Pregnancy Care Center hopes to pay off new building with Lake Jump donations

April 5, 2013

 

Director Tracey Chapman, right, and Clinical Services Director Amy Pider in front of the center on Tinkham Ave.

Director Tracey Chapman, right, and Clinical Services Director Amy Pider in front of the center on Tinkham Ave.

By Rob Alway

Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON – Twenty-one years ago a tragedy shocked the Ludington community. A teenage girl left her newborn baby in a dumpster near LudingtonHigh School. The baby was found dead and the community mourned. Out of that tragedy, the WestShorePregnancyCareCenter was founded. The center marks its 20th anniversary this year with the hopes of paying off its building with help from the 14th Annual Ludington Lake Jump scheduled to take place Saturday morning.

In March 2012, the center moved from the basement of Rieth-Riley Construction, located on First Street in the LudingtonIndustrial Park, to the former medical offices of Dr. Kenneth Hill just west of Washington Avenue on Tinkham Avenue.

Employees and volunteers work to provide caring service.

Employees and volunteers work to provide caring service.

Executive Director Tracey Chapman says the move has shown many positive results.

“It has given us more credibility,” Chapman says. “There seems to be a greater awareness in the community about who we are. We have noticed an increase in clients walking to us, which lets us know that we are in a more accessible location.”

Chapman says the previous location served its purpose for many years. The organization was grateful for the space. But, the new location has allowed the center to be its own entity. Being in the vicinity of the area’s largest high school has also been a benefit.

WestShorePregnancyCareCenter is a non-profit Christian ministry. Its vision is to care for those with pregnancy related concerns and mothers of young children by meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

“Our greatest desire is to enable and empower women and their families to make positive decisions for themselves and family physically, emotionally and spiritually,” Chapman says.

The center provides peer counseling, free pregnancy tests, baby clothing, diapers, formula and educational classes.

It employs two part-time employees and utilizes volunteers; currently about 10 women volunteer at the center.

Chapman says the center provides services to clients of all faiths. “Every employee and volunteer here has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” she says. “But, we never force our faith onto our clients. Instead we provide love and we listen to them. We come alongside those in crisis, whether it’s an unexpected pregnancy or another crisis. We seek to offer them hope.”

The center receives no government funding, it is completely funded by private donations from individuals, businesses and churches. The center holds two major fundraisers every year, the Walk for Life in May and the Baby Bottle Boomerang campaign in churches in the fall. It is a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization, meaning donations are tax deductible. However, it runs on a very low budget.

The center took a risk when it decided to purchase the new building. Chapman says the entire organization is very grateful to Dr. Ken and Diane Hill for selling them the building at a generous price.

“Our original building funding goal was $125,000,” Chapman says. “Of that $100,000 was for the building and $25,000 was for renovations. We were able to get the renovations done at a much lower cost and we now owe just under $40,000.”

Chapman says the hope of the organization is for the LakeJump to help offset much of that debt.

2012 Lake Jump

2012 Lake Jump

The Ludington Lake Jump started in 2000 by WMOM radio. That year the jump was just held for fun, the brainchild of then morning show host The Dutchman. Pat Lopeman, owner of WMOM, says the jump was such a success that he decided to offer pledges for charity the next year. Those committing to jump in the lake ask for pledges.

Lopeman says Linda O’Brien, who was employed at WMOM at the time, took over leadership of the jump and it evolved into its own entity. Now the LakeJump has its own board which decides which organization will receive the benefits of the annual jump.

The last few years $25,000 to $30,000 were raised for the respective charities.

The LakeJump is 11 a.m. Saturday at the south end of StearnsPark. For more information visit www.lakejump.org.

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