A maternity home is undoubtedly the most challenging activity in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. This project requires time, fundraising, networking, persistence, and patience. It may take anywhere from two-three years to complete.
As challenging as this is, a maternity home will also save lives and significantly aid pregnant and parenting students at a high and consistent level. Building a maternity home will leave a mark on your school for years to come.
Furthermore, a maternity home could provide the necessary support for pregnant/parenting students at other colleges or communities nearby. It will become a haven for students who find themselves in these difficult situations.
The goal is to provide pregnant/parenting mothers with a safe and caring environment that will allow them to carry out their pregnancy and raise their child while attending college.
Different from pregnant/parenting housing, a maternity home is separated from the dorms where the women live together and raise their children.
There are many different possibilities for the maternity home on your campus. However a few essential things are necessary.
- Low cost housing
- Resources such as diapers, food, medical/dental attention, etc. for children
- Transportation to and from college classes, doctor appointments, groceries, etc.
- Scheduled meetings, life skills coaching, and counseling services
While these are essential parts of a maternity home, there are different options when securing a location and discovering how best to cater to women’s needs.
The following steps are a brief and general outline on the process of creating a maternity home:
1) Discuss the plan with administration, local members of the community, and potential donors
- The administration could either support or remain neutral on the project. Meeting with them will help clarify their positions and support
- Networking with local pro-lifers will help them see the necessity of having a maternity home in the local area. Once they see a vision, they will be more likely to help in whatever way they can
- Securing individual donors and grants will be essential for funding this project
- Network with local Maternity Homes. If you see a maternity home as essential on your campus, then perhaps a local Home would be willing to move theirs onto your campus. This would be a mutually benefiting goal for both the Maternity Home and the campus.
2) Develop a Board of Directors
- From all of these contacts, you can develop a Board of Directors or Leadership Team responsible for guiding this process and providing advice and ideas on how to make it a reality. They will be an important resource for your club throughout the process.
- Representatives from across the spectrum should be on the Leadership Team.
3) Energize your pro-life group
- Your campus group will play a significant part in making this vision a reality. Having a large group of volunteers will be helpful before and after the home is completed.
4) Secure a location
- If meetings with administration, local members of the community, and fellow students go well, the next step is to secure a location
- This location can be on grounds near the campus. Building a home from the ground up will be quite expensive and more difficult to maintain.
- Another possible option would be to rent a series of apartments next to each other. The apartments would be significantly cheaper and easier to maintain.
- Ask whether organizations, alumni, or donors would be willing to sponsor a room or area in the house or apartment
- Banquets and other big fundraisers can help funds over time
- Pending on how much it costs, local grants and aid may fund some of the project
- Donate furniture will help lower the cost
6) Assign volunteers to different areas of the maternity home.
- Some will be in charge of making meals, taking care of necessary resources for babies, transportation, daycare, peer to peer support, etc.
- Volunteers are also necessary for continual upkeep of the house or apartments
7) Gather local pro-lifers to present talks
- Local pro-lifers from PRC’s, church, or statewide groups can deliver talks on particular issues pregnant/parenting mother’s face.
- Present talks and discussions on parenting, life skills, early child development education, etc.
- The maternity home will gain a reputation as being more than solely a home for pregnant/parenting women. It has the potential to become a center of resources for many women around your local community.
8) Advertise the maternity home upon completion
- However long this takes, the completion of a maternity home in whatever form it happens to occur has the potential for mass media coverage
- Many newspapers, magazines, and radio/tv stations will want to cover this story as it directly pertains to helping pregnant and parenting women who are in need of essential resources
- It is the first of its kind and plays an essential role in the community
Students for Life will guide your campus group throughout the process.
This is a project that can literally effect your campus for decades to come and will be a hallmark accomplishment of any student led pro-life campus group.
For more on this as a real, attainable goal, check out the Room at the Inn at Belmont Abbey College.