The heartbeat is vital. The intrepid souls behind the nonprofit HEARTbeat at 22 understand that fact clearly and as the stewards operating Mama’s House in the Valley, they are steadfast in their purpose: to educate men and women of all ages about the developing life in the womb.
The organization does this primarily through education, counseling, and support for women in crisis pregnancies. However, one of the major components of Mama’s House is to also provide a haven for women facing unplanned pregnancies or those who may be at risk, vulnerable and in need of support—whether that be women with children and/or victims of abuse.
Addressing the emotional, spiritual, physical, educational, and vocational needs is of utmost importance.
Currently, Mama’s House has one home in existence to service women, but an expansion is in the works. It’s a robust effort as it will create an entire Mama’s House campus, called The Anne Silverstein Campus for Mama’s House.
“Funding is a big benefit, and it will support the growth of our organization and our ability and capability to assist more women, babies, and children, as well as the community at large,” said Rachel Harrington, Managing Director of Mama’s House. “We’re celebrating 10 years as a nonprofit, and we’ve helped hundreds of women and babies, and children during that time.”
Overall, the organization is forever vigilant in its efforts to serve and has many factors in place to do so. Hope Center, for instance, is an education and counseling extension of Mama’s House. The center offers classes and counseling to the community—it’s not specifically geared toward Mama’s House residents.
On that front, Harrington noted the large variety of classes the organization offers that revolve around mental health, parenting, building healthy relationships, and a drug and alcohol abuse class.
“Those classes are all open to the public, and our residents can participate in them,” she said. “We’re able to help in that way, and one of the main goals for us with the expansion and the Anne Thompson-Silverstein campus is that it will quadruple the number of residents we can have.”
Currently, Mama’s House assists 10 residents and their babies, or children. Once the campus is fully constructed, the organization will have the potential to assist up to 50 women.
“It will be a huge gain for the community,” Harrington said. “We’re hoping to break ground in the near future.”
Recently, Mama’s House received a grant through the Todd Barajas Legacy Fund at Inland Empire Community Foundation. Harrington is excited to know the funds will assist the organization as it moves forward with the overall campus expansion, named after a longtime supporter, Anne Thompson-Silverstein.
Harrington, who has been with the organization for more than four years, said she appreciates Mama’s House’s mission and the unique approach it takes with its residents.
“Our focus has always been on pregnant women, but we also take women who are not pregnant, and who have small children or infants,” she noted. “What truly stands out for me is the holistic nature of what we’re doing. We’re trying to encompass all different aspects of the woman’s life and equip them for self-sufficiency.”
For instance, if a woman comes in—pregnant or not—the organization provides a physical assessment.
“Some pregnant mothers come to us, and they’ve never had prenatal care, things like that,” Harrington pointed out. “So, just the fiscal aspect of that is important and so is the emotional element. The women come from varying degrees of abuse or trauma, or a combination of different things, such as homelessness, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, substance abuse, all these different things.”
Education components filter to into the mix, too, as Mama’s House helps women without a GED obtain their diploma.
“We’re a longer-term program, not an emergency shelter,” Harrington is quick to note. “Whoever comes to us, we’d like them to stick with us to really work through what they need in order to achieve self-sufficiency once they leave.”
Learn more about Mama’s House at themamashouse.org.
This article originally appeared in the Desert Sun, November 2022
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