We have been very busy at Alpha this year! We will finish the year with having served about 119 clients with just over 1,200 client visits for the year. We have seen an increase in clients each month over last year, which also means an increase in material aid being provided. We are currently providing 50-60 boxes of diapers each and every month, plus baby wipes and additional items. For those that are not familiar with our Earn While You Learn program, parents can attend a one-on-one parenting class with a coach each week and earn points, plus additional points if they complete homework. The points can be used each week for diapers and wipes, or can be saved through their pregnancy to special order items like cribs, car seats, and other baby items. We also provide gently used items and clothing that is donated to Alpha. We offer free pregnancy tests, as well as meeting with a volunteer coach to discuss pregnancy options information and share about our parenting support and education.
Here are some quotes from clients over the course of the year:
“I can talk to them, if I need them, but they don’t have judgment on me. If I encountered somebody that was pregnant and scared, I would tell them to come here. I love it. I would let anybody know about this place.”
“I love coming to Alpha because the ladies here are always so kind and so helpful with whatever we need. They also are amazing listeners when we need someone to talk to. Alpha has helped our family in so many ways! Not only with our children, but with our faith as well.”
“I love coming to Alpha because I learn how to parent, they listen to me and we can talk about anything. They’re also there for your good days and bad days. Alpha has helped me become a stronger parent and person. Thank you.”
“I love coming to Alpha because it has helped me understand what some of the phases my son is going through and how to help him in the process, and the coaches are really helpful and understanding. Alpha has helped me learn how to understand my son better and ways to handle each new thing. I thought I already knew what I needed to know, but I’ve learned a lot and even learned on how some of my son’s tantrums are due to how I was making bad habits. It has helped me with diapers and stuff when I was trying to make ends meet and it gave me some helpful tips on how to better my son’s life and try to make things easier for both him and me.”
I love that in reading these quotes you can hear the hope behind their words! Some have given us the opportunity to share about Christ, and some are working their way through bible studies or biblical parenting curriculum, but even those not open to hearing about Christ speak with hope. It is amazing to see someone come in for the first time, many times beaten down and discouraged, and watch them blossom as we have the opportunity to encourage and walk beside them through their difficulties and needs. As you know, we offered churches the opportunity to “adopt” an Alpha family for Christmas. A new client who was “adopted” went from being very vocal about how discouraged and seemingly angry she was about Christmas approaching, because she knew she would not be able to provide anything for her children due to her situation, to being so elated and hopeful about Christmas after finding out she and her children had been “adopted”. She explained that she was so grateful that she was in the process of encouraging a friend in a similar situation, and planning to surprise her with gently used items our client was collecting to provide to her friend to wrap for her children for Christmas. It was inspiring to see that the kindness and generosity extended to her moved her to action! We also had the opportunity to point her to Christ through these conversations.
We have not only been busy serving clients this year, but also busy with many behind the scenes improvements. We redesigned our website and logo this year, thanks to Sean Dutton! So feel free to check it out, including the support side of the website by clicking on ‘Want to help?’. Alpha also sponsored a healthy relationships youth event this year, made possible by a very generous grant specifically for this purpose, that featured The Afters and keynote speaker Kristin Rollins. We have increased our healthy relationships curriculum at the center, as well as our biblical curriculum this year. We have seen an increase in clients being open to the new additions to our biblical curriculum. We had one client come to Christ this year and plan to get connected to a church, as well as had the opportunity to share the Gospel 7 times over the course of the year and had 56 visits include a spiritual conversation other than the Gospel. We now have a presence on social media to reach potential clients, so please feel free to connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.
At our annual fundraising banquet in October, we shared where we feel God leading for the upcoming year. You may not know that one third of our clients are men, some are single dads and some attend with their wife or girlfriend. In the upcoming year we will be designing a program specifically for dads. We are praying about what exactly this will look like, and much of that may depend on what men in our churches can volunteer to do. Some ideas have included small groups for dads, individual dad mentoring, and even a one day or weekend retreat once or twice a year with local speakers and activities. Although they currently can go through the curricula at the center, we feel we need more to help them step into the role of fatherhood and be good leaders in their homes. Another program we would like to begin, with the help of local churches, is Embrace Grace groups. We have seen a need for groups for moms we serve as well. While we are blessed to be able to serve our clients on a one on one basis, we also recognize the need for community and a larger healthy support network to grow beyond what we can provide at Alpha. We would like to begin Embrace Groups locally to offer our clients to get connected. Embrace Grace is a movement to rally around pregnant moms that choose life and support and honor them for their decision. The study is directed at moms in unplanned pregnancies and teaches of God’s grace and our identity in Christ, as well as helps connect the participants to a local church. It can be tough for some of these moms to get up the courage to walk through the doors of a church for the first time, and this small bible study would help connect them to those from the church leading the study, as well as help to make the church a familiar place. Feel free to check out Embrace Grace’s website for more information on these groups. We are excited about where Christ is leading and what He will do through Alpha over the next year! We are so honored and blessed that He allows us to be a part of what He is accomplishing through the ministry of Alpha.