BENEFITING: Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Oct 26, 2014
My name is Heather Davies Keim, and I work for Casa Myrna, a Boston-based non-profit that delivers solutions to end domestic and dating violence. Casa Myrna provides:
- Three Boston-based shelters for women, teens and children who are homeless and in crisis due to domestic and/or family violence.
- A holistic range of bilingual English/Spanish supportive services to help women and teens in crisis rebuild their lives, including legal advocacy, parenting education, counseling, housing search and stabilization, economic empowerment education and assistance accessing educational/workforce development programs.
- SafeLink hotline (877-785-2020), the only statewide, 24/7, multilingual domestic violence hotline in Massachusetts.
- Education, outreach and public awareness campaigns on mass transit systems statewide about domestic and dating violence.
On October 26, 2014, I will be running the Green Stride Newburyport Half Marathon to raise money to support the ongoing operation of Casa Myrna’s Teen Parenting Program (TPP).
For the last twenty years, the Casa Myrna TPP has served pregnant and parenting teens made homeless by domestic violence, and it is the only program of its kind in Massachusetts. TPP provides a safe, empowering, home-like environment where teen parents from all over Massachusetts can work to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency by pursuing their education and professional goals with the help of Casa Myrna’s comprehensive range of supportive services.
Having worked at Casa Myrna for the last four years, I have personally witnessed the tremendous, life-changing differences that TPP has made in the lives of its teen residents and their children.
Trinity, a 21 year-old mother of an energetic three-year-old son who lives by the mantra “to make things better for the future, you have to make things better now,” is a shining example of the resiliency and strength evident among so many teen parents at TPP. After enduring significant family trauma as well as physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her son’s father, Trinity needed a safe place to live. She came to TPP. Since then, she has successfully graduated from high school and will be starting college in the Fall, excited about studying Economics.
Trinity’s story is not unique. Teen parents at the Casa Myrna TPP often juggle multiple commitments, such as school, part-time work, and program activities, with grace and confidence. Last year, 100% of our teen residents achieved their personal and professional goals.
Since its founding in 1993, the Casa Myrna TPP has operated with the support of public and private donors. This year, however, Casa Myrna received a serious financial blow from one of TPP’s major government funders. As of September, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) will end its support of TPP, effectively cutting off over $300,000, or half of TPP’s annual budget.
This decision is rooted in DCF’s desire to support organizations that facilitate family reunification. While Casa Myrna understands and respects the importance of family reunification, this is not a viable option for the teens at TPP. For the safety of its residents, Casa Myrna’s TPP program is confidential. Being in contact with their abusers would gravely jeopardize the physical and emotional safety of TPP’s teens and their children.
For this reason, Casa Myrna is committed to preserving the integrity of TPP’s mission and will continue to provide safe and confidential services to pregnant and parenting teen survivors of domestic violence. But in order to continue, Casa Myrna needs your help!
Any and all donations are very appreciated. Thank you!