If you go on a tour of every Maggie’s Place home, you will see that they are all unique—the Elizabeth House has a garden in the backyard and a stained-glass window in the chapel, the Magdalene House has several different buildings on the property, and the Michael House is open and one-storied.  We are located all across the valley and can serve between 6 and 8 moms per house.  Thankfully, all the homes have things in common that make us, together, into Maggie’s Place: a tree of life with leaves representing babies that have been born at the home; community and personal refrigerators; chores for each community member; birthday balloons for every mom, baby, and corps member; quiet chapels where the MissionCorps pray three times a day; and goal fish.  These are just some things that make Maggie’s Place houses into homes.

One of my favorite things are the goal fish.  Goal fish are our way of giving the moms encouragement and affirmation for working on their goals.  Each community night, we award bubbles to the moms for things they achieved that week.  Sometimes they are “little” bubbles like having patience or working on their resume, and sometimes they are “big” bubbles, like giving birth or finding a job.  When the babies are born, they get guppy fish and baby bubbles for things like rolling over or going to their first doctor’s appointment. At the Michael House, our moms’ goal fish are posted in the dining room where everyone can see.

Recently, one of my fellow corps members had a bright idea: what if we had a “house fish”?  What would those goals look like?  Ideas were quickly thrown around for what the actual fish would look like (we came to the consensus that the Michael House should be a whale), but what about the goals themselves?

If I was to give the Michael House a goal fish, I would give out bubbles this week for going 1 month without watching TV, for having 4 moms currently employed, for having 2 moms currently in school, for celebrating Mass in our chapel once a month for the past year, and for getting some bedroom carpets replaced, to name a few things.

It’s hard to put your finger on just one thing that makes Maggie’s Place special…there are too many bubbles to pick just one!

By Lucy Miller, MissionCorps Member at the Michael House