Permanent Housing for Mothers and their Babies
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Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation joins Northern Children’s Services (formerly Northern Home for Children) as they celebrate the grand opening of Merrick Hall which will be home to formerly homeless teenage mothers and children
Philadelphia, July 31, 2014—When Jon Bon Jovi first stepped on Northern Children’s Services campus about ten years ago, he recognized the beauty in one particular building, Merrick Hall. Today, Merrick Hall opened its doors back up again for the first time at the Grand Opening and Dedication Ceremony.
The relationship between Northern Children Services and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation began back in 2004 when the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team built a beautiful playground on the campus. Throughout the last decade the partnership has continued – culminating in JBJ Soul Foundation’s support of the renovation of Merrick Hall.
“From day one on the campus of Northern Children’s Services some ten years ago, I marveled at the history and hidden beauty of that old building – Merrick Hall,” stated Jon Bon Jovi, Chairman of the JBJ Soul Foundation. “When this project came about, it was a natural fit for us to provide one of the lead donations for this building. It is wonderful to see it now fully restored to glory and in use for such a purposeful cause – addressing the needs of young mothers in this community.”
Not only does Merrick Hall stand for the successful future of the Generations program, it represents the rich history behind the past 161 years of service of Northern Children’s Services. Thanks to this newly renovated building, the organization will be able to change the lives of more young women and children in the community who need it most, just as it was able to do in 1853 for orphans described as “innocent victims of social poverty during an era of unparalleled economic luxury.”
“The (Merrick) building will now expand our capacity to serve the needs of the Generation programs. In addition, it will provide 4 permanent housing units for our homeless Mother/Baby population. This is a tremendous accomplishment for Northern and the community that we serve. I am extremely proud and thankful to our Board of Directors, supporters and donors. Without their support, this would have not been possible,” said Tracey Lavallias, CEO and President of Northern Children’s Service.
A current resident of the Generations program, Brittney, gave a tearful speech to the crowd explaining the significant impact Northern Children’s Services and Generations program has had on the life of her and her son, Rashee.
“With all of this love and support given I was able to graduate from high school on time despite the fact I had my son at a young age. Furthermore, NCS as a team was very helpful and a huge blessing in making my prom a vigilant success,” Brittney said. “Ms. Cherenne (Peoples), Ms. Rasheedah (Small), Ms. Isis (Polard) and Ms. Nakia (Gordon), thank you for never turning your cheek. When times got rough – those times when I felt like giving up – your words of encouragement helped me through.”
For the full press release from this event, please click here
For more information on the Merrick renovation, capital campaign or Northern Children’s Services, please visit their website.