Bochys embrace mission of Homeless Prenatal Program
SAN FRANCISCO -- Less than two miles from the exalted grounds of AT&T Park is a different kind of sanctuary, a place of comfort for low-income and homeless families built to break the cycle of childhood poverty.
Kim Bochy, wife of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, believes it was less chance and more fate that brought her here three years ago.
As a former volunteer doula (one who assists in childbirth) in San Diego, Kim has long been an advocate of prenatal care and birthing -- a passion that was refueled by her visit with fellow Giants wives to this community resource center in San Francisco's Mission District.
It didn't take much budging to get Bruce on board with the Homeless Prenatal Program, too.
"Prenatal care is very near and dear to my heart," said Kim. "That's why HPP struck a chord with me personally. So when Bruce and I were looking for someone to partner with, we chose them because I had toured the facility and I thought it was such a fabulous organization."
It's one that has grown from a small clinic in the closet of a family shelter to a nationally recognized leader of caring for low-income families. Their mission statement is simple: Help families recognize their strengths and trust in their capacity to transform their lives.
In 25 years, HPP founder and executive director Martha Ryan and her team have assisted more than 85,000 families by way of a nurturing and empowering environment, connecting them with health, housing, education and employment programs along the way to better their lives and end a vicious cycle.
"It gives these homeless families the ability to end childhood poverty," said Bruce. "That's what got me more than anything, and then I saw the number of families that had access to this program, and it's remarkable. They offer so many services, from housing to child development, and what's neat about this program is a lot of the women that have gone through it are now working for Martha. It's pretty cool to hear their stories and what they're doing to help out other homeless people."
"Martha is a one-stop shop now," said Kim. "She helps them with everything. Some have substance-abuse issues. Some are in dire straights. She really helps them in all aspects of their lives to get back on their feet and, even when they are on their feet, help them manage money and do taxes. She does it all. It's kind of amazing."
The admiration is mutual.
"They're fantastic," Ryan said of the Bochys. "Really, I see them first as friends and partners. There's a commonality with Kim, who's a doula. She really understands and believes in the work that we do. And I really think Bruce is an incredible leader. What he's done over the last few years with the Giants, leading the team to such success.
"They're great people and really just wonderful, normal human beings who care about the community at large and who really give back to the community."
The Bochys teamed up with HPP and Amici's East Coast Pizzeria to raise nearly $30,000 at an August event following an afternoon Giants game, amid a season that would end in San Francisco's third World Series title in five years. Team chief executive officer Larry Baer and broadcaster Mike Krukow were also on hand to interact with fans, who were encouraged to purchase raffle tickets for dozens of Giants items collected by Bruce, including game-worn jerseys and bats.
"They, of course, all wanted to talk baseball," said Bruce. "It's a neat deal that we have fun with, and we decided this is something we want to do every year."
"Bruce and Kim don't have to do what they do with us," said Ryan. "They do it because they care about the people that we're serving, and they do it because they believe in the work that we do and they believe in the potential of the clients, each and every family that we serve here, and they want to help."
Ryan's team extends parenting classes to women and even hosts baby showers for expectant mothers each quarter. Kim attended one with general manager Brian Sabean's wife, Amanda, and brought strollers for each of them.
"Such a small gesture was so appreciated by them," said Kim. "They wanted to take photos with us. Our husbands get that all the time, of course, but not us.
"It's really fabulous because a lot of people who are in that situation haven't received those parenting skills themselves, and it's hard to know how to parent if you haven't done it. They just keep unleashing opportunity after opportunity for these families, and it's nice to know we've maybe helped their future."