Friend of Cross Road,
Social service workers who hear about our services
regularly refer their expectant clients to us for material assistance. While we
are happy to receive their call, the young women are not always happy with what
they hear from us. When we explain that they must attend a parenting class to
get the baby items, some of them are annoyed. They don’t understand why we
won’t just give them what they need.
Actually, if we judge the situation to be an
emergency, we would give them the needed item but our Earn-While-You-Learn
parenting program takes more of a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” approach.
For every class a mother attends, she earns “Mommy Money” which she then uses
to get baby items from our Mommy Store. By requiring the mother to actively
participate, this program respects her dignity and provides a fair way to
distribute the beautiful baby items, most of which have been gently used and
donated by other Island families.
Our program includes pre-natal and parenting
classes in both English and Spanish. We also have relationship and spiritual
support groups and give English instruction to the Spanish speaking moms. The
nursing students at Wagner College, accompanied by their instructor, teach the
pre-natal class while our staff and volunteers handle the other courses. We
currently have more than 50 mothers in the program. We also provide Mommy Money
to another 20 mothers receiving home visits from the Nurse Family
Partnership and Healthy Families programs.
There is no greater joy than watching these content
mothers shop in the Mommy Store. Pampers are the key item but on a good day a
mom can take home a Bertini convertible crib for 25 Mommy dollars or a
Bumbleride baby stroller for 15. Annette and Ana, our manager and assistant, along
with Angela, Barbara, Mary, Ann, and Mary Lou, our Mommy Store crew, offer
these mothers and their babies the kind of hospitality that a high roller at
Caesars’ Palace would envy.
Many of the women we work with are challenged in ways
that make it hard to maintain their households. And the approach we take makes
a difference. In such precarious situations sympathy may actually sink their
self-esteem and undermine their efforts to hold it together. On the other hand,
empathetic encouragement along with a certain level of expectation reinforces
their determination to keep going forward and not quit.
While our main goal at Cross Road remains to
encourage abortion vulnerable women to continue their pregnancies, our ongoing support
is evidence that the commitment of our pro-life community is not simply a matter
of words but also of works. Thank you for your continued support of our work.