Permanent Housing for Mothers and their Babies
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Philadelphia, June 7, 2012—Northern Children’s Services proudly marked the beginning of construction to completely renovate Merrick Hall, the oldest building on its six-acre campus, at a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday, June 4. The project also includes the construction of new permanent housing for homeless teenage mothers and their children. The festivities were sponsored by Wawa, Inc., whose partnership with the agency spans 25 years and represents contributions of close to $1 million. Wawa President Chris Gheysens presented a $430,000 check at the ceremony in support of the Merrick project.
The newly renovated three-story Merrick Hall will encompass 15,000 square feet of residential space that will double the number of mothers and babies served, including service to pregnant teens. The building will include both transitional and permanent housing in a supportive living environment for the families.
Craig Spencer, Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, spoke of the foundation’s relationship with the agency and announced its $100,000 commitment, specifically to support the permanent housing portion of the project. The Honorable Curtis Jones, Jr., City Councilman for the 4th District in Philadelphia, also attended the ceremony and extended greetings and congratulations.
In addition to the groundbreaking, the agency announced its new name, Northern Children’s Services. “Over the years, our organization has evolved greatly from a refuge and respite for children that was founded in 1853, to the comprehensive social service agency it is today,” says Tracey Lavallias, President and CEO, Northern Children’s Services. “Our name change to Northern Children’s Services reflects our core mission and response to the emerging needs of the children we serve and allows us to more effectively work throughout the region.”
Today, Northern Children’s Services is the oldest residential facility in Philadelphia and continues to assist children and families to achieve their maximum psychological, social and economic potential, while fully respecting the dignity and worth of each individual and the integrity of the family. “Although our name and logo have changed, our commitment to keeping children safe, strengthening families, and providing high quality services in the most compassionate, professional and cost effective environment of excellence remains the same,” says Lavallias.
For more information on the Merrick renovation, capital campaign or Northern Children’s Services, please visit their website.