“If our donors could come spend a day in our office, they would clearly see what their money is doing,”
-Care Net Pregnancy Center RN Mandy Cecil.
The day before this interview, 11 women came into the office. Part of the reason Care Net has seen more clients lately is because of the newly-designed website and app, available at www.careneto.com. The app is easily accessible by clicking the button on the bottom left-hand side of the website homepage. “Since we released it, we’ve been slammed,” Cecil admitted.
“That’s why this banquet is so important for us,” says Director Donna Flaspoehler. “In ten years we’ve grown so much. These ladies (staff) do great work here, and we have a great board and a great team of volunteers. Now we want to keep this ministry going strong.”
To celebrate their tenth year, the board decided to go all out and bring in a big name speaker for the banquet. Fox News contributor and USA Today columnist Cal Thomas was at the top of their short list. Thankfully, when the board contacted his agent, he was available. “I heard Cal Thomas speak in San Antonio and he did a fantastic job. He’s very engaging, and an excellent speaker. He’s going to do a great job for us and we’re very excited to have him,” Flaspoehler said.
With Cal Thomas presenting the keynote, attendance at this year’s banquet is expected to exceed 600. The fundraising banquet will be held Thursday, March 12th at the Owensboro Convention Center. Dinner begins at 6:30 pm. Because of Mr. Thomas’s broad appeal, banquet organizers are reserving several tables for the general public who may want to come and hear him speak. For ticket information, please call the Care Net office at 270-685-5077.
Care Net Owensboro is one of 1,100 Care Net facilities nationwide. “We are a nonprofit pregnancy resource center, but we are also a medical health clinic that is licensed by the state of Kentucky,” explained RN Mandy Cecil, who worked in labor and delivery before joining the staff at Care Net. Nurse Manager Vicky Cummins, RN, IBCLC, brings many years of women’s health nursing experience to the team at Care Net, as well. In addition to the staff nurses, Dr. Lauren Bickel, a Family Practitioner, and Dr. Charles Bea, head of Radiology at Owensboro Health, both volunteer their services at Care Net.
Care Net exists to extend Christian compassion and truth by promoting the sanctity of human life and sexual purity. If a woman thinks she’s pregnant, the first step Care Net takes is offering a free pregnancy test. If it’s positive, they also offer a free ultrasound to check the viability of the pregnancy. From there, Care Net will help the expectant mother get insurance through Kentucky Kynect and refer them to a doctor. “We help them all along the way with whatever they need,” Cecil continued, “whether it’s counsel regarding pregnancy options, prenatal vitamins, prenatal education, or referring them to the HANDS and WIC programs available through the Health Department.”
The banquet is the largest single-event fundraiser of the year. The rest of the operating budget is raised through grants and donations by churches and individuals. Collectively, the money is used to accomplish several goals.
$45,000 is used to fund the ultrasound program. Last year, Care Net performed 116 ultrasounds for expectant mothers. 90% of the abortion-minded clients who chose to have an ultrasound made the decision to carry the baby to full term after seeing the ultrasound.
$16,000 is used to fund the Sexual Integrity and Identity presentations in schools. The Sexual Integrity program is presented by Care Net staff to 9th grade health classes in all three county high schools. The Integrity program is presented to 7th grade health classes at Burns, College View, and Owensboro Middle.
Then, of course, there are also overhead expenses for facilities, staff and volunteer training, and programming, which includes parenting classes, childbirth education, and the “Bonkers for Babies” boutique. Each visit, the client earns “Bonker Bucks,” which can be redeemed in the boutique for diapers, baby clothes, and other supplies.
Aside from the banquet, the Care Net staff is also excited about having more space to expand their programming. Thanks to a generous grant from the Horn Family Foundation, major renovation is underway at their office building at 922 Triplett Street, Suite 7. When complete, the administrative offices will be moved upstairs, which will free up much-needed space for counseling rooms and the education center.
With a growing clientele, building renovations underway, and the fundraising banquet approaching, Care Net’s future is full of opportunity. Still, Flaspoehler says she prays for something greater. “Our landlord is great, but my prayer is one day someone will donate a building to this ministry, or lease a building to us for $1 a month.” Anything can happen when the community gets behind a good cause. If the next ten years are as successful as the first ten have been for Care Net Owensboro, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Care Net Owensboro would like to thank corporate sponsors William G. Barron Enterprises and Henry’s Plumbing for their generous support of this year’s banquet.