Organization of the Month: Aid for Women

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsFounded in 1978 by Deacon Thomas Bresler, Aid for Women is a non-profit organization that provides an array of services to women facing unplanned pregnancies.

“Many of the women who walk through our doors are often scared and alone,” said Frances Jimenez, project manager/volunteer program coordinator. “These women, whether they are in their 40’s or in their teens, have so many questions, but don’t know where to turn for help. That’s where Aid for Women steps in.”

With locations in Downtown, Des Plaines, and now Berwyn, Aid for Women seeks to empower and educate mothers-to-be on other alternatives to abortion through mentorship programs, counseling, medical and community referrals, residential program, and emotional support. “It is extremely important for women to feel like they are walking into a safe and loving environment,” said Adriana Paniagua-Morales, Berwyn-site coordinator, who turned to Aid for Women several years ago when she went through her own teenage pregnancy. “I can speak from personal experience that everyone at Aid for Women is here to work with these mothers on a step-by-step basis. We are here to answer every question, we are to provide every resource we can, and we are here, simply, to take away the stress and emotional burden these women feel.”

Based on the Catholic Church’s pro-life teaching, women, who find themselves in difficult pregnancy situations, are paired up with one of the Aid for Women counselors and receive an abundant amount of information that range from adoption counseling to information on natural family planning to follow-up services, to even resources in clothing and shelter. “Some women lack adequate information and feel when they experience an unplanned pregnancy their options are limited,” said Jimenez. “Aid for Women can be described as a one-stop resource center for expectant mothers needing information and a great support team.”

Two services Jimenez and Paniagua are most proud of are the “baby boutique,” filled with donated supplies, such as children’s clothing, bottles, diapers, and toys as well as Aid for Women’s Heather’s House, its first residential facility designed to offer women shelter and security to have their child. “Sometimes these young girls who come to us are either kicked-out of their homes or they voluntarily left because they believe they have disappointed their parents,” said Paniagua. “While at Heather’s House, counselors work with these young girls to keep them on track with their education and teach them important life skills to make them self-sufficient mothers.” Heather’s House provides a place where women and their babies can stay for up to two years while working closing with mentors.

All services at Aid for Women are free and confidential. Jimenez and Paniagua ensure all women who visit Aid for Women will receive the upmost attention and compassion throughout the process. Currently, Aid for Women is looking for bilingual volunteers, preferably English and Spanish, who can work with some of the young Spanish-speaking clients. If you would like to volunteer or inquire about services at Aid for Women, visit or email Jimenez, at You can also call the Berwyn location, at 708-795-6000 or visit their site, at 3240 S. Oak Park Ave.

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