Leona Bicknese hears the stories frequently. One woman had an abortion scheduled but canceled the day she was accepted into Road to Hope Maternity Home in Beaverton. Some clients were human trafficking victims before finally finding safe housing for both themselves and their children at Road to Hope. Others have never known a single relative with a job or marriage, and they didn’t know how to be in one, either.
That is, until they found Road to Hope, a maternity home offering “housing, help and hope” to pregnant girls and women in crisis since 1999. As executive director, these stories are music to Bicknese’s ears.
“If we were to add another ‘h’ of what we offer, it would be ‘healing,’” she says. “Every one of our moms has experienced trauma or abuse in some significant way, and we want to walk alongside them and help them heal any way we can.”
Road to Hope follows a “house parent” model, with room for five live-in clients plus their child(ren), living and learning alongside a trained staff member. Overflow applicants live with trained host families. Women may enter at any point of pregnancy and stay until their son or daughter turns one. Perhaps even more importantly, Road to Hope’s services also include aftercare (“Their relationship with us is for life or as long as they want it,” Bicknese explains), case management and advocacy, family reunification, adoption education, life skills and job training.
“You might find us teaching how to make Rice Krispie treats and tie-dye shirts alongside financial management and parenting skills,” says Bicknese, executive director since 2017. “We want to save the lives of babies, but we also have great compassion for these moms.”
Annually, Road to Hope offers approximately 1800 days and nights of residential care, 425 hours of classes and 3500 hours of direct support and case management. In 2019, they assisted 23 families through their aftercare program and provided over 1400 hours of administrative internships for women to bolster their work experience. The majority of clients come from the Pacific Northwest, but Bicknese says many come from California and even further. Contrary to previous decades, around a quarter are aged 25 and above.
“It sounds so clinical to say that our moms have really good outcomes, but our moms are doing really well!” says Bicknese. “I feel blessed to be able to see these women and their babies doing so well after they leave Road to Hope.”
“This program is impacting not only their lives today in Oregon, but for generations to come.” For more information on Road to Hope, visit road2hopepdx.org.