Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 19, 2014

‘Cradle of Hope’ opens branch at SunnyBrook

By DIANE VANCE | May 01, 2014

New support is available to mothers, mothers-to-be and their partners in the Fairfield area, thanks to an outreach from Cradle of Hope, a pregnancy resource center.

Cradle of Hope, based in Mt. Pleasant, is in Fairfield from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the second Thursday of each month in the conference room at SunnyBrook Living Care Center to provide counseling, resources and classes.

Cradle of Hope offers all services and resources free of charge, including pregnancy tests, adoption options and post-abortion counseling. It has parenting and life skills classes for men and women, offered on an individual basis, as well as baby items, clothing and furnishings.

“We have an ‘earn while you learn,’ program,” said Doni Townsend, assistant director of Cradle of Hope. “We have curriculum to teach life skills such as how to find an apartment, how to buy a used car, how to budget, as well as classes about prenatal care, labor and delivery and parenting.

“Each class a client completes earns ‘Mommy Money,’ that can be spent in our store in Mt. Pleasant,” she said. “Our store has new car seats, new and gently used cribs, newborn to 24-months size clothing, baby wipes, diapers, formula, toys — anything needed to take of a baby during the first two years of life.”

Cradle of Hope is the vision of director Peggy Knudsen, who founded the nonprofit organization in 2007 in Mt. Pleasant.

“Her vision is to help women be the best mothers possible,” said Townsend. “Peggy envisions helping and supporting women and men by teaching life skills and parenting skills. She believes the best way to grow healthy babies is to offer positive support. She’s helping babies have a good life one mother at a time.”

Classes are delivered one facilitator to one client at a time through a DVD, a discussion sheet and the facilitator and client talking about the lesson, plus assigned homework.

“Clients can earn credit upon completion of each lesson, but also anything else done to promote the healthy care of their baby, such as reading other material and writing a report, attending their prenatal doctor appointments, earns credit to be used in our store,” said Townsend.

“We don’t discriminate on the basis of marital status, economic status or on any basis,” she said. “We have clients come in who already have babies, children and teens. We can offer life skills and support to anyone. People can take parenting classes at any stage.

“We work with whatever stage the client is at, whether that’s someone who wants to know if they are pregnant or someone having their third child,” she said.

Cradle of Hope is one of 14 Iowa pregnancy resource centers affiliated with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocate. More about NIFLA is available online at www.nifla.org.

“We do provide ultrasound services for certain clients,” said Townsend. “We are not a diagnostic clinic; we don’t have medical services here.”

She said residents in Fairfield and Jefferson County could arrange to take classes and receive counseling and support in Fairfield.

Cradle of Hope also is in Washington, Iowa, the first Thursday of each month.

“We are beginning a new program, ‘Mommy Mentor,’ where we pair a new mother with an experienced mother,” said Townsend. “The experienced mother is another person of support, to encourage, listen to and answer some questions a new mother might have. Some of our clients — not all — have not had any positive role models of parenting in their lives. And our purpose is to offer positive support.”

Cradle of Hope’s website www.cradleofhopeiowa.com has more information about its services, including information about financial and item donations and volunteer opportunities.

“By state law, we cannot accept any used car seats,” said Townsend. “And cribs can’t be old. But we do take donations, just call ahead to let us know.”

The Mt. Pleasant Cradle of Hope is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except it includes extended hours to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

Call the center at 319-986-5336 for an appointment at any location or more information. Walk-ins are welcome.

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