Photo: Tiny Angels Photography
Hope & Life December 2017
The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.
Floor Leadership Persons in Charge (PiC) Erica Williams Lisette Jas
Deputy Persons in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo Francine Jones
About Us Message from the Chair
2017 Who is Who at Pregnancy Assistance 3 Juliana’s Story
Pregnancy Assistance’s 2017 Quiz Night
With Thanks to Monica Defendi
Message of Hope
Southern Cross Care
The Francette Galibardi Trophy
Thank you - Donations
Contact Pregnancy Assistance Inc. Elizabeth’s House 195 Lord Street, East Perth 6004 T 9328 2926 (Office) T 9328 2929 (Counselling) E firstname.lastname@example.org
You are welcome to visit us in this quiet oasis in the city. Mass is celebrated here and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in our Chapel. If you would like to celebrate with us or spend an hour with the Lord in adoration & contemplation please contact Erica or Lisette on 9328 2926.
Visiting Hours Mon - Fri 10am - 3pm
Phone Hours Mon - Fri 9am - 4pm
After hours by appointment
About Us Who are we and what do we do? Pregnancy Assistance Inc. is an independent Catholic organisation initiated by Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1996. We provide compassionate care and emotional, practical and informative support to women in need throughout their pregnancy and post birth. We also offer counselling for women and men impacted by pregnancy loss (miscarriage, still birth and abortion). Our services are extended to all people irrespective of religion, race, demographic or personal values.
Our free and confidential services include: • Pregnancy testing • Pregnancy care consultation • Professional counselling • Accommodation assistance • Future study/employment pathways • Practical support – bassinets, baths, nappies & clothes, maternity clothes • Financial assistance • Advocacy & support services referral • Post abortion care & grief counselling
Who knocks on our door? Anyone and everyone affected by pregnancy who is in need of a little (or a lot) of help! We provide assistance to pregnant women who are distressed due to one or more of the following; • Unexpected pregnancy
• Relationship breakdown
• Abortion concerns
• Drug addiction
• Financial hardship
• Mental health issues
• Foetal anomaly • Domestic violence • Homelessness • Isolation / loneliness
• Migration • Grief/loss
Our Centre (lovingly nicknamed Elizabeth’s House) in East Perth is open for appointment (telephone or face to face) and allows for popins. Individuals are also welcome to metaphorically ‘knock on our door’ by contacting us via e-mail or Facebook. What method do we use when talking about abortion? We utilise Heartbeat International’s L.O.V.E. Approach when pregnant women come to us in distress over whether to keep, adopt out or abort their baby. Pregnancy Assistance was founded on Christian values and offers its services as an alternative to abortion. We believe our counselling approach allows the woman to focus on her own needs. We try to awaken a vision in her for a healthy life for herself and her baby. We share information about options she needs to consider to make a life-giving decision. However, under no circumstances do we believe we have the right to supersede/impose upon a woman’s decision. We will continue to support and welcome back individuals in love who have made choices that differ with the personal values of Pregnancy Assistance’s volunteer base. Who supports us? God supports the operations of Pregnancy Assistance by providing the right resources at the right time. And you are part of that providence! Pregnancy Assistance operates through the generosity of its supporters and we thank you. Your support gives Hope and Life so please (if you haven’t already) donate and get involved. We especially thank the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth for providing our rental costs.
Message from the Chair Dear Friends of Pregnancy Assistance, Jesus promises two things in everyone’s life: ‘turbulence’ and ‘we won’t fail as long as we don’t quit’. If you would say that I am the pilot of the airplane called Pregnancy Assistance, image how little my physical powers are to try to control a 400 tonne flying machine. Instead I need to have the skills to press the right buttons at the right time, and the trust that they will control the flight. You should be able to trust me. If I were an experienced pilot, I would know that turbulence is what can be expected and that it has never taken out a plane. So, when turbulence ultimately hits us, I would need to say ‘fasten your seat belts’ and if you would trust me, you would do that rather than grabbing a parachute, or running around screaming ‘let me out!’ Your support has been immense this year! I do not own Pregnancy Assistance. You do! God gave it to you! And you have shown immense trust in us; my fellow board members, myself and the staff (which includes all the volunteers) over the past years, when we boarded this plane as your crew. As your pilot, I can extend the promise to you, that turbulence will occasionally affect us. However, we also promise you that we won’t quit, and that we will do everything to ensure you have a pleasant flight. God bless you, and may you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Eric Jas Chairman
Hope and Life
2017 Who is Who at Pregnancy Assistance
The people working at Elizabeth’s House at 195 Lord Street, East Perth form the heart of Pregnancy Assistance. There are currently 20 people who work there on a weekly basis; some working several hours per week, others up to three days per week. The leadership is provided by a team of four, two of whom work three days per week, and the other two work two days per week. This structure ensures there are two team leaders on the floor from Monday through to Friday of each week. These are: Erica Williams, Lisette Jas, Francine Jones and Carmel Randazzo. The group of volunteers comprises pregnancy care consultants, practical supporters, spiritual supporters, an accountant and an accounts assistant. These are: Laura Craig, Babita Desouza, Judy Paton, Karla Wittkuhn, Carol Nolan, Jo Mulhall, Agatha Foo, Anne Easton, Anne-Marie Ombrasine, Marcia Hortle, Fatima Basilio, Michelle Firth, Myrna Hyde and Armi Dancel. Additional volunteers, who regularly donate their time for ancillary services such as pick-ups and deliveries, photography, artistic design and making baby hampers are: Liz Green, Monica Defendi, Paul Bui, Fayann Desouza, Jan and Jim Portwood and Charles Lockwood. Several members of Pregnancy Assistance and a large number of friends and family of members, staff and volunteers also help out when needed. For instance during events, (PA’s recent quiz night) Veronica O’Brien, Andrew Smith, Elizabeth Smith, Matt Lim, Sharon Balsarini and Helen Sawyer. House and garden maintenance is often done by our own volunteers, Graeme Wilson, students from Mercedes College and by volunteers from Youth With a Mission. There is also collaboration with people from other groups and organisations, such as: Abortion Grief Australia, The Helpers of God’s Precious Children, St John of God, Starting Over Support and Amaris. The Board of Directors (see page 1) comprises volunteers who all have a fulltime job elsewhere. They work closely with the leadership on the floor as one team. Hope and Life
Juliana’s Story, I first visited Pregnancy Assistance Inc. in October 2015 when I was 15 weeks pregnant. The Australian Red Cross had referred me to Pregnancy Assistance following my application for a Protection Visa. When I discovered I was pregnant, devastation and disappointment overwhelmed me. I was confused and had truly believed that a man whom I trusted had taken advantage of me. My fears were coupled with my uncertain ‘immigration status’ which was still in limbo. I was filled with dread of being left on the street or possibly losing my life. My fears worsened when I learnt that I was carrying a baby girl. Memories of female genital mutilation and early arranged marriages flooded my mind. Physical, mental and emotional abuse were also sanctioned and widely practiced. Child abuse was rampant.
Juliana & Amayiah
During my pregnancy I struggled not to have suicidal thoughts. Towards the end of my pregnancy I became very anxious and suffered severe panic attacks. I attempted to take my own life and if it hadn’t been for the help I received from Pregnancy Assistance I wouldn’t be here today. Amayiah was born in April 2016. She is a lovely, healthy girl. Being a single Mum living on my own and having to live with mental health challenges is not easy. Pregnancy Assistance was always a great support for me. With their endless, psychological, spiritual and practical support I gained hope and courage to carry on with my pregnancy.
Hope and Life
a Story of Perseverance, Courage and Hope Now I feel safe, peaceful and free, the opposite to how I have felt most of my abused life. My child and I now have a brand new life ahead, freed from the abuse that lay ahead for us in Sierra Leone.
When I read the June newsletter this year I was filled with emotion. During a counselling session I expressed the desire to help Pregnancy Assistance in some way. This would be an opportunity to assist them for all they have done for me. My hope was that Pregnancy Assistance would continue to help other women in similar situations.
On behalf of my family in Sierra Leone and myself, I express my deepest gratitude to all the supporting networks involved in my case. These include Pregnancy Assistance, Australian Red Cross, Humanitarian Lawyers, The Humanitarian Group/case for refugees, Joondalup Health Campus Pastoral Care Unit, Joondalup Mental Health, Uniting Care West, Partners in Recovery, Spiers Centre, SVDP, Salvation Army, Fremantle Multicultural Centre, Child/Adolescents Mental Health, Mercy Care Child and Parent Centre Warriapendi, Anglican Community Church Heathridge and Enhance Home Visiting/Best Beginnings. Juliana George
I distributed over one hundred newsletters in my community (with Amayiah in the pram) and spoke publicly at my Church. I also placed a collection box in the foyer of the Church. With a self-made piggy bank I walked around my area (with Amayiah in the pram) collecting money for Pregnancy Assistance. Through the generosity of donors, I was able to raise over one thousand dollars. On Friday, 22nd September 2017 a miracle happened. I was granted a Protection Visa from the Australian Government.
Hope and Life
Pregnancy Assistanceâ€™s 2017 Quiz Night On the 5th of August this year, Pregnancy Assistance was delighted to host our first fundraising Quiz Night. A sold-out night, with 160 guests, the event held at St Pius X Manning parish was a wonderful opportunity for the public to come together for some fun and to show support for pregnant Perth women in crisis. The event was sponsored by more than 65 generous donors, who provided prizes for raffles and silent auctions, and contributed to raising about $5000 for Pregnancy Assistance. A joyful and successful night all round!
With Thanks to Matt from Matt Lim Photography Hope and Life
Pregnancy Assistance gratefully thanks the following companies who have generously supported our Quiz Night 2017
Anarchy Training Centre Audiotechnica Baby Spa Perth Beacon Lighting Subiaco Beyond Rest, Wembley Black Swan State Theatre Bodhi J Spa Brygon Reserve Wines Butchers Hook Armadale Canefire Rum Captain Cook Cruises Care Studio Caversham Wildlife Park Chakra Day Spa & Beauty Charity Paintball Clancy’s Fish Pub Cockburn Ice Arena Conan Fitness Crossfit Furnace Dinner Twist Dolcetto Patisserie & Cafe Elysium Spa Endota Spa Joondalup Escape at the cape Funpark Fernwood Fitness Finishing Touch Valley & Picture Framing Fremantle Flipside Burgers Fremantle Prison
Gilbert’s Fresh Market Southlands Gloucester Park Gourmet Chef
Green Zone Holy Smokes Houndstooth Studio Janelle Kemp Photography Karrinyup Wellness Centre Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Lighthouse Photography Little Box of Happiness Margaret River Choc Co Mel Cieslik Photography Milner’s Marketing on behalf of Tornado Pagoda Resort & Spa, Como Paintball Skirmish Perth Mint Perth Observatory Pot Black Family Pool Roleystone Flower Farm Roleystone IGA Sage Yoga Salt & Co Sanctuary Beauty and Wellness Siena’s of Leederville Snap Fitness Gosnells Soul Kite Standup Paddleboard Swann Security Made Smarter Swan Valley Flower Farm Tamara Tennis wa TFE Hotels The Wellness Studio, Fremantle Tiny Touch Jewellery WA Musem Warren Grange Fresh Produce
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With Thanks to Monica from Monica Defendi Photography 8
Hope and Life
Message of Hope ‘Surely there is a future and your hope will not be cut off’ (Proverbs 23:18) One of our values at Pregnancy Assistance is to provide hope where there is despair. The pain people may feel when experiencing a pregnancy loss (miscariage, stillbirth and abortion) is real. Unfortunately more often than not the voices of the women and men who are suffering are not heard. Sydna Masse, who is an author and lost a child through termination, writes in her book ‘Her Choice to Heal’, that grieving because of an abortion need not be an unspoken topic. It must be gently addressed without condemnation and to do that, we should begin by offering unconditional love and support. Post-abortion syndrome does exist, but it can be overcome. This message is for all the men and women who are suffering in silence. Please contact us. We have provided a safe space in which your loss and grief is validated and unconditional support is offered. Very gently you can start expressing your sorrow over this loss, so your healing can begin. Lisette Jas Counsellor
The following is a message from someone who has experienced the pain associated with abortion, but is now on a journey of finding peace again.
“I experienced years of intense numbness unable to engage intimately with anyone. Loneliness, abandonment, rejection, deep, deep sadness as though entombed in an ice crevice was my experience. God sent the team from Pregnancy Assistance, the volunteers and their ever welcome kindness, warm smiles and gentleness to minister to me embodying His and Blessed Mother’s Love welcoming embrace, wisdom and healing. They continue to accompany me through the darkness and trauma of abortion grief and wounded relationships.”
Hope and Life
Southern Cross Care Residents Knit for a Good Cause The Head of Pastoral Care at Southern Cross Care, Ian Simms, visited PA earlier in the year with handknitted donations from several of their residents. Ian wrote the following article about his visit to PA, which was posted on their company â€˜Internal communication site. Ian kindly gave us permission to put his article in our newsletter. Over the past months, several of our residents have been knitting baby clothes as a way of keeping active and engaged. From jumpers to booties to bonnets, in all kinds of colours and sizes, the collection of knitted items just grew and grew. Well, this week, all those items found a wonderful place to go, and many young mums are rather grateful for the help. Where do all those finished items actually end up? If youâ€™ve wondered about that very thing, you will be delighted to know that the mums who are helped by Pregnancy Assistance in Perth will be receiving a hamper containing clothing that our residents have made, along with baby products that have been donated by other individuals. This week Ian Simms, Head of Pastoral Care at Southern Cross Care, made contact with the Catholic agency, Pregnancy Assistance. In an example of inter-agency co-operation, he was able to visit, drop off the clothing and meet the staff who work there. The Administration Assistant, Erica Williams, took time to explain to him the work of Pregnancy Assist, which provides compassionate care and emotional, practical and informative support to women in need throughout their pregnancy and post-birth. The centre in East Perth receives between 90 â€“ 170 calls per month from women who are distressed due to a variety of concerns, including unexpected pregnancy, abortion concerns, domestic violence, foetal anomalies, grief / loss and homelessness. Prompted by Christian compassion, as well as a good-hearted desire to strengthen and encourage, the ladies at the centre provide critical support and counselling to women who would otherwise have to struggle on alone. The organisation was grateful to our residents and welcomed any further items, especially more jumpers and bonnets of new-born size, which are currently in high demand as we approach the winter months.
Ian Simms (Head of Pastoral Care) with two of our volunteers Jo and Marcia to sort through the knitted items
Hope and Life
Thanksgiving Mass Pregnancy Assistance We welcome you to our Thanksgiving Mass on Saturday 9 December at 9.30am at St Mary’s Cathedral. Please join us downstairs in the function room for morning tea directly after Mass
Training Day at Pregnancy Assistance On Tuesday, 14th November, a training day was held at Elizabeth’s House. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up with other volunteers that we see only occasionally, to share our experiences and to reinforce our commitment to the precious work that we do in supporting those special pregnant ladies and new mums who are in need. Laura Craig first introduced the day and explained our new leadership structure. This was appreciated by the volunteers to have an understanding of how the new structure will enhance and reinforce the already amazing work that is being undertaken at Elizabeth’s House. Erica Williams followed with a session on procedures: some were already in place, others were improved and some were new. As most volunteers come in one day a week, it is so important to follow and be aware of our procedures so that in our ministry of emotional and practical support we can be most effective. The last session was presented by Lisette Jas, who discussed the LOVE approach. This approach allows the woman to feel listened to, it gives her the opportunity to have her feelings and fears validated and ultimately we aim to empower her to make her own decision, all the while knowing that we are there to support her. Lisette stressed the absolute importance of listening and how we can learn so much from this tool. We also discussed the importance of confidentiality and the correct way to write notes on our clients. In a short time we covered a lot of valuable material and it was a very informative day. We followed the session with a beautiful mass celebrated by Father CJ Millen and a lovely shared lunch. For me, personally, training days are a wonderful recommitment to what we do and I feel blessed to be part of such a special organisation working beside such beautiful people. Carmel Randazzo Hope and Life
In July this year, PA made an application to Lotterywest for Emergency Relief (ER) funding. That wasn’t unusual because Lotterywest has given us ER funding for some years and historically, we have used this funding to buy food vouchers for pregnant women in dire financial need. What was unusual was that in this year’s application, we requested almost double the amount of money. In support of this request, we gave Lotterywest information about the increasing numbers of pregnant Perth women in need of money for food. We also gave info on how PA serves many women from regional WA at the request of social workers from WA’s prominent hospitals. Many women come to Perth from the regions to have their babies and if they are in need, the social workers from KEMH and Fiona Stanley bring them to PA to receive our wonderful baby bundles, essential baby items that we organise through network organisations and occasionally, when their plight is desperate, ER food vouchers. Lotterywest wanted to know more and after several telephone conversations with their Grants Development Officer, wherein PA explained what we do, how we do it and how we record our stats, they sent one of their Accounts Managers to Elizabeth’s House to come and see how best they could help us. After a couple of hours spent getting to understand the organisation he encouraged us to add a request for computers to our application! We did so, and a few short weeks later, PA received a deposit of a little over $25,000 from Lotterywest, being $14,400 for ER and $9,800 for brand new, business-grade computers! The computers will take us to the next level of productivity as they are super-fast and able to cope with the latest software. We are about to enter the world of the iCloud which, as well as improving productivity through speed and reliability, will improve accessibility of documents for Board members which is essential for them to keep their hands on the pulse of the organisation. A knock-on effect of the steady flow of food vouchers now available through the funding has led to us refining our procedures so that clients who receive a voucher, also receive budgeting assistance and other information that empowers them to handle their finances more effectively. THANK YOU LOTTERYWEST! 12
Hope and Life
The Francette Galibardi Trophy Keith and Lydia Highfield from Beechboro, are long-term supporters of Pregnancy Assistance and have been donating to PA on a regular basis for more than 10 years. Since 2012, in addition to their regular donations, they have also made a once-a-year contribution which is the fruit of a special and lovely initiative of the Highfield family. When a very special friend of theirs, Francette Galibardi, the Founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants in Perth, and a tower of strength for Pregnancy Assistance, passed away in January 2011, a trophy, in Francette’s honour, was made to recognise the significant role she played in Pregnancy Assistance’s history.
On Boxing Day each year since, when Keith and Lydia get together with family and friends at their residence, part of the day is for fun, not only for the kids but the elders as well. And so they play games in teams. The winning team receives the Francette Galibardi Trophy and the Team Captain’s name is inscribed on the Cup. The family and friends then take up a collection and the proceeds are given to Pregnancy Assistance. Keith and Lydia
Pregnancy Assistance and the mums and bubs of Perth are so grateful to you both for your support over the years. Like all our other donors, you make a huge difference in their lives. Hope and Life
Thank You Thank you for supporting us to continually achieve our principal objective – “To provide relief of poverty, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution, or helplessness for pregnant women of all sections of the public irrespective of race, colour or creed.” Pregnancy Assistance Inc. solely relies on private donations. We are an ACNC registered charity, and all monetary donations above $2 are fully tax-deductable. Your generous support gives and changes lives and allows people to taste just how sweet and good hope and life truly is.
Your Donation Makes A Difference
The Archdiocese pays for our rent but for all else we rely entirely on GOD speaking to your heart! Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 T: (08) 9328 2926
Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible Name/Corporation: Date: Address:
Email: I make the following donation to Pregnancy Assistance Inc. of $ once only
By cheque/money order: made payable and addressed: Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 By Direct payment: Pregancy Assistance Inc. | Westpac | BSB 036014 | Acc 306953 Mastercard
Name on card: 3 digit verification number:
Online: www.pregnancyassist.com.au By including us in your will.