Tamica Hughes, a successful cosmetologist and salon co-owner, always had a dream of supporting young mothers to help them better navigate their journeys. Hughes, who became a mom herself at age 15, knows first-hand how difficult it is to raise a child, finish high school, and create stability with limited support or resources.
In 2019, she decided to “birth” Level Up Parenting to provide this type of support for young mothers in Greensboro. Hughes started by mentoring teen moms at the local YWCA. She engaged a female nonprofit CEO for guidance on starting and running a nonprofit and selected Board members with varied expertise and backgrounds to help guide the direction and growth of Level Up Parenting. She then recruited volunteers and held outreach events for single moms in underserved communities, distributing diapers, gently used clothing and wipes. When the COVID-19 pandemic started in spring 2020, Hughes forged ahead with community partners to ensure that single mothers would still be able to access necessary resources and support during a time of heightened need.
For the first three years of its existence, Hughes operated Level Up Parenting out of her car and a storage unit. Then, in July 2023, she was able to open Level Up Parenting’s official office with funding from the City of Greensboro. Having a physical office meant Level Up Parenting could expand its service offerings, which now include transportation, hot meals, child care, and gently used clothes and shoes for women and children. Level Up Parenting also offers an eight-week parenting support course focusing on topics such as breast-feeding, money management, job readiness and interviewing skills, computer skills, and more. Level Up Parenting annually awards a $1,000 education scholarship to a mom graduating from a Guilford County School.
The program served 510 mothers and children in Greensboro in 2023. Now, Hughes is seeking to further expand the offerings of Level Up Parenting, including her long-term goal of offering transitional housing for single moms. “I feel like it is my job to meet these moms where they are, show them compassion, and give them hope,” Hughes said. “Greensboro has really shown up and supported our efforts.”