By Trish Linner
MISHAWAKA — The celebration is on at Hannah’s House. For the last two decades, Hannah’s House, “The Maternity Home with a Heart,” located in Mishawaka has been providing a safe home for single pregnant women to live, learn and become successful parents. This spring they are celebrating 20 years of service to the community by opening a second Hannah’s House.
“In 2012, we had to turn away 66 women,” said board president Linda Hammond. “The board of directors took note of this statistic and we identified two major needs that we wanted to address. One, we wanted to serve more women; and second, we wanted to serve them longer.”
To serve more women, they needed more room. That goal will be accomplished this month with the opening of a second Hannah’s House, located just across the street from the first location. “We are so excited to have this opportunity. Thanks to the generous support of donors and the community we are going to be able to help more women become successful moms,” Hammond noted.
The new house needed extensive work. It had previously been used as a two-unit apartment so it first had to be renovated back into a single-family home.
Several councils of the Knights of Columbus have been instrumental in the project.
“They have donated their time over the last several weeks to gut this house and then make it a home again. All labor has been donated. We can’t thank them enough and all the people who have donated their time,” Hammond said gratefully.
The second Hannah’s House will be home to five women and will officially be named the Killilea House after Mr. and Mrs. Bill Killilea, two of the original founders of Hannah’s House.
The second goal of serving women longer has also been achieved. Hannah’s House has partnered with Bridges of Hope, a nationally recognized mentoring program that successfully prevents and ends homelessness for single mothers with an 80 percent success rate. Hannah’s House is now a program site for this mentoring program and is supported by the National Bridge of Hope organization. This support allows women to stay at Hannah’s House longer.
“Bridges of Hope is an excellent national program with a phenomenal rate of success of bringing women out of poverty. We are very excited to partner with them at Hannah’s House,” Hammond said.
The first event of the month-long celebration kicked off on Tuesday, April 23, with a volunteer appreciation open house. Current and former volunteers were invited to tour the new house and enjoy food and fellowship with their fellow volunteers at Hannah’s House. Over 50 volunteers attended the event to see the new house.
One volunteer, Malissa Wade summed up the feelings of many of the volunteers when asked why she gave her time to Hannah’s House, “I just love to be here and help. I babysit, talk to the moms and help with whatever they need.”
On May 10, Hannah’s House will host a reunion for all former residents as part of the 20-year celebration. “We have been spreading the word through our networks, meetings and even Facebook,” laughed Hammond. “We really hope a lot of moms can attend.”
Following a noon luncheon for the former residents, a formal dedication of the second house by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will take place at 2 p.m. with an open house and reception to follow. The Knights of Columbus will be in attendance, and St. Bavo Parish will provide music to add to the festive atmosphere. “We can’t wait to welcome everyone here for the dedication,” said Director of Programming Karen DeLucenay, “We’re looking forward to helping more women and their babies to a better life for another 20 years.”
The community is invited to celebrate the dedication of the second home for Hannah’s House on May 10 at 2 p.m. For more information on how to help the mission of Hannah’s House, visit www.maternityhomewithaheart.org.
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