By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published October 10, 2013
HAPEVILLE—A new modified 28-foot recreational vehicle will be used to spread the message of the Pregnancy Aid Clinic.
The mobile clinic will allow volunteers to reach women needing assistance who can’t travel to the clinic’s home on the south side of metro Atlanta. They will also be able to park near abortion clinics and offer education to women.
“I expect we’ll be going out two days a week and ramp up to five days a week,” said Alexandra Shattuck, the new director of the clinic, which was formerly known as the Advice and Aid Pregnancy Problem Center.
It is one of the new projects underway at the nonprofit, which opened in 1984. It is the only clinic for women in a crisis pregnancy around Atlanta to operate from a Catholic perspective. Other agencies may differ on contraceptive issues.
The clinic serves about 40 women a month, most of them minorities and financially struggling. It offers a range of free services from pregnancy tests to life skills classes. Clients also earn baby clothing and other supplies from the “baby boutique” by participating in free classes.
Other new initiatives include new staff, a small expansion project and a new program to serve men at the clinic.
In a newsletter to supporters, Shattuck said the center’s new name, adopted in August, “reflects our move to a medical model, providing free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, and better describes our overall operation and plans for the future.”
The new RV is expected to hit the streets by early 2014. It will rely on having volunteers to counsel women and a driver. The vehicle is currently undergoing changes to convert the rear bedroom into a private meeting room, where counselors can meet with women and clients can receive a free ultrasound. On the outside, it’ll be painted a distinctive blue color so it stands out, with the center’s logo and a toll-free number.
The Order of Malta, Atlanta region, raised the funds for the project, an estimated $100,000 for the vehicle’s purchase and redesign. The Malta chapter holds an annual benefit, “Life Is Beautiful,” in October for the pregnancy center. The clinic will need financial support to keep the RV on the road. It will take an estimated $6,000 a month to operate the mobile clinic.
“This is a bargain, for the services which will be offered on the Mobile Medical Clinic will be similar to those offered at the center: free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, availability of counseling and referrals to support services,” said Christine Baran, the president of the board of directors, who are all volunteers.
Members of the Order of Malta have also paid for a small expansion of the center’s longtime home, which is located at 411 King Arnold St., Hapeville. Baran said the extra room will be used to store car seats, baby clothing, and other donated supplies, until the gifts are distributed to clients. The new room will allow staff to reclaim a counseling room and clear a hallway, she said.
A series of classes for men will be offered at the clinic. Volunteers from the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Atlanta are creating the curriculum. It is expected to begin early next year.
Deacon Leonard Chambliss, a member of the clinic’s board of directors, said classes will often mirror what is being presented to women, but from a male perspective. He serves at St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro.
He said the goal is to “aid the mother and the father to bring an unplanned pregnancy to full term. We’re trying to go about this in a non-attack fashion.”
The clinic has additional staff. Shattuck, a retired Army Reserves colonel, is the new director overseeing the clinic. She started in June, a few months after returning from a stint as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. Her military specialty was in management and logistics. And as a parishioner at St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs, Shattuck was involved in various ministries, from teaching English as a second language and Bible studies to the respect life program.
Another addition to the staff is Katie Stacy, the development coordinator. A native of Charleston, S.C., Stacy recently graduated from Georgia Southern University. A mission trip to the Bronx, N.Y., where she served men who are homeless, inspired her desire to work for a Catholic nonprofit, she said.
“My passion was helping people, so helping at a crisis pregnancy center made sense,” she said. Her task will be to help donors and other supporters. A number of parishes and Catholic organizations are longtime supporters of the center. She’ll also work to expand the reach of the center on social media and the Internet.
Two new websites have been launched, one for clients who are looking for assistance and another for donors and volunteers. The client website is www.pregnancyaidclinic.com and is designed to offer “abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women … immediate options and information, while steering them in the right direction by prompting them to take time to make a responsible decision,” the summer newsletter said. “As always, our goal is to provide accurate information, abortion alternatives, and hope.”