A Boutique Where Dreams Are Made
Brigid’s Crossing Volunteer Robin Marion Encourages Young Mothers to Believe in Themselves
Robin Marion had just finished sharing her powerful life story in a group session with teenage mothers at Catholic Charities’ Brigid’s Crossing shelter, beginning with the discovery of her own pregnancy at 16 and ending with a description of the fulfilling life she has built for herself.
One of the young women quietly asked if she would be willing to come back. Marion answered instinctually: “Of course I will.”
Since that day, Marion has become a loyal volunteer, routinely helping to manage Brigid’s Boutique, an incentive store offering clothing and essentials. Items are paid for by “Boutique Bucks”, earned by helping with various tasks around the house.
Marion also brings a warm, comforting presence to the informal independent living skills group she runs with the girls. She knows firsthand the surreal challenge of being both a mother and a growing teenager—a world where math homework and diaper changing compete for one’s time, where sleepless Friday nights are often spent singing lullabies.
Immediately after learning she was pregnant, Marion’s parents kicked her out. She slept on different friends’ couches each week without a place to call home before eventually getting an apartment with the father of her child, who is now her husband of almost 30 years.
“I look at these young moms and I see different parts of myself and my experience in all of them,” said Marion. “I want to pay it forward and help them navigate their own path––help them enjoy the things they deserve to during this chapter in their lives.”
One resident wanted to return to high school but was afraid of what that may bring. Marion helped her make a pro and con list, discussing the worst and best-case scenarios for each potential course of action. Marion coached another young woman through getting a drivers’ license.
“I wish I would’ve had somebody to say, ‘Well, this worked for me. This didn’t work for me. Have you tried this?’” said Marion.
One young woman remained guarded around Marion and the other residents for several months. Marion responded by simply offering a warm, caring presence. Over time, the girl grew more comfortable and today plays a leadership role in the house, counseling mothers who are new to the program and encouraging the other residents to pursue their unique goals.
A few weeks ago, this young woman handed Marion a card. Inside was a message that said it all:
‘Thank you, Robin.’ it read. ‘You are the best part of my day.’
Ways to Support the Mothers at Brigid’s Crossing
Brigid’s Boutique accepts donations, with clothing, personal hygiene items, and beauty products among the most needed items. To learn about more ways to help or volunteer, please contact Johanna Ford-Hunt, Program Director at Brigid’s Crossing, at email@example.com.
Brigid’s Crossing serves young parents and families. The team at Brigid’s assists young parents to learn the value of responsibility and independence while helping them to achieve their goals. During their stay young parents receive assistance with educational placements, securing daycare resources for their child or children, parenting support and instruction, life skills training, medical resources, mental health care, and housing search assistance. Young parents are referred to this program through the Departments of Transitional Assistance and Children and Families.