QA with Barbara Sessions: CareNet offers services for expectant parents
How long have you been working with CareNet?
As the director, it has been three years. Two years prior, I was a volunteer and did Bible study.
What are some of the programs offered at CareNet?
S.A.f.E. is sex and family education. With that program, we go to the schools. The specific programs: &8220;You are Unique&8221; is for seventh grade, &8220;Choices&8221; is for eighth grade and up and &8220;Sex and Cents&8221; is for 10th through 12th grade.
How did the CareNet Pregnancy Center of West Alabama come about?
We started out as Save-A-Life 17 years ago. Then Save-A-Life merged with CareNet on July 1, 2005. Since that merger, there are more than 1,000 pregnancy care centers in the United States and Canada.
What is the mission of your organization?
It is to affirm the value of life by providing a network of care to those experiencing pregnancy-related crisis and by compassionately presenting biblical truth resulting in changed lives to the glory of God.
How important do you think the message of the center is to the people of our specific area?
We have the same needs that a larger area has. The people, whether they are in a small area or a large metropolitan area, they have the same needs. So we strive to work with the social agencies that provide for the needs. We work in coordination with them. We provide material goods. We provide services that our clients need. We try to instill in our girls that family is number one, and that parenting is a choice. We try to care for the needs of the individual woman, as well as the needs for her child and her family.
What kind of challenges does your organization face?
It surprises me that so few people know that the center exists.
What does your job as director entail?
I coordinate the work that goes on here. I train volunteers to do whatever is necessary to do, from office management to janitorial services, teaching and counseling. If we don&8217;t have the volunteers then I do the job.
Do volunteers teach the S.A.f.E. programs?
We have men who volunteer to teach the boys and women teach the girls. We are in need of RNs who can teach the medical presentation.
What do the programs teach children?
The main focus is that abstinence until a committed relationship in marriage is the message. That is what we are trying to get across to this generation. Abstinence is the preventative measure for sexually transmitted diseases and for unplanned pregnancies.
How is CareNet funded?
We are a Christian organization; we are a 501 non-profit organization. We are funded through churches and individuals. We did do a huge yard sale, which we are no longer doing. We are totally depending on God to supply our needs through donations and through organizations that share our mission.
Have things changed since you have been involved with CareNet?
The biggest change has been the &8220;Earn while you learn&8221; parenting classes. They are open to our expectant mothers and fathers. We offer parenting classes covering first trimester to full-term delivery to raising and parenting that child. Even down to how to pick a babysitter.
Also first aid for the child, economics and how to develop spiritually in a committed relationship with the Lord and have the best family a person can have. In that program we give them mommy money for coming to the classes. Then once a month we have a Bible study. We provide a light lunch for the moms. They can shop the mommy store for needed items for their baby.
Have you gotten a good response from this program?
Yes, we have gotten a very good response. The Demopolis Ministers Association made it possible for us to secure the materials that we needed for teaching. We can teach one on one, or we can have classes with multiple moms. Not all of our clients are girls; we have many mature moms.
Do you have many fathers participate in the program?
We&8217;re having a few fathers. But in order to do Dad University, we need volunteer men.
Why is this organization important to you personally?
I felt that this was a ministry that God has called me to. I know that God loves people unconditionally, and people need to know the message of God&8217;s unconditional love. I love children and I know that God is the giver of life. Life begins at conception.
My heart has always wanted to protect the pre-born baby and let that baby have a chance for the life God has given him. This is not something new for me. This has been 26 years ago that God placed this on my heart. In the last five years was when I really felt the call of God to be involved and work in the ministry, because it is a ministry that offers hope and healing to those who have made bad choices.