When Jasmine Meninno was deciding on what to draw on a banner she was making for the essential workers at Ruth House, “Rosie the Riveter” popped right into her brain.
She had seen the poster before in a doctor’s office.
“Rosie the Riveter,” a cultural icon of World War II, representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards during the war, featured a woman in a red-and-white polka-dot headscarf and blue shirt, flexing her bicep beneath the phrase “We Can Do It!
Meninno created a banner that reads “Super Hero’s Work Here” with a drawing of “Rosie the Riveter” - complete with a woman in a red-and-white polka-dot headscarf and blue shirt - wearing a Wonder Woman logo face mask.
“She said, ‘We Can Do It!’ Yes! That’s going on it, perfect,” Meninno said.
The banner hangs outside the house, with a powerful message for the essential workers that work at Ruth House providing support 24 hours a day.
She made the banner by herself in two days.
“I wanted them to feel empowered,” Mennino said. “I wanted them to know I care and appreciate them coming to work and dealing with everyone in the home. ”
Meninno, 20, has been living Ruth House for almost a year. She said she credits the home for pushing her out of her comfort zone and teaching her to take care of herself as well as her 2-year-old daughter, Katalina, in the best way possible.
Ruth House, located at 553 North Main St., is one of two Ascentria Care Alliance homes that provide housing to homeless young moms in safe, therapeutic residential environments to help young families move toward self-sufficiency.
Homeless moms up to age 22 and their children reside at the Ruth House as part of the Teen Parenting Program model.
“Girls stay an average of a year, but they can stay anywhere from two weeks to three years,” said Stephanie McCarthy, senior director of Children and Family Services at both Ascentria Care Alliance locations.
“Case managers help connect girls to the community resources they might need, for example, mental health, education and vocational support. They also provide financial literacy groups, parenting groups, cooking and nutrition,” McCarthy said.
“Ruth House serves as a connection to keep their hope going so they can continue to work toward their goals,” she said.
The residential counselors help educate young residents about social distancing, hygiene for safety and the need to stay at the Ruth House for their well-being and that of their children.
It is not an easy job to keep a houseful of teenagers focused on remote learning, occupied with activities and feeling optimistic about the future on the other side of this crisis.
“When you’re dealing with adolescent minds, taking freedom away from them, it causes them to have a lot of fear and anxiety,” McCarthy said. “Especially now with the limits on food, because the girls receive benefits from transitional assistance and shop and cook their own meals.”
A lot of moms are fortunate enough to have the help of a support network, such as their own mothers, partners and spouses, or even close friends. Now imagine being a teenager, and a new mother, and entirely on your own.
“Everyone needs a cheerleader by their side,” McCarthy said.
When it comes time for Meninno to leave Ruth House, she plans on staying in Brockton.
“I love Brockton. Brockton will always be home,” she said.
If you would like to help support this program, you can make a donation in honor of your mother for Mother’s Day at www.ascentria.org/mothersday and they will send your mom a custom handwritten card to express their gratitude for your support and their appreciation for your mom.