What started out as a response to a disturbing dream by a then sixth-grade student could turn into a home for unwed mothers in Greenville.
After Claire Capelle woke up crying from a dream about abortions being performed in her family’s basement, she decided to organize a walk to raise money for Birthright, a nonprofit independent interdenominational organization that helps women through unplanned pregnancies.
That year, she raised about $7,000 with her “Babies World Walk.”
The walk has continued, raising about $40,000 total through this year’s event, held last month at St. Mary’s Magdalene Catholic Church in Simpsonville.
But Capelle, now a senior at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, decided she wanted to do more. With the help of her mother, Kim, and some other adults, Capelle decided she could.
She intends to start a home for unwed mothers who want to keep their babies.
“I am one of 10 children,” Capelle said, “and I can’t imagine taking any one of them out of my family.”
The St. Clare’s Home of Joyful Hope would have room for 10 mothers who are 18 years or older and have up to two other children. The mothers and their children would be allowed to stay in the house for up to two years after having their babies, Capelle said.
While there, the mothers would be taught parenting and job skills so they can support their children, she said.
Capelle said the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston said the home, which has received an endorsement from Catholic Charities, could be a model for others across the state.
“The home will let them have their babies,” Capelle said. “Mothers shouldn’t have to resort to aborting their babies because of what they would be born into.”
Capelle said some unwed mothers get kicked out of the house when their parents find out they are pregnant and have nowhere to go.
Capelle said St. Clare’s Home of Joyful Hope has received nonprofit status and has a business plan in place. All it needs, Capelle said, is a facility and a staff to run it.
This year’s Babies World Walk raised about $4,500, all of which but $500 will go toward the home.
Capelle said she plans to major in nursing at the University of South Carolina and would like to come back to Greenville to work at the home.
“We’re just going to keep praying and keep working,” she said.
Her sister, Katie, a freshman at St. Joseph’s, will take over coordinating the walk while Claire is away at college.
“The next kid in line will take over,” she said. “We want to keep it going.”