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Agency Spotlight: Crisis Pregnancy Center

A Safe Haven for Motherhood

By: Mercedez McDowell

Crisis Pregnancy Center_staff Susie Schlemmer and Tina Lampke of Crisis Pregnancy CenterNowhere in the definition of motherhood does it say leisure activity. And, a mother's responsibility goes far beyond giving birth. In this 21st Century, especially, mothers are expected to nurture, protect, teach, and provide financial stability. For single mothers with children under the age of six, however, Crisis Pregnancy Center helps with those responsibilities.

Crisis Pregnancy Center along with Hannah Houses provides clothes, housing, food, counseling and more depending on the specific needs of clients. "Women may come in for diapers, but we automatically do an assessment to make sure there aren't other spiritual, mental, or physical needs in their lives," explains Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, Susie Schlemmer.

All mothers of young children are welcome to the assistance provided by the Center. Though it operates from a Christian point of view, Schlemmer says there is "no pressure" for non-Christian clients nor non-Christian volunteers. While the volunteer application does include a statement of faith, applicants only need to complete that section for certain positions like counseling. The Center offers several tasks to accommodate both male and female volunteers. They also work with volunteers of all ages (middle-school aged and above without a parent, and any age with a parent). In fact, Schlemmer began her journey with the Center working in the office. "I came here thinking office supplies," Schlemmer recalls, "but even in the office you're exposed to the clients. Then, I met a client that I connected with and my heart breaks for her."

Volunteer Jane Hoeppner says she loves "the quality of people, the heart they have for the women and the dedication they have to ministry" the most. "What this is dealing with is reality within these walls," Hoeppner explains, "reaching out in love and truly helping and making a difference to people's lives for eternity."

The Center also provides a variety of opportunities for groups to help as well. Sororities, fraternities, and other organizations sort clothes, cook dinner, play games, and collect needed items such as diapers, bottles, clothes and more. Groups are especially important for special events such as the annual Spring Radio Telethon, a live broadcast with Spirit 95 radio. During the telethon, the Center volunteers help with a 12 hour open house, including tours, food, and childcare.

In all, Crisis Pregnancy Center provides total support of the spiritual, mental, and physical needs of single Crisis Pregnancy Center_volunteer mothers with young children. Executive Director Tina Lampke shares one of her experiences since she joined the Center in 1994: We had a young woman who was addicted to meth and desperate to make a living. She had gotten involved with exotic dancing and encountered emotional difficulties. When she was pregnant with twins, we (the Center) had the privilege to work with her for a year. Over a period of time we've seen her become drug-free. She is currently working full time in a well-paying job, and she recently got accepted into college. She is a beautiful example of our goal to help mothers start a new life when they have so many needs, but such incredible potential.

"I want them to know that we're a place to start," Lampke says, "I want a mother to know that she can come here and never be judged, just loved and supported."

The Center describes a crisis as: 1.Danger, and 2. Opportunity. Hoeppner was in a crisis when she first came to the Center. "My husband passed away, which left me with a position of having time; time to give and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the most worthwhile place to give my time." Though her crisis was not maternal, she as a volunteer received the same love and support as a client does. Hoeppner quoted Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you… to give you hope and a future," as the scripture that got her through her crisis. This is also the Crisis Pregnancy Center motto."I realized that anything you do where you're helping people, you are the one getting blessed."

So, join Schlemmer, Hoeppner, and Lampke at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. Help give mothers the opportunity of a promising future, and receive your blessing as well!

Advice for fellow volunteer coordinators:

Schlemmer's method for building a successful volunteer program is getting involved in all the jobs volunteers do. "It's hard to tell a volunteer to do something if you haven't experienced it first hand." Schlemmer says, "Get as much practice as possible, so you can explain it better, and you'll get more respect when volunteers know you're right along with them."

Advice for prospective volunteers:

Hoeppner's experience taught her that the first step is vital. "Just showing up and following through with commitments are important because people are counting on you."
After showing up, however, volunteers should be mentally encouraged to work. "If we didn't have that volunteer to staple papers then someone else would be pulled away from the phone, and if we didn't have someone to answer the phones then someone would be pulled away from a child," Schlemmer explains. "So, know that your contribution helps with everything!"