Ongoing Support

By DANIEL JONES South Bend Tribune

5:51 a.m. EST, February 18, 2013

MISHAWAKA – Kayla Wright, a Mishawaka resident, moved into Hannah’s House in 2008 after being homeless, sleeping in either a garage or a van.

“I went from being homeless one day to having a roof over my head and a refrigerator full of food,” Wright said.

Wright was 19 years old and six months’ pregnant when she moved in.

“In all honesty, if I didn’t have Hannah’s House, I honestly don’t think I could’ve kept my child,” Wright said.

Kayla Wright, far right, holds her 7-month-old daughter, Ilah, while her 4-year-old daughter, Adalia, shares toys while the three were visiting at Hannah’s House, where Wright formerly lived. Wright says she learned valuable life skills through the programs at Hannah’s House in Mishawaka. (South Bend Tribune/GREG SWIERCZ / February 18, 2013)

Her child, Adalia, is 4 years old now, and she also has a 7-month-old named Ilah. Wright now has a job, a home and is engaged. She still visits with Hannah’s House often.

“I can call them if I need anything,” Wright said. “I know they are in my corner.”

Hannah’s House – given its name to symbolize the biblical character Hannah, who greatly desired to be a mother – works with women once they move out of the home, as well.

Once per month, women can return and assess their goals. Twice per week, former residents can participate in a “Learn and Earn,” where they receive items for their baby based on their accomplishments. A program has also been put into place to help fathers learn parenting skills.

Hannah’s House merged last summer with the St. Joseph County chapter of Bridge of Hope, allowing Hannah’s House to serve women longer.

Bridge of Hope accepts applications from young mothers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The woman is then paired with a family resource coordinator who helps her to determine her goals. She is placed in a mentoring group of eight to 12 people from a Christian church, who befriend her and help her with her day-to-day needs, according to Kristi Kubicki, a family resource coordinator for Bridge of Hope.

“A lot of women are isolated,” DeLucenay said. “A lot of single moms are overwhelmed easily. Their car breaks down; they pop a tire.”

The program provides a pool of resources through the mentoring group. DeLucenay said that mentoring starts with Bridge of Hope and Hannah’s House, but the aim is to create lifelong bonds.

“What’s really special is once a woman walks into our doors, she is part of our life forever,” DeLucenay said.

A variety of volunteer opportunities are available for both individuals and groups at Hannah’s House. Donations are also needed. Those interested can call Hannah’s House business office at 574-254-7271.

Staff writer Daniel Jones:

djones@sbtinfo.com