by Erin Pittman
Sponsored by Carried to Full Term
The yellow house at 6740 Fayette Street in Haymarket may look like an ordinary home from the outside, but inside, you’ll find much more than your typical family. Carried To Full Term, a charitable maternity home, rents the home and runs their program for homeless, pregnant women within.
Executive Director and founder Frances Robin made this dream of helping pregnant women experiencing homelessness a reality in June of 2016 when she opened the doors to the first program participant.
“First and foremost, I realized we had to address the crisis of homelessness,” said Robin.
The Carried To Full Term program’s initial goal was to provide long-term housing for pregnant women and help them become self-sufficient and independent.
“Our goal was to teach them skills and provide tools and resources to help them achieve their goals,” said Robin. “But what we realized was they needed more.”
Robin said there were systems the women had used in everyday life that were making becoming independent more challenging than originally thought.
“These are adults we are dealing with, and they are very set and seasoned in their ways. We had to introduce them to a very structured program from waking to going to bed and acclimate them to the process of thinking differently,” she said.
The program shifted slightly to incorporate more education to help them break the cycles of poverty and allow the moms to become successful long-term. And though the women live very structured lives, the home is full of warmth, love and support.
“You can feel it the minute you walk in,” said Robin. “It’s such a warm, caring environment with a massive support group in this home.”
Currently there are five children and four mothers living in the home. The program has helped 17 mothers since it began, and a total of eight babies have been born into the unique program. Carried To Full Term is an independent non-profit and receives no state or grant funding.
“We rely heavily on the community for help. We fundraise throughout the year and receive so much assistance from churches, community groups and individuals,” said Robin.
A mere 10 to 15 percent of funds raised go to staff salaries and stipends, with the remaining funds going directly to supporting the mothers and children in the home. For this reason, Carried To Full Term also relies heavily on volunteers — including house mothers, drivers and mentors.
The organization has celebrated one mother graduating to phase two, where she lives in a temporary home and pays a small fee.
“We help them move on gradually, so they don’t default to their old ways. This gives them a chance to put into practice what they have learned and allow it to become their new response,” said Robin.
Carried To Full Term is hosting their annual “Life Is a Gift” gala on Dec. 7 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas from 7:00 to 11:00 p. m., and will feature a series of events.
“Our graduate will be speaking and sharing her story of how she is now living on her own with her daughter and has a full-time job and a car of her own,” said Robin. “We will also have a guest speaker, a feature speaker, a group presentation, as well as dinner and dancing.”
In addition to the entertainment and dancing, attendees can also participate in the well-stocked silent auction and bid on items such as trips to New York City and the Outer Banks, spa days and wreaths made by each of the mothers. This year’s theme is “Every Baby Deserves a Home.” Tickets are $75 per person or $140 per couple and can be purchased online through the Carried To Full Term website.