The Southside Community Center houses a pregnancy resource center and serves the needs of the community

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The Southside Community Center (SCC) in Peoria has become home to a satellite location of the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center.

The center functions as a medical clinic, offering pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and advice on options. Non-medical services include pregnancy and parenting education.

Shelley Hauter, director of the Tazewell County branch of the Pregnancy Resource Center, said she also hopes to bring STI testing to CSC.

Hauter said SCC is the 13th location for Living Alternatives.

“We just felt there was a need here in this specific zip code, 61605,” Hauter said.

According to a recent United Nations report, approximately 40% of pregnancies worldwide are unintended.

“Unwanted pregnancy is really the client we want to meet,” Hauter said. “It’s kind of a ‘now what.'”

She said they want to support women who find out they are pregnant and give them information about their three choices: parenthood, adoption and abortion.

“We’re not avoiding any of the topics, we’re not avoiding any of these options, we’re talking about it,” Hauter said. “She can make this decision from a place of hope and not fear.”

CSC Director Irene Lewis-Wimbley said there was a void in the community.

“We have a ton of research and data to show that parent support and education is a huge gap,” she said.

Looking at 2010 census data for the 61605 zip code, Lewis-Wimbley said she found that every child born into a black family was born to a single mother.

“I know that really, we have to start before birth when it comes to some of the greatest risks for poor child outcomes, which are substance abuse, mental health issues and violence,” Lewis-Wimbley said.

She said healthy communities start with young people.

“It’s much cheaper to prevent bad childhood outcomes than to fix broken adults,” she said.

The pregnancy resource center is something Lewis-Wimbley dreamed of for SCC, she said.

“Finding hope, even in a crisis pregnancy, even in a crisis situation, there is still hope,” Lewis-Wimbley said. “And there are people here to take this journey with you.”

Jill E. Washington