Fargo Moms to Know: Simi Kasakwe

Simi Kasakwe Fargo Mom

Fargo Mom is excited to launch a series called “Fargo Moms to Know!” We will feature moms right here in our local community to highlight the wonderful things they are doing as mothers, business owners, community members, and friends. If you’d like to nominate a Fargo Mom to Know, contact us through the form below!

Meet Simi Kasakwe!

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have 2 girls; Reinnah age 4 and Janai almost 2 years old.  

How long have you lived in the Fargo-Moorhead area?

I’ve lived here since 2012. I moved here from the Twin Cities to go to school at MSUM and just fell in love with the city and never left!

What do you do for a living? 

I work for the state of North Dakota full-time at Job Service ND, but I also run Motherland Health full-time. Motherland Health is a non-profit here in Fargo that provides free mental health counseling to anyone in the area, ages 5 and up, regardless of income. We also provide free transportation and childcare during appointments if needed. It is my passion project and I’m so blessed to be in such a supportive town where people are willing to volunteer with us.

How do you balance working full-time, owning a business, and being a mom? 

I journal. A LOT. I am obsessed with writing things down and crossing them off. Things as little as making breakfast or picking out my clothes for tomorrow; I write it down, I cross it off, and my heart grows a little more. I have also recently really gotten into yoga. I’m a morning person and having that extra time alone in the morning without anyone calling you “mom” has really saved my sanity. Time management is so important to me and I used to feel like I didn’t have enough time in the day and it was affecting me mentally and physically. But learning to delegate, being organized and just knowing when to say “no” to speaking events or programs has made all the difference.

What do you like about raising a family here? What is challenging? 

I miss my mom! That’s the biggest challenge about living away from home. I come from a big family and really want my kids to grow up with cousins, so I go back often. But other than that, I love absolutely everything about raising a family here.

What is your favorite local thing to do/place to go?

I love going for walks and have just recently discovered the hiking trails up here, and I am obsessed! Walking around the neighborhood with the kids is our go-to means of spending some extra time together or going to the park. Just being outside.

Is there a hidden gem in Fargo you love?

I don’t know if this is a hidden gem, but a lot of people haven’t tried it: Acapulco Mexican restaurant in Fargo. With how natural all of the ingredients they use to make their food are, I don’t feel guilty about how much I’m ordering.

Is there anything you want to share about being a mom of color in our community?

For me, growing up in a minimally diverse town like Circle Pines, MN, I didn’t grow up with many friends of color. I always kind of struggled with my identity because I was always too “African” for my black friends and too “white-sounding” for my African friends. I attended events with other Africans every once in a while, but that was about it.
 
When I came to college, I automatically gravitated towards what was familiar to me, which is Americans. Being in the industry that I am now, working with refugees and New Americans has allowed me to network outside of the bubble that I’ve lived in for years and helped me start gaining more connections and friends with people from all different cultures, and I’ve loved it. I still struggle a bit with that sense of identity when I have other Nigerians make fun of my accent, or say I won’t understand a cultural quip because of my time in America, but I keep trying to integrate myself.

How can Fargo better serve you as a mom?

I would love for Fargo to have more events for moms to go out and meet each other. We all know how hard it is to find mom-friends, because we’re all so busy with our lives. But to have an event where moms could come together, where there would be food and conversation and an option for childcare, that would help get some people out of their bubble, out of their home, and out of the mindset that their only identity is being someone’s mom. I would love to get together with someone to create a monthly event like that in different locations all around Fargo.

Thank you, Simi, for sharing your family and life with us and allowing us to feature you in Fargo Moms to Know!

 

More about Simi and Motherland Health:

Working for a mental health non-profit has always been Simi’s dream, but she never thought she would be the one to get it off the ground. Motherland Health was founded on the idea that mental health is not a luxury that only the wealthy should be able to afford. From a young age, Simi struggled with mental health but kept it a secret because of her large, immigrant family’s financial situation. It was until her high school counselor opened her eyes to what life could be outside of that struggle, that she knew she had to do the same for others. Motherland Health was born in August of 2019 and since then has served almost 100 clients, more than 70% of which have faced the struggles that Motherland Health combats. Motherland provides free mental health counseling to anyone in the community that needs it while also breaking down the barriers of transportation and childcare. This family oriented organization looks to improve mind, body and spirit by staring with the mind. Mother of 2, Simi is able to bring her children to work with her when needed and encourages her counselors to do the same. Her goal is to one day open another Motherland Health in rural ND and rural MN so that those in smaller towns can also have the opportunity for positive change. 

 

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