Life is a delicate balancing act, especially when you are a single parent. When there is too much on your plate between work, school and family responsibilities, it can be overwhelming.
For single parents in Philadelphia, Mom’s House provides a unique family support system. Find out how a little help from a local Erie Insurance agent – and a Giving Grant from the ERIE Giving Network – are helping to make a big difference.
What is Mom's House?
Mom’s House is a small non-profit, founded in 1987, located just north of Philadelphia. They provide free daycare for children age 3 months to 5 years so low-income single parents can go back to school and continue their education. Services are free to parents, but in return, they give two hours of service back to Mom’s House every week. They also commit to achieving passing grades in their high school, GED, technical school or college program.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about half of teen mothers go on to earn a high school degree by age 22. Executive Director Wendy McKeon says that’s because childcare services are out of reach for a lot of these young moms.
“Childcare is often the largest obstacle to returning to school,” McKeon said. “We also know that education leads to gainful employment and the ability to support their families without the need for welfare.”
Mom's House hits home with ERIE Agent
The story of Erie Insurance agent Jeff Wentzel of Wentzel Bromiley Insurance is unique. Wentzel was adopted at birth. After searching for his birth mother, he quickly found her… and to his surprise, his brother, too!
When Jeff was born, his birth mother was just out of high school. She felt adoption was the best choice for his future. She later gave birth to Jeff’s brother, Rick.
Wentzel says this is where an organization like Mom’s House can make a difference.
“My birth mother was a single mom raising my brother,” Wentzel said. “She had a really tough time and having an outlet – a support system – like Mom’s House would have been fantastic.”
An RV trip with a mission
Inspired by their new family connection, Wentzel and his brother decided to cross an item off of both of their bucket lists: a cross-country RV trip. They traveled from Pennsylvania and went as far west as Kansas City – that’s more than 3,000 miles in 15 days.
“It was literally the trip of a lifetime. We did all the things brothers growing up love to do,” Wentzel said.
After telling a few people about the trip, they gathered a lot of interest and decided to turn it into a little fundraiser as well. The brothers gathered sponsors from small businesses to private contributors, raising money per mile.They even gained the attention of several media outlets along the way and raised $1,000 for Mom’s House.
“The more I heard about the mission of Mom’s House and Wendy’s passion for helping people, I knew I wanted to help in any way possible,” Wentzel said. “But the biggest thing we did was get ERIE involved.”
ERIE gets involved
In 2019, ERIE’s Allentown Branch provided Mom’s House with a $3,000 Giving Grant – enough to cover three months of childcare for one child.
Erie Insurance Giving Grants allow field offices to fund causes they care about across ERIE’s footprint – 12 states and the District of Columbia.
“I think it’s very important for us all to remember that there are those less fortunate in every community that need a hand up,” says McKeon. “It makes our overall community stronger.”
Wentzel says he believes there is always a way to help, and it’s just the right thing to do.
“What makes it more meaningful is when you can find something that you believe in – like Mom’s House,” he said. “Then, it just feels natural to try and help.”
At ERIE, doing the right thing is what we are all about. It means more than just insurance coverage and customer service. It’s about rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done for the communities in which we serve.
Find out more about ERIE’s longstanding commitment to our local communities through our Giving Network, or follow #ERIEforgood on social media.