I started this post last week, and it seems all the more appropriate that it's (finally) up today, the day before Thanksgiving, at a time when I’m just a wee bit more thankful than usual. And always thankful for all that I have.
Behind this door you’ll find one of my favorite homes. Won’t you come inside with me?
This is Hudson Cradle Home for Infants in Jersey City, NJ. Hudson Cradle was founded in 1991 to help alleviate the boarder baby crisis. Boarder babies are infants healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital, but do not have a safe place to call home. Hudson Cradle offers full, nurturing care to these homeless infants with special health and developmental needs, and counseling, education, and support services to birth or foster parents to prepare them to live as a family. Hudson Cradle welcomed their first infant resident in March 1992 and to date has provided nurturing residential care to more than 460 babies.
The babies live in brightly painted nurseries, designed to be functional but also as welcoming as a home nursery would be:
There’s a common space at the back of the house where the babies are fed, and group activities and one-on-one cuddling takes place. It’s a great room, and during the daytime sunlight streams in through the glass that encloses the space. I’ve sang many a round of Mary Had a Little Lamb in this room. And I had one baby who really enjoyed my rendition of Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Or at least I convinced myself she did. :-)
I’ve been honored to work on projects and volunteer there over the years. The people from the top down love what they do. The infant caregivers and nurses are among the most compassionate I’ve seen. They care for and protect these babies as if they were their own. Volunteers log hours and hours each week to rock, comfort, sing and play with the babies. It’s inspiring to watch infants who come in frail, often with a myriad of health complications, grow strong and alert under the attentive care and watchful eyes of everyone involved with the organization.
I’d like to say the house is empty, because that would mean there aren’t babies without homes, but it is filled to its 7-bed capacity and as soon as one baby leaves another is waiting in the wings for that crib space. And there’s the upkeep…carpets and ceiling tiles to be replaced, walls to be painted. That’s where the next part of my post comes in…
I mentioned in my header that this is my 100th post. So I’m doing something special to honor my favorite charity, and to thank you all for being such great “house guests” (even if only online!).
For each comment left on this post through December 1, 2008, I will donate $5 to Hudson Cradle. The company I work for will then match this amount – dollar for dollar.
I’ll go up to $500, so go ahead – empty my pockets. Do it! I double dog dare you. If I raise $500, my company match will take the donation to $1000. And that’s a lot of baby formula.
Hudson Cradle’s executive director is amazing at managing their budget – 93% of the money they raise goes directly to the care of the infants. This is incredible operational efficiency, so it is with my heart and head that I’m able to choose this organization as my favorite.
In celebration of my bloggy milestone, I’ve also got a week-long bloggeriffic party planned. I’ll be taking you on a tour of the house of two of my favorite people, who’ve created a wonderful “retroclectic” (take that, Jonathan Adler - I can make up words, too!) home in the suburbs and are in the process of eschewing their traditional day jobs to follow their design dreams. Plus, it’s high time to share some shore house before and afters (well, at least almost afters). Now that the summer’s over we’ve gotten a few projects done, and I want to share! So stay tuned.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, which has grown a little bit bigger this past week thanks to many of you. Please support the local charities that work so hard to make a difference in your neighborhoods. And if you have a little extra coin left this holiday, consider making a donation to Hudson Cradle.