Women With Children Add to the Legacy

Felicia Glover, Reporter

The university made many changes during the summer, but the most notable may be a new house for families in the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children program.

The WWC program recently announced the opening of Moffat House, which can house an additional six families.

Over the last three years there has been an increasing demand for single mothers to receive their degrees. This need is not only applies to the many single mother households in the Wyoming Valley but across the country, too, and director Katherine Pohlidal was challenged by President Tom Botzman to open another home and add more families.

“I reached out to the Robert Y. Moffat Foundation and asked if they would be interested in a naming opportunity,” said Pohlidal.

The Robert Y. Moffat Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to helping families, primarily women with children, who live in the Wyoming Valley. It previously awarded a $125,000 grant to WWC for use over a four-year span to support program operation.

“They agreed to give us a $450,000 grant to support this third house,” said Pohlidal.

The WWC program funded the renovations to the Moffat house that prepared it for five new families in fall 2016. Each mother is equipped with a private sleeping area and bathroom. The house has a sun room with a children’s library. The space allows the women to share a quiet place to read and play. The kitchen and dining room areas have family-style eating space, making the house open and inviting for meals.

The program also has a new vehicle, a  playground and a new staff member, coordinator Sandy Johnson.

“I am excited to be here and reading about all the history and how [the program] has grown in a couple of years is unbelievable,” Johnson said.

Sophomore undeclared major Caitlyn Thomas feels the additions are only a reflection of the success of the program.

“The proof lies in the eyes of those donating all of these wonderful resources to the program, and the women wanting to be a part of this program shows we are inspiring others to go back to school,” Thomas said.

The program has received many generous donations from the supportive community. When the program was introduced in 2000, the sisters of Mercy gifted Rasmussen House, which is also known as Rosary Hall.

Sister Jean Messaros, Vice President of Mission Integration, never imagined the program growing to its current heights.

“When the sisters of Mercy gave us Rosary Hall, they believed in the program because we were particularly concerned about the women and children. I didn’t expect it to expand that much even in the late 2000’s.”

A few years later, Pauly Friedman of Wilkes Barre believed in the program as well and presented it with the Pauly house. This house opened the doors to four families at that time.

Today WWC can comfortably house 16 families in the three Lake Street homes.

Junior social work major Stephanie Santana is at peace in her new home. A single mother of one, her world was very different before she came here Misericordia.

“The WWC program is something I feel honored to be a part of. It feels good to be a member of something very inspiring and motivational,” Santana said.

Senior English major Asia Thompson said she never imagined the program growing as it has.

Thompson passed some advice to the newcomers. “Stay focused, work hard, and never doubt your ability to excel, not only in this program, but in life.”