DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- A maternity home in Dubuque is celebrating its fifth year of helping mothers in need.
Jodi Kurimski (left) and Kelsey Monahan (right) go through a lesson at Mary's Inn Maternity Home in Dubuque on Thursday, January 9, 2020. (Allison Wong, KCRG)
Mary's Inn provides a safe place for pregnant women or new moms to prepare for birth and raise their children. Since 2015, it's 27 women and their babies.
Colleen Pasnick, Director of Mary's Inn, says she and two other women started the home out of necessity.
"We had heard a few years ago, back in 2012, of three teenagers who were pregnant and who were told by their parents to either have an abortion or get out," Pasnik said. "And we didn’t realize there was no place in the community for a minor to go.”
After research and discussions with local nonprofits, the women bought a home and began offering this service.
The home can serve up to four women and their children at a time. Currently, there's just one resident, Kelsey Monahan. She's waiting to deliver her first child, a girl. Monahan says finding this home was a "lifesaver."
“I was homeless and I had an addiction, and I found out I was pregnant," she said. "I called and met Colleen."
She's been living at Mary's Inn since June. The staff helps her get to appointments and teach classes Monday through Friday. Topics range from pregnancy stages to car seat safety. Monahan also took a cooking class.
Jodi Kurimski is a member of the house staff. Her main job is to help women find permanent housing, but she wears many hats.
"We’re open 24/7, 365 days a year so there are many things we do around here, but I feel like one of my most important jobs here is to just form relationships and make connections," Kurimski said.
When new babies are brought into the home, she helps mothers with those late-night feedings and diaper changes as well.
What fuels all of this work is faith. Pasnik says, "the program tries to address body, mind, and spirit."
There are bible studies and devotionals, but Pasnik says the program is for everyone.
She said, “We don’t make anyone convert, we don’t make anyone baptize their babies, but we do want to present to them that God’s an option and He loves them and has a plan for them.”
Monahan is thankful for all the support she's received, especially in staying sober. She plans to stay for two years after her baby is born.
"I want to go to Capri while I'm here and just get my life back together," she said.