Your Health: Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center offers resources to all parents
Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center
In 2012, the nonprofit organization logged 10 visits for pregnancy tests, three positive, seven negative; had 236 client visits for practical support to borrow baby and parenting supplies; and offered 154 "Earn While You Learn" classes, including topics like prenatal care, the labor process, postpartum depression, nutrition, toilet training and more.
Craig — Whether you have children of your own or not, you can help make a difference in the lives of the unborn and the newly born of Craig this weekend — all by purchasing a bowl of chili.
The 21st annual Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center Chili Supper takes place Saturday night at the Center of Craig. The fundraising effort, which includes large amounts of savory food and a silent auction, will benefit YVPC, which provides opportunities to those expecting a child and in need of assistance.
The organization is in the midst of moving from its site at 580 Green St. to a downtown location at 25 W. Victory Way, which will allow it a little more space while still providing the same services. Executive Director Katie Grobe described the services of the Pregnancy Center as three-pronged, with the first prong being free pregnancy testing.
“We don’t really see as much of that as we used to, but we still do sometimes, and a lot of times, people just need someone to listen, and we can always do that,” Grobe said.
Although women unsure of whether or not they are pregnant have more options for accurate testing than they did when YVPC first started, the second service is one that always is in demand: practical support, which includes a large stock of supplies for babies and toddlers ranging from diapers to toys to clothes to whatever the little ones might need that their parents might not be able to afford.
Most of the items are available through a loan, Grobe said, with the Pregnancy Center operating similar to a library, but return dates are flexible.
“Sometimes someone will check out a high chair for six months but then need it for nine months, so they can get back in touch with us and we can work it out,” she said.
Items like breast pumps and maternity wear also are available, but one item the Pregnancy Center cannot provide is a baby car seat.
“They expire and they have all kinds of recalls, so if we got a used one that had been in an accident, we’d be liable,” Grobe said.
She added that outdated cribs pose a similar safety concern.
The third YVPC program is titled “Earn While You Learn” and offers a wide variety of parenting seminars for mothers and fathers. By taking classes through the Pregnancy Center, parents and parents-to-be can earn credits known as “Baby Bucks,” which Grobe or other volunteers will use to help them purchase supplies that they will be able to keep.
Grobe recalled one of her first clients as one of the best examples of the success of “Earn While You Learn.” The client was a woman who struggled to keep a job and previously had a child taken out of her custody. Taking as many classes as she could, not only did she rack up an impressive number of “Baby Bucks,” she also learned what kind of mistakes she had made in the past that she could change to help her new baby.
“We went to buy some of the baby stuff, and she was bragging about how she had earned it, and I got a little choked up,” Grobe said.
YVPC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and strongly faith-based. Because of this, the group does not endorse abortion nor will it refer parties to anyone who performs that service.
Even so, the goal is not to try to talk anyone out of making that decision when they inquire about terminating pregnancy, with the center offering counseling without judgment.
“A lot of people don’t think they have a choice in that situation to keep their baby, but they always do,” Grobe said.
YVPC also works closely with agencies like Love in the Name of Christ and the Social Services Department to ensure that clients can get all the help they need in keeping their young children at their healthiest. Grobe said anyone seeking out the center’s services should know that there are no income restrictions if you need a helping hand or a class on a certain subject because not all parenting skills come naturally.
Although some aspects of pregnancy may seem obvious, Kelly Follett has observed one major health concern since starting as a pediatrician for The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic this summer.
“I’ve seen a lot of babies born to mothers who smoke, and I think that’s really common in Craig, which is unfortunate because they can be born premature or with lower birth weights,” she said. “It’s usually something we can see in the prenatal stages, and the OB-GYNs here have tried to talk to their patients about it.”
Follett said she believes educational opportunities for parents to be beneficial and conducive to giving birth to a child with the utmost well-being at the beginning of its life.
“One thing is the mom needs to know to take care of her overall health because that way, the baby is more likely to come out healthy,” she said. “By having a lot of resources, it will make the transition to motherhood easier, too.”
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.