Casa Vincentia Up Date Newsletter
Casa Vincentia Residence for Homeless Pregnant Women
3210 62 Avenue ¨Oakland, CA 94605
510-729-0316 - Fax 510-729-0319 Email address - [email protected]
questions please call me or volunteer, Laurie Lawson at(510) 729-0316
When Prayers Go Up - Blessings Come DownPrayerand Praise Brings Victory
For over 25 years, CasaVincentia has served as a, sanctuary, shelter, safe place and a refuge. A place……for prayer, counsel, rejuvenation andsafety from negative influences and a guiding light for homeless pregnant women18-25 years of age, who are seeking shelter for themselves and their unbornchild. This life-saving organization was founded by the late sister Maureen Webb, her visionwas to preserve the life of our unborn children; and to give children a healthystart in life by establishing a loving and nurturing environment that promotesthe dignity of both mother and child. Sister Maureen realized that womenwere having abortions as an alternative to becoming homeless.
It has been proven that homelessness is particularly devastatingfor expectant mothers, as well as women with children. According to a study bythe American Journal of Psychiatry, homeless mothers is triple the rate ofpost-traumatic stress disorder, as well as twice the rate of both drug andalcohol dependence and depression, in comparison to low-income women withstable housing. After 25years Casa Vincentia’s home is being taken away The Roman Catholic Welfare has asked Casa Vincentia tovacate the building based on the probability of an earthquake. In an effort tobe pro-active we were able to determine that Case Vincentia is fully insured inthe event of an earthquake. It was also investigated and determined that assevere as the Loma Prieta earthquake was we did not sustain any damage duringsuch a catastrophic earthquake. We are grateful that The Roman Catholic Welfareallowed Casa to occupy the building with no mention of rent 2007 - 2012. Casa wrote a letter to The Roman Catholic Welfare, asking them toprayerfully reconsider their request in honor of right-to-life. I believe thatCasa Vincentia’s life saving journey is essential to our mission as Christians. I further believe there is a vital need in the Oakland community for a shelterthat is centrally located and focused on pregnant homeless women who choose toprotect the life of their unborn child.
Casa Vincentia is located in an area of Oakland that is in walking distance to social services and various other resources that is imperative to our residents. Casa Vincentia’s location represents an area of familiarity for the mothers who come seeking shelter. Living in an area of familiarity relieves stress, including the feeling of isolation. Additionally, the mothers are less-likely to experience post-traumatic stress. Also being near family membersoften leads to family reunification after the birth of the child. You may say there are other shelters located in the Eastbay for homeless expectant mothers, however, Casa Vincentia allows the mother to stay months beyond the birth her child. Other shelters offer very little time, if any, after the birth of a child. Casa is concerned about the mother and child during pregnancy, as well as after birth. Therefore, after birth we continue giving mothers guidance, an opportunity to complete her education and/or find stable housing. Our motto at Casa is… Welfare is a stepping stone, not a resting place… and that abstinence plus education equals independence and success. It is our spiritual responsibility to provide for the poor and togive of ourselves for the betterment of others. I do not just give this statement lip service, as the director, I have for many years sacrificed mysalary to enable Casa Vincentia to remain open, and to this date I do not takea full salary.
Note: I am the only paid staff person. But, I do not and will not complain because I know that I am on a life-saving journey. Casa Vincentia has shared the following story with you before, but it is a story that touched our hearts and it symbolizes the plight of homelessmothers. Also it is a testimony that dictates the necessity of our life giving mission…
A homeless pregnant young lady came to us who never knew her parents; she was raised in the foster care system. After turning 18 years of age, she was nolonger welcome in her foster care home. In search of a home and someone to loveher, she became pregnant. Because of her refusal to have an abortion, again she found herself homeless and without someone to love her. After going from shelter toshelter and being asked to leave due to the shelter’s length-of-stay rule, orbecause she was absolutely terrified of the shelter's clientele. This young woman began thinking that having an abortion may be her only hope. As she sat crying in the park, a previous resident gave her Casa Vincentia’s phone number. The existence of Casa Vincent was surely a blessing to this young mother! Casa Vincentia’s Residents Express Their Appreciation for Casa Vincentia… “Not only does Casa not feel like a shelter, it is a spiritual atmosphere and it feels like a home for my daughter and me.”
Shenelle: My life before Casa Vincentia was worrying, worrying, worrying. All I did was worry, about the baby inside of me and about the environment shewould be born into.I am very thankful for a place like Casa. Not only does Casa not feel like a shelter, it is a spiritual atmosphere and it feels like a home for my daughter and me. It is a blessing just to be in a clean, safe, peaceful and loving home. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Ms. Jackson is allowing my daughter and me stay at Casa while I continue my education and look for affordable independent housing. Being at Casa has given me self-esteem and dignity as a mother. I amthankful to Ms. Jackson and supporters for a place called Casa Vincentia.It would be a sad time if Casa was not here for other mothers. I know Ican speak for other residents Casa is truly a safe place to be. We can cook our own meals and we have our own room and a hug whenever we need one. Now that I am here life is better! I am happy to be a resident of Casa Vincentia.
Brionna: Before coming to Casa Vincentia I was staying in a very unsuitable environment, a place that a child should never be born into. It was blessing that with my sister’s help I found Casa and was accepted right away after an interview. Since being here I now feel I can prepare for the arrival my baby. Casa Vincentia is a peaceful and cozy environment. I have my own room, pretty simple house chores, rules and a reasonable curfew. Nowthat I am here life is better! I am happy to be a resident of Casa Vincentia. “***************“Casa is reallya blessing, the shelter I was in before coming to Casa would not allow me toreturn after the birth son.”
Jerricka: My life before Casa Vincentia was very unstable and unpredictable. All my supposedly friends were gone. I was depressed and life was very stressful, which sent me red flags about my pregnancy. Thanks to Casa Vincentia I feel very encouraged about my life and most importantly being a mother to my unborn son. I am hopeful that my life will be back on track with no worry bythe time my son is born. It is comforting to be with 5 other young ladies in my same situation; I am not alone. Casa is really a blessing, the shelter I was in before coming to Casa would not allow me to return after the birth son. “***************" Casa is a place where I can get myself to together and learn to be independent and self-sufficient.”
Natashia: If I was not a residentat Casa Vincentia, I honestly do not know where I would be. I know I did notwant to continue a life of shelter to shelter or pillar-to-post throughout my pregnancy. What it comes down to, I wanted a stable place to lay my head. Casa is a place where I can get myself totogether and learn to be independent and self-sufficient. “***************“Thank God for Casa Vincentia! Before I foundCasa I was staying at another shelter where I was sleeping on the floor.”
Nakia: Thank God for Casa Vincentia! Before I found Casa I was staying at another shelter where I was sleeping on the floor. I am thankful because, now I have my own room and a bed in an environment that shares hugs and love and respect for all the mothers.
Thank You Caring…Our Christmas Was Amazing
“Ms.Jackson was like Santa and his elves working long hours. She was working withour daily needs and later we found out she was also preparing for our surpriseChristmas party. Ms. Jackson asked for a wish list, for an angel tree andothers. It took me and other residents some time to take her request serious,she kept reminding us how blessed we are.
Wow! TheChristmas party made me and other residents cry. We all got new gifts and lotsof them; we even got what we ask for and new gifts for our unborn baby. Icannot speak for other residents, but coming from a foster care home I alwaysgot used things for Christmas and my foster care mother’s children got newstuff. I felt really bad because my attitude was not good, Ms. Jackson didn’talways have anybody helping her and she still did all this for us. Ms. Jacksontold us that all the gifts were donated by Casa Vincentia’s supporters who careabout us. Thank you supporters, we are all grateful and your caring got me workingon a better attitude.”
From the Executive Director, Barbara Jackson
The last year has been a challenging journey. Myburdens were heavy, trying to stay on top of things (although some fell through the cracks, i.e., timely thank you(s) for which Iapologize). Being the only staff person, my first priority was and is to our residents and the babies.
After relentless prayer, I was blessed with some wonderful volunteers. I can see the light shinning in the midst. I attribute this light to the Lord touching our supporters who showered Casa Vincentia with their prayers, in-kind and financial donations. I truly believe that when prayers and praises go up blessings come down. Thank you!
Now the light is flickering trying to go out since The Roman Catholic Welfare has asked Casa to vacate the building. I donot know the answer to Casa Vincentia’s dilemma, but one thing I do know is that God is the creator of the universe and all the land there in belongs to Him, He is the CEO of life and He is the Beginning and the End. So I will standon my faith believing that the Lord will provide. I am asking for your prayers believing in His word that, where two or three are gathered together in agreement in His name, He will be in the midst. I am also asking for your continued support, words of encouragement and any accommodating ideas.
Goods news… Through a newly developed relationship Casa Vincentia plans to begin giving on-site infant CPR and infant care classes.
In closing I would like to share Psalm 41:1-Blessed is he that considers the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. I believe Casa Vincentia will be delivered, because our mission aswell as the Roman Catholic Welfare is to consider the poor.
As I stated in the previous newsletter: Itis essential to the preservation of life that we do not allow our mission to collapse and doors to be closed to homeless pregnant women in need. We are the voice for unborn children; and it is vital that we continue to be a voice.
The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!
If you have not received your thank you letter or if you have any questions please call me or volunteer, Laurie Lawson at(510) 729-0316 or send a note to: 3210 62 Avenue, Oakland, CA94605.