Donna Bell was living in Longmont with a relative when things didn’t work out and she found herself both homeless and pregnant.
Told since she was 19 that she could never have children because of medical issues, she said, she “never hesitated” in her decision to keep her “miracle baby.” With a high-risk pregnancy, the 39-year-old initially stayed in a transitional housing program in Westminster.
After having her daughter, Jaelynn, four months ago, she moved to Boulder’s Mother House and recently received a housing voucher. Now, she’s looking for a place to live that will accept the voucher and figuring out how to survive as a single mother.
“Mother House has given me the stepping stone I needed,” she said. “It’s also nice to have other new mothers around. We can compare notes and pick each others’ brains.”
Mother House, which provides a safe haven for pregnant women and new mothers in crisis, is hosting its inaugural Mother’s Day online auction.
More than 60 local businesses have donated experiences, gift cards, meals and professional services to the auction, which runs through Wednesday.
The goal is to raise $10,000, with all proceeds going to postnatal care and baby care supplies. A month’s supply of diapers and baby supplies, for example, is about $200. The organization also would like to help other mothers in need in the community who aren’t at Mother House.
“It’s incredibly expensive to operate a nonprofit here, and we have relied on the generosity of many partners and donors for our work and have stretched every dollar,” said Lisa Sweeney-Miran, executive director of Mother House.
Started in 1982, Mother House helps about 25 women and their babies each year, with five women currently in residence. Women stay an average of 10 months. Both women who choose to parent and those who choose adoption are welcome. Residents must be at least 16 and not actively using drugs.
“There’s no judgement,” said program director Shanan Collins. “It’s just someone who’s ready and willing to change their life.”
The program includes home, career and job placement services, case management and a stableaddress to access social services. There’s also a graduate program for moms that focuses on life skills, work and life balance and navigating the transition to toddlerhood.
“We want people in the community to know what’s happening here,” said Peri Shaplow, a Mother House board member. “If they don’t know about us, they can’t support us.”