Single mom determined to help others raising kids alone

Patsy Bryan with her daughter, Dr. Charity Bryan. Patsy Bryan of Marietta founded the nonprofit 10 Women of Hope to give financial assistance to single moms in Cobb County. Photo by Phil Skinner

Patsy Bryan with her daughter, Dr. Charity Bryan. Patsy Bryan of Marietta founded the nonprofit 10 Women of Hope to give financial assistance to single moms in Cobb County. Photo by Phil Skinner

Long-time friends of Patsy Bryan call her a “fireball” with a Type A personality, and her daughter says she is a “force” who won’t take no for an answer.

So when she’s out and about in her hometown of Marietta asking for donations to help single-parent families through 10 Women of Hope, the nonprofit she started 12 years ago, people are more than willing to pass the hat.

That’s what happened recently when Patsy Bryan interrupted a men’s Bible study group meeting in a local restaurant. She told them the need, they literally passed a hat, she walked out with $350, went to Walmart and bought Christmas for a single-parent family whose paycheck wasn’t going to stretch that far.

Patsy Bryan knows how hard it is to go it alone as a parent. She was a single mom who worked full-time for the city of Marietta and also held down two or three part-time jobs when raising her daughter, Charity Bryan, an associate professor in kinesiology at Kennesaw State University.

Charity Bryan said her mother always worked “super hard” to ensure she had the same opportunities as any other kid growing up in Marietta. And her mother never complained about it.

Her mom recalls, “I was very fortunate that I didn’t have to ask for help, but it was like chasing that caboose at the end of the train. You’re almost there, then there’s something else like a flat tire, or whatever.”

Patsy Bryan remembers the “little surprises from a good God” that helped her make it through: the insurance check she wasn’t expecting, a refund from an overpaid mortgage.

“Somebody left cash in my mailbox one time, and I have no idea who it was. There was just a card that said, ‘Hope this helps,’” she said.

After raising her daughter, Patsy Bryan wanted to help single-parent families the way others had helped her. She and friends hashed out the idea at a local coffee shop, and in 2007 it evolved into 10 Women of Hope, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides one-time financial help to stable, single-parent families in Cobb County who have a critical need.

Patsy Bryan and nine other women on the board raise donations and approve funding for applicants who have been vetted through social workers in the local school systems.

In the past 12 years, the nonprofit has given away more than $500,000 and helped more than 500 Cobb families, said Fran Sutton, a former banker who, as one of the 10 Women board members, serves as treasurer for the group.

“I feel like there is a significant need in Cobb County to give people a hand up, to help somebody stabilize and help them take care of their family,” Sutton said.

Women of Hope has no physical location or overhead. Every donation goes directly to the need – whether it’s paying off a medical bill, a delinquent power bill, or making car repairs. No money goes straight to the family.

Sutton said their nonprofit model is simple enough so that they can act quickly to fill needs, and it can be duplicated in any city.

“We’re just 10 women, all Type A personalities. We’ve got a model that’s very successful and very accountable to the people who make donations,” she said.

In addition to Patsy Bryan and Sutton, the board consists of Lamuriel Adams, Wanda Callahan, Angie Davis, Laurel Kovach, Linda Palmer, Jacki Payne, Michelle Sams and Penny Warren. Honorary members are Carla Brown and Jean Hawkins.

Charity Bryan said 10 Women of Hope gives her mother a way to take the appreciation she has for all those who helped them over the years and “pay it back.”

“I’m so proud of her and the work she’s doing,” Charity Bryan said.

“Mom has always had a ‘never quit’ attitude and I know that is part of the reason for the great success of the 10 Women of Hope. She works tirelessly and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer when she is trying to help someone in need.”


Patsy Bryan — "All 10 of us are strong Christians who know this is a God thing, that's the only way I can describe it. We've had nothing but blessing after blessing after blessing."

Bryan on helping others — "When a teacher tells you that some students wear the same clothes all week because that is all they have, you can't help but say to yourself, 'do I really need that new dress' but instead, 'I would like to buy that student some new clothes.' Giving is much better than receiving because what you receive in return is priceless."

Bryan on being a single mom — "When I became a single parent, someone said to me, 'you'll never make it!' Well, that just lit my fire and keeps it lit today. Those words echo in my mind often. Determination and faith will get you where you are going."

Fran Sutton — "We had a vision when we started. We believe God put us together and we trust him to keep us going, and he has kept us going. There was one time when we didn't have anything left in our bank account, and a need came to our attention. The very next day a check came in that was enough to cover the need. It's been an amazing ride. I'm continually amazed at everything."


We recognize a big part of our journalistic mission is to shine a spotlight on wrongdoings and to hold our public officials accountable.

But we also understand the importance of celebrating our region’s moments, milestones and people. That’s exactly what we hope to accomplish with Inspire Atlanta.

Each week, Inspire Atlanta will profile a person that makes metro Atlanta a better place in which to live.

Of course, we can't do this alone: We need your help in finding extraordinary people and identifying inspiring stories across our region. We learned about 10 Women of Hope and Patsy Bryan from her daughter, Charity Bryan, clinical associate professor of Health Promotion and Physical Education, and director of Technology Innovation and Integrated Learning at Kennesaw State University.

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