by Jessica from Mississauga, Canada
"If you can't hold the children in your arms, hold them in your heart."
|Clara Hale at "The Hale House."
In 1940, Clara Hale faced the most tragic thing in her life. Her husband died, leaving her with her two children. Desperate to find the resources to take care of her children, she got a job as a babysitter for children with mothers too busy to take care of their own children. She soon learned that she could become a licensed foster mother. During the next 25 years, she was a foster mother to over 40 children, all with unique and different backgrounds and religions. Her goal was to take in all of these children which no one wanted, and she accomplished that goal very well.
As more and more problems of drug abuse broke through in her little community in Harlem, more and more people would come to her door holding a child with AIDS, usually because her mother took drugs and couldn't or wouldn't care for the child. She would never say no to a child that no one wanted just because they had problems. Within six months, she had 22 babies (all with AIDS) in a five-room apartment. Soon she had more and more children in that apartment, and it was packed, but she never said no to a child who no one wanted. Clara Hale's children, Lorraine, Nathan and Kenneth(who was adopted) didn't even know that all these children weren't their real siblings, until they were in their preteens.
Just about when Clara was ready to retire from fostering children in her home, her daughter Lorraine saw a drunk mother with a child and told the drunk mother to go to Clara for help. Clara had never taken a baby off the streets before, but she didn’t want to say no to a needy mother and child. It inspired her to keep taking care of children.
In 1985, Clara Hale created the foundation called “The Hale House.” It was a foundation for children whose mothers were addicted to drugs. The reason why she started this foundation was because her home was getting too crowded with so many children. At "The Hale House," there would be about 100 children there a week. Lorraine, her daughter, would help take care of the children along with many other staff members.
Clara was a loving, generous mother to over 800 children in her life. She dedicated her whole life to these unwanted children. Her life ended December 18, 1992 with a great feeling in her heart that she had changed people's lives. Even though she passed away, her daughter, Lorraine, carried on her dream. Her greatness and gentleness raised many children who grew up to be successful, and who one day might help “The Hale House” themselves.
- Founded in 1969, Hale House Center, Inc. is a nationally-recognized non-profit organization dedicated to building better futures for children and families in need.
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