Foundation House Ministries executive director Suzanne Burns painted a picture of life, love and support as she led a tour of the young nonprofit’s new facilities at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting.
Visitors from local nonprofits, city and county governments, churches and the community climbed up the stairs adjacent to Mexi Wing restaurant on Broad Street to satisfy their curiosity and show support.
Burns appreciated the large turnout for the open house.
“Really and truly, it has been a tremendous day. We had close to 40 people when we cut the ribbon,” Burns said. “We have really tried very hard to have a strong presence in the community, long before we opened. We really wanted a strong foundation underneath Foundation House.”
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland stopped by for the ribbon cutting.
“Since the first time Suzanne came to my office a long time ago and shared the dream she had, they’ve made a lot of strides. They’ve come a long way,” Rowland said. “I think their enthusiasm is going to take them even further.”
Burns described the community’s support as a tremendous blessing.
The nonprofit is meant to be a one-year residential training program for women in a crisis pregnancy situation who discover they are without support or means. A partnership between the nonprofit’s internal education system and a network of outside agencies will equip the girls with necessary life and job skills. The goal is to provide each woman an opportunity to “successfully escape poverty and welfare-dependency without intervention.”
The program is separated into two parts.
Pregnant participants will be placed with a host family until the child’s birth. This time living with family will give the participant an opportunity to see how a healthy family operates. The next step will ideally find the ladies and their newborn babes in a mother-child home. According to Burns, the mother-child home, most likely an apartment, will provide a safe place for the mother to learn to stand on her own two feet.
The program’s day center will be open to the ladies for education, counseling and relaxation purposes between breakfast and dinner. Tuesday’s open house allowed guests to walk through the rooms firsthand and see the nursery/counseling room, living room/den, small dining room, a common area, offices and supply room.
According to a pamphlet provided by the nonprofit, Foundation House pledges to provide GED preparation to help participant’s pass high school; ensure “quality” medical care, exercise and nutrition; classes in parenting, budgeting and financial literacy; Bible study; and adoption and family counseling.
Each program participant will find herself involved in a small business to gain secretarial, marketing, website maintenance, customer service and bookkeeping skills. Burns explained Foundation House will create and handle the small business. The goal is for the nonprofit to be self-sustaining through the store’s sales in five years.
As the message of Foundation House Ministries reached the public’s ears, Burns noted a smidgen of confusion. Some people have found it difficult to distinguish the new nonprofit from the well-established New Hope Pregnancy Care Center in town.
New Hope’s mission is to aid both males and females facing a crisis or pregnancy. An education and counseling program is in place to provide necessary resources for individuals interested in learning what it means to be a parent and care for a child. In addition, the three founders desired New Hope to be a place where “women who have already had an abortion, could find nurture and guidance without condemnation.”
Foundation House Ministries deals primarily with females in a crisis pregnancy situation. The program provides housing and a rigorous schedule to equip the women with training to allow them the ability to grow even as they nurture their children.
Burns said she thinks there always will be a certain level of confusion when it comes to the nonprofits because they work with similar populations.
“Foundation House was very much birthed out of New Hope. I volunteered there for eight years. We saw the need. This is where the dream [for Foundation House] came from,” Burns said. “For a place for the girls to get housing, to get job and life skills — things New Hope isn’t designed to do, but yet these girls need.”
Continued Burns, “Foundation House does not work in competition with New Hope, but very much alongside them. We are really working in counterpoint with one another. New Hope is providing the discipleship and parenting skills, and we are providing the life and job training that the girls need so they can stand on their own two feet.”
More information about Foundation House Ministries can be found at foundationhouseministries.org.