Josie Parata // Her Words

SMS Lighthouse- Single Mums Support is a service I set up in 2009, after experiencing first hand what I believed to be a lack of support and assistance available to vulnerable woman in my community.

The SMS Centre is a council property in the heart of Dee Why open three days a week. Services range from practical assistance with paperwork for government bodies such as Legal Aid, to meeting the basic needs of food, furniture and clothing (through our sponsors Bakers Delight, Big W and community members). We also provide support through attendance at Court appearances, tribunals, as well as assisting in advocacy and mediation. The mission of SMS is to walk hand in hand with women, in a non-judgmental and supportive role. We seek to empower those we help, with not just a hand out but a hand up; creating a culture to see women set free from a victim mentality and to rise above their single parenthood circumstances.

From here these women can move on from their experiences, equipped to seek out and meet the needs of others in their community. Our community support group ‘Moving Forward’ is a great source of education and connection for our clients. We meet for two hours, with the first half set aside for mums to meet other mums. The second hour is devoted to teaching women life skills. We host guest speakers who talk about how to move forward from difficult circumstances, whilst providing advice on money management, cooking on a budget and goal setting.

In October 2012 the centre opened with 42 client profiles, today we are working with 104 clients. As we are faithful with what God has placed in our hands He will faith fully enlarge our tents and trust us with more. There is no way in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be CEO of a thriving organisation that leads broken and hurt women into the house of God from the side door.

My vision for SMS Lighthouse, Single Mums Support is to replicate this service not only in other areas of Sydney, but interstate and internationally from out of other C3 Churches. I am not sure how, but nothing is impossible with God.

SMS runs largely with the support of donations from corporations, community members and a great team of volunteers. We are always in need of more help! If you would like to get involved and partner with SMS in equipping single mums with the tools to overcome their circumstances please email beyond@myc3church.net.