Brehon spotlighted in The Chronicle
“Thirteen years ago, when I was 18 years old, I stayed at Brehon House. I was homeless, rebellious and not prepared to be a parent….With the help of the staff and structure of the program at Brehon, I began to mature. Now I’m at University of South Florida, married and speaking at Middle Schools about teen pregnancy and helping young mothers-to-be with resources in their community. Thanks You, Jennifer S.”
“This is what Brehon House is all about” says Jackie Malone, Executive Director of Brehon Family Services. Jackie continues “Helping homeless, pregnant women age 18 and older to get back on their feet, have a healthy baby and get an education and a job. These are the goals of Brehon House,” Brehon House has served more than 450 women and children since 1992. Jason Winn, President of the Board of Brehon Family Services states that “Brehon House is the only transitional housing program for pregnant women and their children in the Big Bend region. Therefore, we have to do a good job of helping these women in need! ”
Brehon House residents’ first priorities include safety, shelter, food, and clothing. Brehon’s goals are to increase the resident’s life skills and to facilitate their progress toward self-sufficiency. Brehon House’s case manager provides residents with individualized, weekly case management sessions, through which residents set personal health and self-sufficiency goals. Classes are offered on-site and include topics such as pregnancy and nutrition, labor and delivery, care of newborns, understanding risks factors, and parenting skills. Classes are also offer to build skills for finding a job, learning communication skills, money management, as well as household budgeting. Volunteers assist in providing instruction and mentoring through partnerships with other area agencies.
“K.S.,” another young woman who stayed at Brehon said, “I used my time at Brehon to make my decision to keep my child…, save money so I can pay for my own apartment and finish my classes at TCC.” Without Brehon House, achieving self-sufficiency would be especially difficult for these families due to a limited knowledge of available services in addition to having no place to call “home.”
“Is Brehon House making a difference in these women’s life and changing the community for the better?” Angel Trejo, board member says the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Mr. Trejo points to Brehon House results from their annual report:
- 100% of the residents completing the program move into permanent housing
- 95% of the residents delivered healthy babies
- 90% of the residents achieved 80% of their goals
- No infant mortality for mothers who gave birth while at the Brehon House.
But like many not-for-profit organizations, Brehon House is in need of donations to maintain its service level and meet the needs of a growing wait list. The Brehon Blue Ribbon Bash, which occurs annually in April, is the main fundraising event for the Brehon House. Other funding comes through individual and group donations throughout the year as well as Community Human Service Partnership funding, the County/City/United Way funding stream.
However, with the current economic climates, cash-flow for Brehon House is problematic to manage. “Our board of directors has worked diligently with the executive director to reduce all costs to a minimum. Many of the long-term strategies adopted will reap benefits, but we also need donations to enhance Brehon’s cash flow. The goal is to raise $21,500 by November 15, 2012. Achieving that goal will give us the necessary resources to meet our longer-term strategies, and it will allow us to continue the services of this valuable resource for our community.” reported Kathy Masterson, who serves as the Treasurer on the board. So far the Brehon’s Board has raised 30% of the goal.
A gift of $1600 will shelter a mom and baby for a month; $400 will shelter a mom and baby for a week and; $53 will shelter a mom and baby for one day/night.How can you help? Make a gift to help women deliver healthy babies, become good parents, and productive citizens. The results of this program are impressive. You can go to their web page http://www.brehonfamilyservices.org to donate online or send a check to Brehon at: Brehon Family Services P.O. Box 7643 Tallahassee, FL 32314-7643.
If your club, faith group, or civic organization is interested in collecting items for use in the Brehon House, please call us for more information.
For more information please contact Jackie Malone, Executive Director at email@example.com