JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – St. Gerard House is a nonprofit maternity home and Christian high school for pregnant teenagers. The facility promotes empowerment through education with a focus on Christian values.
The campus offers housing to pregnant teenagers and also to young adult women who need a few more credits to earn their high school diploma. Eighteen young women will be graduating this Friday with their high school diploma.
"My baby was able to come to class with me until he was six months old," explained Alexandria Persinger, a 22-year-old student of St. Gerard who is graduating Friday.
"We drive the students to their doctor's appointments and to WICK (the government office that offers financial assistant to pregnant women who have no other means)," explained Jessica Macy, day care director at St. Gerard. She said the school also offers transportation to and from the campus for its students. Day care is available for students who have older children.
The pregnancy center also offers free pregnancy testing, free sonograms and counseling.
Students enroll like any other high school and the program generally lasts 2 years, depending on the student's school credits.
While the campus is in St. Augustine, its services are available to girls and young women throughout Northeast Florida.
St. Gerard Campus also helps families through its Community Outreach Program with food, clothing and furniture. It relies heavily on donations.