Making the Dream Real
Healthy Babies Project's Perennial Transitional House welcomes new resident
Washington, D.C., August 28, 2013 – On Thursday, August 15, 2013, Perennial Transitional House welcomed its newest six-pound, eight-ounce resident. Izaiah Sean, meaning “God is salvation, God is grace,” is the first baby born to Healthy Babies Project’s (HBP) Perennial Transitional House.
For mother Christell (name changed to protect identity), the journey that lead to HBP was inundated with domestic violence, emotional abuse, periods of homelessness (including a one-month stint at DC's Union Station), and numerous rejections by area shelters and programs.
Christell was left feeling that she had lost all hope in herself, others, and the world in general. She says of her experience, "Success was just a word that could only grace the lips of those around me, but never mine."
Then, on a hot summer day and six-months pregnant, Christell found refuge:
On July 8, 2013, I moved into Healthy Babies Project's Perennial Transitional House. That day forever changed my life. That was the day that sparked the end of the abuse, pain, fears, and the sadness. It was the day that my unborn son received a fighting chance. Healthy Babies Project and the Perennial Transitional House have lifted me up and showed me that I was a living, breathing human being that is appreciated, adored, and respected. Healthy Babies Project has shown me that though my journey as a young mother was going to be long and hard at times, success is always on the horizon. I am renewed."
Named in honor of major partner Perennial Strategy Group and its Founder and CEO, Lamell McMorris, Perennial Transitional House prepares at-risk women to put down strong roots in parenting, life skills, health, and careers -- skills to last a lifetime, just as a perennial plant flourishes year after year.
McMorris, a lifelong advocate for the less fortunate, has served as mentor and role model to HBP teen parents, regularly sharing his inspirational journey with them from an upbringing in poverty by a single mother on Chicago's South side to the leader of Perennial -- one of D.C.'s most influential strategic advisory firms.
“After hearing Christell’s story on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, I can’t help but be reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr’s words, ‘With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope,’” stated McMorris. “Too many young women can identify with Christell’s story, but when we rally behind these families with our time and support, we give hope. Izaiah Sean has a chance at life because his mother dared to dream.”
In celebration of Izaiah Sean’s birth day, and in honor of this historic anniversary, McMorris encourages supporters to contribute a monetary gift to HBP’s Perennial Transitional House. Donations can be made online, or by calling (202) 396-2809.
As Christell simply states, “All I needed was just to have someone say that they saw me and not because they wanted to wrong me but to help, support, and love me. HBP was what I needed. It wasn’t just someone, it was a family who was and is there for me and my son.”
ABOUT HEALTHY BABIES PROJECT
Healthy Babies Project has served the District (particularly its most at-risk in Wards 5 and 6) with the mandate to save infants’ lives, reduce D.C.’s dangerously high rates of low birth weight and infant illness, move disadvantaged teen parents out of the cycle of poverty, and reduce teen pregnancy. For more than two decades, HBP has canvassed the community, reaching out to high-risk, low-income, pregnant and parenting women, men and families and bringing them to care. The agency has achieved tremendous strides and more as a key partner in reducing target population D.C. infant mortality by two-thirds and teen pregnancy by 76%.
Opened in 2013 by HBP, Perennial Transition House provides a safe haven shelter for homeless, pregnant teenagers to so they can have a place to lay their heads, prepare to give birth, continue their education, and transition to independent living, thereby serving many more generations in the months and years to come.