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CBID Conversations: Thana Simmons on Living a Life of Service

3 MINUTE READ | January 30, 2023

CBID Conversations: Thana Simmons on Living a Life of Service

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

For our first ‘DIG In’ speaker session of the year, we were joined by Thana Simmons, founder and executive director of Viola’s House, an emergency placement shelter for teen mothers, to hear more about her work in the South Dallas, Texas, community. 

Thana shared her personal and professional journey that led her to open Viola’s House. In 2008, in the midst of her successful career and busy life as a young mother of three, she felt fortunate to have a spare bedroom and opened her home to support the needs of young pregnant women. Realizing just how many young mothers were in need, she began the journey of building Viola’s House, a maternity home for homeless teen mothers. The mission to give back quickly became her life’s calling, as Thana knew firsthand the challenges young pregnant women faced. 

Over the years, the maternity home has served hundreds of women in South Dallas by providing housing, support services, and counseling, as well as education and training in life skills such as financial literacy and parenting. In building the non-profit organization, Thana said her life has been transformed for the better, as she has found “the happiest people are the most helpful.” 

Viola’s House recently expanded its services with the Baby Benefit Boutique and Rose, the mobile community unit. The Baby Benefit Boutique uses a voucher-based shopping experience to help mothers who don’t reside at Viola’s House shop for baby clothes, furniture, and supplies, paying via vouchers that are received in exchange for completing parenting and pregnancy classes taught by trained educators. The mobile unit expands the reach of Viola’s House in more communities, providing pregnant mothers and parents of young children with diapers, wipes, and baby essentials for free. 

Encouraging everyone to “live a life of service,” Thana championed our ability and means to help others, sharing that there is no greater gift than volunteering your time. “Even if you volunteer for just two hours a month, you’ll look up at the end of the year and see that you’ve donated 24 hours of your time, and you made a real difference,” she said.

After the session, PMG led a donation drive across its offices for Viola’s House, delivering over 2,900 diapers and 5,500 wipes to the Baby Benefit Boutique. 

Learn more about Thana and the life-changing work being done at Viola’s House here.

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Each month at PMG, our ‘DIG In’ speaker series welcomes speakers with diverse backgrounds to PMG to spark meaningful conversations that celebrate diverse people, voices, perspectives, and experiences, as part of our ongoing efforts to build a culture of belonging, inclusion, and diversity (CBID).