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Best Book 2005 Award Winner!

"Breakdown is a modern day Dante's Inferno--a riveting spiritual and intellectual journey."
- Will McCaughey, former Editor-in-Chief, Vatican Radio


Five percent of my royalties will be donated to Hale House — America's best known independent facility for addicted babies in Harlem.

When Hale House began, it was the first institution of its kind in the nation to house infants born to mothers who were addicted to drugs. Over the years, hundreds of children have found sanctuary in Mother Hale's brownstone, located in the heart of Harlem.

Clara McBride Hale, or "Mother Hale" as she was known to the members of her Harlem community, was a pioneer in self-help efforts in poor neighborhoods. Founded in 1969 and incorporated in 1972, Hale House grew out of Mother Hale's commitment to "nurture babies born into dire circumstances" (Bruce Lambert, New York Times, 1992).

The Hale House story begins, however, long before 1972. Mother Hale began providing day care services for her neighbors' children for two dollars a week after her husband died in the 1940's, leaving her a single parent of two small children. Throughout the 1950's and 1960's, while continuing to provide day care to neighborhood children, Mother Hale began to provide foster care, and what is known today as respite care, to children and families in need.

In 1969, Mother Hale gave shelter to an infant whose mother could no longer care for her because of the mother's addiction to heroin. In 1972, with the help of a local politician, Mother Hale was able to secure a brownstone from the city and, after renovation, the house on 122nd Street became the new Hale House. Hale House was founded to care for babies affected by drugs and illness, or babies whose mothers or families were unable to care for them. Hale House quickly became known as the first institution to cast a spotlight on the children who were the most innocent victims of the drug crisis.

With each decade, Hale House has responded to the challenges that families have had to endure due to the effects of poverty. During the 1970's, the scope of work initiated by Hale House expanded to include services for at-risk children and their families. In the 1980's, as the urban drug problem gave way to the AIDS crisis, Hale House responded by taking in children who had lost their parents to the disease or who were themselves born infected with HIV. Today, Hale House also cares for children of women in prison, many who are born while their mothers are incarcerated.

When Mother Hale died in 1992, her daughter, Dr. Lorraine Hale, became the agency's President and CEO. Under her leadership, Hale House experienced unparalleled growth. The number of children in residence increased, and Hale House augmented its property holdings. Today, Hale House, with a new leadership team in place, continues to be an important part of the Harlem community, providing a warm, loving, nurturing home for infants and young children in need.

Hale House Center, Inc.
152 West 122nd Street
New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212.663.0700
Fax: 212.749.2888
Email: info@halehouse.org

For more information about Hale House or to make a donation, visit www.HaleHouse.org

Diamonds, Death, and
Second Chances
Gregory John DiStefano

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Size : 6 x 9
Pages: 248
ISBN: 0-595-34292-2

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