Helping young homeless mothers get a fresh start
On Saturday, February 7, a group of ISBA Women and the Law Committee members spent the morning helping New Moms, Inc. prepare apartments for young homeless mothers and their children.
New Moms, Inc. is an organization that assists impoverished adolescent parents (aged 13-24) and their children with developing life skills while providing housing, career training and children’s programming services. The organization provides assistance for moms from pregnancy through when their children are in kindergarten. Volunteers and doulas work with young mothers who live outside the facility by visiting them at home and providing parenting instruction and mentoring.
To further assist the new moms, the organization has also launched Bright Endeavors. Bright Endeavors is a social impact business that employs adolescent mothers to produce premium soy candles and bath products. The mothers get on-the-job training helping build a business.
The organization also has an independent living facility on the west side of Chicago called the Transformation Center. The Transformation Center provides independent living arrangements for up to 40 young homeless families. The women and up to two children can live in the Transformation Center for up to two years, during which time the organization trains them on life skills and assists them with job searches. Two years after leaving the program, 81% of the graduates have retained stable, independent housing.
The ISBA Women and the Law Committee helped New Moms by cleaning out four apartments at the Transformation Center and helping to prepare them for new program participants. Erin Wilson arranged the volunteer day and recruited me, Tish Sheats, Hon. Patrice Ball-Reed, Jessica Natkin, Kelly Thames, Julie Neubauer, Jennifer Wagner, and Sherry Mundorff, who brought along her husband and step-daughter. We worked with Boyce, the sole custodian who manages and cares for the Transformation Center facility. The facility is four stories, has over 40 apartments, four beautiful laundry and recreation rooms, and a large kitchen and cafeteria. New Moms and Boyce need a lot more help and would welcome the services of more ISBA members. ■