Since 1991, volunteers at the Pregnancy Test and Resource Center in Jasper have been coming up with new ways to fulfill the nonprofit’s mission: “to reach those facing unplanned pregnancies by providing a refuge of hope, grounded in the love of Jesus Christ and to educate them about the choices that respect the gift of life.”
PTRC provides free and confidential pregnancy tests as well as counseling on pregnancy options.
Executive director Jenny Hyche said most of the young women who come to PTRC are eager to talk to someone. Often, they have not yet confided in their parents, boyfriend or spouse, and they almost always have concerns about how an unplanned pregnancy will change their life.
“They say, ‘I’m scared. I don’t know how to care for a baby. I don’t have the money to care for a baby,’” Hyche said.
To address these concerns, PTRC offers the “Now What?” program, which provides expectant mothers with baby items upon completion of a series of educational classes. Topics range from prenatal care to toilet training and budgeting.
Women who complete eight classes receive diapers, wipes, clothes, baby wash and other essentials. Those who complete an additional four are given a new car seat upon graduation.
The Parenting Essentials Clothes Closet, which goes from birth through 18 months, is open to anyone in the community. However, a short educational lesson is required to receive items from the clothes closet as well.
Last year, PTRC had a total of 500 client visits, 90 of which were for pregnancy tests. More than 300 were for the clothes closet. The remaining visits were either to attend a class or to receive counseling or other information regarding pregnancy options.
Instructors taught 112 “Now What?” classes, and that program had six graduates.
The average age of clients being assisted through PTRC was 27.
“A lot of people tend to think that it’s just teenagers coming in, and it’s not. Our average age has always been between 26 and 27,” Hyche said.
Other free programs of PTRC include an annual purity conference for adolescents titled “It’s a Girl Thing” as well as post-abortion counseling and an abortion recovery Bible study.
“We want to reach girls before they ever need to come in, and we also want to minister to women after they’ve made the choice to have an abortion because there are a lot of emotions and risks that go into that decision and some effects afterward if they do decide to have it. We don’t want to just leave them; Jesus wouldn’t do that,” Hyche said.
Within the next six months, PTRC will also begin offering free ultrasounds through eight weeks of pregnancy.
Hyche said most clients do not have insurance and must have a proof of pregnancy to get prenatal care.
Currently, PTRC cannot provide that proof because it is not a medical center.
“That helps us close that gap where we’re here to help them with baby items and educationally, but there is not a lot we can do right now for them medically,” Hyche said.
Individual donations are the primary funding source for PTRC. Supplemental funds come from an annual gala, which in recent years has featured guest speakers such as Rebecca St. James and Pam Tebow.
PTRC is located at 1707 2nd Avenue in Jasper. For more information, call 221-5860.