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Connellsville pregnancy center shows off addition

| Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 10:11 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | For the Daily Courier
Msgr. Raymond Riffle, managing director of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg, offered a blessing just before an open house was held at Alternatives.Yes in Connellsville.
Marilyn Forbes | For the Daily Courier
Max House, board of directors treasurer, and Tina Stefano, board secretary, help set out baskets in the newly built pantry at Alternatives.Yes.

Since 1987 the Pregnancy Support Center of Alternatives.Yes has offered its services to thousands of young women, new fathers and children.

This week, the organization showed off its newest addition that will allow officials there to offer even more in the way of education, counseling and supplies to young parents in need.

“We almost doubled the size with our new addition,” said Andrea Pritts, Alternatives. Yes executive director “We have so much more space now. It's wonderful.”

Alternatives.Yes is a service provider of the statewide alternatives to abortion program administered through Real Alternatives, which is funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

The facility won the Service Provider of the Year Award in 2005 and 2007. That is the top award given in the Alternatives to Abortion Program. The Connellsville location was awarded the distinction out of the 126 centers across the state.

The new addition was officially opened on Wednesday, with a dedication and blessing offered that was followed by an open house.

“We now have four education rooms and the kitchen would also make a fifth education area,” said Max House, board treasurer. “The rooms will then also double as counseling rooms.”

The new kitchen was made possible through a grant obtained through the Catholic Charities Poverty Relief Fund. It was installed by volunteers who made the new area a work shape and education area for classes that will be offered teaching new parents how to prepare, quick, easy and nutritious meals and snacks.

A huge pantry area is located at the front of the facility that stores all of the items that can be purchased with “Baby Bucks.”

“When a new mother attends one of our classes, she will then receive one baby buck,” Pritts said. “If the father accompanies her then that will be two. They can then use those to get things such as diapers or even car seats.”

The facility offers 113 different classes for mothers-to-be and parents. Pritts said the organization encourages couples to attend together if possible.

“By coming to the classes together, they build a stronger parenting relationship which then could create a stronger family bond,” Pritts said.

Last year, the facility had more than 1,200 clients, including about 35 percent of which were young fathers.

“There is a true need for this facility,” said Tina Stefano, a member of the board of directors. “Young parents need a place to come that is safe and they need a place to find support. Many of them don't have that support any where else in their lives.”

The facility offers services including free pregnancy testing, help with medical assistance paperwork, counseling, referrals, pregnancy and caring classes, maternity and baby clothes and free baby items.

Alternatives.Yes accepts donations and is in need of new and gently used maternity clothing, baby and infant clothing, baby supplies and volunteers.

“We can always use volunteers,” Stefano said.

Ground was broken for the new addition in late summer 2012.

“I think it's wonderful,” Pritts said of the new addition.

The Alternatives.Yes facility is located at 6 Frank Gallo Lane, Connellsville.

For information call 724-628-5555 or visit the website at www.pregnancy-support.com.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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