As a goal, each mother is encouraged to save one-third of any income she earns. This helps budget for eventual permanent housing. Good Counsel staff guide each mother on good spending practices and identify needs versus wants purchasing. Additionally, trained staff and volunteers meet with every resident upon admission and assists her with enrollment in an assessment program that identifies her interests, abilities, and employment opportunities. Resume and job interview counseling, including proper dress codes, provide our mothers with an opportunity to succeed.
Many of our mothers come from broken or dysfunctional homes and benefit from learning positive and practical aspects of parenting. From prenatal care to learning how to bathe a newborn, a great deal of emphasis is placed on empowering each woman to be the best mother for her child. Each mom learns different stages of a child’s growth and looks to recognize the development of motor skills. An emphasis of loving and caring discipline is also taught so that a mother may not repeat family patterns of abusive behavior.
Eating healthy is not only important to the expectant mother, but after birth as well when her body goes through many changes. Understanding the changing diets of newborns, toddlers and pre-schoolers is addressed, and mothers also learn to prepare healthy, nutritional meals by taking turns cooking for each other during dinner. Shopping economically is emphasized, and our mothers are encouraged to experiment and try different dishes.
Staff and volunteers regularly meet in groups and will offer practical Catholic teaching and guidance as a way to assist each resident in their spiritual journey. Each Good Counsel home has its own chapel, and we invite our mothers to consider the sacraments, Scripture, prayer, retreats, and the external church community as a good way to find understanding, forgiveness, healing, and new inner resources. The virtue of chastity is taught and promoted in each home as a healthy lifestyle, not only so a mother can concentrate and be more devoted to her baby, but as an opportunity for her to more fully identify and respect her personal dignity.
This program helps expectant and new mothers to be more in tune with the many changes happening to their bodies and helps them realize some areas that may need more attention. All health care materials and information provided to our residents are life affirming and do not attack the virtue of chastity. To this point, Good Counsel teaches that abstinence is the only true and healthy way to halt the spread of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV-AIDS. Our comprehensive program points out the many dangers of contraception which wound participants physically, emotionally and spiritually.
This referral program helps post-abortive women and men find healing through confidential counseling and peer groups. Lumina (which means light) helps a person through the dark after-effects of an abortion experience, which sometimes produces grief, depression, anxiety and other ill-effects many years later. Periodic retreats and days of recollection are offered throughout the year by Theresa Bonopartis, our Lumina Director. For more information, please visit our Lumina page.