By Alina Fridman
Imagine being a single mother, trying your best to provide for yourself and your children, but constantly feeling like you're up against insurmountable odds. This is the reality for many women in Los Angeles and around the world. But there is hope. Tisha Janigian is a woman who has turned her life around, and now she's helping other single mothers do the same. Through her nonprofit organization, She is Hope LA, Tisha provides emotional, physical, and financial support to help these women thrive. Her story is an inspiration to us all.
Leaving a difficult marriage is never easy, but Tisha did it for her two young sons. "I told myself I had taken the vow and had to make it work, plus I didn't want to be a burden on my folks if I left," she recalls. After attempting to leave her husband several times, she finally mustered the strength to do it for good. "When I finally mustered the strength to leave once and for all, my boys and I started our lives over with three suitcases, as everything we had was in a storage unit in another state," she says. "I had no money, credit, or assets, so it was extremely difficult to find an apartment that would rent to me, even with my Father as a co-signer. Section 8 Housing had an extremely long waiting list as well."
With few resources available to her, Tisha did whatever she could to provide for herself and her sons. "I realized that I couldn't afford before and after-school childcare, so I started to look for a part-time job," she says. "Unfortunately, most companies wouldn't even interview me. They told me that I was overqualified because I have a Bachelor's Degree and thought I wouldn't stay long. When I finally did get hired for a few hours a week, my food stamp benefits went down to almost nothing." It was then that Tisha realized that the system was broken—and that it perpetuated people to stay on government assistance.
Even with a low-income discount, Tisha wasn't making enough money to cover her utilities. The work and the child support she received put her in the gap above poverty, where little assistance was available. To make ends meet, she participated in focus groups and looked for free things on Craig's List and Freecycle to resell. Growing up back East and working with her folks in the antique business, Tisha had a knack for this sort of thing. Thanks to the help of her old and new friends, who offered her side jobs such as babysitting and pet sitting, Tisha was able to cover her utilities, food, and gas. Without these extra sources of income, she would have been in a much tougher spot.
But Tisha didn't give up. She kept fighting to provide for her sons. Tisha proved herself indispensable at her part-time job. She worked hard and excelled at her work, eventually being promoted to a managerial position. And she didn't stop there. Tisha went on to study real estate and got her broker's license.
After experiencing the challenges of being a single mother, Tisha realized that she needed to do more to help other women in the same situation. There are so many women who are struggling to make ends meet, and she wanted to do something to empower them. In 2019, Tisha founded SHE IS HOPE LA, a nonprofit organization that provides emotional, physical, and financial support to help guide single mothers through every aspect of supporting themselves and their children.
The nonprofit offers several resources and a development program with expert speakers twice a year. This 12-week free curriculum for all single mothers includes legal and financial advice, job training, mind-body wellness, and peer support. The goal is to help these women build a foundation so they can build a better future for themselves and their children.
Tisha has also opened her own brokerage, She Is Hope Realty, where a percentage of all transactions will go back to the nonprofit, as well as a thrift store in the same location where they sell donated items and provide volunteer hours and job training opportunities for single moms.
It doesn't stop there. Tisha has big plans for the future. Her goal is to purchase an apartment building where single moms in the program can live with their kids, providing them with a safe and secure place to call home.
"The biggest barrier for most single mothers is the lack of resources," Tisha says. Single mothers often find themselves struggling to make ends meet, and they often have to go without basic necessities such as food and shelter. This problem is compounded by the fact that they often don't have the emotional or financial support they need to raise their children. There are also very few programs or organizations available to help them. This leaves many single mothers feeling helpless and alone.
But there are people out there who are fighting to change this. Tisha Janigian is one of those people. We need more programs and opportunities to help single mothers get ahead, not just get by. Raising awareness is the first step to making change. We need to support single mothers so they can thrive, not just survive.
If you're a single mother in need of assistance, or if you would like to donate or volunteer, please visit She is Hope LA's website at www.sheishopela.org