The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 8, 2013

Mom’s House celebrates 30 years of helping

Ruth Rice
rrice@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Three decades ago, a local woman’s dream became reality and has flourished into a national organization with seven locations in four states.

Mom’s House, with headquarters at 182 Gilbert St. and a day care center at 1325 Franklin St., both in Johnstown, is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The organization was founded in 1983 by Johnstown resident Peg Luksik, then president of Cambria-Somerset Chapter of Citizens Concerned for Human Life, as an alternative to abortion.

The program, housed in the former St. Michael’s convent in Brownstown, provided day care for children of low-income, single, teenage mothers so they could finish their high school education.

At Mom’s House, mothers are plugged into a network of supportive services that enable them to complete their education, find jobs and get off welfare.

The program provides safe, secure and free child care to  single parents wishing to continue their education.

Mom’s House works with 6-week-old infants to preschool children to prepare them for the transition into kindergarten, said Allegra Slick, who has been executive director since 2006.

To receive free help from Mom’s House, a parent must be single, a teenager or up to her late 20s, and must be in some type of job training or schooling.

“Mom’s House is free because members of the community and local organizations have believed in us for the last 30 years,” Slick said.

The biggest change Slick has seen in Mom’s House is in the education programs.

“Parents get an education and so does the child,” Slick said. “That’s been our motto. We help two generations at one time.”

The education programs of Mom’s House are approved by the state Department of Education and use state early learning standards.

Mom’s House received the highest rating, four stars, from the Pennsylvania Keystone Stars Program, which recognizes the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania.

“This rates the staff, the facility and our education program,” Slick said. “We were the first in Cambria and Somerset counties to get that rating. It was a big feather in our cap.

“We’ve learned early childhood education is important,” she said.

“If they don’t have a good foundation, it’s hard to build on. Early childhood education is better than making longer days in high school.”

Events celebrating 30 years of Mom’s House will begin with a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. April 28 at Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont.  

“Our first target will be former and present clients,” Slick said.

There will be a silent auction, Pick-A-Petal and door prizes.

Tickets, which are $25, include lunch, beverages and entertainment.

A free Thank You, Community! Carnival will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 22 at Mom’s House, 1325 Franklin St.

“We wanted to thank all those who have given us support,” Slick said. “We’re going to have an open house. We want to showcase how the building has changed. I think we’ve been here 16 to 17 years.”

The celebrations will end with a charity ball for donors and friends of Mom’s House at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 at Pasquerilla Conference Center, 301 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.

Tickets for the black-tie evening, which are $50, include a buffet dinner, band and entertainment.

“It’s a nice way to close the year and show what we’ve done,” Slick said.

For more information, call 535-4848 or email information@momshouse.org.

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