MAYA Organization’s mission is to promote the development of caring, competent, and healthy children and adults through counseling, prenatal education and support, and adoption services.
Tomilyn Ward founded MAYA in 2009, after she went through the process of adopting a child and recognized an unmet need for birthmother and adoptive parent advocacy. From 2009 to 2014, MAYA operated as a volunteer-run adoption and birth mother advocacy agency, with a focus on fundraising and volunteer recruitment. In these years, MAYA provided pro bono counseling for birthmothers, and was able to extend financial support to several families adopting children with special needs.
In August of 2014, MAYA Organization grew into a staffed agency focusing on two initiatives: supporting women during pregnancy and beyond, and providing counseling for incarcerated women who were separated from their children.
In 2015, MAYA Organization secured funding to offer pro bono services for pregnant women and their partners throughout their pregnancy and for up to one year postpartum. This funding enabled the launch of a three-part program offering counseling, an incentive-based prenatal education course, and a pantry program for the distribution of commonly needed infant items.
Today, MAYA Organization operates facilities in Northside and Swissvale, providing free counseling, classes, and pantry distributions for expectant and new families. Pro bono, trauma- informed counseling is offered for women in the Allegheny County Jail, throughout their incarceration and for up to one year following their release. MAYA counselors and social workers are currently undergoing training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, an evidence-based treatment for those who have a history of trauma.