Hope Pregnancy Center’s former executive director looks back on service with joy
Victoria Van Couvering, the former director of the Hope Pregnancy Center, sits for a photo Thursday in her home in Craig. | Cuyler Meade/Craig Press
For the Craig Press
Victoria Van Couvering wrapped up her tenure as the Hope Pregnancy Center at the end of April.
But she didn’t walk out sad, although it was a bittersweet moment.
“Five years is about the normal lifespan of a pregnancy center’s executive director, and I left just before my sixth year would have begun,” Van Couvering said.
It was a bit of a whirlwind when Van Couvering took over as the executive director in 2015. She recalled been a board member of the pregnancy center for maybe a couple of years when she was asked to take the position after the former director left.
But it was her passion to help people, especially women, in a time of such vulnerability that made her perfect for the job.
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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
“I was on the board and I went to church one Sunday, and the pastor was talking and said, ‘Jesus is our only hope,’ which I immediately took as a sign,” she said.
Before moving to Craig with her husband, who has since passed away, in 2012, Van Couvering had been a part of an abortion recovery ministry at her church in southern California. She said that, as someone who grew up with an alcoholic mother, she understood dysfunction better than most.
“I’ve had three marriages, two of which ended in divorce,” she said. “One was abusive, one sort of blew up in my face. I came away needing so much, and at my church, I found the counsel I needed.”
But after five years, Van Couvering realized that she was unable to give the job the attention and dedication it deserved. When she came onboard, the executive director position only required about 20 hours of work a week.
By the time she left, it required full-time hours that she wasn’t able to provide due to caring for her special-needs grandson and other life situations.
“I am not someone who leaves anything I’ve started unless something makes it clear it’s time for me to go,” Van Couvering said. “I knew I couldn’t give the job what it needed, and the board members were so supportive of my decision to step down.”
Even though she is no longer the executive director, Van Couvering still loves the pregnancy center and all of the amazing work she, the staff and the board did during her time there.
But just because she is no longer at the center doesn’t mean she’s stopped serving others in the Craig community. Now she’s forming a women’s counseling ministry through Craig Christian Church so she can continue providing support for women in the area.
“Being at the pregnancy center was some of the best years of my life, because every minute of every day was spent helping someone, somehow,” Van Couvering said. “I’ve only been in Craig since 2012, but this is the only hometown I’ve ever known. So to be able to do anything that helps people in this community, it’s like being able to eat ice cream 24 hours a day.”
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