L to R: Gloria Hope, Nick, Kristopher, Milagros © Images Courtesy of A Safe Haven for Newborns | Providing support for newborns
“I am often asked, ‘What does A Safe Haven for Newborns do?’” said founder Nick Silverio. “I reply, ‘We save newborns from infant abuse and abandonment through education, grassroots community involvement, direct assistance, and our 24/7 confidential, multilingual helpline.’”
A Safe Haven for Newborns was born 21 years ago, on a night when Nick read an article about infant abandonment. He had been searching for something he could do to honor his late wife, Gloria, who had died in a car accident. Although they never had children of their own, they both loved children.
“We did not have children due to miscarriages,” Nick explained. “We had a deep love for children and served as godparents to 14 children. I felt a calling to address the escalating worldwide crisis of infant abandonment.”
Nick was inspired and started researching ways he could help make a difference. He discovered there was no program that vulnerable mothers could turn to for help. In a state of panic and believing they had no other recourse, these mothers would abandon their newborns in unsafe places, often culminating in the infant’s demise.
This heartbreaking realization only spurred his need to find a way to provide support and guidance to expectant mothers before giving birth. Although he had no experience setting up a nonprofit, he put his all into creating a foundation that would help pregnant girls who could not keep their newborns—and the foundation would bear his wife’s name.
A business owner all his life, Nick closed his successful IT business where he had worked for over 20 years, shifting his focus to launching the Gloria M. Silverio Foundation 501(c)3. The foundation would host but one program: A Safe Haven for Newborns, helping the mother-to-be by providing her with the resources needed to make an informed decision regarding her and her unborn child.
“Because of my business background, A Safe Haven for Newborns is operated as a business, but with love and care at the heart of everything we do,” Nick shared. “With that in mind, all of our services are provided at no cost to the women we serve and collaborate with. Also, we do not rely on the government to sustain us. Therefore, it was essential that we learned about what motivated people to donate, how to reach them with our message, and how to touch their hearts. I believe if you touch someone’s heart, they will respond.”
Using his personal savings and converting his office space to become the foundation’s headquarters, Nick has made it his life’s mission to be there for the most defenseless and vulnerable of all—the newborn. Today, because of Nick’s work, hundreds of newborns are in caring homes and are reaching for their dreams.
It Takes A Community
Creating a foundation for mothers-to-be was far from an easy task, but Nick had the drive to make it possible. He knew that to make a difference, he would need a network of agencies and service providers that would be able to provide help and guidance at any hour of the day. He partnered with local hospitals, fire stations, and emergency services to educate them on the process of rescuing and receiving surrendered newborns. He also established a 24/7 multilingual confidential helpline, a web-based curriculum used by hospitals and first responders, and a Community Service App for students to fulfill their volunteer hours.
Outside of this network, Nick also made a continuous effort to include the community. Using a grassroots approach, Nick produces public service announcements, attends community events, speaks at high schools, and communicates the foundation’s mission on social media.
Because of his tireless efforts, A Safe Haven for Newborns is able to save lives across all 67 Florida counties and far beyond state lines. Even more impressive is the impact the foundation has made outside of its home—its success in addressing infant abandonment has been recognized in other states and countries, including an inquiry from South Africa.
In its first two decades of operation, A Safe Haven for Newborns helped over 5,000 women in distress and helped over 300 couples become a family.
A Lifetime of Support
Nick realized that, more often than not, A Safe Haven for Newborns was the only safety net in place for these mothers-to-be. Faced with the impossible weight of making decisions that impact both their own lives and that of their unborn child, these young women need access to resources that can ease the load by providing judgment-free support at no charge, with no questions asked. These programs include referrals to counselors, parenting services, help with health-related issues, shelter, access to baby necessities, and confidentially placing their newborn at a Safe Haven location.
In order to provide these services to expectant mothers, the foundation relies on the generosity of its supporters and annual fund-raising events. Together with a group of volunteers, Nick organizes four yearly events to raise funds for A Safe Haven for Newborns—the ‘A Wonderland in Safe Haven’ Gala, a 5K walk/run, a golf tournament, and a virtual telethon.
“I said from the beginning if we saved one life all of our efforts would be worthwhile, and that was 361 precious lives ago,” Nick said.
One such precious life is that of Gloria Hope, one of the first Safe Haven for Newborns babies. This fall, Gloria starts her sophomore year at college. Gloria is a bright, caring, and talented young woman who loves to learn. She keeps in touch with Nick, who she affectionately calls‘Uncle,’ and recently wrote a letter to him, informing him that she had made it on the honor roll. Every year, Gloria and her parents come down to attend A Safe Haven for Newborn’s annual ‘A Wonderland in Safe Haven’ Gala, where she sings the national anthem.
This year marks the foundation’s tenth annual gala, a milestone event and an opportunity to support services that protect the most defenseless and vulnerable of all—the newborn. This hybrid event can be accessed from anywhere in the world and is a wonderful way to join in the celebration of lives saved.
There are many ways to support the work of A Safe Haven for Newborns; consider a monthly donation, or simply share the word through social media platforms. Your support can help save a life.
Find more information on A Safe Haven for Newborns and how you can be part of their mission at asafehavenfornewborns.com
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Lives are being saved due to the strong Safe Haven alliance and partnerships with hospitals and Fire and EMS stations working to receive a Safe Haven Baby, coupled with protecting the anonymity of the parent(s) as the law allows.