We started National Capital Doulas because we’re passionate about helping women and their families through the rollercoaster ride of becoming parents. We understand that not everyone can afford to hire a doula. Our belief in support through pregnancy and parenting and our wish to give back to our community brought us to St. Mary’s Home.
St. Mary’s Home provides shelter, food, medical care, programming and support for vulnerable women and their babies. Last week NCD owners, Amie Scharfe and Danielle James, had the pleasure of touring the St. Mary’s Home and their drop in facilities, and speaking with Amanda Beatch, the Residential Director.
Founded about 80 years ago, St. Mary’s is a non-profit social services organization providing support to young parents under 25 years of age. Despite the name, St. Mary’s is not affiliated with any church and provides support to women and families from all backgrounds and walks of life.
The residence is home to up to 14 women and their babies. Some women arrive there pregnant and others arrive shortly after their babies are born. The home is a safe place where they can learn parenting skills, receive pre and postnatal care, access public health, breastfeeding support and counselling services. Women can live in the residence until their babies are 8 months old, with most moms staying until their babies are about 4 months old.
Located nearby, the drop in centre provides a weekly food bank, programming for moms and dads, nutrition classes, free hot meals, counselling services, play groups, a medical clinic, and even high school classes for young parents. The drop in centre provides a variety of services to over 500 families in our community. All services offered by the outreach centre are bilingual and multicultural, as is the care at the residence.
We loved how warm and inviting both the residence and the drop in centre are. Bright colours, comfortable furniture and photos and art work make St. Mary’s feel like a home, like a community. But what really came across during our visit was how passionate and caring the staff were. We were so happy to have the opportunity to meet some of the young moms and see the wonderful support St. Mary’s Home provides to young families. We’re happy to lend our support and look forward to continuing to do so.