The Sycamore House Pregnancy and Family Life Center of Champaign County will celebrate its 25th anniversary, March 7 and 8, with two fundraising dinners in support of the organization’s continuing mission.
Reservations for the dinners, at River of Life Christian Center, 775 Washington Ave., Urbana, are being accepted through March 4, at 937-508-1691. Doors will open both evenings at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Keynote speakers will be Mandy Litzke, founder of Safe Harbor Orphan Care Ministries, on March 7, and Brian Coleman, pastor of Faith Tabernacle Church of Urbana, March 8. The theme of the dinners is Be the Light in the Darkness, based on John 1: 3-5.
The Sycamore House, at 315 Sycamore St., Urbana, opened March 4, 1997, as a nonprofit, faith-based organization that provides hope, love and education to women and men facing decisions about their unborn children. Services include:
· Pregnancy counseling
· Classes on prenatal care, parenting, life skills and child development
· A store that provides baby furniture, baby and maternity clothing, food/formula, diapers and hygiene items (clients who complete classes earn “baby bucks” toward items in the store)
· Post-abortion support
· Free self-administered pregnancy tests
· Male mentoring and practical fatherhood education
· An abstinence program for teens
Services are provided free without regard to income.
The Sycamore House’s founding board included Susan Dietz, John Woodburn, Bea Sanders and Joyce Wilkerson. Deb Evilsizor Cannon was hired as the pregnancy center’s first director.
Sarah Metherd, Sycamore House’s current executive director, said that the organization’s mission remains the same, but adds, “we’ve grown a lot. We now provide close to 300 different life skills classes for mothers and fathers including parenting classes, fatherhood classes, prenatal care classes, budgeting, car seat safety, to name a few.”
Other additions at the center include counseling for women grieving a miscarriage, assistance to grandparents and others taking on parenting responsibilities, and a babysitting room for children of clients who are taking classes.
In addition to financial support, Metherd said that the Sycamore House needs:
· More volunteers, including peer counselors who can attend classes with clients and serve as mentors
· A male mentor to support men who take fatherhood classes, as well as someone to lead the fatherhood program
· A location for group sessions. Sycamore House’s current facility lacks room for this. Metherd explains, “Our clients do so much better when they have the camaraderie of others close to their same age who are going through the same life experiences as they are.”
· More partnerships with churches, to help support the mission
· Additional space for an ultrasound machine
To learn more about Sycamore House, visit sycamorehouseprc.org.