CDA donors strengthen prenatal, parenting bonds

Dulce Suarez walked through the doors of Aid to Women Center in Tempe for prenatal vitamins and received a lifeline of support.

In the three years since she first met the staff, Suarez has delivered two healthy babies and gained valuable knowledge.

The wife and mother said she credits Aid to Women Center not only for pre-and postnatal care, but parenting classes that she still attends.

The center offers standard courses in baby development and care, but they also train mothers in first aid, emergencies or finances.

Charity and Development Appeal (CDA)

cda logo_grayBGThe CDA supports more than 70 charitable organizations connected to the Diocese of Phoenix. Ministries provide vital services for those who are pregnant and newly parenting with CDA support.

Info: dphx.org/cda

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The classes are part of a rewards program where mothers earn outfits and other needed accessories for their babies.

Suarez is all smiles in a recent Charity and Development Appeal video; the baby she was carrying is now 4 months old.

“I learn so much when I go to the classes, and when I needed them the most they were there,” she said.

In a strategic move, the center recently relocated to a spot 100 yards from Planned Parenthood,

“We will drop everything and help those women,” said Joe Kendra, executive director of Aid to Women Center. “That’s where the rubber hits the road; a woman who was just going to kill her baby is now in our office. The CDA plays a huge role in that because the money we receive makes that happen.”

Funding from CDA, that last year provided $35,000, allows Kendra and his staff to provide needed services to homeless, jobless and uninsured women at no or low costs.

“Our focus here is to help women any way we can, to aid women, literally,” he said. “A lot of patients come back and we make relationships here. Our idea is if we get them to like us, to make a connection, they are more likely to make a choice for life.”

Ebony Cowley ultimately chose life for her twins when she confirmed, over a weekend, that she was indeed pregnant.

The career-minded single-mother went online and found the Life Choices Women’s Clinic Seventh Street location has Saturday office hours.

“When I got pregnant I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I would do what God wanted me to do, and that was to care for the blessing He sent me,” she said. “They helped me through the whole process and then after the twins were born. Now that I’m back on my feet they are right there to offer additional support.”

Director of Life Choices Sheila Riely said since they’ve received CDA funds in 1998, 62,000 women received pregnancy tests; 18,000 women had ultrasounds; and 21,000 had exams, including free cancer screenings for the past two years.

“We’re very appreciative of the Charity and Development Appeal. I don’t know what we’d do without them,” Riely said. “For about 500 babies each year, it’s literally the difference between life and death.”