Dozens of supporters recently helped Holy Ground PBC celebrate the opening of their new apartments for young homeless mothers a home and hope.
The newly-renovated Stockard Family Campus, located on Broadway Avenue in West Palm Beach, will be home to young mothers and their children who were previously homeless. The building also boasts a community space and an area for counseling as well as room for classes.
“We are so grateful to our donors who helped make this dream a reality,” said Donna McLoughlin, Board President of Holy Ground Palm Beach County. “This is truly a dream come true, and we couldn’t have done it without the extensive community support and hard work of those who believed in our vision.”
Major capital campaign supporters include The Mary Alice Fortin Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Cathleen McFarlane Foundation, Inc., Quantum Foundation, the Lost Tree Foundation, the J.C. Foundation and Extraordinary Charities.
Statistics from the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County indicate teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty, and less than half of all teen moms will ever graduate high school. Daughters born to teen moms are more likely to become teen mothers themselves, while a son is twice as likely to serve time in prison. Children of teen mothers are also more likely to be born prematurely and have developmental issues.
Holy Ground helps to break the cycle of poverty for the young women who are willing to make positive changes in their lives. The organization offers a safe place to live, a mentor, counseling and classes covering vocational skills, life lessons and parenting. Many of the young ladies in the program are enrolled in college or vocational programs. The long-term independent living program is focused on self-sufficiency and generational change.
“It is always a joy to bring a new family into a new apartment,” said Jan Kranich, Vice President of Holy Ground Shelter’s board of directors. “This new property will give us a sense of greater community and will, we believe, accelerate the progress of our young moms.”
The young women picked some of their décor, so their apartments would feel like a home. “This new apartment means everything,” said Alondra, a client of Holy Ground. “My son and I got to fix it up with our favorite colors.”
Several young mothers and their children who are in the program attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. County Commissioner Mack Bernard was on hand to say a few words as was Father Seamus Murtagh, one of the event’s honorees. The community suite is named after Father Murtagh. Organizers also unveiled a statue donated by sculptor Beth Vegosen for the occasion. The statue now sits in front of the community suite. It is entitled “Safe,” and is a stone sculpture depicting a woman and her child.
The next steps for the Stockard Family Campus include adding a playground, a central barbeque space and a laundry room.
Holy Ground aids an incredibly underserved population of Palm Beach County. According to Phyllis Turner Jepson, Executive Director of Holy Ground PBC, there are many teen mothers in Palm Beach County who, after giving birth, are faced with a bleak future. And Angela Wing-Allen shares that often, there is a loss of home and family support as well as education deficiencies limiting future employment.
According to the 2016 report from the Florida Department of Health, there were 630 live births to girls under the age of 19 in Palm Beach County, and approximately a quarter of these young mothers will have a second baby within 2 years.
For more information or to contribute to the organization’s efforts, please contact Holy Ground PBC’s Office at 561-355-5040 or visit www.holygroundpbc.org.