Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mother's Home - 25 Years of Commitment to Mothers and their Children

Mothers’ Home, located in Darby, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1991 as a shelter for homeless, pregnant women in need of a safe and stable environment to prepare for childbirth. The story of Mothers’ Home begins with Dr. George Isajiw and his family. From 1981 to 1991 the Isajiw’s opened their home to care for 28 homeless and pregnant women.

As a practicing physician with a concern for the most vulnerable, Dr. Isajiw engaged his personal network to assist in his dedicated effort, and he organized and coordinated with 10 other families to host additional pregnant women in need. This network quickly gained momentum, and the host families were soon receiving more referrals than they could accommodate. The host families also discovered that many of the girls they were sheltering were dealing with issues of addiction, mental illness, and HIV, in addition to crisis pregnancies. Recognizing the limitations of a purely volunteer staff, Dr. Isajiw and his network were able to raise the funds necessary to secure a more permanent site with skilled staff. 

Fortunately, the empty convent on the Blessed Virgin Mary campus in Darby was available. During the time the BVM site was being renovated, the young women lived in a large home in Lansdowne. The convent was ready for occupation in 1993, and since that time has housed over 1,000 homeless pregnant women. Mothers’ Home gratefully acknowledges initial funds to support the efforts for the pregnant and homeless women, especially the efforts provided by the Delaware County Pro-Life Coalition, the Delaware County Lawyers for Life and individual donations from many good people.

Through the efforts of Dr. Isajiw and his network, the 54-room, 3-story former convent building was renovated and brought up to code. The basement of the building was converted to a community outreach center, which is now called the “Sharing Space.” Here, low income families can secure infant/toddler clothing, baby equipment, diapers, formula and baby food, all from the generous donations of Mothers’ Home supporters. Residents may obtain layettes from our special “Sarajane Closet.”

At present, 28 young women can live at Mothers’ Home. They all participate in free daily classes on life skills, nutrition, parenting, labor and delivery, early infant care, housing, fertility awareness, and budgeting. There are occasional legal clinics addressing domestic abuse. Women of all races, religions, and ethnicity are welcome. The residents are required to perform 10 hours of community service each month. These service hours are usually performed in the Sharing Space, where clothing and items are made available to the community. Mothers’ Home actively promotes principles of personal responsibility, self-respect, respect for others, and mutual support. Case Management is provided to assist residents to define and obtain their personal goals.

Residents usually remain at Mothers’ Home for 6 months after the delivery of their babies. The popular “Step-Up Program” allows for 4 mothers to stay an additional 12 months at very low rent in two recently renovated apartments located in the building.

Former residents often return with their children to share with current residents their experiences since leaving Mothers’ Home. This is truly a “Circle-of-Life” encounter– a joyful and rewarding time for all! We at Mothers’ Home try to help our young mothers gain confidence, learn parenting and life skills, and ultimately move forward in life with the tools necessary to live stable and rewarding lives. Ultimately, our aim is the same as it was when Dr. Isajiw founded Mothers’ Home 25 years ago: to provide a safe shelter that encourages a healthy environment for the life of the baby, the life of the mother, and their future life as a family.

The goal  of Mother's Home is to provide residents a variety of classes that offer a true benefit in improving life, parenting and social skills. We are constantly looking to improve and upgrade our offerings. If you are a professional and would like to help us in this effort please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Our staff and trained volunteers currently provide a variety of programs to our residents:
  • Personal Development
  • Nutrition and Female Health
  • Nutrition classes including a 6 week course from Penn State Extension Service
  • Registered Nurse once a month to provide classes on how to approach medical issues
  • Smoking Cessation “Warm Chicken instead of Cold Turkey” from Family & Community Services
  • Dental Hygiene annually by RNs from Manor College who are becoming Nurse Practitioners
  • Life and Social Skills; Discovery of self, family matters, sexuality, the female body, development of self esteem, and conflict management
  • Legal, Financial, and Housing
  • Clinic on the Domestic Abuse Project
  • Emergency Preparedness by Delaware County Emergency Services
  • Housing opportunities are presented by Catholic Social Services and occasionally by Horizon House
  • Bank Manager from Beneficial Bank present savings and budgeting classes
  • Financial Analyst also presents budgeting and ways to initiate savings

For more information on Mother's Home or to make a donation, please use this link.  

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an excellent program. I think we need homes like Mothers' Home all over the country. We need to help women in crisis pregnancies and give them support while teaching them skills and helping them obtain services so that they can attain independence for them and their children.