Amazing Mom: Stephanie Clark

Filed under: Resources, Amazing Parents, Teens, Work Life, Development/Milestones: Babies, Childcare, Single Parenting

Stephanie Clark wants moms and daughters to get along. Credit: Courtesy of Stephanie Clark

Amazing Mom: Stephanie Clark, founder of My Daughter's Keeper, which offers counseling, mentoring, workshops and retreats to help moms and daughters develop stronger bonds.

Stephanie's Family: Kid: Daphne, 20

Stephanie Lives In: North Brunswick, New Jersey

Why Stephanie Is Amazing: Eight years ago, Stephanie Clark founded My Daughter's Keeper, a nonprofit organization working to help strengthen relationships between moms and adolescent daughters. It all began when her own daughter, Daphne, who was 12 at the time, asked, "Mom, I know you love me, but do you like me?"

The question halted Stephanie right then and there. "It made me stop to assess whether or not I was an effective parent," she says. "I was self-employed and working long hours to put a roof over her head and food on the table. I didn't realize that in working to make sure Daphne's physical needs were provided for, I hadn't been there for her emotionally."

Inspired by Daphne's question -- and a desire to have a stronger relationship with her daughter -- Stephanie began spending more time with Daphne. "After reflecting on my own childhood, raised by a single mom, I realized that you can't give someone what you never received. I wasn't able to shower Daphne with affection because I never received that," she says. "I had to put in a lot of effort. I'd tell myself: 'Don't bring work home. And if you do, don't do it until you spend quality time with Daphne.'"

All of this led Stephanie to create My Daughter's Keeper, which offers counseling, mentoring, workshops and retreats to help moms and daughters develop stronger bonds. The organization also helps them tackle peer pressure, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and other issues that plague young girls.

As the organization grew, Stephanie also created Project Single Moms, to empower single moms to become leaders, and to strengthen the quality of life for their families. To date, more than 1,200 single moms across the country have signed on through local affiliates, which implement programs such as, Single Moms Boot Camp, to help moms improve their lives spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially.

And as if all that weren't enough, Project Single Moms is also working with Project Working Mom, a national online scholarship program created by Stephanie is the national spokesperson for Project Working Mom, which will give out 285 full-tuition online scholarships this year, worth approximately $5 million, to moms who want to earn a degree.

Stephanie's Friend Shanick Moore Says: "Stephanie is inspirational, motivational, all of that and more. If you have the pleasure of being around her, you can only grow and you can only be better. She encourages me to want more, to be a better person, to help more. Everything she does is to help someone else."

Recognition: 2003 Women as Agents of Change Award, American Association of University Women; 2004 Central Jersey Women Who Make Magic Award; 2004 Charming Shoppes VOICES Award; 2004 Nu Xi Omega Chapter of AKA Sorority, Inc. P.E.A.R.L. Award for the Black Family; 2004 Russ Berrie Unsung Hero Award; 2006 BlackNJ Community Commitment Award; 2006 KISS-98.7FM Radio "Phenomenal Woman" Award; 2006 Outstanding Contribution to Empowering Women Award, Trinity Chapter Order of Eastern Star; 2006 Celebration of Life Award for Distinguished Community Leader; 2008 New Jersey Women and AIDS Network Outstanding Community Leader Award.

Stephanie's Guilty Pleasures: Stephanie goes for a full-body massages when she travels, Haagen Dazs Caramel Cone Ice Cream and WaWa's English Toffee Cappuccino.

Stephanie's Best Advice for Single Moms:
"You are not alone. Sometimes you may feel that way, because you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, but it's important to connect with like-minded women to create a support group, so you don't feel like you're on you're own. Surround yourself with people who support you and who want to invest in your success. Connect with other women who have gone through what you're going through, who can be positive examples for you."

Related: Amazing Moms: Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

Want to see who else made the list? Click here for the rest of AOL's 2010 Amazing Moms!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.