What Are Your Top 5 Reasons?

Every choice you make has a reason behind it. From the time you wake up until you lay your head back down, you make choices. Difficult ones, simple ones and some you wish you didn’t have to make. The Forward Foundation team is so proud of you for choosing to grow as a Forward Foundation parent.

This time of self-discovery hasn’t always been easy, but you’re not letting that stop you. When you look back on your time with us, we hope your top 5 reasons for being a Forward Foundation parent bring a smile to your face and a sense of accomplishment in your heart.

We hope this time has given you the confidence to make those tough decisions and know that you’re doing the right thing. Your Forward Foundation family will always be there for you.

The 2023 Celebratory Gala – What is it? How can I help?

You step into the ballroom at the Acca Shriners center and are transported to a place of fun and whimsy. This year’s Gala will be no exception, and we can’t wait to celebrate the many milestones reached and the promising year ahead for the Forward Foundation.

Some of you will come as current parents in the program and experience an outpouring of the love and support of the entire Forward Foundation Community for the first time, while others will be there to support an organization they love and appreciate.

No matter the reason, we hope you’ll join us on Saturday, February 25th.

How did the Gala get started?
The inception of our annual celebratory gala began on February 29, 2020. Our introductory gala was a really BIG deal because it was the official launch of our rebranding from The Sophie House to Forward Foundation. The gala was our opportunity to gather everyone together and celebrate their contributions in making Forward Foundation a reality. Everyone involved including our families, donors, community partners, and board members who had worked so diligently behind the scenes now had the chance to meet one another firsthand. The immense impact that had on everyone involved was palpable.

How does the Gala support our parents?
Forward Foundation hosts two large fundraisers each year, our Annual Celebratory Gala and our GO FORWARD TOGETHER Ride. The gala is our largest fundraiser and the main revenue source for our program funding each year. The money raised goes to support our families with childcare subsidies, financial education, parenting coaching, career advancement opportunities, and mental health support. The revenue raised also funds our community events such as healthy meal prep workshops, outings, holiday activities, picnics, and so much more. Without this funding support our programming wouldn’t be possible.

How can someone get involved to help?
Anyone can attend the event! Tickets are available at https://forwardfoundationgala.com.

There are a multitude of different ways for individuals or organizations to become involved in supporting the Forward Foundation. Anyone interested in getting involved can reach out via our website www.forwardfoundationva.org and submit a volunteer sign up form.

Volunteer opportunities consist of various ways to be involved, such as leading a workshop, serving as an advisory committee member, hosting an event for our families, holding a fundraiser, offering mentorship and more.

The Best Gift You Can Give This Year – A Community of Support

It’s the holiday season. You’re making lists of gifts to give and experiences to have. You’re catching up with friends and family for coffee and meals. You’re taking the time to slow down and really talk to people you haven’t seen in a while.

Maybe the stress of gift-giving is causing a little more anxiety than you’d like. Ok maybe it’s causing a lot more. There’s something priceless and selfless you can give to another single parent: your experience.

Only you know what it is like to be a single parent during the holidays.

Figuring out how to split up the time and make the most of the precious time you have with your children means there could be some unwanted alone time.

Check in with those parents. The gift of Community can mean a world of difference to the well-being of a single parent.

That’s what makes the Forward Foundation Community so different. We’re constantly in awe of the deep relationships our parents form through shared experiences and vulnerability.

Every time a parent in the program feels stronger and more secure about their future, the Forward Foundation is making a difference.

Our goal is to support, educate and empower more single parents in 2023 than ever before, and we need your help. Share your story. Share the Forward Foundation with people, organizations and companies.

Your willingness to be there for each other is a gift. You might be the very gift someone needs this season.

Happy Holidays,
Your Forward Foundation Family

Andrea, Mary, Soliél
Jamie, David, Pam, Tim, Bo and Micah

What I’m Thankful For

The holidays are a time for reflection. This year, the Forward Foundation Team is thankful for so many things. Most of all, you, our Forward Foundation parents. We asked our new Operations Coordinator, Soliél Lindsey, to share what she’s thankful for this holiday season.

‘Tis the season where we reflect on the year and what we’re grateful for. As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to take time to share some personal reflections.

Just like so many of you reading, I am still recovering in my own way from the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects. During this process, it’s been vital to keep my focus on positive things and not so much on the many changes I’ve endured.

Simply put, I am thankful for my family – both God given and created. My immediate and extended family have come together in a way that really makes me proud. I particularly love the increased family video chats and “just checking on you” calls. My framily (friends turned family) have also been incredible during this time. Where one may be in need, the other picks up and vice versa. It’s been wonderful to feel and watch the community in action!

I believe we can conquer a lot with love and family. That’s a reminder I’ve been getting over the last few weeks and wanted to share with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I hope this helps you reflect on your own gratitude.

Happy Holidays!

Four Questions With Forward Foundation – Erica

Erica can visualize a bright future with her daughter despite the circumstances that led her to become a single parent. She has great advice for anyone in a similar situation:

“Pause, reflect, be patient with yourself. Step away if you need to.
Utilize your village, friends, family, church, any type of resources that you have.
The Forward Foundation has been very helpful for us. So manifest, journal and pray if that helps too.”

Find out how Erica has increased her network and her net worth by being a part of the Forward Foundation program in her interview “Four Questions with Forward Foundation.”

The GO FORWARD TOGETHER Ride – What is it and how can I help?

We’re gearing up for the third annual GO FORWARD TOGETHER Ride on October 1, 2022 and we’d love for YOU to join us.

How did the Ride get started?
The ride was started in 2020 during COVID when all fundraisers were canceled.  An avid biking friend of Andrea’s, Bobby Kelland, offered to do a solo ride to raise money for Forward Foundation. Unfortunately, he ended up needing knee replacement surgery but remained steadfastly committed to ensure the ride would take place.

That’s when Andrea’s friend, Professional Voiceover Talent and cycling enthusiast, Jay Smack became involved. He brought in a group of his friends, and the rest is history. Our Go Forward Together Ride has grown each year with the help of our amazing advisory team of cyclists and sponsors.

How does the Ride support our parents?
As one of the two major fundraisers of the year, the GO FORWARD TOGETHER Ride helps to support our programming and child care subsidies. These two events are what bring in the majority of the funding needed to implement all of the services we provide to our single parent families.

How can someone get involved to help?
People can get involved by participating in the ride the day of the event, putting together a team to ride, volunteering to help Forward Foundation at the Ride, sharing our information on social media, or by making a donation to Forward Foundation. https://forwardfoundationva.org/donate

People can also support us by purchasing the special “GO FORWARD Pilsner” from Final Gravity Brewing Co. that will be available from September 30 – October 7. Final Gravity will be donating $1.00 of every glass sold back to Forward Foundation to put towards our $100k Challenge Match.

We always can use help with spreading the word to other individuals and businesses that may be in need of support, or would like to offer us as a resource to their staff. The RVA community has been incredibly supportive to our mission and we are immensely grateful.

Four Questions with Forward Foundation – Kimberly

It takes strength to be a single parent and wisdom to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Kimberly shares her journey and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Find out how the Forward Foundation has become a family that she can rely on.

How to Teach Financial Literacy to Children




This blog post is contributed by Guest Blogger Linda Melton, Community Outreach Officer at Fulton Bank. Fulton Bank is a Forward Foundation Community Partner, providing Children’s Financial Literacy to the Forward Foundation parents and their families.



If you weren’t taught the value of money as a child, you probably understand its importance as an adult.

Everything is connected to money. Knowing how to manage it helps you support yourself and your family.

By teaching children financial literacy we can empower them to reach their goals as an adult.

This month I taught a financial literacy class for Forward Foundation families at Echo Lake State Park. Anyone can teach these concepts at home.

Why should I talk to my child about financial literacy?
Children are sponges. They can pick up skills at a young age that they will need later in life. Just like anything they learn, you can grow their financial literacy by sharing little pieces of age-appropriate information.

How can I talk to my child about financial literacy?
The younger they are, the simpler it should be.

Every child can earn money by doing chores. In this month’s session, each child received a Passport to Financial Success to take home. Families chose age-appropriate chores that each child could do for one dollar. In the fall, they’ll bring their Passport back to see how much they earned over time.

Your family can use the Passport too.

Download this free, printable chore chart for your family. Need chore ideas? Check out these chores by age.

Here are some ways to help a child under 10 earn and understand money:

  • Savings Jar – Children are visual learners. Let them put the money they earned each week in a jar and watch it grow. Talk with them about how they might want to spend some of it and let them decide. Encourage them to save some for a larger item and to donate some to a charity or organization your family supports.
  • Coupon Clipping – Let the child look through coupons and help pick out the ones your family can use. The money they save in coupons can go in their Jar. There are lots of online coupon sites, like coupons.com.
  • Box Tops – Help kids understand the concept of supporting their community by letting them scan the Box Tops for Education on items the family purchases. Download the Box Tops for Education app in the App Store or Google Play.

Here are some ways to help a child over 10 earn and understand money:

  • Savings Account – Take your child to the bank and open a savings account if you haven’t already. Show them how to make the deposit and check the balance online.
  • Small Jobs – Encourage them to earn money outside of the house by doing jobs for neighbors. Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, laying mulch and babysitting when they’re older are just a few of the things kids 10 and up can do.
  • Family Finances – Talk to children about household finances. You can always start having the conversation at a younger age, but by now, kids should know about Wants vs Needs. Your family wants to have a fun day at an amusement park, but they need to pay the bills (housing, electricity, car) first.

There are many ways to help your child understand finances. It’s never too early to have simple conversations and let them take on some responsibility with the money they earn.

Look for the next Financial Literacy Program for Kids in the fall!

Four Questions with Forward Foundation – Soliél

It is amazing to watch parents grow and learn throughout their journey through the program. We spoke with program participant, mother of one and owner of Sol Rise Essentials – Soliél Lindsey – about how Forward Foundation’s supportive community has shaped her to become the person she is today.

Find out how she answers Four Questions with Forward Foundation.

Bonus: Check out Soliél’s interview on the Sol Seat Conversations Podcast with Forward Foundation CEO and Executive Director Andrea Starr: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWojqmg2auY