North Carolina's Belmont Abbey College has opened a residence to help pregnant, college-age women continue their education before and after they give birth.
The residence is run by Room at the Inn, a Catholic non-profit that serves pregnant mothers and their children.
“Many young women in college facing unexpected pregnancies believe they have to give up everything to keep their babies - but they don't,” Jeanine Wray, Room At The Inn’s executive director, said July 16.
“Room At The Inn can give these young women the opportunity to continue their educations, have their babies, make a positive impact on society and fulfill their hopes and dreams.”
The 10,000-square-foot residence opened on July 16. It can house 15 mothers, 15 infants and four toddlers. Each mother has a private bedroom and bathroom. She shares the kitchen, dining room and laundry room with other residents.
The residence is on four acres donated by the Benedictine Monks of Belmont Abbey. It is adjacent to the abbey and the campus of Belmont Abbey College, just outside of Charlotte, N.C.
The residential program provides free room and board for a pregnant mother and her child or children for up to 24 months. It provides material assistance, like baby supplies and furniture, as well as life skills classes, personal guidance, and career counseling.
Staff social workers are available around-the-clock and limited childcare is available.
Wray said many of the young women her organization sees are “frightened” and feel “hopeless and abandoned.”
“Room At The Inn can offer them help, hope and possibilities so by the time they leave, they are more prepared, more mature and ready to take that next big step,” she said.
Expectant mothers must complete an interview and application process before being accepted into the program, which is free of charge.
Program participants are required to be in school, adhere to a curfew, pass room inspections, take life skills classes and engage in scripture study.
Participants do not need to be Catholic or students at Belmont Abbey College.
In 2008, Room at the Inn began a capital campaign to raise $3 million estimated to support the facility. $2.4 million has been raised so far.
Room at the Inn’s website is http://www.rati.org.