One organization in Delta County is working hard at ensuring that families are functioning at their very best, and it is reaching out for help to expand the mission. The board of directors of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Delta invited area clergy and community supporters to the center last week to give an update of what they have been doing and future plans.
The center, located at 523 Dodge Street, offers free, confidential pregnancy tests, alternatives to abortion, adoption information, mentoring and education to families within Delta County, all at no charge. "Our focus is on families in Delta County. We want to see them thrive," said Anita Chavez, who serves both as the center director and the president of the board. The center is open Wednesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
And while the PRC is doing well maintaining services to its clients, Chavez and the rest of the board are anxious to expand its hours of operation so that more families can receive assistance. "We can't do it on our own," she said during last week's gathering. "We need more help. All of us as a whole are responsible for Delta County. If we're going to see a revival here, we need to come together." Chavez explained that at the center, volunteers really strive to show clients that their past does not control their future. She read from Galatians 5:1. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, but all roles come down to easing the difficult life transitions of pregnancy, birth and child-raising. One area that needs volunteers is administrative and office work, answering the phones and greeting clients as they come into the center.
Other volunteers can help sort, stock and organize the Baby Boutique, where parents can "buy" clothing, diapers, formula or other baby supplies. Those supplies used to be free to clients, but the board changed the program this year to encourage participation in the program. Clients are awarded "Mama Bucks" for demonstrating good parenting and decision-making choices, and the Mama Bucks are used to purchase items from the boutique. Mama Bucks are given if clients participate in the classes, if they volunteer in the community, or if they model healthy child-rearing habits, like ensuring their children go to the doctor or dentist. The items aren't expensive by any means -- just 10 cents for a piece of clothing, for example -- but the cost isn't the point. "We want them to participate and we want them to be the best parent they can be," Chavez said. "We want to help them help themselves."
The boutique is stocked with donated items, but there are some items clients need help with that can't be used, like a crib or a car seat. For those purchases, the PRC board dips into its operating budget to help parents with those expenses. Diapers remain the most requested item from parents, and Chavez said they have trouble keeping a good stockpile of diapers on hand.
Volunteer mentors are also sought for one-on-one mentoring and educational components. Clients meet with one of just two counselors who tailor a program to the unique needs of each client. Classes cover the realm of family life, from healthy pregnancy habits to caring for an infant, discipline and parenting strategies.
The center also offers relationship and abstinence counseling and education for teens, though that aspect of the center's services aren't as utilized as the board would like, Chavez said. Currently, teens who come in for a free pregnancy test, or those very few who come in on their own, are counseled or given materials on abstinence or healthy relationships. One of the goals of last week's event was to make clergy aware of this service and hopefully get the word out to parents of teens that this service is available.
The Pregnancy Resource Center is a faith-based nonprofit organization. "Every client that comes through our door we look at as an opportunity to share the word of God with," Chavez said. The board will begin a monthly prayer meeting beginning next month, and invites the community to lift up the center, its volunteers and its donors in prayer either at the gathering or on your own. Also needed is regular, ongoing financial support, or donations of gently used baby items or donations of diapers or formula. Area service clubs and churches are also invited to host "baby showers," diaper drives or to collect change in baby bottles. Chavez can be reached at the center at 874-5733 for more information on any of the fundraising events or volunteering in any of these roles. Training is offered to those who are interested in working with Delta County families.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.