt, and save $139,000. She is paired with artist Norma Warden.

Tracy Hauser

Hauser became a single mother of three children when she found the inner strength to leave a husband whose personal and social circumstances included periods of incarceration. She persevered, found help when and where needed, and worked to develop a career in real estate. Hauser’s determination and will to achieve has resulted in the recent start-up of her own real estate agency. She is paired with artist Falon Renteria.

Alesia Humphries

Humphries is chief of digital sales and host of Studio Santa Clarita for The Signal. After a challenging and unhappy childhood, Humphries left home at a young age, and by her mid-20s, she had worked as a model, singer and mother. Throughout the next decade, without support from the father of her twin daughters, Humphries made a successful professional transition from entertainment to financial services, and eventually, to Signal Multimedia. She is paired with artist Cecily Willis.

Cynthia Smith

Smith is a clinical esthetician at both The Ivy Day Spa and at a local medical office. Her life challenges included marriage to an abusive spouse with whom she had three children. After Smith and her children traveled across the country to her mother’s home in Southern California she found her mother was unable to assist the family. Homeless, unemployed, and without money, Smith and her girls lived in and out of her car for months. One day a woman–a true Good Samaritan– knocked on her car window and insisted that Smith and her children move into her small apartment. The woman, who subsequently died of cancer, became Smith’s best friend. Making the most of a life-changing opportunity, Smith worked hard, gained an education, developed a successful career, and built a life for herself and her children. She is paired with artist Jennifer Calderon.

Single Mothers Outreach

With a mission to “empower single parents and their children by providing hope, support, and resources so families can become self-sustaining and thrive,” Single Mothers Outreach directly helps single parents find jobs, get educated, secure housing, stabilize their children’s emotional states, manage their finances, and help one another.

The Empowering HeArts fundraising event for Single Mothers Outreach will be held Saturday, Nov. 7. Tickets are $65 each. For tickets and information about Empowering HeArts, visitsinglemothersoutreach.org/hearts.

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1 Comment

  1. Single mothers have a hard row to hoe. I wish them strength and determination to succeed in life .

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