I am a single father and when my son was a week old I found myself in a situation I never imagined being in. I developed several mental health disorders, had lost my job, and my son's mother left him in my care. With no family to ask for help, I was referred to the Northwest Center by some friends who told me I could get free diapers there. What my son and I received ended up being far more significant and life-changing. The friendship and compassion the center offered us helped me so much during this difficult time. They helped me navigate my way through the complicated social service system. I had no income and they were able to provide my son with books, toys, clothing, a playpen, diapers...there was even food there, and chairs and shelves for his things at home. They provided me with instructional videos and pamphlets, parenting and safety class information and were able to answer any questions I had about parenting or anything I needed from the city. The staff at the center were always there to just talk and share in my enjoyment during each milestone in our lives. Today, our situation has greatly improved and I can honestly say that we wouldn't be where we are today had it not been for the Northwest Center. I think for the rest of my life, even when my son is grown up, I'll always remember the difficulties that we overcame the first few years of his life and those who helped us. I'll remember that I looked for help in virtually every available place in DC...churches, unemployment services, fatherhood organizations/websites, other centers claiming to offer what the Northwest Center does, disability services, food banks, diaper banks and clothing drives, DC Council-members, Latino organizations, even the Mayor's office. Nobody provided what they claimed to offer except the Northwest Center. Anybody affiliated with government services just went through the motions and provided the bare minimum of what they legally had to...but the Northwest Center genuinely cared about us and I think that's what made the biggest difference. I'm forever grateful to them for all they've done for us and we still visit them often to say hi and now we donate our things for their other clients in need.
I had the opportunity to intern at the Northwest Center the summer of 2012. Before going into it, I really had no idea what to expect, but even after my first day I already got more than I ever anticipated. In the pregnancy center, a first-time client had come in and she was in need of material assistance. I sat-in with the pregnancy center director as the in-take was conducted. The woman was 8-months pregnant and had no spousal or family support for her unborn baby. When asked if she needed a crib, in addition to the other donated baby items we would be giving her (diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers, clothes, blankets), she said yes. We told her she would be able to get a Pack-N-Play crib that day after watching a brief crib safety video, and she was moved to tears. She said before that moment, she did not know where her baby was going to sleep and she was so grateful for the center and all the help she was receiving. That's when I realized the impact the Northwest Center was having on women's lives. That's when I realized it was a good place for me to be. I had a very hard time leaving the center on my last day, and I still volunteer when I can. I tell people how much I loved my internship incessantly and I would recommend the Northwest Center to any mother looking for assistance.
The Northwest Center is extremely helpful in so many ways, as a former resident it is a great place to learn and grow as a responsible adult with exceptional guidance. Susan, the Director of the center is awesome and really takes the time to listen and help in anyway she can, for me personally Susan was there at various court sessions, wrote recommendation for scholarships, helped furnished my apartment when I moved out and most importantly I can still call her at a time of need! I cannot express further how wonderful the program is and I am so grateful to have found a non-profit organization like the Northwest Center! Thanks Again!
I spent the past year serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). JVC provides the platform for men and women to work full-time for peace and justice, while living by the four core values of community, spirituality, simple living, and social justice. My JVC work placement was the Northwest Center. I worked as a Program Assistant, primarily in the Pregnancy Center but helping out upstairs in the Maternity Home as needed. When I began working at the Northwest Center, I hoped to advance the pro-life movement by helping women facing crises pregnancies by providing them with support, knowledge, and most of all, compassion. What I did not expect was the magnitude in which the women I met would impact my own life. Every client that walked through the door of the Northwest Center, in some way, shed light on the sacredness of life. I am so fortunate for my time at the Northwest Center, and I would strongly encourage others to volunteer at the Center.
I'm here at The Northwest Center for more than 2 years and I enjoy helping latin women, giving counsil and orientation about different topics. Health for her and her baby is a priority and we educate the women about fetal development and prenatal health. Emotional health is very important other wise we try to contact with centers that work with this aspect. More times we see families struggling for financial situation and we try to do orientation about jobs and employment, and places were they can find cheaper things. All the time we encourage them to study, begining with ESL, GED and sometimes with orientation in carriers and where to do it. I'm from Colombia so my first language is Spanish and for me it is great to share my skills and knowledge at The Northwest Center.