By Beth McLaughlin |
May 29, 2003
There is a quiet miracle happening in a peaceful neighborhood in Mishawaka, Ind. It is the wonder of lives being changed for the better. It is the story of Hannah's House, a safe haven for pregnant teens and young women.
Sponsored by Bethel College, the Women's Care Center, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend, and the Gurley Leep Automotive Group, Hannah's House supports the choice of young women to carry their unplanned pregnancies to term. The program provides a full array of services and loving support to teens and young women throughout their stay at the house.
"We are the only maternity home in St. Joseph County and the only one in the area that serves young teen mothers," said Executive Director Karen DeLucenay, MSW. "Our staff and volunteers do everything possible to provide emotional, physical and spiritual support during this critical time of women's lives. We want to help women while promoting healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries.
"Our whole emphasis is on empowering women to take charge of their lives," says DeLucenay. "By offering a safe environment and support services, our residents have an opportunity to consider their options and possibilities for a better life, for themselves and their babies."
Named for the Old Testament heroine who offered her long-awaited son to God, Hannah's House offers women a safe place to live and takes care of the basic needs of food, shelter and medical care. In addition, the program stresses an impressive offering of services to help women make positive choices for themselves and their babies.
Each resident must remain in school, or work toward her GED, or even college. Other services promoting personal responsibility include: extensive individual counseling, work expectation (unless medical conditions dictate otherwise), life skills development (budgeting, meal preparation, laundry, house maintenance), goal setting, parenting classes and spiritual guidance.
"Whether the women choose to keep their newborns or give them up for adoption, we want them to leave as better, more capable people. We want each woman to be empowered with her own potential and capability as she masters the basic skills for life."
The average age of a Hannah's House resident is seventeen. But the ages have ranged from fourteen to forty-two years. Hannah's House can accommodate seven women and their babies at any one time, and is located in an attractive five-bedroom Victorian home. There are between 25 and 40 women and their infants served each year.
Hannah's House is funded through donations and financial commitments are needed to keep the services available. The maternity home is one way to support a woman's choice for life. If you are interested in offering your support, time or want to make a donation, contact Karen DeLucenay at 574-254-5309 or write to Hannah's House 518 W. 4th St., Mishawaka, IN.