“Real empowerment comes through finding the resources and strength to make informed decisions.”
This statement is at the heart of the Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center, located in Suite 1, 1055 W. Locust St., Canton (the former Mid-Century building).
And, as new director Teri Williams emphasized, all the services are free.
The center offers pregnancy tests, diapers, baby clothing, food and formula and baby supplies at no charge. And, as of this past Monday, the center also offers free sonograms once during the first trimester, with the center working on a referral list of doctors after that.
Candy Fountain, who, according to Williams, is responsible for getting the service running, said the center had to get qualified volunteers for the program, including two Registered Nurses. There are also two technicians, one of who is coming in on her day off from Graham Hospital, and a nurse manager. In addition, Dr. Jason Lowe is donating his services to act as medical director.
Fountain said she also had to work with OSHA doing medical and safety inspections. So far, OSHA has made three visits to the center, all of which were successful Fountain said.
The sonogram itself was donated by the Women’s Pregnancy Center in Peoria about two and a half years ago, while the table was donated by Methodist Medical.
The Peoria center also helps provide the Canton facility with what Williams called “a vast array of knowledge.”
Williams herself worked at the Peoria center for 13 years as an abstinence educator. She started at the Canton center on Sept. 1.
But the Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center, which is a member of Care Net, a national organization for pregnancy centers, offers more than free sonograms. Along with the supplies, the center provides a number of educational opportunities, including prenatal and parenting classes. These classes have also been approved by the state as meeting the requirements for court-ordered education needed for parents involved in custody situations. Williams noted many men are taking advantage of these classes to meet those requirements.
The center’s educational opportunities are not limited to regular clients. Williams has already been approached by Canton High School to provide instruction on healthy dating. The center also offers a monthly “Girls Nite In” session for young women in junior high to college, dealing with issues such as drugs, body image, relationships and anxiety.
Williams pointed out the center receives no government funding whatsoever. All money is provided by donations from individuals and churches, and two fundraisers are planned this year.
The center, which is open three days a week, has about 10 clients a week, but Williams said she would like to see more taking advantage of what the center has to offer.
“We have so much good product here I would love to give away,” Williams said. “It’s hard to see it sit there when I know someone can use it.”
But the center offers more than just material support and education.
“We walk alongside of these girls dealing with an unplanned situation,” Williams said. “We offer emotional support.”
The Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center is open from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. For an appointment, call 647-4102. Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information, check out the website at http://www.SRPregnancyCenter.com