Empower, Encourage, & Educate
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Greetings from the Director's desk:
At the end of April, we were able to partner with Break Espresso (an established coffee shop that is well loved by many) to help University of Montana students survive finals week! Care Net raised over $2,500 for Fund the Future and gave away 586 cups of coffee! (That is just about as much coffee as I drink in a week! HA, HA!) This means that the Care Net name was put in front of students 586 times! Our goal was to reach out to the college student demographic, show them we care, and inform them of our services. Break Espresso not only placed our Care Net stickers on every cup of coffee given away, they also had pamphlets from Care Net on the counter describing who Care Net is and what we have to offer. They even posted our even on their social media! I love that we are able to come alongside students and show them that we are there to support them through struggles. My hope is that, when other stressful situations come up in their relationships or with their sexual health, they will know we are there for those moments too!
I am so thankful to Break Espresso for their partnership and willingness to help us reach as many students as possible. Thank you so much to all the churches and individuals who donated to this event! We could not have done it without your support.
Break Espresso, 432 N Higgins Ave
His For Life,
P.S. We are looking forward to our next BIG event with great anticipation! We are happy to announce our 2021 Fall Fundraiser will be October 28! Please save the date and be on the lookout in our next newsletter and on our social media for more exciting details!
Accepting Life's Challenges
When Annie came to Care Net early in 2019, she was in shock after having a confirmed positive pregnancy test at Planned Parenthood. When she asked about an ultrasound to confirm the viability of the pregnancy, Planned Parenthood told her she should go to Care Net for a free ultrasound. Feeling overwhelmed and in a tough spot, Annie came to Care Net with a lot of concerns. She was a University of Montana student with a lot of ambition and dreams for her future, and a baby definitely did not fit into that narrative. To complicate matters, the father of the baby had clearly indicated that he preferred an abortion over becoming a parent. Annie had a lot of decisions to make, but she knew in her heart that she wanted to proceed with the pregnancy no matter what. The scariest part for Annie was figuring out how to pay for everything. During her first appointment at Care Net, she received a lot of encouragement and heard the words "you can do this," and "there is help." She was given many resources that Care Net provides and referrals for outside of Care Net, such as Healthy Foundations and WIC. Annie specifically said that the referral to Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship Program was a crucial piece in her success as a student as it made it possible to afford childcare after her baby was born. Best Beginnings is a State funded childcare assistance program for qualified, low-income families. Without Best Beginnings many students would have to drop out of school.
After hearing about Care Net's specific programs, Annie decided to participate in the Life Steps program and the Student Sponsorship Program. The Life Steps program provided Annie with a mentor, KaryAnn Newby (a volunteer from our community), who met with Annie once a week in order to provide educational materials and video lessons about pregnancy. KaryAnn was an encouraging and supportive mentor and provided the human connection that a pregnant woman needs while learning about pregnancy, labor and delivery, infant care, and the many ways a baby changes one's life. KaryAnn found Annie to be an inspirational woman, saying "Annie took on pregnancy as a gift; it didn't deter her plans to finish school." "I loved being able to help mothers feel equipped with knowledge, and I enjoyed forming relationships with them. I got as much out of it as the client did," said KaryAnn.
For the client, there are added benefits to Life Steps, such as the chance to earn diapers, accumulate points (points are "spent" in the Baby Boutique on new baby items), and a free maternity shoot with Ashley J Photography. Ashley Jourdonnais is a local photographer who specializes in capturing life's big moments, and she has a heart to bless our clients with memorable photo's of their pregnancy.
Through the Student Sponsorship program, Annie was assigned an anonymous sponsor from our community. Her sponsor provided written notes of encouragement, a $100 gift card per semester to aid with school supplies, and a thoughtful care package during finals week. Unbeknownst to Annie, her sponsor was Susan Thomas, our Office Administrator at the time, (and currently a Board Member for Care Net). Susan and her husband, Aaron (a University of Montana college professor), wanted to actively support Annie in pursuing higher education. As time went by, Annie and Susan have naturally connected and formed a friendship. According to Annie, "Susan was (and has been) phenomenal, and I always knew that there was somebody else rooting for us. She is a very important person in my life." Annie said that she wants her baby to grow up knowing Susan personally, as she has been an integral part of their lives.
Annie finished the school year this spring with two semesters of her master's degree under her belt. She will take the LSAT in June and hopes to get into law school while finishing her master's degree. "Adeline has given me the inspiration to continue school. I truly believe that God put her in my life because He knew that I needed her more than she needed me," reflected Annie when asked about the hardships of parenting while attending school. "The professors have been very flexible with Addie and have been very caring and accommodating." Annie said that although some students have not always been as understanding as the professors, overall she has found the support and acceptance as a single mother on campus to be very encouraging.
Looking back at her first appointment at Care Net, Annie stated that we checked all the worry boxes she had. "I can't express enough how much Care Net met my needs," Annie explained. "I attribute a lot of where we are to Care Net! You gave us the foundation we needed."
Thank you, donors & supporters!
Susan Purtell Kullick
St. Francis Xavier
River of Life Church
Lone Rock Bible Church
Church at the Gates
Missoula Alliance Church
Journey Christian Fellowship
Because of you all, so far in 2021 we have:
Served 214 Clients
Performed 61 Pregnancy Tests
Performed 67 Ultrasounds
Performed 75 STD/STI Screenings
Made 46 Referrals to Outside Assistance
Made 492 Gifts of Maternity and Baby Supplies
Provided 682 Educational Resources
Taught 91 Classes