A 21st Century Journalism Project

Help for the Senseless

In Organizations on April 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

By: ASHLEY GUINYARD

The Boro Women Services are located at 108 High St in Edinboro, PA.

The Boro Women Services keeps a log of stories for clients. For example, a single mother raising 2 kids with 2 jobs was in a steady relationship. One day the mother came home and discovered that her significant other of a couple years realized the relationship was not what he wanted anymore. The mother was left with responsibilities of raising their children. She woke up in the morning fed the kids, wash their clothes and prepared them for school. She received no funding or help from the father. The mother filed for child support but the process takes a while. Because she faced the challenges of single motherhood she went the Boro Women Services for support.

The Boro Women Services is a safe and confidential environment. The Boro Women Services aspires to be a center where women and men are nurtured and enabled to reach their life affirming goals. The Boro Women Services also encourages women as well as men to set goals for the rest of their lives. In addition, the Boro Women Services mission statement states that the establishment is a collaborative Edinboro/Cambridge Springs area organization which provides free and confidential services to educate and empower individuals in making healthy and informed responsible choices. The Boro Women Services are located on 108 High Street in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. The establishment is a non profit organization of the Christian Institute of Human Relations. Bettie Joe Lyons, executive director of the Boro Women Services opened the organization August 3, 2009. Lyons is responsible for overseeing any activity. For example, Lyons personally counsels the women assisting with health and other emotional issues. The Boro Women Services specializes in a number of different things including pregnancy support services, medical needs, crisis support, preventive support and education.

“I have been in this profession for 9 to 10 years,” Lyons said.

 For single mothers who receive help from the Boro Women Services help begins when the women gets pregnant. The Boro Women Services provides an atmosphere of support where women can determine their next step in pregnancy. In addition, The Boro Women Services may provide a variety of items such as clothing, diapers, wipes, and school supplies. Single mother grants and books are not provided by the organization. Single mothers are also assisted by referral to other organizations such as Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) . Also, The Boro Women Services completes referral for childcare, housing, disability, insurance and employment. A program The Boro Women Services request primarily to single mothers is Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS).The Boro Women Services request this program often to mothers to provide a environment of different mothers in the community.

“It is intentional that we do not do everything for the client but just to encourage them enough to join a community, Lyons said. “We assist our clients but we help to build a social structure for a stronger sense of self.”

Assistance continues post pregnancy provided by continual check ups on all clients. Mothers who still need help may continue going to The Boro Women Services via appointment.

“If I needed to talk to her I could always call her anytime of the day,“ Sherri Waters another client of the Boro Women Services said.

Sherri Waters was a junior enrolled at Edinboro University when she found out she was pregnant. Also, in a steady relationship that ended she received no help. Waters turned to The Boro Women Services for guidance. The Boro Women Services provided her unborn daughter multiple requested items such as food and baby items.

“If it was not for her I do not know where I would be today,” Waters said. “Lyons does not believe in abortions, she helped me decide to keep my daughter at a time when I was unsure.”

A year later, Waters and her one year old daughter Cydney still communicates with Lyons. Because Lyons assisted Waters throughout her pregnancy currently she is employed staying in a apartment in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Single motherhood does make some women struggle. According to the 2010 U.S Census Bureau out of approximately 20 million single parentn the United States are single mothers out of which one-third of them live in poverty with their children. Just last year 19.7 percent of United States working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.  Organizations like The Boro Women Services assists to keep women from giving up. The primary way is to start with the short term goals.

“When women come here and they have a bad day I tried to see what their long term goals are but I focus on the short term first,“ said Lyons. “Women who are down can forget the short term which can mess up the long term.”

Lyons understands the circumstances that single moms in the working poor face.

“First and foremost I do not think it is the norm we seek as single parents,” Lyons said. “When you find yourself as a single parent I whole heartedly believe that the child is a gift.

She also raised three children in a steady relationship that ended in divorce. After divorce, she waited to see where the pieces of her life would land.

“I recognize the gift that the child is for that person I also equally recognize the challenges the person going to face,” Lyons said. “It will be the best thing you do and it will also be the hardest thing you ever done but it the end it will be absolutely worth it.

 In order to provide free services for clients fundraisers are held. Donations are always welcome in forms of monetary contributions, baby, and maternity items. In addition, volunteers can offer time to clients with general needs in the Edinboro/Cambridge Springs area. The Boro Women Services welcomes help from the community in order to serve the community better.

Ghering Health and Wellness Center located on Edinboro University’s campus collaborates with The Boro Women Services at different events.

 Although The Boro Women Services assists single mothers they also help with families. A future goal is to work with students at Edinboro University. Ghering Health and Wellness Center located on the university’s campus collaborates with The Boro Women Services at different events. Upcoming April 4, 2012 Ghering will host a annual health fair. The Boro Women Services will provide community outreach to the community regarding information  about their organization.

The Boro Women Services is just one of many organizations that assist single women in the working poor. Pennsylvania is rank number 14 in homelessness in the United States. Organizations like The Boro Women Services provides single mothers with an alternative to struggling.The Boro Women Services is non discriminatory and does not judge based on race, gender, or financial status.

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