Metro News Services

Pregnancy Care Centre on the way to Stettler

Red Deer-based organization set to open satellite office in town later this year

Come November, Stettler will be home to an office for the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre.

It was a few years ago that organizers here in town reached out to the Red Deer headquarters to see if there would be potential to set up a Stettler branch.

First off, a local planning committee hosted a meeting to gauge interest and about 35 people were in attendance.

Next, a fundraising banquet was held early last year to raise money to set the project in motion.

“This past May we hired a director for the Centre, and her name is Amanda Jackson,” said Lisa Smith, executive director of the Red Deer office.

“She is a long-time Stettler area resident, so that’s great. She is currently training in Red Deer with us to learn about her role.

“We are also looking for a space in Stettler – our client services director was out with Amanda looking at some rental opportunities and commercial rental space. So as soon as we find something suitable, we will be entering into a lease. Our hope is that by November the training will be done and we will be ready to open our doors!”

The Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre has been serving Red Deer and area since 1988.

Staff and volunteers provide compassionate support and education for individuals and families impacted by unexpected pregnancy and its effects.

Programs and services are offered free of charge, they are confidential and they are also offered in a safe and non-judgmental environment regardless of age, gender, race or religion.

“We actually just went through the strategic planning process as an organization, and we updated our vision and mission,” she explained. “Essentially, we are a centre that offers support and education to individuals and families, both men and women, who are looking for pregnancy-related resources,” she said.

“Oftentimes, because we are a pregnancy care centre, people assume that we only deal with pregnancy, but we do more than that. We have parenting programs, we have our maternity home program here in Red Deer which houses up to 11 women who are either pregnant or parenting an infant.

“And so Stettler will be our fifth area – we have Red Deer and satellite centres in Olds, Rocky Mountain House, and Drumheller is our other newest centre,” she said.

Smith said that in Stettler, for women with unplanned pregnancies who would like to receive information on what their options are, Centre staff can meet with them and chat about what parenting would look like, what an abortion would look like, and what an adoption would look like.

“And then we encourage (the person) to think about each of those and decide which option is best for her. We will support her regardless of what her decision is, and encourage her to come back if she needs us to chat further.

“We also work with men in parenting and mentorship programs, so we have male volunteers who work with our men who want more information or support on their parenting journey,” she said.

“It’s something key that we want to get out to our communities – that we serve men as well,” she added.

Looking back, Smith said what typically happens is that folks from various communities will reach out to the Red Deer office seeking for a satellite office to be set up in their own town.

“We will go to those communities and offer information sessions, and see what kind of a response we might get when we do a presentation on who we are and the types of services that we offer,” she said.

“We also look at what else is in that particular community because we don’t want to duplicate services that are already there,” she said. “So in Stettler, there was a request for us to come out in 2019. There was a good and positive response, and then they planned the banquet next to see if there was good financial backing from the community because the majority of the our funding comes from private donors, churches and businesses – we get very little government or grant funding.

“And so the community has to willing to support us in order for us to sustain it,” she said, adding that about 300 people attended the banquet. “That was a clear message to us that yes, there is a need here and yes, the community wants us there.”

From there, steps are taken to find a space and hire a director.

To that end, they found the right person with Amanda Jackson, said Smith.

“She has the skills we are looking for and she has the heart for working with these families that need support, compassion and no judgement,” said Smith.

“She’s also well-connected to the community because she has lived there for many years. All of those things together made her the successful candidate.

“We are excited to be coming into the community and our goal is to work alongside the other organizations that are already there.”