By Genine Hopkins
Hope in Harrison, formerly the Hope Pregnancy Center, has relocated to a new site and is enlarging its mission goals. These goals include abstinence education for teens and pre-teens, and “High Impact Mentoring” for fathers. The organization held its grand re-opening to celebrate their new location at 498 N. Clare Avenue in Harrison with an Open House for the community on Thursday, July 18, 2013. The office is across from the Head Start building just off Business 127 and Larch Rd.
Jon Hoerauf, who has been the Executive Director, feels the new site will allow the group to better serve their clients. For starters, the new Executive Office is almost as large as their entire former building. There is a larger counseling room, a kitchen, and the Baby Boutique has expanded significantly. Overall it’s a real change for the better.
What is really exciting is the new programs.
The “High Impact Mentoring” takes a close examination of a man’s role in the family, something that has eroded over the past several generations. Hoerauf feels hopeful that fathers are beginning to realize their role in a child’s life and “stepping up to the plate” more readily, and this mentoring connects new fathers with a positive male role model for emotional support, someone they can count on for advice and information.
“I am pleased that we are finding more fathers are asking to be a part of their children’s lives,” he stated, “We have more couples coming in together and that is a very positive trend. I hope to see this continue.”
Hope in Harrison is also seeking to reduce the number of unexpected pregnancies through its abstinence counseling. Currently they are working with area schools to help determine how to best address teen sexual activity, hoping to provide young men and women with the tools to refrain such activity.
“There are alternatives to entering into a relationship of this nature when they are so young and before they commit. Young people should have enough respect for themselves to steer clear of media and often cultural pressures and hopefully we can help them navigate this time in their lives.”
It is the pursuit of the new programs that prompted the name change for the former Hope Pregnancy Center to Hope in Harrison. They hope to continue to expand as new ideas are brought to the table, to enrich the community.
“We felt that as we branch out with our commitment to stronger families, the name better represents how our goals are evolving.”
Expanding its capacity is the Baby Boutique, which now occupies twice the space it used to be confined to in the old building. The Baby Boutique is a unique shop where mothers can spend the “mom cash” they earn during their parenting classes, buying diapers, barely used and new baby clothing, car seats, strollers, and the like. Not one item looks as though it’s ever been used, providing mother and baby with great options. There’s also a huge assortment of hand crafted quilts, donated by groups from around the Mid Michigan area. All new client moms receive a package once they begin the process at the center.
“The response from the community has been tremendous and we can’t be thankful enough for all the donations and volunteer hours that have been provided to us.”
At the Open House, Hope in Harrison offered home baked treats, freshly grilled hot dogs and refreshments. The hours of operation are currently Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center will be offering classes for community members who wish to volunteer their time and of course the annual fundraiser will be held in October at Brown’s Corner Church. All in all, there is a lot to look forward to in the future for Hope in Harrison, so keep posted!