The Waupaca Pregnancy Information Center (WPIC) has opened an office at 102 Northridge Drive in New London, which is also home to B.A.B.E.S. of New London.
Jeanne Gehrke, a volunteer advocate since November, will serve as the New London center director. Heather Ruesch is executive director of the WPIC.
"We were able to open an office in New London because B.A.B.E.S. had some office space available," said Gehrke. "We wanted to expand to this area, and this worked out well. We're a pro-life organization focused on families. We want to give women honest answers on what is out there and what options are available to them before they make a decision. Having the New London office will help us reach more people, instead of having just one location in Waupaca."
Gehrke said all services offered are free and confidential. "Income level doesn't matter," she said. "We are here to support the pregnant family, single moms, and those with unexpected pregnancies. We want to be a support to them."
Denise Noble is the director at the Waupaca office, which works in partnership with the new location in New London.
"I am a New London High School alum," Noble said. "I spent lots of time in New London as a teen and young adult. It's still home to me."
Noble said the WPIC serves many clients from around the county. Prior to the New London office opening, clients had to travel all the way to Waupaca for help.
"Heather Ruesch had the vision to increase our presence in the county, and here in New London," Noble said. "It's very important that we get accurate information out to prospective clients regarding their options and choices for their future as parents. Education empowers people to make better choices."
The WPIC has a "Learn While You Earn" program that helps educate clients on how to parent and raise children. DVDs are available for mothers to watch during pregnancy, and clients can earn "Baby Bucks" through participation in this program and its associated events.
"The program offers financial education and Bible study opportunities in addition to pregnancy and parenting topics," said Gehrke. "We've had a really good response with this program so far. People are learning because we're taking the time to teach them. There are so many people that are starving for knowledge, and we want to be their support so that they know they're not alone."
The program includes many different lessons, homework assignments, and learning objectives. Some material is gleaned from Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family, and curriculum includes abstinence education.
"We tailor the program to meet individual needs," Gehrke stated. "The economy is tough, and many parents struggle to make ends meet. With this program, they can earn Baby Bucks while learning, and then redeem those Baby Bucks by purchasing baby wipes, diapers, or other necessities."
Free pregnancy testing is also available; clients take the test, and the WPIC does not give any medical advice. The WPIC operates New Beginnings Thrift Store in Clintonville, a store featuring donated clothing.
"We're a not-for-profit organization," Gehrke said. "Everything is based on donations, and we do not receive any government money."
The New London WPIC office will have a grand opening celebration on Saturday, June 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A brat fry will be held at Wal-Mart, and refreshments will be available at the New London office at 102 Northridge Drive.
The WPIC will host "Celebrate Life Fest" from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Swan Park in Waupaca. The event will feature free kids games, a live concert with Peder Edie, a softball tournament, a BBQ competition, a pie and dessert auction, concessions, and a pro-life store. To sign up for the softball tournament, BBQ competition or pie and dessert auction, call Darla-rae at 715-256-4144.
To learn more about the New London WPIC office, call 920-538-3575 or visit www.wpic.info. Interested persons can make appointments in either Waupaca or New London by calling this number.
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