Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall 2011 SIA Newsletter

I am proud to announce our newest sponsor, Blue Shield of California!
In late October, Blue Shield of California is launching MOMS on a MISSION, a search for the coolest home-grown community service project addressing health, well being, and happiness in local California communities. The projects chosen will receive a group wellness care package and a $5,000 donation to your choice of California-based non profits.  If you would like to participate in creating a home-based project focused on improving health in our communities, let me know and we will put together a Sisters In Arms committee!


Happy Autumn, Sisters!  Hopefully by now, life for you has settled down a bit, as we close out on the last vestiges of summer and start preparing for the cooler evenings and upcoming onslaught of festivities…as for me, I see the leaves changing colors and the days getting shorter, and find myself in a particularly reflective mood…  

You know, when I tell people that I am part of a large single mothers group based in the Bay Area, I get a lot, interesting questions.  (Many of which I’ve answered our FAQs.)  One question which is perhaps asked the most is why our members and group are called Sisters In Arms.

When I first decided that I would create a group for single mothers 2 ½ years ago, I considered several different sobriquets – and in all honesty, we came very close to being called “Super Single Moms” (yeah, awesome, right?).  But then I started thinking about what the vision of our group would be and how much I was willing to devote to developing and cultivating our community.  Would it simply be a “novelty” group – something to be kept light and superficial, like a capricious side-hobby?  Or would it be something more profound, which delved into the deepest aspects of single woman/mother empowerment, support and friendship?  The answer, as cheesy as it sounds, was revealed to me by none other than Ms. Pat Benatar. (Seriously.)  After firmly deciding on the name “Super Single Moms,” and thinking that maybe this group would be a once or twice a month meetup thing (with hopefully at least 10 members), I made my way home to my infant son.  For some reason, I had recently taken to listening to 94.5 KBAY and that evening, Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” started playing as I drove home, a song which I’d heard myriad times before, but had never really paid any attention to.  However, for some reason, this time when I heard it, it actually spoke to me, if that makes any sense.  “That is so ‘effing’ true,” I thought to myself after the song ended, “after all I’ve been through with my son’s father, I feel like I’ve been fighting in an emotional war!”  Suddenly, the gears in my foggy, sleep-deprived mom-brain started turning – battlefield…love…war.  Then, somewhere in the deepest recesses of my brain, the phrase “brothers in arms” surfaced.  I recalled that this expression was used to refer to servicemen who fight side by side in battle, and through their shared experiences, become closer than friends – they become brothers.  I thought, “This is what I want for my group – I want to bring other single moms together, who feel like I do – like they’ve been through an emotional tug-of-war, who have all sorts of mixed emotions and want to meet others who really understand what it’s like to be a single mom.  I want friends whom I can trust and depend on, and call my Sisters In Arms.”

And the rest, as they say, is history…

On that fateful evening in March 2009, Sisters In Arms – Single Moms was created, but in all honesty, Sisters, it is your participation, friendship and mutual support that you contribute which continually fortifies our community.  Each of you is an integral part of our “blended family,” and it is my sincere hope that the friendships you make within our community sustain throughout your lifetime.  Every time you attend a meetup, post or respond to a discussion or even send a personal “how are you” text, email or phone call to a fellow Sister, you are fortifying the “framily” bonds inherent in our Sisterhood.  And so it is with my sincerest appreciation and gratitude that I thank you for answering my “call to arms” – and joining Sisters In Arms – Single Moms.  Your membership and active involvement in our community has proven that when a group of strong, compassionate, positive-minded single women/mothers get together, we are a force to be reckoned with! 


~ Welcome Additions ~

Our community continues to grow! We have added several new Sisters (and kids) to our little family in the last few months, so please join me in welcoming our newest additions to Sisters In Arms:

Hazel, with Samantha (15 years), Melissa (7 years) and Bianca (5 years)

Ramya, with Aryansh (9 years) and Arnav (3 years)
Ruby, with Philip (6 years) 
Theresa, with Noah (5 years)
Shantel, with Ciara (18 years), Cyana (11 years), Curtis (8 years) and Crissi (7 years)
Alika, with Philip (6 years) and Nikolas (4 years)
Cheryl, with Teo (1 year)
Naireesa, with Mahir (6 months)
Kim, with Hunter (13 years)
Barbara, with Paige Elizabeth (2 years)
America, with Arizona (1 ½ years) and a baby on the way!
Fafi, with Zack (15 years) and Adrian (10) – welcome back, Fafi!
Renee, expectant first-time mommy (Madi Rose) – congratulations!
Janis, with Gavin (4 years) – welcome back, Janis!
Miss Rey, with Jay (14 years)
Jessie, expectant first-time mommy – congratulations!
Susan, with John (5 years)
Vicki, with Mason (10 years)
Shannon, expectant first-time mommy (Madi Rose) – congratulations!
Shuba, with Swetha (3 years)

Welcome, Sisters! We are thrilled to have you and your children as part of our growing community of strong, caring and supportive single moms! If you haven’t already done so, please read our About Us page to learn more about our group, and don’t forget to check out our active Message Board and Group Calendar for upcoming meetups.

We always want to hear from you, and we encourage you to speak your mind at any and all of our meetups, and message board discussions. If you would like to meet other single moms with kids of the same age as yours, please feel free to check out our member list and browse through our member profiles.   I am sure you will find at least one other person in the group who understands and can empathize with what you are going through…


~ News & Notables ~

Sisters Who Have Done Their “Dues” Diligence

Thanks to the following Sisters who recently submitted their annual membership dues!

Janette * (Red-Headed) Jennifer * Picole * Rosie * Michelle

Sisters, we are delighted that you have decided to make a personal investment into our dynamic, caring and supportive community of single moms for another year. Your dues help go towards our bi-annual site hosting fees and event/food/activities supplies expenses. Thank you for your continued support!

Rate Our Meetups!
If you’ve attended at least one meetup in your life, you know that always sends a follow-up email, asking for your feedback on the event, venue, and the group as a whole.  While you are certainly not required to submit your feedback for each and every meetup you attend, we do ask that if you (and/or your children) enjoyed yourself, kindly complete the rating feedback questionnaire when you get a chance.
Your ratings of our meetups are tracked through and Google Analytics, and contribute to our group’s OSR (Overall Statistical Rating, which is based on the amalgamation of meetup ratings, group ratings, number of members and active meetup participants).  Based on your participation and collective positive ratings/feedback of our group and past meetups, our OSR is an amazing 4.88 (out of 5 stars)!  This is statistical proof of something which has been evident for quite some time – that not only are our event hosts pretty awesome at organizing and coordinating fun and exciting meetups, but our overall group is top-notch as well!
The synergy that we are creating within our group has not gone unnoticed, Sisters!  Your continued high ratings of our group and meetups has also been noticed by key people within and outside of  I received a personal email from the Co-Founder and CEO, Scott Heiferman, who congratulated us on the “fantastic community” we are building, and sponsorship/perks offers have increased significantly within the past year.  In the past two years, we’ve received sponsorship benefits from Sports Basement, Born Free, Caz Franczia Photography and Purple Sheep Photography (to name a few).  In 2010, Sonicare for Kids asked to sponsor our meetup group and host a raffle for a pretty nifty (and expensive) Sonicare toothbrush for one lucky member of our group.
Recently, our biggest sponsor this year has been 3M, who gifted us with a demo Shoot n’ Share Projector Camcorder and enough funds to sponsor our “Top Organizer” contest prizes!
So thank you, Sisters, for your positive feedback!  Your ratings are not only a great way to let the event hosts know how much you appreciate their efforts in organizing the meetups, but it also provides for more sponsorship opportunities as well!

Babysitting/Childcare Message Board *NEW*
Many of you have asked if we have an established childcare/babysitting co-op within our group.  I know that this is a “hot button” topic for many of us, so I have created a separate discussion forum on our message board dedicated solely to this topic.  In this forum, you may post any information you may have regarding childcare resources, information and referrals.  Also, if you would like to participate in a co-op with one or more other moms in our group, you are encouraged to post and set up a childcare co-op situation that works with your schedules.

Employment/Income Opportunities *NEW*
I know that these tough economic times have left many of us searching for new and better career opportunities.  If you know of any employment or income-generating opportunities that you would like to share with your fellow Sisters, please feel free to post them in our newly created message board!  When posting, please remember to include as much detail as possible regarding the job responsibilities, location, hours and wages.  Thanks for looking out for one another, Sisters!

FREE Parent Education Classes
The Children’s Health Council offers free parent education classes throughout the year.  They just recently released the Fall2011/Winter 2012 class schedules and class descriptions (click here to view:
Myself and a few other Sisters in the group have attended a few of these parenting classes, and I have personally found them to be very informational and helpful.  If you’ve been looking for some classes to help you figure out how to improve communication with and understanding of your child, I would highly recommend them!  To register for a class, click here:


~ Upcoming Fall 2011 Meetups (more to be added, so keep checking the calendar!) ~

- September 25th @ 8:30am – San Francisco AFSP Community Walk – Join “Team Lara” today!
- September 25th @ 11:30am – Autumn Adventure at Lemos Farm
- October 1st @ 10:00am – San Francisco Zoo!
- October 8th @ 6:00pm – Moms Night In: Games and Clothing Swap
- October 9th @ 11:00am – Moms & Kids Luncheon
- October 16th @ 11:00am – Bouncyland!
- October 21st @ 8:00pm – Mommies Only Night at Dave and Busters!
- October 29th @ 2:00pm – Halloween Party!

When RSVPing for Meetups, please remember to include your child(ren) and any female friend or family members (lovingly called “framily members”) whom you will be bringing with you.  As always, “framily members” are always welcome to our Meetups, but men are only allowed to "Moms and Friends" mixer meetups.


~ A Gentle Reminder ~

Bi-Annual Dues & “Active Participation” Audit
As part of the membership requirements for our group, we ask that members submit their annual membership dues ($12 per year) within 30 days of joining or at their first attended meetup. The dues are allocated towards food/drink/activity supplies and the bi-annual site hosting fees charged by

This month, we will be performing our bi-annual dues and “active participation” audit.  If you are unsure of whether or when you paid your dues, simply go to your profile page on our site and in the navigation toolbar at the top of our home page, go to Members > My profile.  Below your completed profile, you will see when you last paid your dues (and how much you paid). If your profile shows that you have never paid your dues – or if it has been more than one year since you last paid your dues, then we ask that you submit your dues via PayPal prior to September 30, 2011.  If your annual dues are not received by this date, then you will be removed from the group.

We will also be auditing participation in our group.  Per our group policy, your status within our group remains “active” if you participate in our group discussions on our message boards and/or attend at least one meetup every 90 days.  If more than 90 days has elapsed since you last participated in our group meetups or discussions (and you have not emailed me to let me know that you would still like to remain a part of the group, despite your absence), then you will be removed from the group due to inactivity, regardless of whether you paid your annual dues.

To see our policies on Annual Dues and Membership, click here:

Until next time, Sisters, all my best to you and yours…

Jill :0)