Broken Promises: What’s in a name?

I am often asked why we called our non-profit organization “Broken Promises.”  I thought I should explain where the name came from and what it means to us.

It has many layers and meanings to it but it originally came from a documentary that I was developing on families who were not receiving their child support and the impact that had on the family.  The documentary centered around an independent collections agent and her experiences collecting unpaid, mandated child support.  She had been a single mother to her two children and knew firsthand how hard it could be for an individual who was a full time mom working two jobs to cope on her own.

Her case files were a mountain of sorrow and hope.  Her successes were many and the outcome was often joyous.  Yes, the majority of single parent households are headed by women.  But it also involved men who were dads and out of the loop, or men that were heads of the household and also struggling.

I noticed that many single parents were doing well.  They were well educated and had high paying jobs.  As parents, they were successful and their children were successful. On the other end of the spectrum were many who were less fortunate.  Many were in poverty and being helped by the government. Many did not qualify for aid as they were employed earning above the poverty line but not earning enough to make ends meet. They were finding it difficult to give their children what they needed – a good education and a chance for a better life.  They were determined to do it somehow and worked hard, sometimes at several jobs.  Many slid into poverty and found it almost impossible to escape.  Many just needed a helping hand to stay out of poverty and break through to a better life.

Broken Promises is about those individuals.  And, it’s about their children.  Those earning up to twice that of the poverty line.  About $50,000 on average throughout the United States.  Those that are trying hard but are at risk of failing because the financial and social pressure are becoming too much to bear.

What are the  Broken Promises?  Who broke them? We all did. Our society did.

First of all… the promise of the American Dream.  If you work hard, you can make it. You can be successful.  That is harder today than ever before! If not impossible.

Second, your life will be better than your parents. We are an upwardly mobile society, are we not? Not necessarily so.  Low-end jobs pay less than what is required to live. That didn’t used to be the case and you could make progress. If you are not educated today with an advanced degree or other training … the odds of your success are slim without the backing of a strong and wealthy family.

Third, the love of your life will support you and your children and between the two of you, you can deal with any difficulty.  It’s no easier for one breadwinner and even if both of you work, the pressures on the family are often too much for it to stay together. 

Fourth, marriage is a forever thing. Divorce rates are about 50 percent for married couples in the United States, mostly due to financial stress. But once you are divorced things only get worse, especially if child support is not forthcoming.

And perhaps the worse Broken Promise of all is the fifth…

Fifth, their children may not be able to live up to their potential.  They may not have the opportunities to excel that others receive. And, they may not be able to afford the education they need to be successful in life.

Broken Promises occur on many fronts not the least of which are one’s own self expectations and the opportunities provided to children.  But, something must be done to help those that are struggling.  These are those people that fall between that gap of qualifying for government assistance and the reality of earning enough to support their children sufficiently.  We need to save their children from a similar fate by helping to get them educated, employed and successful.  To educate the single parent so they can climb out of their low paying jobs.  And, to make those of us who are better off aware of the problem and to mobilize us to help with solutions.

Broken Promises™ mission is to help struggling single-parent families and their children by providing financial support and educational opportunities, to raise national awareness of the challenges they face and to effect positive change.

I know that this is a long answer to a simple question. “Why did you name it Broken Promises?”  To me, it’s an obvious answer…. the name Broken Promises” represents the struggles of single parent families who are working hard but not able to have a chance at the American Dream due to financial stress and the need for further education.

The solution is up to us.  Broken Promises is all about finding and implementing solutions.

We need everyone’s help.  We have several advisory groups to enlist the help of professionals in various areas such as parenting, child development, government advocacy/legislation, and child support to effect change and provide support.

We are using various media to communicate our findings, discoveries and accomplishments.  To communicate our mission and to educate the public.  We need concerned and involved donors in order to make it work. Something must be done to keep single parent families out of poverty and help ensure that their children receive an adequate education and an opportunity to have successful lives.

Please join us in this mission …

Richard Spangenberg Executive DirectorRichard Spangenberg
Founder & Executive Director