Nicole was 22 years old and 7 weeks pregnant when she called the Good Counsel 24-hour hotline. She explained that her whole family is homeless and she will need assistance through her pregnancy and in caring for her child. Even with the odds seemingly stacked against her, Nicole’s voice was hopeful. She wanted to have her baby, she just needed some help.
Ms. Mason, a long time staff member and senior intake officer at Good Counsel, gathered all of Nicole’s information and assigned her to one of our homes closest to her current location. A room was prepared and Nicole was set to arrive in three days. Unfortunately, Nicole never showed up.
The house manager alerted intake and Ms Mason reached back out to Nicole, but her calls went unanswered. A day or so later, Ms. Mason received an email from Nicole with a short message. “My family doesn’t want me to have the baby. They said they won’t be there for me. I’m sorry but I have chosen to have an abortion.”
Having seen this story play out too many times before, Ms. Mason again tried to contact Nicole, pleading with her to just have another conversation. She could tell Nicole had lost her hope. If only Ms. Mason could tell her about what Good Counsel has to offer then she might find the strength to save the life of her own child. Ms. Mason was persistent, praying for Nicole and calling, sending emails. Finally Nicole agreed to talk.
“What are your dreams for yourself? What are your dreams for your family?” Ms Morgan asked. She listened as hope returned to Nicole’s voice. She wanted a job. Nicole had dreams of a career in cosmetology. She wanted to go to school, receive training and eventually open her own salon. But she hadn’t been able to do this on her own, how could she do this with a baby?
Ms Mason understood. She explained that Good Counsel is not a shelter. Good Counsel is different from other organizations that offer assistance during pregnancy only. Good Counsel is not a handout, it’s a hand-up. We are in the business of changing lives, educating and liberating women and their families. Women living in Good Counsel’s homes attend classes in baby care, home care, finances and more. Our moms receive support and encouragement in obtaining GEDs, certifications, meaningful and gainful employment. Women suffering emotional and mental disabilities and significant illnesses receive the comprehensive care they desperately need. And upon entering a Good Counsel home, moms seriously lacking in a physical, emotional and spiritual support system gain a family.
Nicole’s hope was restored. She confided in Ms Mason that she had been told by everyone in her life that she could not be a mother, she should not be a mother. But Nicole knew deep down the undeniable truth that she was already a mother.
After that call with Ms Mason, Nicole was placed in her Good Counsel home. She now has a room of her own and has begun her journey. Nicole will not only be sheltered and fed but her soul nurtured as she takes the "next good step" with Good Counsel. Nicole now has doors of opportunity open before her. Through God’s grace and her fighting spirit, she will leave Good Counsel not only a mother, but employed with a career path and the ability to pay it forward, the potential to lift her own family out of homelessness and take ownership of breaking the cycle of poverty for her future generations.
This story, while moving, is far from rare. It is the job of our intake staff to be the first line for moms in need. They listen to the calls of moms in desperation, seeking refuge from abuse, poverty and starvation. All too often, women call because they find the courage in their pregnancy to stand up to their attackers and put an end to the abuse. It is because they desire to protect their children from suffering a similar fate that pushes them to take this step forward. Women who call Good Counsel are brave and strong. There are places who offer a little money and a hotel room for homeless women. There are organizations who offer vouchers for temporary food and shelter. There are places who offer incentives for aborting your child. But at Good Counsel we offer a new life, independence and security. It is the harder road to travel, but as with most things, it is far and away the most worthwhile.
Thank you for listening to our story. If you feel moved to aid Good Counsel in its mission, please use this link to donate once or consider a small but meaningful recurring donation to offset utility bills, groceries and house maintenance. And as always, please continue to keep the babies, moms and staff of Good Counsel in your prayers. God bless.
The names have been changed to preserve the privacy of our residents and staff.
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