North Place a home for pregnant women

Susie Meredith’s dream was to provide a home for women facing an unplanned pregnancy and nowhere to go.

Her dream became a reality on Nov. 27, 2014, when North Place Maternity House opened as an outreach ministry of North Parkersburg Baptist Church.

The first baby was born to a mother staying at North Place on Dec. 22, 2015. On May 8, the 19th baby, a boy, was born to a woman living at North Place in Parkersburg.

The North Place house is owned by the church, while donations and grants support the mother and baby ministry that is ordained by God, said Meredith, North Place director and pastoral care official at North Parkersburg Baptist Church.

North Place is open to any mother, 18 years and older, who has an unplanned pregnancy and nowhere to live. Two women from Texas have stayed at the house.

Three women are now staying at North Place.

The women can stay at North Place for six weeks after the baby is born. Officials associated with the maternity house help the women find a place to live when it is time to leave.

A house parent is present at North Place around the clock, Meredith said. The women help with the cooking and other chores at the house. Some work to get their GED or high school diploma while living there.

“We mentor them … teach life skills,” Meredith said. Transportation is provided to doctor’s appointments.

Some of the women staying in the house have recovered from addiction. The goal is to get them jobs and off welfare and to be good parents. Several have been active in the church.

The community and churches have helped to keep North Place operating. Students at VanDevender Middle School have donated personal hygiene items and baby gifts at Christmas to the maternity house. A Vienna church provided money for an in-home security system.

A luncheon attended by local women at Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna on May 18 raised around $20,000 for the house. Local businesses donated 99 gifts for the silent auction associated with the luncheon.

Meredith likes to say, “Find grace at North Place.”

North Place could use some furniture — a small couch and a few chairs — and a treadmill. Meredith can be contacted at 304-428-3293 if you would like to make a donation.

“We love them like our own,” Meredith said of the North Place mothers. “It is a wonderful ministry.”

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Jazz will be returning to the Julia-Ann Square Historic District in Parkersburg on June 15.

The Smoot House Band, Stolen Moments jazz quartet and another group yet to be announced will be performing from 6-9 p.m. during “Jazz in the Square” at the home of Bob and Melissa Herceg, 112 13th St.

Besides an evening of jazz outdoors, hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Belair’s Bistro of Belpre. Bring your favorite wine to enjoy because alcohol will not be sold.

The jazz night will be limited to 120 guests (adults only) at $40 per person.

“Jazz in the Square” won’t have to compete again with the Taste of Parkersburg, both of which were held on the same night, June 2, last year. The Taste of Parkersburg at Market and Third streets will be June 1 this year.

Tickets for the June 15 jazz night can be ordered at julia-ann-jazz.com or at smoottheatre.com.

Profits support the Julia-Ann Square Historic District.

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I recommend watching historian/author David McCullough’s question and answer session with interviewer Brian Lamb on the May 16 C-SPAN cable network show.

The episode, which can be viewed on the Internet, focuses on McCullough’s new book “The Pioneers,” which chronicles the founding of Marietta in the Northwest Territory. In the interview, McCullough is complimentary of Marietta College, Marietta and Linda Showalter, Special Collections associate at Marietta College’s Legacy Library.

McCullough, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, notes that Marietta has a beautiful location at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, Marietta College is a fine school and Marietta is an interesting city filled with history.

McCullough will be speaking at Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta at 7 p.m. May 31 and at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta from 3-5 p.m. June 1.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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