They may be navigating parenthood solo, but the 70 members of Parents Without Partners are certainly not alone.
Parents Without Partners is a family-focused group that helps single parents — whether they’re widowed, separated, divorced, or never married — connect with others to find support and friendship.
"It’s a support network for the parents, and the kids as well," explained Jarod Matwiy, president of the Winnipeg chapter of the international organization.
The group allows members to connect via dozens of social activities each month — both kid-friendly outings and adult activities.
"Different parents have different challenges when they’re alone," said Matwiy, a St. Vital resident and father-of-two.
For example, he said, before he joined the group four years ago, taking his kids to a water park alone would have been unimaginable.
A parent with a young child may find outings difficult because there’s no one to watch the child when they need to go the bathroom, he added.
Members of Parents Without Partners often share responsibility, making outings more manageable.
"As part of the group, all the parents look out for all the children," he said.
He said members also find the emotional support valuable — particularly those who are separated or divorced, who make up the majority of the membership.
Cassandra McConnell, a Transcona resident who joined Parents Without Partners last May, said being able to speak to other parents in a similar situation is "fantastic."
"People don’t really understand unless they’ve walked in your shoes," she said.
McConnell said the organization also provides children with an opportunity to normalize their situation.
"I love that my kids get to see other children who are in the same situation," said the mother-of-two.
Matwiy agreed, saying his kids may ask if friends they’ve made are coming to a certain event.
If the friends are going to be with their other parent, his kids can relate.
"It’s just normal," he said. "Kids like to fit it — they don’t want to be different."
Matwiy said new members are always welcome, adding they enrich the entire group because the events calendar is completely member-driven.
That means any member can add an event onto the shared calendar, which creates diversity and introduces families to activities they may have never explored.
To learn more about Parents Without Partners, visit www.pwpwinnipeg.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 957-7172.