We love visiting non-profits to see how they’re putting donated goods to use! Our most recent visit was to New Moms, a long term supportive housing center that equips struggling adolescent parents with personal and professional resources they need to become sustainable.
Located in the Austin neighborhood, the center houses 40 families in separate apartment-style units. Each is fully furnished with one living room, one bedroom, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and closet space. The facility and the units are handicap accessible and utilize automatic lighting settings. The exterior is safely guarded 24 hours a day due to the nature of the neighborhood and to protect mothers coming from domestic violence situations. The inside, however, is welcoming with its windowed hallways so families can interact with each other and create a sense of community. A courtyard sits in the middle of the facility with a playground and trees, which connects to the newly built daycare.
There is currently a high demand for mothers to enter New Moms, and the waiting list is long. Mothers are directed to New Moms from the Chicago Housing Authority and commit to New Moms in 1 year increments. New Moms provides all the pieces that young mothers and families need for sustainability after leaving the facility.
New families come to New Moms and have up to 3 case managers: housing, parenting, and academic/job placement. Each case manager talks with mothers one-on-one and they set goals for both the time they are at New Moms and when they leave. The goal is to have each mother working before they leave housing, and to assist them, New Moms has several community job partnerships and opportunities. One such partnership is with New Mom’s own social enterprise, Bright Endeavors. Mothers manufacture and market premium soy candles and bath products while gaining professional skills and on-the-job-training. This experience empowers adolescent parents transition into economic independence.
Mothers can do laundry for free in the laundry rooms, which are intentionally placed in the children’s play room so mothers can look after their children while doing chores. each floor is themed, and this floor is the Lincoln Park Zoo.
There is one classroom in the facility, and parents are taught job readiness, resume, and interviewing skills. The maximum class size is 10, to ensure that no one is pushed along if they need individual help. New Moms ensures the mothers have real interviews in which to showcase what they’ve learned. The classroom is equipped with many laptops and each mother is given access to one everyday.
Families cook dinner together once a week in the industrial kitchen, and after dinner they attend parent support group seminars. The mothers and children are separated for the seminars, and mothers discuss issues such as parenting, work issues, and sexual health.
There is also a boutique where mothers can purchase goods with “dollars” they earn while living at New Moms. Personal care items are hot commodities and New Moms is always looking for donations to restock the boutique.
New Mom’s donation needs include new beddings, 15 person van, large screen TV, color printer, household cleaning products, personal care and grooming products for women and children, office supplies, children’s toys, books, clothes. Donors are encouraged to post donations of this kind in order to help out New Moms. We at Zealous Good are honored to work with such an amazing organization. Check out New Moms, Inc.’s Zealous Good profile to learn more about their needs and to donate!