Expanding Services to meet a Steadfast mission
The Hope Pregnancy Centers of Brazos Valley has served our community for over 30 years. However, what they do and how they do it has changed dramatically. Think you know all about Hope? Think again!
Say the words “pregnancy center” and thoughts turn to free pregnancy tests, peer counseling, parenting education, material assistance, and diapers – lots of diapers. For over thirty years, these items have been offered by the non-profit organization known Hope Pregnancy Centers of Brazos Valley (HPCBV). Yet, they only represent a partial and expanding list of services. Through all the change, the mission of HPCBV has remained the same: To honor God, while meeting the needs of those facing crisis pregnancies.
Back in the 1980s HPCBV (then known as Brazos Valley Crisis Pregnancy Service) was known as a pregnancy-counseling center. A teen facing a crisis pregnancy needed easy and confidential access to a free pregnancy test and information about her options. Pregnancy tests were not e
asily accessible at that time and the stigma associated with purchasing one would have been overwhelming.
As HPCBV grew in size and reputation, their clients wanted additional services. The first to be added was a parenting education program to provide a learning opportunity for new parents. Classes now include Childbirth Preparation taught by local doctors and RNs, Baby Care and Breastfeeding classes taught by community health education professionals and Fatherhood classes taught by fathers!
In 2006, HPCBV added ultrasound scans to their services. Women could now easily ascertain they were pregnant through the purchase of over the counter tests, but they wanted to know if the pregnancy was viable and the gestational age of the fetus. With the addition of ultrasound, HPCBV was now considered a pregnancy medical center.
HPCBV’s medical professionals include a volunteer physician as the Medical Director, two volunteer staff physicians, and two paid registered nurses.
As the needs of our community changed, so did the services offered by HPCBV. The closing of the former Planned Parenthood facility in 2013 led to the addition of a STI/STD clinic doing business as Testing 4 U. Also known as T4U, which means “thanks for understanding” in the world of social media abbreviations, the clinic offers free, confidential and comprehensive testing for sexually transmitted infection and disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control, young people (ages 15 to 24 years old) acquire nearly half of all new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, while our high school and college students are most at risk for such infections, they are the LEAST likely to seek medical attention concerning their sexual health. Their schedules do not fit well with first come first served clinics. Students are uncomfortable making an appointment with a local physician because the insurance company will report services rendered to the policyholder—also known as mom and dad.
Finally, clinics for the uninsured have eligibility requirements, which students may not satisfy. HPCBV is uniquely positioned to fill the need for a free and confidential STD testing and treatment service that is easily accessible. HPCBV sees a wonderful opportunity to reach young people with God’s plan for sex and marriage along with the hope of Christ before they are facing a crisis pregnancy.
The implementation of the Testing 4 U sexual health program was a major accomplishment in 2015. Now, HPCBV is looking at 2016 as the year they add a comprehensive faith-based abstinence program to their list of services. An abstinence program continues the logic of preventing the need for an abortion by pushing the timeline of poor choices back from those who are already sexually active to those who have not yet made a decision to become active.
There are three major areas HPCBV will be working to implement through 2016 and beyond – remembering that God’s timing is not always their own.
The first was an outreach event to middle school through high school age students called The Silver Ring Thing (SRT). The SRT program was created in 1995 as a response to the escalating numbers of teen pregnancies. Since that time, SRT has hosted more than 1,100 events in 9 countries, reaching 635,000+ total attendees. Of this number, more than 235,000 students have received rings as a symbol of their commitment to remain pure and abstain from sex until marriage. From inception, SRT has recognized that behavior change comes through heart change – that the guilt and pain of sexual immorality presents an open door for the Gospel. To date, more than 120,000 students have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through SRT events worldwide.
The HPCBV event was held on February 20, 2016 at Rudder High in the Margaret W. Rudder Performing Arts Center. Nearly 300 parents, students and volunteers were in attendance and fifteen students made decisions to follow Christ. HPCBV hopes to make this an annual event.
The second area will focus on equipping local parents. Research shows parents have more impact on their child’s sexual decision making than any other influence- including that child’s peers (Medical Institute for Sexual Health)! Parents are the primary sex educator in their child’s life and play a VITAL role in influencing behaviors and attitudes. But what do you say, and when? How do you raise a standard in your home while the rest of the world is trying to tear it down?
The Building Family Connections curriculum teaches parenting adults the skills to begin the lifelong conversation with youth about sex and healthy relationships. The program aims to postpone the age of sexual debut in youth by increasing parental involvement in sexual health education. The 10-hour curriculum empowers parents and parenting adults with medically accurate sexual health information and skills on effective communication and decision-making strategies to help youth grow up safe, smart, and strong.
HPCBV has staff trained to present this curriculum from a faith-based perspective and will announce specific dates for classes soon. They are also seeking churches that would like to partner with them to present this information to parents within their congregations.
Finally, HPCBV is improving their internal resources to provide more information to single pregnancy and sexual health clients on how they can recommit to an abstinence lifestyle. They hope to become a trusted resource on this topic and make themselves available for presentations and training workshops.
One Ministry – Two Locations
Hope Pregnancy Centers of Brazos Valley – 205 Brentwood Drive, College Station. Services at this location include pregnancy tests, options peer counseling, ultrasound, parenting education and material assistance
Testing 4 U – 4112 E. 29th Street, Bryan. Services at this location include STI/STD testing and sexual health education
ABOUT THOSE DIAPERS!
Material Assistance at HPCBV is based on an “earn while you learn” program. As moms and dads take parenting education classes they earn points. With these points, they can purchase baby items and diapers.
HPCBV depends on donations for baby clothes and diapers, but purchases new equipment to ensure product safety.
Baby Clothes – Since parents earn their points, HPCBV provides them with new baby items as oppose to used. They can chose from baby clothes up to size 12 months, blankets, booties, hats and more.
Baby Equipment – Cribs, car seats, swings, strollers, breast pumps and monitors are just some of the baby equipment offered. Each year parents purchase over 100 cribs and car seats.
Diapers & Wipes – As you can imagine, diapers and wipes are a critical component of any well-stocked layette!
Maternity Clothes – HPCBV has a loan program for gently used maternity clothes and points are not required. Used baby clothes are sometimes available and do not require points for purchase.