Staring down 25 years of operation, volunteers of the Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre reflect on its growth and look forward to future opportunities as the organization gears up for its anniversary gala.
Back in 1993, the group was composed of just a handful of women, who had received training at the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre. There was no official facility and a woman suspecting an unplanned pregnancy would meet up with the volunteers at a local cafe and take a pregnancy test in its washroom.
“(The volunteers) kept baby clothing in their home and just assisted women who were experiencing an unplanned pregnancy,” explained Laurel Pedersen, executive director.
The organization now operates out of its First Avenue facility and offers women various resources including free pregnancy tests, counselling, referrals to other community services and practical resources including baby clothes and toys.
Pedersen said the establishment of the Pregnancy Centre has been reliant on volunteers since the start.
“People have sacrificially given their time and energy and money,” Pedersen said, adding that retaining those traits has been challenging at times.
“Our event is celebrating the last 25 years and all the people that have helped to carry it this far,” Pedersen said. “We’re going to have a glimpse at the future plans.”
Among the future plans include a potential maternity home. The executive director from Red Deer’s Pregnancy Care Centre, which celebrated its grand opening last November in conjunction with its 30th anniversary, will be meeting with Cochrane’s centre to share how they were able to make the project happen. No official plans have been set for the Cochrane home just yet.
Pederson said she hopes to increase the amount of counselling time with clients.
“We feel seeing women once a week is sometimes inadequate. We want to do more,” Pedersen said. “We’re continuing to make bigger plans for the future so that we can increase our impact in the lives of people in the community.”
The organization has also made strides in gaining a full charitable status, which could result in more options for funding.
All past and present clients, staff, volunteers and donors are invited to the gala.
Doors open at 6 p.m. beginning with a dinner followed by an auction then a few guest speakers.
The Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre 25th Anniversary Gala will be held on March 15 at the Cochrane Alliance Church. For tickets or more information call (403) 932-2900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.