Congratulations to Cranford’s own Edith Coogan! The 82-year-old mother of seven recently received the $35,000 “Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference.” Edith is the founder of Raphael’s Life House, a 12-bed program in Elizabeth for homeless pregnant women, mothers and children. Twenty years ago, Edith and her friend, Mary Orrico, took note of the appalling lack of services and huge need for young, unprepared mothers in our area. Over the next few years, they worked diligently to do fundraising and to coordinate donations and funds for the project. Thanks to Edith’s dedication and efforts, as well as that of thousands of donors and volunteers, hundreds of women and their children have received prenatal care, parenting education, and a hopeful new start in life.
According to their website, Raphael’s Life House ,
“The founders of Raphael’s Life House believe it is the right of pregnant women and their infants when born to be housed in a safe, secure environment. At Raphael’s Life House we also believe in the personal dignity of each individual and endeavor to teach our residents the basic skills they need to prevent future homelessness regardless of race, color, creed or religious affiliation. At Raphael’s Life House we attempt to foster the pursuit of education, vocational training or employment so that our residents can lead satisfying, productive lives and prepare for independent living when they leave our program. Raphael’s Life House provides a safe and supportive living environment for homeless young women and their babies when born. We offer a continuum of services to help the new mothers develop the skills and values needed for responsible parenthood.”
Edith was also recently nominated as one of Homefirst’s Evening of Thanks honorees, held at the Galloping Hill Golf Club in Kenilworth. She is an outstanding example of proactive citizenry, and we couldn’t be prouder of her! Go, Edith!!!