Gentle Transitions is committed to giving back to our community and the world. We are continuing our #givingtuesday focus today, and will continue throughout the month of December to focus on our favorite organizations, locally and globally that help mothers and babies in one way or another.
Champaign-Urbana is truly lucky to have the Pregnancy Resource Center. The PRC has many locations throughout Illinois, including locally in Champaign.
At the Pregnancy Resource Center you will find free services offered in a caring and confidential setting by staff who specialize in pregnancy and sexual health issues.
The PRC serves all women, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, or whether or not they have insurance.
Imagine finding out you are unexpectedly pregnant, and feeling like you have no place to turn for help. You have little to no health insurance, your significant other doesn’t want a child, and you’re not even sure you do. Or, you planned a pregnancy, but need more help than you thought you would getting used to the idea of parenting. The PRC is there, waiting with open arms. You can walk in, get a free pregnancy test, and speak to a caring person, in a private room, about your personal situation. You’ll hear about all of your options in a factual manner, and be offered a free ultrasound to see the life inside. You’ll have help making the decision about what to do, and should you choose to parent or make an adoption plan, the PRC is there with you each step of the way.
If a mother/couple chooses to parent their child, they can start taking advantage of parenting classes, called the H.O.P.E Mentoring Program – Helping Others Parent through Education. The “H.O.P.E.” program helps to answer many of the questions a woman/couple may have about pregnancy and newborn care. There are regular lessons that teach great information about pregnancy and babies. There are a lot of topics to choose from and each woman/couple can put together a personalized lesson plan that is unique to their needs, and better help them understand what their future holds. Classes include everything from birth, sleep, and feeding to newborn care, infant massage, first aid and beyond. Each time a woman/couple completes a lesson, they have the opportunity to earn “baby bucks” that can be used to purchased new or gently used baby and maternity items such as clothing, diapers, and variety of infant care products. Brand new car seats, strollers and cribs may also be purchased with “baby bucks” when available.
Each year in the United States, about 51,000 American children are placed for adoption. In addition, about 6,500 foreign children are adopted by Americans, for a total of a little under 58,000 children adopted per year.* The PRC is available to help a woman/couple through the difficult decision to place their baby up for adoption. If a woman decided to make an adoption plan, they can set up appointment with staff members at the PRC to help them create their own personalized adoption plan, and work with staff and a lawyer through the legal aspects of placing a child for adoption.
While the Pregnancy Resource Center does not perform abortions, they do counsel women about the choice of abortion, and answer any questions a woman/couple might have about that option. They are committed to providing factual information regarding the different types of abortion, and help a woman/couple make their decision. If a woman/couple does choose abortion, the PRC provides non-judgemental and caring after-abortion support and care. They have one-on-one or group support for anyone who needs or wants it after choosing an abortion. If needed, they are able to refer people to professional counselors or therapists for more in-depth help.
The PRC has helped so many women and their partners through their pregnancy journeys. In addition to all that they currently offer, they are working on an amazing new outreach in town called Merci’s Refuge.
Merci’s Refuge is a residential program offered at no cost and designed to nurture a woman in crisis as she becomes the person God created her to be.
The building is well underway, and is nearing it’s completion. It will be able to house 16 women, free of charge, as they go through intense daily programs to help them learn not only life skills, but also about who they are, their worth and value, and what might be holding them back from meeting their goals in life. The program will be offered to women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, or are at risk (ie, in an abusive relationship).
So, how can you help? Both the Pregnancy Resource Center and Merci’s Refuge offer free services to women and their partners. As such, they are always thankful to receive donations. Additionally, they love having volunteers! If you’d like to find out more about how you can volunteer and get involved with either the PRC or Merci’s Refuge, click here. 4
We hope you will join us in donating to the PRC, Merci’s Refuge or one of the other organizations that will be featured here each Tuesday throughout the month of December! Keep an eye out for our next blog featuring other local organizations and the wonderful work they are doing for us here in the Champaign-Urbana community.