TOP PHOTO: The Pregnancy Help Center in LaFollette is now located in the Woodson’s Mall near Little Caesar’s Pizza.

Left to right: Chamber of Commerce Director Missy Tackett, Chamber of Commerce Executive Administrative Assistant Kelli Hatmaker, Pregnancy Help Center Program Leader April Ray-Berry, First Lady of Campbell County Elaine Morton and Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton at the LaFollette Pregnancy Help Center’s Open House held on Wednesday. The center’s new location is in Woodson’s Mall.

By Charlotte Underwood

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – The LaFollette Pregnancy Help Center (PHC), held an open house on Wednesday and unveiled its new location in Woodson’s Mall. It is located on the LaFollette side near Little Caesar’s.  

The PHC is a Catholic Charities of East Tennessee program, which served nearly 70 families last year and provided more than 1,200 units of service. 
Previously the PHC was located in the old West LaFollette School building, but outgrew its previous location.

Sandy Davidson program leader for the Catholic Charities pregnancy help services, left, Pastor Sam Sturm, center and LaFollette PHC director April Ray-Berry, right. Pastor Sturm blessed the new PHC location at the open house on Wednesday.

The larger space will provide the capacity to serve up to 25 percent more clients, according to Sandy Davidson, program leader for the pregnancy center programs for Catholic Charities. She said she was “very excited” for the center to be in it’s new location and open for mother’s and families.
“LaFollette is one of our larger centers and we needed more space to grow the program,” Davidson said. 

Davidson has helped establish 10 pregnancy help centers across the region and was part of the process when LaFollette’s Pregnancy Help Center began in 2009. She worked with Father Joe Campbell to bring the first pregnancy help services to the community. She said Campbell County had been the “most welcoming” environment, with all area churches, county and city officials being very supportive of the center.

April Ray-Berry is the program director for the LaFollette PHC. Ray- Berry is thrilled to be in the new location. 

“It’s larger so we can offer more programs and have more storage space and classrooms and it’s centrally located and easy to find to better serve the whole community,” Ray-Berry said. 

The open house included a blessing of the office space by Pastor Sam Sturm, the new priest for Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Catholic Church.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Lisa Healy was also at the open house. She said the move to the new location and the growth of the PHC could not have happened without the “support of the county.”

She gave special thanks to the county mayor, the chamber of commerce, the LaFollette Medical Foundation, the Rotary Club and the many wonderful volunteers and staff of the PHC. 

Pregnancy Help Center case coordinator Katrena Powers-Reynolds, left, and LaFollette Pregnancy Help Center Director April Ray-Berry, right, stand in one of the Help Center’s education class rooms.

“This center is a very important part of the community,” Healy said. 
The LaFollette Pregnancy Help Center services include but are not limited to: free pregnancy testing; non-judgmental mentoring and support; medical, legal, and educational referrals; adoption information, post-abortion counseling, and a 24-hour help hotline. It also offers multiple educational courses such as parenting classes, finance and budgeting and many other life skills classes. It’s all part of the “Earn as you Learn” program where young parents can earn “baby bucks” by attending educational courses. These “baby bucks” can then be spent on items such as diapers, clothes, cribs, car seats and much more. These items are all new and are provided through a “generous grant from the LaFollette Medical Foundation,” according to Ray-Berry.

Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton attended the open house saying he was “thankful for the support the center provided to area pregnant moms.”
Families can stay in the program from pregnancy until the child is two years old. Pregnancy Help Center staff can also help families with networking with other local agencies since it partners with many other local agencies.

“Whatever they need help with, we try to connect them with the right agency. We want the help center to be a welcoming and safe place for all who need it. We’re proud of our new space and we’re open and ready to see our old clients and new faces and help everyone we can,” Ray-Berry said.

For more information, contact April Berry, LaFollette PHC Program Leader at 423.437.3416 or (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 02/18/2021- 6AM)