(Contest Nominee) ALTERNATIVES PREGNANCY CENTER Helps Those Facing a Pregnancy-Related Crisis to Find Clarity

ALTERNATIVES PREGNANCY CENTER is one of seven local charities nominated in Citywide Banks’ Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place June 1-14, 2013. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. The charity receiving the most contest votes will receive a $5,000 donation, while the other nominees will split $2,500 in donations based on the voting results.

For a woman experiencing an unintended pregnancy, her choices can seem daunting, and can exacerbate her stress and confusion.  She can feel pressure from others to make the decision they feel is best for her. At Denver-based Alternatives Pregnancy Center, the trained volunteer advocates help a woman understand all her options to make an informed decision.

“Although we don’t refer for or recommend abortion, Alternatives Pregnancy Center is a safe place for a woman to be heard during an important decision time, knowing that any decision she makes will change her life,” says Marcy McGovern, Director of Community Mobilization for the Center.

Started 31 years ago by, surprisingly, three men, the faith-based Alternatives Pregnancy Center was founded to help women who find themselves in unintended pregnancies discover meaningful alternatives to abortion. Since then, they’ve added seven Front Range offices and a 24-hour helpline in addition to other free services and capabilities as they’ve become available over time. For example, now that ultrasound technology is affordable, Alternatives offers ultrasounds to help each client “make an informed decision.”

Alternatives’ core services are options counseling, and pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. While most women are aware of their three options: adoption, parenting and abortion they often don’t have the time or space to really think about them, says McGovern.

“She might have a lot of pressure from other people to make a specific choice so we try to help her figure out what she really wants to do,” explains McGovern. “We really help a woman hear herself.”

The advocates not only help the women understand these options, they also can make referrals to agencies that can help them address their specific fears or concerns.

For example, if a woman’s choice is to become a parent, the advocates can help her with material needs such as blankets and diapers (aka a baby shower in a bag). Or, if one of her concerns about having a baby is that she doesn’t know how to take care of a baby, the advocates can recommend local parenting classes. And if the choice is to make an adoption plan, they can help her understand the process and refer her to a number of local adoption agencies.

Another service Alternatives offers is post-abortion counseling for women who have had an abortion at some point and are struggling with the emotional effects of the decision. McGovern explains that this could be related to a recent procedure or one that happened 30 years ago.

In addition to pregnancy-related services and counseling, Alternatives also developed a 10-week life skills curriculum called The Diamond Standard that’s offered to schools and community organizations throughout Colorado. “By working with the young people in our state, we know that they have a lot of big decisions and choices to make so we developed a success development curriculum to help serve our clients.” During each of the 10 weeks students focus on a different life skill such as relationship education, conflict resolution and communication.

McGovern says one of the most important ways the community can help is by spreading the word. “You might not need us, but you might know someone who does and this issue can affect almost anyone.” She also says that financial gifts are “huge” because they are such a lean organization and they don’t receive any government funding.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go toward keeping their ultrasound program up to date. “Helping a woman become educated on where she is in her prenatal development as she’s making an informed decision is huge,” explained McGovern.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.YouHaveAlternatives.org.

Vote to Give Alternatives Pregnancy Center a $5,000 Hand-Up
As a Colorado owned bank focused entirely on the Front Range, Citywide Banks shares a commitment to our local community with the Alternatives Pregnancy Center. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contest, we are proud to spotlight the great work and ongoing needs of Denver/Boulder nonprofits. Based on the results of a 14-day vote, the local community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/charity/.

How to Cast Your Vote – June 1 -14, 2013
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to cast a vote/entry online. Supporters may alternatively participate by casting a vote/entry in-person at one of Citywide Banks 12 Denver/Boulder branches. Just stop by any branch during regular business hours and complete an official contest ballot. As a reminder, supporters cannot vote through both online and branch methods. One vote/entry is permitted during the 14-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users may use sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity.

Spread the Word about Voting for the Alternatives Pregnancy Center
Tell your coworkers, friends, and family in Colorado to cast their vote for your favorite nonprofit. Use the sharing buttons above this article, on the Facebook voting page, or throughout Citywide Banks’ social media pages to help spread the word.

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