The east side of Interstate 35 in Austin, Texas is the part of town you typically avoid after dark. The intersection of 12th Street and Chicon is known to be one of the most crime-ridden corners of the city, where drug-dealing and prostitution are rampant. Debi Wehmeier will bring a message of hope to that area of Austin on September 9, 2012.
“For many years Christian leaders in and around Austin have prayed for God to make a way for a pregnancy resource center to be opened at 12th and Chicon,” Debi said. “It is an area of gentrification. There is a huge need to serve the families in that area.”
Chicon Pregnancy Resource Center has partnered with Mission Possible and Christian Women’s Job Corps to help start the new pregnancy ministry. “Together we will serve the residents of the area with all of the things a mom, dad or family would need to bring a baby into the world,” Debi explained.
The pregnancy center, which is just five blocks from a Planned Parenthood center and less than a mile from Huston-Tillotson University, will offer free pregnancy tests, limited ultrasounds, parenting mentors, diapers, wipes, formula, and maternity and baby clothes. “As we serve the community, our services could change according to their needs,” Debi said. The center will offer referrals for prenatal care, women’s health services, Medicaid, STD testing, and addiction programs, and abortion recovery to clinics and centers located very nearby.
Partnering with the Christian Women’s Job Corps, also known as River City Hope Street, will allow Chicon Pregnancy Resource Center to give parents the opportunity to learn life skills that will empower them to go into the world and get jobs to be self-sufficient. The Christian Women’s/Men’s Job Corps is a ministry that focus resources and meet practical needs of individuals and families through GED/adult basic education tutoring, work readiness and life skills training, and a food and clothing pantry. When seeking work, women visit the Career Closet, where volunteers assist women in finding outfits, even including accessories that meet their needs as they prepare to enter the workplace.
Finding a job on top of having a new child can be overwhelming to pregnant women, especially if they already have a family to provide for. “The personalized, loving treatment our Career Closet volunteers give each participant truly makes them feel special as they prepare to step out into their new ventures,” Debi said.
“Our first and foremost goal is to serve our clients with all they need on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. We know that for many of them this is a scary time and we want them to know we are there to listen, to help and to love, unconditionally,” Debi told me. “Our goal is for them to know they have a safe and confidential place to talk and receive all the help they need to bring their baby into this world. I am very humbled, excited and committed to be a faithful steward to the ministry with which God has entrusted me.”