MAPLEWOOD, NJ – When Jill Sockwell divorced and found herself a single working mother, she was too far from her childhood home in western Pennsylvania to reach out for the type of support that an extended family can often provide.

It did not take her long to realize she could use little help juggling the responsibilities that come with being a single parent with a full-time job (as a Real Estate Agent at Coldwell Banker in Maplewood).  She also realized that she was far from being the only one in this predicament.

So, without a network of family to turn to, Sockwell decided to build her own new sisterhood of sorts, and founded Power of One: Single Mothers Network.  The inaugural meeting of the group will take place on Tuesday, March 19, from 7 to 9 P.M. at Coda Kitchen and Bar, 177 Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood.

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“I would like to see Power of One grow into a network of women who band together for family-like support and friendship,” Sockwell said.  So far, she has heard from ten other single mothers who plan to attend the first gathering, and would welcome more.

"I had a friend call me last night and she said, 'I can't wait for the first meeting of our group. I need to be with other women who know what I am going through,' and when she said that, I got that my friend already feels like she has a new community of support.  Even though we haven't even met yet the group already made a difference to her," shared Sockwell.

The initial plan is to meet monthly, without children, for discussion, sharing and the planning of some family outings where the moms and kids can all get to know each other.

“So far, response has been very positive,” she said. “You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child.  Well, maybe in this case it takes Maplewood Village.”  After saying that, she acknowledged that mothers for surrounding towns would also be welcome, but that she hoped the group could form a template that could be used in other communities as well. Sockwell added, "I have had two different men ask me, 'Where's the group for single dads?' to which I always respond, "Why don't you start it?!"

If you are a single mother and are interested in attending, please send an email to