Rock-a-Bye Baby

My daughter, Shantel, and I went for our Friday morning volunteer house coverage shift at Maggie’s Place this morning. This was the first “real” shift we’ve had since we completed all our finger printing, orientation, and training sessions. We took a big bag of donations for Maggie’s Place and some valentine cookies and cupcakes for the moms and staff to share.

House coverage is a vital volunteer position. House coverage involves answering the phone, receiving donations, enforcing house rules, and responding to any situations or emergencies that occur in the house while the staff members are conducting other business. Most importantly, house coverage involves being present with the moms, hanging out, chatting about their days, hearing their life stories, and building friendships!

In addition to the main house coverage duties listed above, the house coverage volunteers complete room checks All moms are required to be up, dressed, and have their rooms ready for inspection by 9:00 a.m Monday-Friday. The on duty staff member or volunteer completes the room checks and signs off the mom by checking off the chore completed box (if the room looks good). If the room doesn’t pass inspection, the box is left blank which can result in disciplinary action by a staff member. Room doors must be open when the moms are not in the room with their babies. If the door is closed when the mom is not in the room with her baby the mom receives an empty chore check box for the day as well. This is to help the moms (many of which were homeless before coming to Maggie’s Place)  learn how to care for their own personal space, learn how to follow rules, and to encourage them to come to the “community room” and socialize with the other moms, staff, and volunteers.

Another routine duty the house coverage person provides is giving tours of Maggie’s place to anyone bringing in donations or anyone interested in becoming a volunteer.

One point of interest is: All medications for the moms needs to be kept in the office. When a mom needs some kind of medication, she needs to ask the on duty volunteer or staff member. We find the bag with her name on it (if it’s a prescription) or the bottle (if over-the-counter) hand it to her and watch her take the medication. For legal reasons, we are not allowed to dispense medications. However, because some of the moms may be recovering addicts, they are not allowed to keep medications of any kind in their personal possession or in their rooms.

One of the most impressive things I think Maggie’s Place has in place for the moms, and Alumnae moms, is they all have the opportunity to work for items they need. For example: Moms and Alumnae moms can schedule working hours within the house or Maggie’s Thrift Store. The moms make a written request for the items they need, i.e. diapers, baby wipes, baby cloths, etc. then, a staff member will determine how many work hours each item requires. This allows the mom to earn what then need instead of making them feel like they are just getting handouts. I think that is a great idea, don’t you?

Today, during my house coverage shift with Shantel, we answered phones, took in donations, and we were both baby sitters for two of the moms. Shantel fed and cared for her baby just like she has been doing this forever. Her baby laughed and cooed all the while. My little precious angel baby was a bit more on the fussy side…I rocked, sang, walked, bounced, fed, and changed her but nothing seemed to make her happy…I did learn from my baby’s mom, that the baby is always like that and in fact she had a doctor’s appointment today to see if they can find out what is making the baby so uncomfortable. My heart went out to the mom because it was obvious she was exhausted. In addition, she told me all the other babies were for the most part happy once they were fed or changed. She kept saying “I hope my baby settles down soon and lets me get some much-needed rest. Her baby is just one month old. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her baby was acting just like my oldest daughter, Katie, Shantel’s biological mother, and she never stopped crying for 13 months! I think it’s better that the moms find out things like that for themselves…:)

Shantel and I both agreed our first “real” house coverage at Maggie’s Place was a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to next Friday when we can go and do it all again.

Stay Tuned!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lou
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 03:09:54

    You and Shantel are saints!


  2. gotham girl
    Feb 12, 2013 @ 04:01:53

    An absolutely fantastic idea! Loved reading about your responsibilities! So admire you both…so much. xoxo MORE!


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