My greatest joy in life was the birth of my children: Jackie, Jonathan and Ariel. While they were each fortunate to have been born in a hospital, not everyone is afforded the benefits that come with having healthcare.
Marilyn came to us for help 12 years ago when she found herself homeless and pregnant. While living at Father Joe’s Villages, Marilyn gave birth to her daughter Lily. At the Village, they were both given the care, meals, shelter, healthcare and opportunities to start anew and build a brighter future.
Lily’s mother eventually graduated from our program. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer shortly thereafter, leaving Lily alone all too soon.
Today, Lily is a mature 12-year-old girl. She lives with a loving adopted family and recently contacted Father Joe’s Villages with a request to come “home” to visit.
She returned to the Village during the holidays to pay tribute and give back to the place she considers her first “home”. She brought with her donations that she had collected for all of the babies at the Village.
Meeting Lily and hearing about her story brings me to think about all of the other babies who had their beginnings at our Village—the home of new beginnings for so many.
In the last two years, we’ve had 125 infants from 0-18 months old in our transitional or permanent housing. Twenty-three of the infants were born while their parents resided at the Village.
Research shows that nearly half of the babies in the United States live in or near poverty, which greatly diminishes a babies’ brain growth. Gaps in development appear even before a child turns 2 years of age.
That is why we place a great deal of focus on helping infants and their parents build nurturing relationships and positive interactions through our Therapeutic Childcare program.
We teach parents with infants effective parenting skills, caring interactions, appropriate feeding techniques and more. In addition, all children and parents have three nutritious meals a day, safe shelter and necessary healthcare.
All of these services can only be provided with your support. It costs nearly $40,000 each month to provide our Therapeutic Childcare program for all of our babies, toddlers and children under 12 years old.