Fear, anxiety, discouragement – leaders of the Angelcare organization have seen the turmoil young women experience when faced with an unexpected pregnancy.
The association works regularly with women driven from their homes, abandoned by their partners or disowned by their parents. Lonely and scared, they come to Angelcare for help in the most difficult time of her life.
“When a young woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, she can experience so many different things: abuse, drugs, homeless in some cases,” said Yadi Garcia, president of Angelcare. “We are here to help restore it. Yes, we all want to save babies, but we cannot leave the mother behind.
In the coming months, Angelcare hopes to provide a beacon for these women mired in darkness. Construction of Angelcare House is nearing completion, a facility where mothers facing crisis pregnancies can be accommodated, get counseling, continue their education, and learn meaningful life and parenting skills.
To show off the new facility, Angelcare is hosting a “come and see” event, where people can tour the house from noon to 4 pm on Saturday.
The journey to open the house was long and tedious. But with the hope of opening in the spring, organizers and supporters are thrilled with the opportunity to help mothers and babies thrive.
“The idea is to save two lives – the life of the baby and the life of the mother,” Garcia said. “By helping these young women with support, social services and counseling, helping them make a plan, we can help them whether they choose to raise the baby or bring it up for adoption.”
Residents are referred to Angelcare by social service agencies, hospitals, churches, schools and other partners, Garcia said.
Social workers offer advice to residents who need it. Women attend parenting classes, receive antenatal care in addition to postpartum care. They also learn life skills such as loading a dishwasher and doing laundry.
“They will learn everyday skills that we might take for granted,” Garcia said. “Angelcare’s goal is to help these new mothers prepare for a successful life and a bright future. “
Angelcare was the vision of Rita Norwood, a resident of Greenwood who had worked her entire life as a nurse, nurse educator, counselor and responsible for women’s ministries.
She had seen that when young, single women unexpectedly get pregnant, they often lose the support of family and friends. Women find themselves alone in the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy.
“This void creates fertile ground for all kinds of social issues, such as poverty, abuse, neglect and drug addiction,” Norwood said in a statement before his death in 2016.
She started working on Angelcare in 2000. Her idea was to create a large group home that would provide stability, necessities, health needs and a foster home, which would be free for young women facing pregnancy. in crisis.
Norwood shared his vision throughout the community, finding supporters in area health care organizations, churches and other groups. To learn the best approach to setting up the home, she visited similar group homes for pregnant teens in Marion County; Springfield, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio and various cities in Texas.
They bought property in Trafalgar and designed a facility that could accommodate up to 12 young women, as well as two stay-at-home moms. Numerous fundraisers, donation drives, and promised support from community partners have helped Angelcare raise funds for the home without incurring debt.
Although Norwood passed away before her dream came true, those who believed in her vision pursued her, now on the verge of coming true.
The 9,000 square foot home will include four dormitories, each accommodating three young women. The bedrooms have their own bathroom and a large closet.
On the ground floor, a fully equipped kitchen, complete with refrigerators, microwaves, ovens and other appliances donated by the Greenwood Rotary Club, opens into a spacious gathering space that will serve as a “community room”.
“They can socialize, play games. We want them to commune together in this area, ”Garcia said.
In the basement, residents of the house will take classes, work with counselors and relax. Two separate apartments, with their own entrances, will house the “housemothers”, paid employees of Angelcare who will look after the residents and provide assistance if they need it.
One of the biggest challenges for the organizers of Angelcare was learning that state regulations required the house to have an elevator. Faced with an unforeseen expense of $ 60,000, construction came to a halt.
But Grace Assembly of God, a church in New Whiteland, has pledged to fundraising to cover the cost of the elevator.
“Our church has financially supported Angelcare from the start. Our church regularly addresses the issue of being ‘pro-life’, that life begins at conception, and that our responsibility is to serve both babies and their mothers, ”said Wayne Murray, Senior Pastor of Grace Assembly of God, in an email. “Angelcare has a strong vision for this. Last year our church family enthusiastically donated the funds to install an elevator in the Angelcare home.
Contractors wait for delivery of the elevator before they can install it, and workers complete a few other small projects around the house: paving the parking lot in front, landscaping around the house, and providing furniture and equipment.
The hope is to be able to fully open next spring, Garcia said.
With construction nearing completion, the next challenge is to raise enough to cover the costs of running the house, she said. Officials estimate that the monthly budget to run Angelcare House will be $ 15,000, including the salaries of mothers and the house manager, as well as to pay for services provided to residents. The organization is aimed at individuals, businesses and churches who can commit to financing the operation of the facility.
Generating that money is intimidating. But Angelcare has overcome a lot to get to this point and is close to overcoming this hurdle as well.
“Building the house is the easy part. For us to be open in the spring, we need to be able to get monthly funding, ”Garcia said. “But there is excitement. It ignites my hope and we are delighted to see it come to fruition. ”