Carried to Full Term’s Haymarket House puts moms on a path to a better life
Photos courtesy of Carried to Full Term’s Haymarket House
So much has happened since Carried to Full Term’s Haymarket House graced the cover of Haymarket Lifestyle’s July 2016 issue. In the photo, Reverend Sean Rousseau of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was handing over the keys to the beautiful yellow house in Haymarket to Frances Robin, a woman who had the desire in her soul to help pregnant women in crisis. The photo captured the excitement on both their faces as they anticipated what this project would become to our little town. And it was simply the beginning.
Over the next few months, the house began to take shape. Donations poured in from the community and volunteers signed up to help prepare the home for residents. Robin says that 98 percent of people – often up to 50 visitors a day – who entered Haymarket House in search of volunteer opportunities came because the cover photo and article made them aware of this new avenue to give back to their community. One man even whipped out his copy of the magazine and proclaimed that he was there in search of “joy.” When Robin told him that her name was, in fact, not Joy, he pointed to the photo and said, “that right there is joy.” Another volunteer had her copy of the magazine in her Carried to Full Term binder she brought on her first visit; she remains a volunteer today.
Robin began to screen applicants and arrange schedules, classes, programs, and all the opportunities that would be provided to the women who would ultimately make this place their home. On November 19, 2016, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in celebration. By this time, the first mom had moved in and began the program that was set in place to put her on the path for a successful, independent life. The second mom moved in a few months later. Since then, 12 moms have moved in and out of the home, three babies were born and another one is on the way. The partnership with St. Paul’s continues, says Robin, and the support from Reverend Sean is one that is “constant and steady” – an amazing, perfect match.
Some moms have come and gone because they found that conforming to the program was too difficult. Robin explains: “we meet them where they are and then ask them to rise to the challenge.” Helping them find employment is one of the steps towards helping them succeed on their own financially when they leave. Currently, two of the moms are working three jobs and one is working part-time while seeking a full-time position. The moms have also been taking sewing classes and producing goods to be sold in their own Etsy shop!
But a more crucial aspect of this home is that these women are exposed to the love of God in addition to genuine and authentic love from people – for the first time in their lives. “They thought they were getting a home but it’s so much more than that,” says Robin.
“Everything that makes this house a home is from the community; every victory is due to our community…the mere existence of the Haymarket House is due to the contributions from this community.” – Frances Robin
There are almost not enough words to explain exactly what this home provides for its residents. If anyone were to witness the gatherings that happen in this special place, they would see that it’s almost always a “cryfest.” The emotions expressed by the women and the relationships formed here are beyond what Robin ever imagined. In the beginning, Robin feared that everything would be ready and there would be no one to inhabit the home. But that was just an insecurity that ultimately proved to be unfounded. “We are way past where I thought we’d be,” she says, and way beyond any dream she held dear.
The best way to let the community know the difference this place is making in the lives of these women is to tell the story in their own words. One mom, who literally was found on the highway, has now been at Haymarket House for 10 months. Samrawit arrived very scared and spoke only a little English. “I don’t know where I’d be,” she says. “The volunteers — people who don’t know me at all — care about me and truly want me to succeed.” Her baby is now six months old and is already outspoken and expressive. Since Samrawit was raised in a culture that didn’t allow her to be this way, she is grateful her baby will be able to voice her opinions and it is acceptable. This mother’s eyes have been opened to see that women do indeed have a voice and important positions in society. Robin says that this formerly shy, fearful woman has now embraced her new role and is becoming quite the leader.
This is what Samrawit wrote when asked what she was thankful for:
“Gratitude means developing a habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to us and giving thanks every day. It is important to let the people in our life know how much we appreciate them and that their help makes a difference in our lives. The best example for me is the place where I live right now at Carried To Full Term. Before I got here I was in the middle of nowhere. Right now I have a place that I call home. Everybody here comes to help me and wants to see me succeed. They all help me in many ways to become self sufficient for myself and my daughter. Everyone here supports me in every situation that I need help. I am so thankful and also it’s a blessing to know such kind-hearted people exist.”
Another mom who lives in Haymarket House went through a difficult time; she realized that her upbringing was not the normal life she thought everyone lived. Her gratitude lies in the opportunity to parent her child effectively; without Carried to Full Term she may have made different, less effective parenting decisions.
She recently shared her experience with Haymarket House: “Thank you for choosing such a great mentor for me. Every time I meet with her I feel motivated and empowered when it comes to this program. She has been a great support system and she helps me with my goals and helps me deal with things in a different way. But most of all she encourages my relationship with God. She is the best …THANKS!”
The goal of Carried to Full Term is to give these moms and their babies a head start in creating a stable, loving home environment. “As soon as they arrive, we put them on a path to a new future,” says Robin. To continue their mission, Haymarket House’s most urgently needs monthly partners from the community. Robin updates their Facebook page with pictures and stories to provide the community with a personal connection to the babies and the moms, and to encourage engagement with this organization.
Haymarket House seeks donors as monthly Pathway Partners that allow residents to continue on their path to a better life – and a new future. Partnership amounts between $10 and $50 are available. To become a partner, or learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit their website carriedtofullterm.com.
- Monthly Pathway Partners
- Personal hygiene products
- Sewing machines (so they can create products to earn an income through their Etsy shop business)
- Storage bins to keep donations organized
- Mentors and volunteers