May 28, 2024 // Diocese

New Office Space, Second Home Highlight Growth of A Mother’s Hope

A Mother’s Hope is preparing to offer even more hope to expectant mothers. That’s because the Fort Wayne-based organization, which shelters pregnant women and gives them opportunities for growth, is experiencing some growth of its own.

Nearly six years after welcoming its first resident, A Mother’s Hope is officially expanding. Thanks to funding from the St. Joe Community Health Foundation in 2023, the board and staff of A Mother’s Hope have engaged in strategic planning to open a second home for pregnant women who have other children living with them. According to Executive Director Stasia Roth, this will allow A Mother’s Hope to reach women they would otherwise be forced to turn away.

“Right now, our current program only serves pregnant women who do not have other children in their care,” Roth told Today’s Catholic. “But only 39 percent of the women we serve, this is their first baby, so most of the women have other kids somewhere – they’re just not with us. So that’s been an impediment to women getting their children out of foster care and things like that.”

In 2023, A Mother’s Hope housed a total of 25 women and welcomed nine babies born full term. Although housing women with other children had always been a part of the original plan, Roth admitted the nudge from God to move forward with this phase came at a less-than-ideal time: amid the COVID shutdown in 2020.

“I remember sitting there, talking about something else, and hearing, ‘It’s time; you need to start preparing for another house,’” recalled Roth. “I think I even said, ‘Really? Now? We’re in the middle of a pandemic!’” Roth acknowledged that God was giving her ample time to prepare, since “He knew it always takes me a while to get on board with His ginormous plans.”

In order to continue its day-to-day operations and begin the planning process for a new home, A Mother’s Hope hired additional administrative staff. However, this required taking up space that was designed for residents, creating a dilemma. “It quickly was becoming apparent that we were losing the home-like atmosphere of A Mother’s Hope, and that is so key to what we do in creating that family-style environment to support the women,” explained Roth. A Mother’s Hope needed office space – which meant its one expansion project was about to become two.

Eric Peat
Stasia Roth, Founder and Executive Director of A Mother’s Hope, sits in her new office at 4618 East State Boulevard, the offices previously occupied by Redeemer Radio.

Roth approached the Mary Cross Tippmann Foundation to inquire about office space, but she was told they had none available. “The next day, Cheryl Chalfant from Mary Cross Tippmann called me and said, ‘Would you be interested in the Redeemer Radio spaces?’” said Roth, who had already been eyeing the space since the Catholic radio station had closed its doors. “And I’m like, ‘Are you serious?’ That’s just how those things happen, right?”

A Mother’s Hope gladly accepted the office space, located at 4618 East State Blvd., roughly an eight-minute drive from the current home (“the perfect time to do a Divine Mercy Chaplet,” as Roth has discovered). By January, staff members began to transform the space into their own. Kristy Cirillo, who has served as Outreach Coordinator for A Mother’s Hope since last October, began calling on local partners for volunteer assistance.

“We redid our garage last year, so we already made some really good connections,” said Cirillo. “The main one was Sherwin-Williams; they gave us all the paint and all the supplies we needed to do the renovations. We would’ve just dealt with the [existing] walls if we had not had those donated.” Also proving instrumental was Lassus Handy Dandy, which has a volunteer program that allows employees to sign up to help an organization. “Their liaison reached out in January and asked if we had any projects coming up in February or March, and I said, ‘Actually, we do,’” Cirillo recalled. “They jumped in and did all the painting, which was huge.”

Photos by Eric Peat
A temporary sign greets visitors outside A Mother’s Hope’s new office space at 4618 East State Blvd. in Fort Wayne.

Cirillo and company received additional help from a pair of St. Vincent de Paul Parish groups: Carpenter’s Sons, a ministry that does home repairs for those in need, and Knights of Columbus. Another St. Vincent parishioner and member of the A Mother’s Hope Building and Grounds Committee, Ron Schnipke, served as project manager and organized all the supplies for each group. Between taking down wallpaper, putting up drywall, painting, selecting furniture, interior decorating, and picking up donations, volunteers contributed more than 600 hours to aid A Mother’s Hope in the transition. The office staff is now fully moved into the space previously occupied by Redeemer Radio, a fact that’s not lost on Roth.

“There was just a sadness that we had something that was so good and beautiful and brought Christ into people’s lives in a unique and special way, and I would say that A Mother’s Hope does that, too,” said Roth, stating she can tell a lot of prayer happened in that space. “It’s the residents we serve, it’s their babies, it’s their children, it’s that generational change that Redeemer was also working toward. But also, our staff, our supporters – anybody who comes into contact with A Mother’s Hope, I truly believe their lives are changed in some way, their eyes are opened to what other people experience, and I think that’s what Jesus would want.”

A new banner advertisement for A Mother’s Hope sits in the lobby of their new office space.

Now that A Mother’s Hope is adequately staffed with sufficient space, it can resume strategic planning for its second home. The staff is in the process of determining a number of key factors, including how many individuals it can house, what ages of children can be accepted, and what regulations must be considered. They have completed several case studies on maternity homes that house women with other kids to help make these decisions. Cirillo is already prepping her volunteers for the work ahead.

“I shared with all our volunteers that it’s going to be a huge endeavor, with landscaping and building playgrounds,” Cirillo said of the new home. “We’ve started brainstorming and thinking from a kid’s perspective – needs that they’ll have, a playroom, ways to make it inviting for children. We want them to feel like they’re home just as much as moms do when they walk in.”

The entire interior of the organization’s new office space was painted by volunteers to match the color scheme of A Mother’s Hope.

Until then, A Mother’s Hope will continue to fundraise this summer. The organization was chosen as the beneficiary of the Catholic Community Foundation of Northeast Indiana’s Viva Bocce! fundraiser this year, which takes place on Thursday, June 13, at the University of Saint Francis Bishop D’Arcy Stadium. Less than two weeks later, A Mother’s Hope will hold its annual Holy Smokes Men’s Bourbon and Cigar Benefit on Tuesday, June 25, at The Charles in Fort Wayne. Finally, the organization’s Seventh Annual Diamond Gala – the biggest fundraiser every year for A Mother’s Hope – is set for Thursday, September 19, at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.

While there is no set date for the opening of the second home, Roth is trusting that it will come to fruition in the same way that all other aspects of A Mother’s Hope have: “in God’s timing.”

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