Have You Met Nancy Stirling?
By Colleen Westberg, Blacktie Staff...
After she died of cancer in 2005, Michelle Singleton became the inspiration for Singleton Moms. To honor her memory, her friends Jody Behrens and Andy Royal founded the nonprofit to bring help and practical support to single parents who are undergoing treatment for cancer. This unique organization tackles the challenges of daily living that are faced by single parents with cancer by providing such things as housecleaning, home-cooked meals, and financial support.
Nancy Stirling has been a vital part of this outreach for the past three years. “I got involved through Tessa Miller when I met her at a party several years ago. She filled me in on what the group was accomplishing, and soon after she sent me literature about Singleton Moms. I felt like it was something that I would like to be involved with! Within four months I was a coordinator, making sure each family was having their needs met, and assigning the right people to work with them. It’s nice to know each client and their family individually.” Recently Nancy was named the 2013 Care Coordinator of the Year.
Born only five minutes from where she lives now, Nancy enjoys being a native of Arizona. “I love the weather we have here, and I believe we have the prettiest skies and natural beauty in the Southwest! I also appreciate the people who live here; they seem to have a sense of contentment and have big hearts.” Nancy is employed as a substitute teacher, and besides her volunteering with Singleton Moms, her free time is spent with her children and their activities.
She further explains Singleton Moms. “The nonprofit focuses on supporting the parents, but we also have a sub group, Singleton Kids, where we plan activities for the children. Sometimes we have fun events such as the bowling and video night we had recently.” This kind and generous volunteer has participated in every aspect of the nonprofit, from cleaning homes, delivering meals, to coordinating each family’s care.
“The best aspect of Singleton Moms is that it is unique. We work so hands-on with the individuals that we become partners with them in their recovery. We know it’s already hard to be a single parent, and then to add chemo and radiation, it’s almost overwhelming. We can be there to take some of the stress away. For each client our goal is to clean their home once a month, provide eight home-cooked meals, and help with some finances. It’s truly a relationship where we can show we care.”
Most people hear of Singleton Moms through word-of-mouth, or at the hospital where they are getting treatment. “I’m so on board with this group. My philosophy is that I really believe it’s each of our jobs to reach out and help others. Singleton Moms is especially so wonderful because while we are helping, we are also creating a relationship, a bond with the person we are supporting. It doesn’t feel like a job, it’s more like helping a friend. Singleton Moms is truly the best group I’ve ever worked with!”
What are your local volunteer activities? I deliver meals and bare necessities, help plan and execute events for the Singleton Kids committee, clean houses, and am a Care Coordinator.
Who inspired you to give back to your community? I have always had a certain drive to do things for others since the time I was very young, but for Singleton Moms, Tessa Miller continues to inspire me to give back to my community.
Which fundraising event is your favorite? Singleton Moms, Giving Hands Ball
Favorite restaurant? La Fonda Mexican Restaurant
Whom do you most admire, and why? My parents and my children. My parents are always there for me no matter how old I get. They have shown me how to be giving and have given me a solid foundation to be the person I am. I learn so much about love through my children. They amaze me with their kind and giving ways.
If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Sandra Bullock
Do you have any pets? I have a cat named Curly.
Favorite TV show? How I Met Your Mother.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? I like to be comfortable and warm, not dressy and formal.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? Not to judge others, and find the good in everyone.
What was your first job? In high school and college, I worked at a sporting goods store. My first job after college was a primary Special Education teacher.
What is your greatest indulgence? Treating myself to a day for myself – a massage, and shopping for something special.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? My children.
What is your most treasured possession? Friendships.
What is the quality you most like in people? Trustworthiness and kindness.
Favorite books/Writers? Hunger Games series.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry and lying.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Hiking.
What would we be most surprised to know about you? I am a bit of an introvert.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Be myself.
What are some challenges facing nonprofits? Finding enough volunteers and money to provide for those they are trying to help.