Due to a generous donation of $24,081 from the Alaska Knights of Columbus, the ABC Pregnancy Care Center recently purchased a new ultrasound machine to help women in the community.
The center, located on Willow Street behind the Seaman Building, provides families with a safe place to go for services, accurate information and support.
Colleen Ward, Executive Director of the Center, said the new machine is portable and has a higher resolution than the older machine they were using.
“It is a thrill to be able to have this new machine,” Ward said, adding that the new machine will allow a view at a fetus at five weeks.
The center is the starting point for many women in the community who are in need with a scope of practices including pregnancy tests and abdominal and intrauterine ultrasounds. The center exists to support women and their families before, during and after pregnancy.
Ward said in 2012 the center facilitated 153 visits. So far in 2013, the center has had more than 200 visits.
The center has been in existence for 30 years on the Kenai Peninsula, with Ward being the seventh director. The center is able to provide services due to the donations of area churches, businesses and individuals.
“We are very stable due to the generosity of compassionate people in our community,” she said. “We don’t call our services free because someone is paying for it.”
Ultrasounds are performed at the center by a registered nurse once a week or by appointment. Ward said her hope is for the center one day to have the ability to offer the service daily.
“My vision is that we will have medical personnel here every day of the week,” she said.
Until then, Ward and the staff of volunteers are excited for the arrival of the new machine.
The donation came on Sept. 14 when Pro Life Director Jim Curro and the Alaska Knights of Columbus State Deputy Jim Betts presented Ward and the center with a check to purchase the machine. Mayor Pat Porter and Kenai City Council members Tim Navarre and Bob Malloy were also in attendance as the group celebrated the donation with others for the community.
According to a press release, The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic, family and fraternal organization that has encouraged and offered placement of life saving ultrasound devices to qualified Christian pregnancy care centers.
“Colleen Ward of ABC Pregnancy Center and her staff worked to supply necessary information while Knight Tim Navarre of Kenai worked to mobilize the Knights of Columbus with the necessary commitment and stimulus to raise enough funds for success,” the release said.
The Alaska Knights of Columbus joined together as one body throughout the state and within three weeks had raised enough money to fund the machine for the Kenai center. It was also able to donate another unit to the Care Net Pregnancy Center in Fairbanks.
Ward said she and her staff of volunteers help a wide range of women, from 18 to 29, with life skills and parenting classes for mothers. The center began offering classes for fathers in 2012, helping new dads and dads-to-be learn necessary information to be successful.
“Parenting is a journey,” Ward said.
Most lessons are done one-on-one with a parent educator, but group classes are also offered, creating an opportunity to meet and form bonds other parents in the community.
Across the hall from the center is a room called the care closet. The store-like room is filled with maternity and infant clothes, shoes and accessories, diapers, strollers, and formula.
The center offers an earn while you learn program, an opportunity to earn ABC cash to be used to purchase items in the care closet.
Another aspect of care the center provides is abc.wecare.org, a website to help educate women and men about sexual heath, pregnancy, abortion education and recovery and overall support.
The center also offers post abortive counseling education.
“We provide support to women regardless of their decisions,” Ward said. “We want them to know this is a safe place, they are cared for and we will speak the truth to them.”
The center currently has 30 volunteers who go through extensive training to be able to help others in the community.
While the center has provided support to many women in despair on the peninsula, Ward said it is a blessing to see some of those women who want to return the favor by volunteering their time.
“It is a beautiful thing to see,” Ward said.
Reach Sara J. Hardan at firstname.lastname@example.org.