CARTHAGE The board of directors of the Christian maternity home in the village has a new leader.
Ruth E. Chapin, former community partners coordinator for Carthage Area Hospital, recently became president of the Brook Haven House board.
While working at the hospital, Mrs. Chapin met a Brook Haven House board member and was asked to serve on the advisory board. For the past two years she has been on the board, serving as secretary for the past year.
I became acquainted with the ministry of Brook Haven House and believe it to be a worthy cause, Mrs. Chapin said. I have been involved previously in various agencies in the community that dealt with health and educational issues and have worked as both a nurse and a teacher. Two of my four children are adopted, and there have been single mothers in my family, so I am aware of the struggles experienced by young women who find themselves pregnant and without the resources to manage on their own.
Mrs. Chapin sees a genuine need for a maternity house in the north country, as evidenced by the number of women who have taken advantage of its services. According to House Mom Joan Sherwood, about 30 to 35 women have passed through the homes doors since its opening in 2003.
During her year in office, Mrs. Chapin hopes to make more people aware of the facility.
I hope to expand our visibility in the community, so that any young woman who is pregnant and in need of a place to live is at least aware of the option of coming to Brook Haven House. Staying visible in the community will also help us to maintain the contributions by individuals and churches which are essential to our survival, she said.
There are plans for publication of a Brook Haven House Cookbook, which will be sold to raise money for the maternity home. The cookbooks should be ready for sale around Mothers Day.
The organization has various fundraisers throughout the year to help defray costs of running the home, most notably the annual golf tournament. The fifth annual tourney is planned for June at Cedars Golf Course in Lowville.
Besides raising money for normal operating expenses, the home needs to replace the van it uses to transport residents and their children.
The maternity home has a Facebook page, which the new president said gives those interested in our ministry a way of keeping up with our activities.
The nonprofit, nondenominational ministry began in 1993 as Hope Hotline Inc. After expanding the mission, the name was changed in 1997 to Brook Haven House Inc., a place for new beginnings, and a maternity home at 423 State St. was opened in 2003. Pregnant women 18 and older are allowed to stay at the home until their child is a year old.
To learn more about Brook Haven House, check out the Facebook page, call 493-1735 or visit its website at www.brookhavenhouse.org.