Editor's note: The SHARE Foundation recently announced grants to 11 area nonprofits focused on intervention and prevention of crime and violence through the foundation's Union County Violence Intervention Plan (VIP). This story is part of a series of articles highlighting the programs funded, at least in part, with those grants.
The Hannah Pregnancy Resource Center provides two programs that fall under the SHARE Foundation's Violence Intervention Plan: parenting/life skills and re-entry.
The nonprofit received a $38,500 VIP grant to continue its work providing resources, training, education and support to expecting mothers, as well as its life-skills program for incarcerated women.
"The parenting program [is] an evidence-based program to teach life skills to clients on parenting, how to care for your baby, about pregnancy and the different aspects of that. That's what we do at the center," said Paula Williams, executive director of the Hannah PRC. "For the re-entry program, we have been going into the Union County jail to hold classes for incarcerated women on Thursday evenings, life-skills classes. In August, we started doing similar classes with women at the ACC drug court."
The re-entry program focuses on building stronger families by providing knowledge and skills, and stronger families reduce at-risk behaviors, according to Williams.
"We're hoping to provide services that have the potential to prevent violence in the community in the future," she said. "Healthy home environments lead to a reduction in violence overall, and we're hoping this approach will prevent future violence in the county."
The VIP grant allows Hannah PRC to enter the jails and serve a population the nonprofit typically wouldn't have access to.
"We're very thankful to be able to go in, meet these ladies, love on them and hopefully give them an education that will help them when they come back out into society," Williams said. "Going into the jail and starting the re-entry program was something that was new for us the last grant cycle. Even though it is different [than our usual services], we're still serving women and their children, but in a different capacity. It's growing because we're not only going into the jail, but into the ACC and we're in the process of potentially offering these life-skills classes to men in jail."
The parenting program helps new moms become the best moms they can be, Williams said, and also provides a support system for women who often don't have a strong one.
"We're there to walk alongside them during their pregnancy [and] after the baby," she said. "There are a lot of girls who don't have a strong base of support. It's our goal to love on them and be that friend. In addition to the classes, we have a baby boutique that is stocked with items the girls will need for their babies."
Clients earn points by coming to and completing classes, getting a job, graduating high school, etc. They can then redeem those points for diapers, clothing, blankets and other items from the boutique.
Through A New Hope, Hannah PRC has served 115 new clients this year and 63 repeat clients. The organization has conducted 143 ultrasounds and 125 pregnancy tests.
Williams said that she hopes news of the grant will help increase community awareness for Hannah Pregnancy Resource Center and the services they provide.
"I'm still surprised when I hear people say 'Oh, I didn't know y'all were here, or that you did things,'" she said. "I'm hoping more people will know that we're here, what we stand for and what we're doing — pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, education — our services are free because we care about our community and its future."
• About the grants: The SHARE Foundation recently announced grants to 11 area nonprofits focused on intervention and prevention of crime and violence through the foundation’s Union County Violence Intervention Plan (VIP). The grants, totaling $324,371, are the organization’s third round of VIP grants and 32nd round of grant awards overall. With the grant announcement, the SHARE Foundation has now given more than $8 million in grants and strategic initiatives to 91 different nonprofits operating in Union County, according to a press release from the organization. The grants fund items including operations, specific programs, software purchases and more.
SHARE’s VIP program began in 2018 and focuses on six areas: mentoring, re-entry, neighborhood watches/clean neighborhoods, parenting/life skills, jobs/targeted education, and mental health/substance and drug abuse.
For more details on the SHARE Foundation, visit the website at sharefoundation.com.
The foundation’s Violence Intervention Plan, its strategies and intended outcomes are available to review. Contact Debbie Watts, vice president of community impact at SHARE Foundation, at 870-881-9015 for more information or to get involved.