“If we are going to say to people ‘Say no to abortion’ then we need to have a ‘yes’ to send them to. That yes is a place like Good Counsel homes, where a mother can come and she can embrace life and have someone to stand with her throughout her pregnancy and after her child is born.” -David Bereit, Founder 40 days for Life
Good Counsel has aided more than 7,800 mothers and children since our doors opened 35 years ago. That’s just in our homes. Tens of thousands of women and children have been rescued through our outreach, through our national helpline, and our website. Yet what happens when a mother leaves one of our homes may be the best part.
While a mother, pregnant and parenting lives in one of Good Counsel’s homes, she attends regular life skill classes presented by our resident advisors and outside organizations, such as the maternity nurses at local hospitals. Instruction ranges from labor and delivery preparation, breastfeeding, and caring for a newborn to caring for a home, cooking nutritious meals, balancing a budget, and more. House managers and case managers supply moms with pathways to furthering their education, gaining additional certification, crafting resumes and securing gainful employment. Moms are counseled in saving money and typically secure $3,000 as a safety net before leaving the home.
Ladies are also encouraged to make room in their budget to give back to the home in support of new moms entering Good Counsel. It’s an empowering moment being able to shift to the other side of the relationship at Good Counsel; to go from being in need to helping those just like themselves rise to their dignity.
Upon securing gainful employment and a financial cushion, a home is secured for advancement. The type of home varies with each individual mom, but our case managers thoroughly inspect new living situations to ensure mom and baby are going back to a safe and secure home where they can thrive. When the day arrives, farewell parties are thrown in the homes as mom ventures out on her own. But she will never again be alone.
Groups like local Knights of Columbus collect donations and funds to purchase new items for a mom's move into her own place. Local businesses offer significant discounts on furniture and mattresses to our outgoing moms of Good Counsel. And the staff and fellow mothers within the homes throw housewarming parties where they shower the departing mom and her babies with items they will need in this new chapter of their lives. It is often bittersweet as significant bonds are formed between the women inside our homes. The staff become less "resident advisors" and "house managers" and more like sisters and friends. But this is the end game, this is the mission of Good Counsel; to inspire, educate and empower women to their God-given potential in motherhood and to encourage mothers to take that next good step.
This next good step is part of our Exodus program which is a lifelong support system. Good Counsel staff regularly check in with moms as they settle into their new living situations. House managers and advisors are available for anything a mom may need such as aid in school registration for their children, the daunting process of buying a car, and in a special way, on-going moral support if a mom has any legal matter, health issue or just needs to talk.
The support system of family and friends is often what women are lacking when they come to Good Counsel. The support of the Good Counsel family is what a woman takes with her as she leaves our home. Frequency of contact is determined by the mothers, but for the most part Good Counsel staff will do weekly, then monthly and then yearly check-ins as time goes on. One special moment our house managers never forget to celebrate is the birthday of a child. Presents and cards are sent, delivered when possible, recognizing the gift of that child in all our lives.
It is not enough to save a baby's life. Providing healthy opportunities and pathways to parenting is paramount, but a child's life does not stay saved just because they are born. Breaking cycles of poverty, abuse and homelessness is key to lifting future generations to their God-given purpose.
When, as pro-life people, we say to a woman, "abortion is not the answer" it is with pride and Christian duty that we can direct women in need to maternity homes and pregnancy crisis centers such as Good Counsel. At Good Counsel, our hope is that you will commit today to join us in this mission. Please donate on a recurring basis towards our rising food bills and utilities, sign up to volunteer, pray for staff moms and children as well as the intentions of our mothers, and spread our message of hope so that we may continue to do God's will among his hurting people.
May God bless you and keep you always.
Join our email list and receive inspiring stories about our moms and babies, events at Good Counsel, and different ways you can support our mission.