On the plains of northeast Colorado, a group of pregnancy centers operated under one umbrella serves the women of four different small communities.
A Caring Pregnancy Resource Center of Northeast Colorado provides services in Brush, Sterling, Holyoke and Yuma, and maintains a presence on Monday evenings at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling. The organization relies heavily on volunteers, said executive director Faye Barnhart, LAS.
“Our centers are miles from each other,” she said. “We have people spread out in the various locations, each with a site manager.”
20 years of following God’s call
The volunteer staff of 70 to 90 people include those site managers, receptionists, client advocates and stenographers.
“I’m thankful for our volunteers,” she said. “Our approach to volunteers is to let them know they are important and encouraging them to realize they are doing what God is calling them to do. We always let them know how much we appreciate them.”
One avenue to recruit new volunteers is through the organizations’ annual banquets, held in January. This year marks A Caring Pregnancy Resource Center of Northeast Colorado’s 20th anniversary, or as Barnhart calls it “birthday.” The organization holds four banquets in a row, starting on a Friday night, due to the various locations and communities.
“People drive in from Kansas and Nebraska for our banquets,” she said. “We emphasize our need for volunteers during the events.”
Because of the distance, she condenses training from 12 weeks into one day and offers additional trainings, such as how to present the Gospel to clients, on other occasions.
Barnhart became director in July 2015. Previously, she had served as a volunteer and had been on staff at other pregnancy centers. She also have a background in helping women in domestic violence situations. Her previous training helps her train new volunteers.
“We emphasize crisis intervention and listening skills,” she said. “We use Heartbeat’s Love Approach – it’s my favorite curriculum. Our volunteers feel equipped (after the training).”
The volunteer program “has been growing,” she added.
“The volunteers themselves are the best recruiters,” she said.
Reaching NE Colorado in various ways
In addition to the brick and mortar locations, the organization operates a mobile medical unit.
“We cover six counties,” Barnhart said. “It made sense we go mobile.”
Besides providing pregnancy tests, options consultations, and ultrasound services, A Caring Pregnancy Resource Center of Northeast Colorado reaches out to a local community college and students in 21 public school districts.
“Our goal is to be teaching in all 40-plus districts,” Barnhart said.
Additionally, the center offers parenting and budgeting classes, baby items, and abortion healing programs, and refers for abortion pill reversal.
Women either travel to the two hours Denver for abortions or find an abortion provider in the area - though abortion is not generally advertised, said Barnhart.
“It’s more underground,” she said.
Barnhart and her strong core of volunteers also seek to connect their clients with local churches, and she is looking to increase medical services at the centers.
“We hope to add STD testing starting this year,” She said.
Barnhart also hopes to reach more women.
“Trends and demographics change,” she said. “It’s important to continue to learn. When we speak the language of those we’re trying to reach, we see success.”
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Potential clients find the centers through Facebook on via Google on the internet, she said. The center has a website by which women can inquire about services and appointments.
Last year the four centers served more than 80 clients. Of those women coming in for medical services and options consultations, 25 were assessed as abortion-determined, Barnhart said.
“Twenty of those women carried to term, which means babies were saved in 2019,” she said. “The other five – we don’t know what happened.”
“We are trying to do better and improve,” she continued. “We are here to be their emotional support. Sometimes we’re the only ones who are.”