Friday, May 15, 2009

Against the Grain in Franklin Doing Good Works

  • There are 12,129 single mothers in Middle Tennessee

  • 5,721 have pre-school children

  • 4,730 are unemployed

  • 4,914 do not have a high school diploma

  • 7,277 are below the poverty level

Do the above facts surprise you? A statement from the Against the Grain website, "That doesn't sound like much of a life does it? But that is the reality for thousands of single mothers in Middle Tennessee and they are begging for a way out. . . begging for dignity and a hope for their children."

Rob and Meredith Kendall at Against the Grain in Franklin, TN are on a mission to empower single mothers to become self-sufficient, knowledgeable, productive members of society. Their vision includes specific goals that include making a greater impact in Williamson County and expanding their work in to Middle Tennessee, opening offices in other areas of the country, and developing a residential community specifically for single mothers where their families can live while the mother going through Against the Grain training. AtG goes one step further by wanting to position themselves to help these mothers move toward home ownership after the AtG training is complete.

For single mothers, there is hope for their family by joining the 180 program. Taking part in the program is a two-year commitment of group and individual training. The program is designed to break the family cycle of dependence on governmental programs that provide food and shelter for the families. The participants take classes such as Budgeting 101, self esteem classes, Purpose Driven Life, and two six-week parenting classes. This part of the training involves a life-coach for each participant and lasts one year. The second year continues to include the help of a life-coach and the mother works to implement all the tools she learned through the program. AtG and the life-coach assist her with implementation of her customized plan and provide her accountability measures.

In April, five mothers graduated from the first year of the program and will spend the next year taking classes every other week and will continue working with their mentors. On the AtG website, one mother quoted, "As I came to class and met all the other mothers that had stuff going on in their life almost the same as mine it made me open up and stay focused. Now I rate my self esteem a 10+++. I have to thank the 180 program for my help they inspired me that there was life at the end of my tunnel."

To help reach their goals of helping these single mothers, AtG conducted two fundraisers last week. On May 7, they conducted a Golf Scramble at the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club where teams could play for $600. The weather was a big worry as to whether the event would occur, but the weather cleared and the tournament was a success. On Mother's Day, May 10, there was a Walk-a-Thon where the weather was not so cooperative. Walkers showed up to support AtG but lightning thwarted the walk after two hours.
In talking to Rob Kendall, I have learned that giving is down 32% this year for AtG. The fundraisers went well but not as well as the past few years. Individual donations from our monthly giving partners is down as well as our one time gifts. Realizing this is probably typical of non-profits this year, Rob still hopes gifts will continue to come in to AtG.

Against the Grain could use your support in several different ways. There is a donation page on their website and another very simple way to support AtG is to make your homepage This is a search engine that is powered by Yahoo and has commited to give a penny to AtG for every search done with AtG as the selected charity. Instructions on how to do this are also on the AtG website.

Here is a list of items that are needed.

Wal Mart gift cards ($25 increments)
Gas gift cards ($25 increments)
Reliable Car for Single Mom
Land for Single Mothers Community
Volunteer Office Help
Babysitters for Thursday and Saturday morning classes

If you would like to donate any of these items please contact Meredith at 791-7885 or email .
To read more about the Kendalls and how they came to work on this mission for single mothers, go to and see the miracle of their story.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly, when I worked with unwed mothers in the Elizabeth Project, I was thrilled that these young women had decided to keep their children, but was also discouraged to see how completely they depended on government handouts. How could they break that cycle of dependence? AtG has found the answer and I applaud them for their efforts to help these women and their children. God bless them all. Mom