Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mary's Shelter April 2014 Newsletter!

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April 2014
An Update from the Executive Director
 I don’t think there is a week or month that goes by at Mary’s Shelter where we don’t all look at each other and say, “wow, that was a busy time.”  Sometimes there are trials and sometimes there are moments of pure joy.  Every child born into our homes brings that joy in a big way.  No matter what is going on, everyone stops and rejoices in each birth.  We celebrate the beauty and dignity of each and every life in our homes.
This past month was made special with other great blessings.  Our Bishop Loverde came on a very rainy Saturday afternoon and Blessed our newest home.  He met moms and held babies.  It was a very special day, one that will never be forgotten.   Another Mary’s Shelter baby was baptized this month, and new  babies were born.  Waiting to see what next month brings.  Thank you all for the love, prayers and support!
God Bless
Kathleen Wilson, Director
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa
An easy, no cost way to donate!
Now you can donate just by shopping on Amazon!
 The best part-it will not cost you a cent,
 however, 0.5 percent of your total bill will be donated to our homes.
It’s easy to do, go to marysshelterva.org click on donations, scroll down, click on the Amazon button and shop from there.
Happy Shopping and Giving!

Our New Baby!
It’s a Girl!
Born: April 10. 2014
Weight: 7 lb. 11 oz.
21.5 inches
Resident Interview – “Anne”
Our youngest resident is Anne.  She is just 18 years old and became a first time mom this past week to a beautiful baby girl. She is determined to be a great mom and a successful provider for her family.  Feeling all the prayers for this family.
How did hear about Mary’s Shelter and how long have you been a resident? 
I heard about Mary’s Shelter by calling churches trying to get help and the last church I called gave me Mary’s Shelters number so I called. I’ve been a resident since February.
What was the process like to enter into the Mary’s Shelter program? 
The process to enter into these homes was very simple and wonderful because the Director is such a great person.
Why were you in need of shelter?
I was in  need of shelter because I was living place to place and had a baby on the way.  I wanted help so badly.  I called so I wouldn’t be in the streets.
What are your plans for your future?
My plans for the future are to get my GED, move into my own apartment, get my license and go to college to get my CNA.   After that I want to get my RN. I hope and pray I get a job soon.
While at Mary’s Shelter, how will you work towards making those plans a reality?
By enrolling in a GED program at ERI, which I have been setting up.  I’m also studying for my drivers license.  I will put my name on the waiting list for  apartments.  I have put in job applications and called to try to get interviews.  After my 6 weeks post baby, I may have a job set up, hopefully.
Tell us the best part about being at Mary’s Shelter and the most difficult part.
The best part is being stable, safe and having a great Director.  Also, being independent and not having to worry about where I’m going to sleep at night. The difficult part, actually I would say I don’t know because I feel there is not anything difficult about being here.
Tell us a little about your daughter.My daughter is such a good baby. She is so beautiful and healthy. She is a blessing. My daughter loves to try and hold her own bottle, it’s so cute.
Now that you are a mom, how has your life changed?
My life has changed by being a mom because I have someone to love, support, encourage and take care of.  My life has changed for the better.  All I dream about is getting my GED, license, to have my own place and go to college to show my daughter a great life. I have grown up so much.  Being at Mary’s Shelter has helped me to become an independent, successful person and I’m so thankful for Mary’s Shelter.
Volunteer Interview - Joanne Baker    
My name is JoAnne Baker.  My husband, Steve and I moved to the Hartwood area with our two children, Johnny and Alli, in 1989.  Steve was in the Marine Corps at the time and I got a teaching job in Stafford County shortly after we arrived.  Our children are now 28 and 25 and will both be married by the time this is printed, Alli is getting married in Charleston, SC on April 26.  I retired last June after 27 years in education; the last eight years I was the principal of Rocky Run Elementary School.
How did you hear about Mary’s Shelter?
In the fall my church distributed the Parish Ministry Catalogue and I was intrigued by the Mary’s Shelter Ministry.  I attended my first volunteer meeting in January and met with the young woman I mentor shortly after that.
What inspired you to begin volunteering?
My volunteer spirit came from my mother who was a girl scout leader, PTA President, Eucharistic Minister, and jumped in to help whenever the call came. After retirement, I knew that I wanted to do something meaningful to give back to the community.  I signed up to teach CCD at Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, where I am a parishioner.
You are a mentor to one of our residents, how has that experience been so far?
It has only been two short months since I began mentoring and it is quite fulfilling. The young woman is a first time mom and has no family in the United States.  It has been my pleasure to pick her and her baby up for church each Sunday.  I’ve also had the opportunity to go with her to the grocery store and to Social Services a few times.  As time goes on we are understanding each other more (she is still learning to speak English).  She was thrilled when I brought her a copy of the Catholic Herald and when I brought her a carton of eggs fresh from our farm.
As the young mom you work with is a first time mother and has no family in this country, the need for someone to be there for her was even greater than usual.    How has the bond you have together grown over time?
Our bond has grown in that we are more comfortable with each other and she seems to feel at ease in calling me.  The language barrier has slowly been easing as we learn to understand each other.  We enjoy talking about our respective families.  When I told her that my daughter is getting married in two weeks she told me that she will pray to Jesus for a sunny day.
What are the rewards of not only mentoring to a young mom, but also to showing her she is worthy of time and love? 
What rewards do you receive?
The rewards of mentoring are many.  Having worked in a service industry (education) for 27 years, it is important to me that I give back.  My family has been richly blessed by God, and it blesses me more to share in those blessings.  When I see the smiles of the young woman I mentor it warms my heart.  Of course, I also adore babies and holding a little one is one of God’s greatest blessings.
What would you tell someone else who is looking to volunteer at Mary’s Shelter?
Volunteering at Mary’s Shelter is truly an enriching experience.  I would recommend it to anyone looking to make a difference in the life of a young woman and her child(ren).
Our Volunteers are a very important, integral part of this ministry.  If you are interested in volunteering, or looking for information about volunteer opportunities, please email Theresa, our Volunteer Coordinator, at: volunteers@marysshelterva.org
Thank you!
A special thank you to Bishop Loverde for coming to our homes to offer a House Blessing and Dedication.  He was so kind and gracious.   Many of our residents, as well as a house full of guest, were given the opportunity of meeting with him.  It was a great day! 
A shout out to Regina Hiney for not only showing up monthly to volunteer as our Book Club teacher, but for taking on all the arrangements, driving and responsibilities of having Little Miss Jasmine baptized!

Thank you to Jessica Stewart for the box of toys donated for the monthly baby celebration hosted by Kara Horne (and thanks to Cathy Davis for all the doula support shown at those celebrations.)

Thank you to the Knights of Columbus of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception for hosting a dinner and donating the proceeds to our ministry.  Lot’s of great food and hard work.
and……..thank you to the Hibernians for hosting the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at St. Mary, great food, great time, generous donations!
Thanks so much to Sue Ottman and the Bible Study Group for the donation of household items and the very much appreciated Target Gift Cards.
A very big thank you to Matt Britton and Hugh Brown  for overseeing the donation, storage and drop off of dolls – lot’s and lot’s of dolls – so appreciated!

A heartfelt  thank you to all who donate in any and all ways to Mary’s Shelter.
Thank you to Hunter Keiser for choosing Mary’s Shelter for his Eagle Scout project and donating tons of cleaning supplies – with all the families living at our homes, and our strict cleaning policies, these were very well received!

Hunter Keiser, from Boy Scout Troop 179, coordinated a “Cleaning Supply Donation Drive” to benefit Mary’s Shelter as his Eagle Scout project.  Hunter is a parishioner of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.  He put out donation boxes at the St. Mary Parish Life Center and the Massad Branch of the YMCA, where he works as a Lifeguard.  He promoted the drive to the Religious Education classes at St. Mary, the Council of Catholic Women, St. Mary Preschool, YMCA patrons, and friends and family through social media.  His project provided several months’ worth of bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper, and laundry detergent to the shelter, which operates four homes.
Thank you to those who have dropped donations of clothing, baby supplies and so much more off at our homes.  We love the donations and seeing you!
Our Wish List!

If you’d like to make a donation of material goods to Mary’s Shelter, here is a list of our current needs: 
If you find it in your heart to host a baby shower or conduct a drive for us, please email Monika, our Donations Coordinator, for more information!  
Fulfill the Promise Campaign
Are you a part of the Mary’s Shelter family? Our Fulfill the Promise campaign asks for just a small monthly donation. Could you commit to $20 a month to fund Mary’s Shelter?
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309 Hawke Street, Fredericksburg VA 22401