SPRING HILL — A New Generation will cut the ribbon at its new location on Mariner Boulevard later this month.
The celebration will include an open house that will introduce the community to the services and programs that the nonprofit pregnancy and relationship resource center has been providing for the past 15 years at its other locations — soon to be available at its new site as well.
"Our organization offers compassion, hope, healing and many vital resources to fulfill the unique needs of each individual we serve," said executive director Stephanie Knight. "All services are provided free of charge in a confidential, gentle, caring atmosphere by our trained volunteer life coaches. Problems are defined, accurate information supplied and, when necessary, community resource referrals furnished."
A New Generation began offering services in 1999 as A Woman's Resource Center and has served several thousand clients over the years by providing pregnancy tests, parenting and educational classes, adoption information and support.
"We address many of our social ills such as abortion, divorce, cohabitation, fatherlessness, addictions, dysfunctional families, our sexually transmitted diseases epidemic, promiscuity, many forms of abuse, loveless marriages and more," Knight said.
Relationship programs are conducted by mentors who teach skills that facilitate reconciliation, communication and conflict resolution while modeling the importance of creating a peaceful, nurturing home environment.
"We speak for defenseless unborn babies who are living in the most perilous place, the womb," Knight said. "Medically accurate and truthful information is presented in a non-judgmental, safe environment geared toward empowerment and changing fear to confidence. Positive options are presented to our pregnant clients such as adoption."
Unlike adoptions of the past, Knight said today's birth mothers are not only able to choose the parents, but also maintain a connection to their child.
"We are there to support them through this selfless decision before, during and after," she said.
Life coaches are certified to teach the Florida Integrity Training program, which encompasses a separate mother and father parenting class, anger management, overcoming setbacks and disappointments, and finances. Coaches take college-level training courses through professional organizations and spend about three months on the job before counseling on their own.
Not just for women, the center offers services to men as well, with fatherhood programs and man-to-man mentoring. Programs provided to schools include information on healthy life choices to avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Knight and her staff hope many people will come to the open house to learn more about the center. They also hope to attract more donors.
"We are not in people's faces at all," Knight said. "But we know that the programs we have chosen are effective. We are seeing lives changed. We are seeing lives saved."
A number of community organizations, businesses, individuals and churches support the center.
Northcliffe Baptist Church in Spring Hill is one of the churches that partners with the center and provides the facility on Hearth Road.
"If an unplanned pregnancy happens, we want to be a church that helps," said Jerry Waugh, senior pastor at Northcliffe.
Waugh cited several reasons his congregation has provided volunteers and financial support to A New Generation since 2000.
"They offer practical help instead of lectures during this difficult time in a person's life," said Waugh. "And because they share our faith-based values, we know a person's physical, emotional and spiritual needs are being met."
Knight, who began volunteering in pregnancy center ministry 21 years ago in Tampa, can relate to what her clients are experiencing. In her early 20s, she found that she was pregnant while single. She went to a community center that provided abortions and offered free pregnancy tests.
"I was told my baby was a blob of tissue, so it wouldn't be any big deal if I were to abort," she said.
She decided not to follow the advice and gave birth to a son. Today, Knight's son is a doctor. Three years ago, he married a woman who had also had an unplanned pregnancy.
"Her little girl is his little girl now, and they have their own little boy together," Knight said. "So I have a son and two grandchildren who are living proof that unplanned pregnancies can turn into blessings."
At a recent banquet, a grandfather came up to Knight and showed her a photo of his little grandson.
"He thanked me and said because his daughter came to the pregnancy center, he has a grandson now," Knight said. "That's so awesome, to see these little kids that are here because we're here."