07/23/13 — New leader, new direction for Wayne Pregnancy Center

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New leader, new direction for Wayne Pregnancy Center

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 23, 2013 1:46 PM

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Christina Lancaster holds her 1-month-old baby, Brianna, while talking to Beverly Weeks, director of Wayne Pregnancy Center, in the clothes closet at the center. Christina decided not to terminate her pregnancy after speaking with counselors at the center.

Wayne Pregnancy Care Center has a new executive director, and through the acquisition of an ultrasound unit, is preparing to add medical care to its services for pregnant women.

Terry Johnson, chairman of the board, said Beverly Weeks has been hired to lead the non-profit through the next phase.

Since 2001, the center has had three locations and three previous directors. Julie Clyde, who recently departed the position, served in the role for 5 1/2 years and continues to be assisting the board during the transition.

Currently on Ash Street, the 3,000 square-foot building is located on the site adjacent to the Senior Center.

Its mission is pro life, assisting women facing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies and providing counseling, encouragement, education and information about pregnancy options, Johnson said.

Above all, he added, the center offers a "loving environment."

"They're not there to be judged on what they're telling the counselor," he said. "We try to meet that person at that point and talk with them and move them to the next point.

"Through the peer counseling they're going to see opportunities to move to the next level -- now that I'm pregnant, what's going to happen? How's my body going to change? Are there options for me to adopt to a family member or find an adoption referral?"

A true pregnancy care center, Johnson said, is a crisis center with a number of modules that can help the client. Typically, he added, the clientele served are mostly younger demographics, specifically teens.

Mrs. Weeks said she was drawn to the job because of the potential to serve.

"Julie Clyde had posted on Facebook that she was looking for an executive director," she said. "It said you would be able to pray with women, encourage women. I thought, I can serve in this position."

She also had some impressive credentials, Johnson said.

"Beverly comes with a great history of working with non-profits. That was key, that she's been able to interact with non-profit boards," he said. "She worked with 3HC, which is a wonderful organization but also a very wonderful ministry.

"She has a great background in marketing sales, fundraising, public speaking, volunteer recruitment and strong leadership skills."

Mrs. Weeks is also trained with NANC, National Association of Nouthetic Counselors and was recently ordained as a minister.

But it is her heart for women that perhaps most defines her.

"I believe low self-esteem is one reason why women are not making smart choices," she said. "I want to encourage women, get out and empower them, facilitate self-esteem and promote abstinence -- within the schools, within the churches, whoever will let me come."

Currently, the center has two paid positions and relies heavily on volunteers or, as Mrs. Weeks calls them, "unpaid staff."

"We need more volunteers. That's going to be another goal of mine," she said. "The volunteers are the core of this facility. There are people that want to serve. They just don't know where."

The center served more than 1,000 clients last year, she said, and operates under a $100,000 budget. Its biggest fundraisers are the annual Cherish Life banquet in October and proceeds generated from the holiday production "Child of the Promise."

Donations are also accepted. While the center is currently well-stocked with baby clothes, other items are needed, included diapers and items to equip a baby layette.

The next push, though, will be to generate the $14,000 needed to earn medical care facility status.

"Under Julie's leadership, we now have an ultrasound unit that we received last year from New Bern Pregnancy Care Center," Johnson said. "It's going to take about $14,000, which is currently not in our budget, to train staff on it."

In addition to overseeing operations as executive director and assisting with fundraising and speaking at churches and civic groups about the program, Mrs. Weeks said she hopes to hire a clinical services director by year's end. That person will supervise staff and handle peer counseling and other services for clients.