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Children Benefit While Mothers Build Future

November 23, 2011

The shadows of desperation have faded. The eyes of 24-year-old single mom Shasta beam with new-found hope.

“I was struggling,” Shasta recounts. “I had lost my home, my car – everything I had worked for. I needed to start my life over.”

Shasta and her two children, four-year-old Greenlee and one-year-old Gage, live in Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) Family Care cottage in Franklin after their small family was abandoned by the children’s father.

Shasta’s coming to the cottage was a miracle. Tim Dailey, BCH’s western area group homes director, had not included Shasta’s DSS officer in the emails he sent promoting Family Care when the program first began in August. Nevertheless, Dailey received a call. “I’m not sure how she learned about us,” Dailey remembers. “It’s a life-changing event for a family to come here – the word is spreading.”

BCH’s Family Care program is dedicated to providing the guidance and care to help mothers rebuild their lives while they care for their own children.

“This is the best place for my children,” Shasta insists. “After all that has happened, they now feel safe.”

Shasta is one test away from completing her GED. She plans to attend an area community college and is career minded.

Mills Home Family Care residential manager Miriam Matias is amazed about how the ministry has come into being.

“This is all happening in God’s time,” she says. “I can’t explain it.”

There are 13 children living in the Thomasville Family Care cottage. Five belong to Matias and her husband Rollie. The other eight are parented by three single mothers. “There were lots of children around my home when I was a child,” Matias recalls. “I don’t even think about the number of the children.”

Each family has a room and a private bathroom. Although they share common areas, everything is divided for their personal use. Each family has their own refrigerator, color-coded dishes, linens, and towels. The mothers shop for their family’s groceries and are responsible for their children’s parenting.

“The mothers want to take care of the children,” Matias says, “They are working hard. I act as a cheerleader most days – nurturing them and reminding them they can do this!” BCH is committed to restoring families with hope, comfort and shelter while they locate resources needed to move toward successful independent living.

“If our families weren’t here,” Dailey says. “the children and families would be homeless – living in a car or going couch to couch.”

Moms are often overwhelmed. They struggle to connect to services that can help them and their families. BCH’s Family Care program serves as an advocate helping them get on their feet and feel confident.

“I’m cared for here,” Shasta says about her experience in the cottage. “Everyone helps to meet my family’s needs. I feel like I’m almost to the top.”

A third BCH Family Care cottage opens at Mills Home this month.