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The First Year - Lisa McIntire
At my first Pregnancy Care Center Banquet as CEO a year ago, I was a stranger to most of you. But a year flies by! And at my second PCC Banquet, I felt as if I was among friends. Friends with a shared purpose, with arms linked and hearts connected as we carry out this wonderful work of saving lives and strengthening families right here in our community.
If I had to summarize my first year as CEO in only one word, I would choose "learning". The learning will never end, of course. But this first year was especially enlightening. I came from outside PCC, so it was only natural that I would have some preconceived ideas. But I believe that being open to new ideas is key to serving well and leading well.
So I thought I would share three insights with you from my first year:
1. Accomplishing the mission takes all of us.
PCC truly is a tapestry of talents and treasures that brings beauty to the lives it touches. It takes all kinds of people using their gifts to make us what we are.
It all starts with the staff - 20 unsung heroes who make it happen every day at PCC. They answer phones, run pregnancy tests, plan events (like this lovely evening), track the finances, clean the toilets - and a whole lot more. I appreciate each one of them, and I'm so proud of the way they serve our clients and our community. The work they do is rewarding, but it isn't easy. But even on the hard days, when the opposition is fierce, they remember that babies - and families - are always worth the fight.
But as vital as the staff is to PCC's mission, they only make up about 25% of the team. That's right. Seventy-five percent of our team consists of dedicated volunteers who work in all kinds of capacities for NO pay.
I think about:
- the receptionists who answer the crisis calls
- the RN's who perform life-saving ultrasounds
- the coaches who mentor young women and men
- the educators who teach them a better way
- the lovely ladies who maintain our database
- the fun group of seniors who address and stuff envelopes
- the college kids who help with the walk and banquet
- the handyman who repairs leaky faucets and cleans our carpets
- the church members who bake or paint or whatever else we need
What impresses me most about our volunteers is their commitment to the cause. Many of them have a personal connection to the mission - sad or sweet stories that compel them to help our clients through their own tough times. They inspire me. And did I mention they don't get paid?
Then there's our faithful Board of Directors, whose wisdom and support this past year have been invaluable to me personally and to the organization as a whole.
I also want to commend our elected officials and community leaders. Their advocacy allows us to live out our faith for the good of our fellow citizens. The mere fact that so many of them attendied the banquet demonstrates that we have solid support, for which we are so grateful.
And then there's you - our partners who pray fervently and give generously. I don't know if you realize that 90% of our funding comes from donations from individuals, families, churches and businesses. Ultimately we know that God is the rightful CEO of PCC, and you are the de facto owners - a truth which, I assure you, is not lost on me. Your willingness to stretch financially and partner with us means that every dollar you give saves lives. But sadly, the opposite is also true. If we don’t raise the money, lives are lost. So call it cliché, but without you, there can be no PCC.
Week in and week out, as I see God provide, I am humbled and grateful for the part each of you plays in helping us remain spiritually strong and financially sound. As much as I wish we didn't have to even think about money, the reality is that ministries have bills to pay too. And without margin, there can be no mission.
So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
2. PCC is much more than meets the eye.
I think it's safe to say the community knows we provide free, confidential pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. They know we exist to save babies. That's all true, of course. But what many don't realize is that those services only scratch the surface of what we do. Test results offer basic answers to tough questions: Am I pregnant? How far along am I? And that's where we need to start.
But answering questions doesn't solve problems. And it doesn't change lives. What we know is that unplanned pregnancy is often just a symptom of deeper issues. Many of our clients have experienced childhood abuse and generational family dysfunction.
They may be dealing with:
- domestic violence
- inadequate education
- mental health problems
- unemployment or
- a host of other challenges
So spitting out test results and sending them on is not helpful. But there is a better way.
Instead of force feeding solutions or sugarcoating circumstances, we lead with compassion. We enter into each unique situation - the shock, the shame, the fear, the chaos. Whatever our clients may be facing, we are committed to walking with them every step of the journey.
Loving our clients right where they are is no small thing. It's everything.
Yes, we want them to choose life for their children. We want them to experience the reward that can only be found in affirming what God created. But our dreams are even bigger than that! We want to be the catalyst for cultivating families that flourish, families who commit to doing life together through thick and thin.
A community is only as strong as its weakest members, and we see that our efforts to educate and empower young people are making a difference. We offer one-on-one coaching where our clients work through current challenges and set goals for the future. But we also teach nearly 20 classes that are open to anyone - not just our clients - on topics including:
- communication and commitment within relationships
- money management
- basic parenting skills, including three classes specifically for fathers
But as much as we do, PCC alone can't meet all the needs. That's why we rely on our community partners to complement what we do. Just to name a few, we work with:
- OB/GYNs who provide prenatal care,
- substance abuse programs that address addictions
- a maternity home that shelters homeless pregnant women and
- agencies that facilitate adoption
These relationships allow us to remain focused on our part of the process and know that our clients are receiving quality, compassionate care from our partners too. Just imagine with me a community of healthy families where generational cycles of abuse and addiction have been broken, where fathers stay engaged and where children feel safe and loved.
Wouldn't we all want to live in a place like that? Well, that is exactly the kind of impact we all can have - and are having - here in Springfield and southwest Missouri. It's not easy. But it is possible.
3. Our impact is immeasurable.
Many of you know I'm a CPA by training. I like outcomes that can be measured. And yes, I like numbers. But not for the reasons you may think. I like them because, as I recently heard a successful businessman say, "Numbers are just stories about people."
I love that because it reminds me that measuring only matters if there are beautiful stories to be told.
So at the banquet, we said we were celebrating a very large number - 10,000! But what we were really celebrating is the immeasurable impact of 10,000 God-authored stories of children and the parents who chose them, of chaos redeemed, of panic turned to peace, of shame giving birth to the joy of parenthood and the innocence and mystery that God packs into these tiny people who are so fresh from Him.
Whenever I'm asked in interviews what PCC's community impact has been and continues to be, I proudly announce to them that I have no idea! Not because I can't run reports and analyze statistics, and not because I'm unprepared for the question. I have no idea what our impact is because it is impossible to calculate the contribution of even one human life, let alone multiple thousands of lives.
When I think about the 10,000 babies - many of whom are now teenagers - born into the PCC family since the year 2000, and all the people they have touched, their:
and the list goes on...It is truly beyond comprehension!
But as heartwarming as these stories are, there are more to be told. It’s true that we are reaching many young people facing unplanned pregnancy. But we aren’t reaching them all. And that breaks my heart. We have a HUGE vision!
- We want every single person facing unplanned pregnancy to receive the hope and help he or she so desperately needs.
- We want to be the premiere educator on family and relationship issues in the area.
- We know we can reach more women caught in desperate circumstances downtown, on college campuses and on the north side with our mobile unit.
- We want to pay off our building and be totally debt free.
But we can’t expand our reach without the resources to put those plans into action. That’s where you come in. Thank you for being such a significant part of PCC's legacy. Thank you for stepping up big time and investing in PCC. And thank you for helping to ensure that saving lives and strengthening families is always and forever why we are here.
PCC 2017 Banquet
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