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A Generation of Change:
How Hannah House Helped
My name is Amber. I had my son at Hannah House in 2005. I often think about all the wonderful staff I encountered during my stay. I am doing very well. My son is 4 years old now and he’s amazing. I went on to further my education and I am currently employed full time as an LNA. I am looking into nursing school. I probably wouldn’t be doing so well on my own if it wasn’t for Hannah House. I just want to say thank you all so much!
Hannah House Story
This really isn’t a Hannah House story, it’s a story about a young woman who came to us for help and how we worked together with her and another local agency, the Family Place, to help meet her needs. Sasha (not her real name) is from Vermont, and after spending much of her youth in the foster care system, had “graduated” to living on her own. The only problem was that when we met her through our community outreach program, she was seven months pregnant, working with the Family Place in Norwich, participating in their Families Learning Together program and she did not have a place to live. Actually, that’s not true, she had been getting vouchers to live at a motel, but in reality, Sasha was homeless and soon to have a baby.
The outreach case-manager from Hannah House and the Reach-up worker at the Family Place met with Sasha to figure out how we could help. Hannah House has been exploring ways we could work with the growing number of homeless moms we have encountered over the past two years in our residential program. We have consistently had open beds in the residential program and thought this could be a win/win situation. We thought that we might be able to see how a homeless youth would fit into our residential program and we knew that Sasha had been bouncing around from couch to motel long enough. She needed to have a safe, secure place to be in when her baby arrived. So Sasha moved into Hannah House, while continuing to participate in the Families Learning Together program at the Family Place.
Sasha did well integrating into our program. It was a pleasant surprise to see her set a positive example for the other residents in the house by maintaining a calm demeanor when there was conflict around her. She did a lot of work fixing up her room and meeting her chores and responsibilities in the residential program. There is a lot to Sasha’s past history we’re not going to get into. Let’s just say she has faced and dealt with numerous challenges and setbacks over her life. As a result, Sasha acted as a role model for a number of the young moms in our program. She also expressed her appreciation for the opportunity she was being given, living at Hannah House. This is something many residents are not able to do until after they have left our program and realize how much support and life skills training they had learned during their stay.
Sasha had her baby while she was staying with us and they lived with us for three more months until they were able to find, fix-up and move into an apartment. Yes, there were some “bumps in the road” during her stay, but we expect that, and see those “bumps” as teaching and live learning opportunities. This did turn out to be a win/win type of situation because we learned that parenting homeless youth can fit into our program structure and that this particular homeless parent-to-be could not only benefit from our services, but give back to the program and other residents.
This is a brief synopsis of one clients’ experience with the Hannah House outreach and vocational program. It only hints at the many hours of services Mary received from our staff.
One participant, we’ll call her Mary, was served extensively by both our outreach case manager and vocational coordinator. Mary came to us with a number of needs: she needed a job, day care for her four year old, a car to get to and from work and to take her child to day care and a lot of support dealing with an abusive relationship. Mary is also a very needy person, constantly asking for reassurance.
The first order of business was to help Mary find a job, day care for her daughter and transportation. Our vocational coordinator helped Mary do a job search, fill out applications and get to several job interviews. Our outreach case manager took Mary to Bonnie Clac to find out about getting a car and helped her look for a day care for her daughter. The process of getting a car took over two months. One of the pre-requisites of getting a car from Bonnie Clac is to have a job. Mary got a job at Wal-Mart and her daughter into day care at the Lebanon Children’s Center, but because she lives in Wilder, transportation was the major issue. Hannah House staff then spent more than a month picking Mary and her daughter up in the morning, driving them to the Children’s Center, taking Mary to work and doing the reverse at the end of the day. The logistics in this endeavor were complicated, but it was accomplished.
Mary was also involved in a relationship with her daughter’s father that was growing increasingly abusive. With Hannah House support, Mary was able to have their abuser leave the home and go through the court proceedings to get custody of their daughter. This was a complicated and emotional process. As part of her leaving the relationship, Mary had to get a new apartment. Hannah House staff helped her find an apartment and moved her into the apartment. Mary’s daughter also had not ever been to the dentist. She was frightened to go and at first refused. Our vocational coordinator contacted a dentist and explained the situation. The dentist agreed to have the Hannah House staff attend the first appointment and have her mouth examined while Mary’s daughter watched. At the second appointment, she was able to sit in the dentist chair and have an exam. She has now progressed to where she has had some dental work done.
Finally Mary was able to get a car through Bonnie Clac and begin to transport herself to work and her daughter to day care. This was a major milestone. In the past, Mary had had several cars, always buying old, used cars that broke down soon after being purchased. The car she purchased from Bonnie Clac was in great condition and continues to run. Another way Hannah House staff helped Mary was showing her how to do her taxes, walking her through the process, step by step. We aren’t asked to do such intensive work with each and every client who comes to us. This is a case of where many of the ways we can help clients came together for one family.
“When I lived at Hannah House, I learned how to raise my child on my own with a lot of help, like daily chores, cleaning, cooking, laundry, GED classes, and finding a job. You can get lots of help at Hannah House through their different services, like housing, transportation, GED progrms, counseling, outreach services, child care, job training and more.
They really look forward to helping out teens an young adults. Please, if you feel you need help with raising your child, you really should think about using the services at Hannah House. “