New Beginnings Pregnancy Care Center provides free children’s car seats upon completion of training in proper, safe installation. The program started in mid-2016 as part of the Minnesota State Positive Alternatives grant project. The grant provided two-year funding which was used to purchase much needed car seats for area families.
“The program includes video education about car seats and their proper installation and use,” notes Jill Almendinger, New Beginnings Client Advocate. “This is followed by a hands-on car seat installation session with one of our Certified Passenger Safety Technicians, working in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Police Department's Community Service Officer. During this time, our technician demonstrates how to install the car seat properly, and then removes it and has the client demonstrate a proper install. At the end of the training, the client receives a free car seat for their child.”
The program has provided on average four car seats per month. Each car seat costs around $80. Last year ten car seats were given away and with funding from the Women’s Fund at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation that number will increase to 15 this year.
“You know the commercial with the man duct taping his child to a car seat, and the mom using a welding torch?” laughs Sarah Copeland, Interim Director of Operations at the Community Foundation. “Well, it’s not that difficult, but you would be horrified if you knew how many children’s car seats are not properly installed. We are so very pleased that New Beginnings and the Police Department work together to ensure child car seat safety.”
New Beginnings staff and volunteers provide compassionate, confidential assistance to pregnant and parenting women and families in need, without discrimination. The main program is an on-site parenting education program, which covers many topics including pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant nutrition and health, parenting and relationship skills, and many others. All programs and services are funded by grants and donations and are provided free of charge.
“You might feel lonely, especially during this time of quarantine and social distancing, but there is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone. New Beginnings wants you to know that you are not alone. They are here to help,” says Copeland.
If you haven’t noticed, New Beginnings is now located at 605 NW 4 Street – just east (toward town) of Glen’s Army Navy on the main road. You can call them at 218-326-0404, or text them at 218-256-2341.
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the good work we do, and to include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner to answer the question “What good do you want your money to do?” For more information, schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.