‘It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child’: Maggie’s Place works to improve knowledge about parenting – AZCentral.com
Specialty license plates that help fund child abuse prevention programs across Arizona have been available for purchase since 1999.
This summer, 16 Arizona non-profits shared $425,000 in grants from the “It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child” specialty license plate program.
The license plate program was started in 1999 as a joint effort between The Arizona Republic/azcentral.com, the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family and the Arizona Community Foundation. Since then, more than $9 million has been distributed to agencies working to prevent child abuse and neglect.
The license plates are $25, $17 of which goes to the agencies. Get your plate at servicearizona.com.
This series takes a closer look at the work being done by the non-profits. Featured today: Maggie’s Place.
Providing a welcoming place
Grant amount: $20,000. 602-246-3724, maggiesplace.org
When Aretha Nash found out she was pregnant, she was in a “dark place.”
“I was really pretty hopeless. I was abusing alcohol and drugs, I broke the lease on my apartment, I lost my job,” she said. “The moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I had to pretty much stop everything that I was doing and it was no longer about me.”
Nash’s pastor referred her to Maggie’s Place, founded in 2000 by a group of women who wanted to help pregnant and parenting women in need. It operates six homes across Arizona in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale and Mesa and one home in Parma, Ohio. Guests must be at least 18 years old and can join anytime during their pregnancy. They are able to stay until their child is nine months old, but cannot have any other dependent children.
Breaking the cycle
“When I came here, the moment I got here, there was so much love. It was overwhelming. I was very emotional about it,” Nash said. “They showed me my room and everything and when they left me to unpack and settle in, I sat there very emotional and I cried. I thanked God. I knew that I was in a safe place.”
Nash, who is due later this year, said Maggie’s Place is helping her break her family’s cycle. She said she comes from a past of drug addiction and “brokenness.”
“I’m here, I’m growing, and healing is a huge thing,” she said. “I am definitely very confident that my daughter will have a parent who will be able to be there to fight for her, to have things that I never had. She deserves that and I deserve that.”
Improving knowledge about parenting
Kathryn Snyder was more hesitant about coming to Maggie’s Place. She found Maggie’s Place online when she moved to Arizona from North Carolina a few months ago because she was looking for a supportive community. Also due later this year, Snyder said she wanted to make sure she was “on the path to success” before her son is born.
“I was just cautious because it was a new environment that I wasn’t familiar with,” she said. “It was rent free and sounded so good, and I had doubts that it was what it said it was.”
However, Snyder said she would tell other moms to give it a shot.
“It’s a very supportive community and a safe and healthy environment,” she said. “My favorite part is that we can get on our feet and really set ourselves on the path to success.”
Chief program officer Julie Carlberg said they provide counseling, family therapy and resources to help improve knowledge about parenting.
“We really work to help pregnant and parenting women reach their goals and become self-sufficient, and we do it through a way that really provides them with love and support,” she said.
‘Don’t give up’
They offer various programs, such as strengthening families, infant safety, infant brain development, a healthy relationship support group, as well as material resources, such as bus passes, clothing and toiletries.
Carlberg said providing these resources is one way to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
“It all starts with parenting and addressing where that parenting is coming from. If you can’t get a mom to deal with past hurts, it’s just going to be passed down and the cycle will keep going,” she said.
Another important factor is being open to help: “There’s a lot of help out there. Don’t give up. You have to make yourself vulnerable to receive the help needed.”
The “It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child” grant program is primarily funded by the sale of the specialty license plate. Get yours at servicearizona.org. Additional funds are provided by the BHHS Legacy Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the Valley of the Sun United Way.
SRP presents: ‘Saving Arizona’s Kids’
What it is: SRP presents an evening celebrating the spirit of family with stories from the men and women making a difference in the lives of Arizona’s most vulnerable children. Also: An education fair with local agencies working to prevent child abuse and neglect.
When: Monday Oct. 16. Education fair, 5-7 p.m. Storytelling, 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. thevanburenphx.com.
Buy tickets: tickets.azcentral.com.
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