April 1 ~† Person That Loves Children Handbook of Early Childhood Intervention

"Iím not an American hero. Iím a person that loves children." ~ Mother Hale

Thich Nhat Hanh

Called "an American hero" and "angel" by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, child care reformer and advocate Clara Mcbride Hale (1905Ė1992) was born on this day in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

"If you can't hold (children) in your arms, please hold them in your heart," she advised.

As a young widow and the mother of two small babies, Mother Hale knew all about being lost and helpless. She learned how to survive and helped others survive, too.

"Before I knew it, every pregnant addict in Harlem knew about the 'crazy lady' who would give her baby a home," Hale once explained.

In 1973, she founded Harlem's Hale House to care for babies born to drug-addicted mothers until their natural mothers could successfully go through rehabilitation.

Biographer Bruce Lambert called Hale "a pioneer in self-help efforts in poor neighborhoods." She came to "symbolize the untapped potential of disadvantaged groups taking care of their own."

The compassionate humanitarian and caregiver successfully raised forty foster children, cared for thousands of others, and spread love to others.

"Until I die, I'm going to keep doing. My people need me. They need somebody that's not taking from them and is giving them something," promised Hale, who received the Women's International Center's Living Legacy Award in 1986.

"I love children and I love caring for them," Hale said. "That is what the Lord meant for me to do."

Because of the unconditional love of Mother Hale, today Hale House continues to nurture children as America's oldest and best known independent agency caring for those addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and infected with HIV.

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