By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — The number of women seeking information or help at the Women’s Choice Center has nearly tripled in the past year, said Vicki Tyler, executive director of the pro-life center.
These aren’t just teenagers but also women in their 20s, single and married, and couples who have children and are worried about how they can afford another child.
As a result, the center extended its hours. It is now open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of the month.
“We were getting a lot of calls from women who work during the day who couldn’t come during our regular hours,” Tyler said. The center also received calls from women who wanted their boyfriends or husbands to accompany them and couldn’t do that during the day. So far, she said the center has been busy during the new hours.
The center also has revamped its Web site: www.womenschoicecenter.org. It features information about its pro-life services as well as about pregnancy, adoption and abortion. The quarterly newsletter is posted on the site, along with links to various pro-life organizations. The Women’s Choice Center also has a page on Facebook.
During the past year, Tyler also has built up the volunteer base — from four or five regular volunteers “to a strong 25.” But with more people seeking services at the center, additional volunteers are needed, especially nurses, sonographers and front-office workers. The next training session is the first weekend of August.
Life & Family Educational Trust, which operates the center, is in the process of hiring a development director. Tyler said she hopes the financial support that is generated can make her expansion dreams come true. She would like to see satellite offices in the Illinois communities of Rock Island, East Moline and Geneseo.
Those offices would offer pregnancy testing and preventative education. “We see such low self-esteem in many young women,” Tyler said. “They do not have a good self-image and give themselves away. We want to help empower them to make better choices.”
Tyler also reminds schools, youth groups and other organizations that center representatives are available to talk about pregnancy, abortion, self-esteem and other issues.
The Women’s Choice Center celebrated its seventh year of operation July 1.
“God has blessed us. He has brought people here who need assistance. We are non-judgmental.”