editors note: I love this week’s small voice– big message guest post not only because it’s a great example of how one woman on a mission can change the world, but also because the story proves that while the internet may make it easier for one person to make a difference, it’s certainly not required. Thank you Leslie for sharing the Hope Cottage story!
1918 – Dallas, Tx. World War I is winding down, the influenza epidemic is starting to rear its ugly head and one woman, Emma Wylie Ballard – a caseworker for the Dallas County Humane Society – when it dealt with people, not cats, rats, dogs and ferrets, despaired of the hundreds of children abandoned on the streets of Dallas. Unwed pregnancy was a shameful condition and these women had no other alternatives than to leave their children in cars, in barns and even, in the case of one tot, on an anthill.
Mrs. Ballard had a mission – her babies. She worked tirelessly soliciting donations of money and goods alike, all for her babies, her Hope Babies. County commissioners thought the cost of $29 per baby per month for milk was too much to allot to the Hope Cottage budget. They spent more saving cotton and hogs than they did babies–so Mrs. Ballard did what she had to do. She took to the streets in her Model A with the signature stork on the front, picking up donations and abandoned children alike. The door was always open at Hope Cottage and all children in need were welcome.
Fast forward to 2011 – 93 years later, Hope Cottage is still continuing the legacy begun by Mrs. Ballard. Children no longer live at Hope Cottage, but the work is still the same. Thomas Jefferson said that as Americans we have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think the children of our country have another inalienable right – the right of a permanent,stable, loving home in which they can grow to their fullest potential. As long as there are children in need of homes, Hope Cottage is there.