"These volunteers are the heart and soul of pregnancy centers. They're everyday people who know what it's like to be facing such a decision and feeling perhaps alone and scared. They take joy in coming alongside someone in the midst of these circumstances and empowering them to make a positive choice."
(Washington, DC)—More than 150 pregnancy center volunteers and 56 pregnancy center organizations from across the country received Presidential Volunteer Service Awards on Friday at a ceremony hosted by Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Joxel Garcia, MD, M.B.A. and the White House USA Freedom Corps. The President's Volunteer Service Award is given to Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
More than 30 of the 56 organizations awarded are affiliated with Care Net, a network of 1,100 pregnancy centers in North America. Care Net President, Melinda Delahoyde called the award ceremony, "a pinnacle moment in the history of pregnancy centers," a volunteer-fueled movement of people helping those in their communities who face unplanned pregnancies.
"Day in and day out, thousands of volunteers—29,000 in Care Net's network alone—open the doors of pregnancy centers with welcoming arms to people struggling with a serious life decision," said Delahoyde. "These volunteers are the heart and soul of pregnancy centers. They're everyday people who know what it's like to be facing such a decision and feeling perhaps alone and scared. They take joy in coming alongside someone in the midst of these circumstances and empowering them to make a positive choice."
Delahoyde said it's not uncommon for those who were once pregnancy center clients to become volunteers down the road. "Pregnancy center clients bond with their volunteer peer counselors, whose compassion is poured out unconditionally," said Delahoyde. "One client, named Rachael said that her counselor 'felt like mom,' and that her center visit 'felt like the first time someone really cared' about her.
"Care Net congratulates all pregnancy center volunteers and especially those awarded here today. Without you, the work of pregnancy centers would not exist."
Pregnancy centers offer free services to people facing unplanned pregnancies and related issues. Their services include pregnancy tests, options counseling, parenting classes, limited ultrasound, material assistance, STD/STI information, community referrals, and post abortion help.