For more than a decade, The Mary Elizabeth House has been transforming lives of young, single women and their families. The young women we serve are either single mothers or pregnant and are currently in or have aged-out of the foster care system. All have experienced trauma, family disruptions, instability and a host of other challenges that have substantially impacted their lives. These challenges place the young women, and their children, at-risk of living impoverished lives, with the potential for a second generation of children entering into the foster care system.
Ours is not a ministry in the traditional religious sense. It is a "work of transformation" — a comprehensive approach to family support, providing residential housing, life-skills training, parenting, and counseling services that empower young women to be socially, emotionally and economically self-sufficient. We improve lives and help to advance future generations through a structured living environment and parental development. Our services also include educational support, training and therapeutic services.
Beyond supporting the positive development of young women who are parenting, The Mary Elizabeth House provides early childhood development in the AsA Early Learning Academy for infants and toddlers. The Academy provides early learning and family development opportunities to teen mothers and their children whose needs are unique because of their status as either in the foster care system or homeless.
The AsA Early Learning Academy is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), with the highest level of quality certification.
Our Pillars of Service
The trends in teen births
Young Women to embrace
their intrinsic power
and strengthen Young Women
to be creative, loving and
To empower young women
socially/emotionally, and spiritually
an infant-toddler care center where
young women learn creative parenting,
elements of good nutrition for children,
and the roles that mothers play as
a child's first teacher.
How we work
The Mary Elizabeth House embraces the “Two-Generation” approach by addressing the needs of both children and parents concurrently. Our organization supports young mothers, between the ages of 17 and 24, in a supportive five-year housing program. The children benefit from our AsA Early Learning Academy (preschool program) which is also open to community children. The Mary Elizabeth House assumes the full cost of maintaining our independent living facility and of all the programming provided to participants during their stay.
Dr. Carolyn Graham, M.Ed, MPA, M.Div., D.Min. President/CEO:
“As the president and founder of The Mary Elizabeth House, Inc., A Ministry, AsA Early Learning Academy, I bring 30 years of experience in leading complex public human service organizations… My life's work has been dedicated to making life better for challenged individuals and communities.”
Dr. Graham founded The Mary Elizabeth House, Inc., A Ministry, an initiative designed to support teen mothers in and out of the child welfare system. The Mary Elizabeth House is a non-religiously affiliated, nonprofit organization, committed to ending generational cycles of poverty for young women and their families. Dr. Graham’s goal is to provide the support necessary for teen mothers to become women of character and influence, with an economic stake in their communities. She believes that if the mothers are healthy, they can support the healthy development of their children—both mothers and their children are the foci of her work at The Mary Elizabeth House.
Dr. Graham previously served as the Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth and Families in Washington, DC. She also served as the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services in Richmond, VA. Dr. Graham developed new policies governing pedestrian, bicycle safety, and health reform in her position. While serving in Richmond, VA, she worked on a food policy strategy, a plan to remediate poverty; and helped to increase the number of women breastfeeding their babies. She created breastfeeding stations in a number of government facilities.
Our work is supported by the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Service Agency, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Freddie Mac Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation and by generous gifts from private organizations and individual donors.