Today I had the great honor of driving to Milwaukie to meet with Valerie Aschbacher, the Board President of Madonna’s Center.
Madonna’s Center is a nonprofit devoted to meeting the essential needs of Clackamas County teen parents and their children (up to age 5).
Valerie sat with me for two hours to chat about the history and ambitions of the organization and its varied service to the courageous youth who have chosen to have, keep, and raise their infants.
Their offices are two rooms in a business center — one room looks like an office with desks, computers, and a conference table. The other room is home base for the twice weekly Visitation Volunteers who respond to the services and supplies requests of teen parents. Everything from diapers and diaper rash cream to parenting books and baby blankets.
Valerie said when the organization started (in the 2004-2005 time frame; it’s official launch was Sept. 8, 2005) everything was run out of people’s homes, garages, basements. “That’s how we’re doing it!” I said. I was so inspired to see how the organization had grown.
While I was visiting, I overheard Valerie chatting with a teen parent who called in to ask for help potty training her toddler. “We do have books on potty training, and we also know that 14-months is too early to begin potty training.”
I loved Valerie’s confident and reassuring tone, and if I loved it, I can only imagine how fabulous the teen mom felt on the other end of the line. Valerie offered to meet the young mom at Payless to buy boots with her. When I left, Valerie was waiting to hear from another young mom who needed a ride to college.
Friday, March 16, from 1-3 pm, Madonna’s Center is holding a free teen parent resource fair in Milwaukie. You can see more info and RSVP here!
And I invited Valerie to our upcoming playgroups, so maybe in April or May you will meet her in person!