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Pregnancy Resource Center celebrates 20 years in the community

 

By Melissa Robinson

  It’s easy to miss the unassuming, cute, pale yellow clapboard house on Jodeco Road, that houses the non-profit Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) of Henry County, but according to Becky Smith, director and founder, the rooms inside are filled with love and hope that has made a huge impact on the community.

Pregnancy Resource Center’s director and founder Becky Smith at right with board president Alicia Hodges at the organization’s 20th anniversary celebration.                             Special photo

Just last month, the Pregnancy Resource Center celebrated a milestone in Henry County by observing it’s 20th anniversary of helping pregnant women in crisis in Henry County and making a difference in the lives of thousands of women and babies every year.

Smith, who founded the PRC, came to that part of her life in an unusual way. In 1982, she was just a young college graduate, armed with her degree in psychology when she began working for a family planning clinic that routinely performed abortions.

“I really didn’t know much about abortion at that time, it just wasn’t something we talked about or heard about,” said Smith.

She had been growing increasingly aware that she was uncomfortable with the clinic’s mission and decided to speak with her pastor about it. She said God literally called her out of the place.

“I knew something was wrong and I saw what abortion did to the women in that clinic, so I wanted to do something where they could see there were other options besides abortion,” she said.

By the sixth month mark, she quit, not knowing what to do as far as a job was concerned, but sure that it wasn’t working in the clinic.

Smith married a few years later and she and her husband settled in McDonough. A few years after marrying, she received a magazine from the Georgia Baptist Convention with an article on starting a pregnancy crisis center. That was in 1989 and two years later she put an ad in a local paper and in October of 1993, opened the doors of the Pregnancy Resource Center.

That first year, they served 97 clients. This past year, they had 1,850 client visits. Over the past 20 years, the Pregnancy Re-source Center has seen more than 21,000 client visits. Funded largely through donations, the center runs with one full-time staff member (Smith) and six part-time employees, as well as a host of volunteers.

“We have an amazing staff here, and a volunteer medical director, Jamie Estes, and we are so grateful for our volunteers,” she said. ”They give a hundred percent from their hearts.”

The PRC offers pregnancy testing, counseling, STD testing, ultrasounds, a clothes closet and baby supplies. Clients are also offered referral services and a program called Earn While You Learn, where clients can earn assistance with baby items through a points system. Most importantly, clients are offered counseling, not only for young pregnant women but for women who have had abortions and are having a difficult time dealing with the aftermath, through the center’s post-abortion recovery program.

“We are here for the mothers as much as for the babies,” said Smith. “If a girl comes here, she is going to feel loved. Our doors are always open and we are not judging you,” she said.

Smith said one of her organization’s greatest needs right now is more volunteers to be abstinence teachers in the public schools. Smith said that currently, the organization provides abstinence education for approximately seven schools in Henry County and the feedback from students and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. She said volunteers receive free training and all of the resources they need to be effective teachers.

The Pregnancy Resource Center is funded by private and church donations, as well as a limited number of grants, as well as proceeds from the annual Run for The Bun 5K, held every year. She said grants are limited because they proselytize.

“We are a Christian organization and our whole mission here is to share Christ. We are a ministry,” said Smith.

The Pregnancy Resource Center is located at 3834 Jodeco Rd. in McDonough. In addition to the need for abstinence teachers and other volunteers, financial donations are always needed and donations of diapers, wipes and other baby toiletries are appreciated.

For more information on helping or volunteering, visit www.prchc.org. If you are in need of services or advice, visit www.prchc.com or call 770-957-8288 or text 470-253-4485.

 

 

©Henry County Times, Inc.