Brandy Cooper knows that Pregnancy Care of Summit County cares about her and her three children. Since coming to the agency five years ago for help, people still remember her, and she hopes that others in community can see everything they do for pregnant woman in need.
Pregnancy Care of Summit County has served families since 1971. The agency’s mission is the belief that every woman has the right to give birth and raise her child with dignity. The organizarion has a number of programs that are offered free of charge to support woman and men who are faced with unexpected pregnancies.
“We needed the help,” said Cooper. “It’s hard when you don’t have anyone. They (Pregnancy Care of Summit County) never judge, they never look down on you. That’s why I come.”
The nonprofit does not discriminate against anyone who needs its services, and its services are many. The informational classes include Prenatal, Teen Prenatal and Parenting. Each class consists of eight session and after completion, graduates receive a new crib and mattress. The agency also provides materials such as clothing, infant formula, toys and diapers.
One of the most important things Pregnancy Care offers and stresses is the emotional support, said Lisa Mastriano, resource development director. Clients are able to come in and sit with trained volunteers and staff to discuss concerns. Pregnancy Care gives referrals to other services needed and collaborates with a number of nonprofit and agencies to give their clients the best opportunities.
“We might be the only positive they had today,” said Mastriano. “If I had 35 clients that day, it’s a rewarding experience to know I impacted that many families.”
Pregnancy Care recently celebrated its 40th anniversary in September, and despite the economy and impact it’s had on a number of jobs, the agency is working to keep and maintain all that it offers the best that it can. And it isn’t just Summit County that staff is serving, people from from other counties are driving to get the support the staff offers.
“Some agencies are strict about what the clients have to go through to get the support they need,” said Sharea Gooden, an intern from The University of Akron. “Sure there are some who abuse the system, but many more really need the help and appreciate it. I’ve helped a mixture of people — women who have gotten a divorce to teens in high school.”
Even though Pregnancy Care gives a lot to the community, it gets back just as much. Old clients, families of clients and community members are donating time, material and money to make sure the agency provide maximum support to those in need.
“The people who give back to us deserve a lot of recognition,” Mastriano said. “They do a lot to support us and our clients. Women come in and are devastated to find out they are pregnant, but we give them hope that they can be successful.”
Mastriano said as the holiday season approaches, Pregnancy Care is always accepting donations such as old maternity cloths, toys, cribs and car seats, and most importantly formula. For more information about ways to donate and volunteer opportunities visit www.pregnancycareonline.org.