Mary's Shelter was the vision of one woman, Jan Lindsay, who wanted to make it possible for pregnant girls without adequate family support to choose life for their babies. After Mary's Shelter was incorporated in 1985, and a Board of Directors was formed and funds were raised to purchas a home, Jan and her husband were transferred out of state.
Her vision was embraced by the members of a prayer group at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Tustin in 1984. With great effort and perseverance that small group of people, under the faithful leadership of Joan Basile, brought the dream to fruition. Property was purchased, a license obtained and in September of 1994 the doors of the small home were opened to six pregnant girls.
By 1998, with the help of HomeAid Orange County, two new homes were built on the property with the capacity to house and care for a total of eighteen teens and twelve babies at a time. The one acre lot also features a garden, a tot lot and gazebo centered on the large patio.
Since state subsidies for homeless pregnant minors ended in 2003, Mary's Shelter has been the only maternity home in the State of California that welcomes pregnant teens who are NOT in the foster care system. This is because it costs about three times more to care for a pregnant minor than for a woman over 18, due to licensing regulations designed to protect minors.
While originally opened as a maternity home, our program now also includes strong parenting and independent living programs to reflect the need for continuing care after most teens give birth. In our first 20 years, over 400 healthy babies have been delivered to Mary's Shelter residents and over 1,000 teen mothers and their families have been helped through this critical time in their young lives.
Mary's Shelter in Orange County, California was the second of five maternity homes Jan Lindsay initiated since 1982. Similar, but unaffiliated homes now also operate in Dakota County, Minnesota, Berks County, Pennsylvania, Seminole County, Florida and Baldwin County, Alabama.
Mary's Shelter was named after the mother of Jesus Christ, herself a pregnant teenager who said "yes" to an unplanned pregnancy.
Mary is a wonderful role model for our teen mothers.