Melita House is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Rochester Regional Community. Daily decision and policy making is made by Melita House staff and the advisory board, and is implemented by staff members. The five-person board of trustees, representing the Sisters of Mercy, approves decisions made by staff and/or the advisory board when the decisions are of a legal or contractual nature.
Melita House offers a residential and aftercare program for pregnant and parenting women, and housing, education and guidance is provided to assist participating women in developing and implementing individual plans for self-supported living. For more than 15 years, it has served as a refuge from harmful, abusive and dysfunctional family situations.
Women who become guests of Melita House come from a variety of racial, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, and can range in age from 13 to 30 years old. Guests may stay for the duration of their pregnancy, during which time they share in meal preparation and housekeeping responsibilities, plus participate in house programs.
These programs include continued basic education that is required of all guests, plus parenting and budgeting skills, nutrition, infant care, childbirth preparation, recreational crafts and social activities. The programs are steps toward the goal to develop increased self-esteem and to build job skills to empower the women to achieve a higher quality of life for them and their children. Assistance is also given to develop future living arrangements.
Guests are required to pursue complete medical attention and prenatal care through community or private health care providers. In addition to the women’s physical well- being, Melita House cares for their emotional well-being through individual and group counseling, and advocacy with human-service agencies, church and social action groups plus legal, social and health services.
Once the woman has given birth and left Melita House, aftercare services are provided through home visits, phone calls, letters, a mothers’ support group and monthly gatherings.
Volunteer involvement is an important part of the Melita House operation. Volunteers participate in programs by giving child care in its preschool enrichment group, providing transportation, acting as labor coaches, preparing special dinners and being house sitters every night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to relieve staff. Area businesses that also have donated support in the past year include First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Rochester, M&T Bank, Genesee Brewing Co. Inc. and Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
Financial Record Year ended June 30, 1996
Monroe County Department of Social Services $71,515 47.74
United Way of Greater Rochester Inc. 24,288 16.21
Church groups 21,617 14.43
Individuals 18,134 12.10
Grants 13,789 9.20
Interest income 474 0.32
Total revenue $149,817 100
Staff $108,794 75.52
Residents 33,640 23.35
Aftercare 1,607 1.12
Other 16 0.01
Total expenses $144,057 100
Excess (shortfall) of revenue over expenses $5,760
Sister Ann Miller, chairperson; president, Sisters of Mercy
Janice Ashley, life skills coordinator and development, Melita House
Lucien Cayer, counselor, Park Ridge Chemical Dependency
Paula Collazo, former guest of Melita House
Miriam Cortes, St. Michael’s Church representative
Michele Hannagan, director, Melita House
Derek Harrison, professor, Monroe Community College
Lynn Haun, former guest of Melita House
Sister Judith Heberle (recently deceased)
Mary Ellen Kesel, social worker, Hillside Children’s Center
Jane Lynch, Department of Social Services-Child Assistance Program
Arnold McMahon, contracting consultant to the board
Michael Polozie, attorney, consultant to the board
Gail Richeson, nurse, Anthony L. Jordan Health Center
Venora Rogers, social worker, Hillside Children’s Center
Mariann Rossetti, case manager and volunteer coordinator, Melita House
Patricia Walsh-Adams, case manager, Melita House
Sister Mary Fran Wegman, neonatal nurse, Strong Memorial Hospital
Rev. Robert Werth, diocesan priest, St. Monica’s Church
Todd Williams, Young Father’s Program, Urban League of Rochester, N.Y. Inc.
Peggy Wyand-Block, aftercare coordinator, Melita House
Researched and written by Julie K. Welch