TUSTIN, CA, December 13, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- For the first time since Mary's Shelter was founded in 1994, the Orange County nonprofit has adopted a new name, Mary's Path. When it was founded more than 20 years ago, Mary's Shelter was set up as just that - a shelter - a place for troubled teenage girls who were pregnant or recently had a baby. Today, Mary's Path offers far more than just shelter, and its new name reflects the expansive role it plays in the lives of these young girls with traumatic histories.
As Mary's Path unveils its new name, logo, website and mission, it seeks to establish a stronger connection to the local Orange County community and hopes to gain greater visibility as a place where teens in trouble can get a fresh start.
Many of the teens that come to Mary's Path have experienced extreme trauma, abuse and sexual exploitation and trafficking. They come from throughout Southern California, mostly from the foster care system, arriving with little more than hope.
The staff and volunteers at Mary's Path believe that every teen girl, especially if they are pregnant or already have a baby, deserves a safe home and a chance to follow a path where basic concepts such as dignity, respect and love are displayed, and practical lessons leading to self-sufficiency are taught.
In 2016, Mary's Path welcomed a new executive director, Ellen Roy, a former corporate executive who has an unwavering passion for its mission and values. With the board of directors behind her, Roy has two main priorities: first, making changes intended to help the girls begin the path to recovery from their traumas and begin thriving in life, and second, letting the community know that their support is desperately needed.
"The composition of group homes has changed since Mary's Path was founded more than two decades ago," said Roy. "The young girls who come here today have long histories of abuse, have been victims of homelessness, sex trafficking, poverty, neglect and/or other types of trauma while they face an unplanned pregnancy. And more than a third of our residents have experienced homelessness. Our mission to help these girls has not changed, but as we approach 2018, we need to recognize the harsh reality that is facing these girls right here in Orange County."
The Mary's Path administrative office, inside the unmarked group home in North Tustin, sits on a one-acre campus that is comprised of two residences, accommodating up to 18 girls and 12 babies at one time. The girls stay, on average, for six months, and sometimes up to a year. As a nationally accredited fully licensed residential program, Mary's Path provides teen pregnant girls and young mothers a safe family environment with round-the-clock supervision, education, medical and counseling services, a place for spiritual growth, and most importantly, guidance to become a nurturing parent to create families that thrive. The babies that enter Mary's Path are nurtured and cared for while their mothers go to school.
According to the latest report issued by the California Department of Public Health, in 2015, more than 24,000 children were born to California mothers aged 15-19, and 220 children were born to mothers younger than 15 (1). Rates of teen pregnancy are far higher among youth in foster care than among teens overall, creating difficulties for the child welfare system and the teens themselves. Nearly half (48 percent) of teen girls in foster care are pregnant by age 19, compared to 27 percent of teen girls more broadly. Among those transitioning out of foster care, nearly one in six who were not enrolled in higher education cited the need to care for children as the most important reason.(2)
Mary's Path was the vision of one woman, Jan Lindsay, who wanted to make it possible for pregnant girls without adequate family support to choose life for their babies. In 1985, Mary's Path was officially incorporated as a nonprofit with a Board of Directors and the first home, which housed six teens, was purchased. Since opening its doors, Mary's Path has aided more than a thousand teens and their babies.
In this season of giving, Mary's Path welcomes Amazon gift cards of any amount. The nonprofit also welcomes inquiries requiring volunteering, mentoring and donations. Please visit the new website at http://www.MarysPath.org, and like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/maryspath.
About Mary's Path
At Mary's Path, pregnant teens and young mothers, ages 12-18, come to find dignity, learn self-sufficiency and regain hope. The girls, and their babies, find a safe environment in which to heal. A nonprofit, fully licensed residential program, Mary's Path offers child care for babies, and treatment and education programs for the teen mothers to gain self-esteem, overcome trauma and learn parenting skills. Since 1994, Mary's Path has helped more than a thousand girls find a way to break the cycle of hurt -- for themselves and for their babies. For more information, call (714) 730-0930 or visit http://www.MarysPath.org.
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