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April 18th, 2021

run baby run flyerROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Liberal’s Grace Place Pregnancy Care Center is hosting a fun later this month to help raise funds for the center.

The “Run Baby Run,” which features routes of one mile, 5K and 10K, will take place Saturday, April 17, with bibs being assigned at 8 a.m. and races starting at 9 a.m.

Grace Place Director Cindi Lyddon said the center did a previous run at the Family Center at Liberal’s Friends Church that went well.

“We had a fun time, raised some money and raised awareness at the same time,” she said.

Grace Place board member Amanda Schwab said since the center opened a few year ago, it has been highly blessed.

“We have this beautiful building,” she said. “Our clientele is growing, and we have seen it’s a real need here in Liberal. We’re just not educating women and men on the life that’s been created in the womb, but we are teaching them and training them how to be good, effective loving parents. It’s not a ‘Yeah you’re pregnant, see you later’ type thing. It’s a long-term educational process of at least a year.”

Grace Place clients typically come during their pregnancy and throughout the baby’s first year. Schwab and Lyddon both said the center is now capable of also launching a toddler program.

Schwab said part of the funds raised from the Run Baby Run are going to expand services at Grace Place, which Lyddon said includes the expense of advertising. 

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“In order to expand our advertising to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and all of those social media sites, it’s going to take about $25,000 for us to expand into that arena,” Lyddon said. “Anybody who finds they might be pregnant and needs to talk to somebody, when they Google, we want Grace Place to pop up so we can show them all the options. That will be a very expensive endeavor, plus we’re seeing we need to go to five days a week as we continue serving the needs of the women in this community and the surrounding communities. We’re needing to expand what we offer.”

Schwab said Grace Place officials are looking to make the run an annual event.

“We’re excited to finally be doing it,” she said. “We had it scheduled for last spring, and COVID stepped in.”

Lyddon said the 5K portion of the Run Baby Run will be especially fun for participants.

“We’re offering 12 different categories where the runners can earn medals,” she said. “We’re giving first, second and third place medals in each of those categories. Whatever age range they’re in, whether they’re a male or a female, they’re almost guaranteed to get an award. If you’re one of those people who like to collect those medals and hang them on the wall, we can certainly help out with that.”

Participants in the 10K run will get a finisher medal, and the fastest finisher in that race will also receive a pair of running shoes.

Lyddon said with the COVID-19 pandemic, Grace Place has had to look at some alternative means of delivering its education materials.

“We’ve tried having people reaching out through Facebook to get the parents to sign up for the parenting class, and there is a big roadblock to people giving out their personal phone numbers on Facebook,” she said. “I had 47 people interested in taking this class, but they wouldn’t give me their phone numbers so I could send them the links to the video. We had to work within the copyrights of Bright Course. I couldn’t put the actual videos on Facebook. We had a really hard time reaching our clients during COVID.”

Schwab said as Grace Place grows, officials with the center are building trust in the community, and word of mouth continues to be the best means of advertising.

“Once the word gets out there that this is Grace Place, it’s a good place, it’s a helpful place, it’s a trustworthy place, we’ll be able to get more of that personal information,” she said. “I think they’ll be more apt to give out a little more personal information that will make staying in contact a whole lot easier.”

April is Safe Haven Month, and Lyddon said Grace Place is encouraging who find they cannot take care of their babies to find a safe haven for them.

“In the state of Kansas, they have 30, maybe 60 days where they can decide ‘This is too much for me,’ and they need to take that baby to a safe haven,” she said. “Those safe havens in Kansas include police departments, fire stations, hospitals and health departments. No questions asked, they will take the baby, and they will find a home for it. If you ask, you can have them arrange to keep that baby for a little bit while you get yourself together.”

Lyddon said pregnant mothers are encouraged to realize the many choices they have for their child.

“We’re encouraging them to think beyond abortion,” she said. “If they’re feeling really strong and they think they can take care of that baby or they feel they cannot care for that baby, they can certainly take their child to safe haven as a last resort. There’s also social services, anybody at a police station, a hospital. We would be happy to help if they need help parenting because that’s what we do. When they find out they’re pregnant, there is adoption. There is parenting. There is open adoptions. There’s a whole myriad of choices.”

Schwab said the April 17 run is designed for both experienced and non-experienced runners.

“We just want to encourage people to come out and support Grace Place,” she said.

Lyddon said the center too needs volunteers, both for the race and its services.

“We’re going to have hydration stations every 1K. At the end of the first mile will be the first hydration station, she said. “If you run the 5K, you’ll go from here to Light Park and back. If you do the 10K, you’ll go from here to Light Park and back, and you’ll circle around Harrison Circle and go to Blue Bonnet Park and come back.”

Schwab described some of the services volunteers could do at the center.

“We need volunteers here at Grace Place on a regular basis, whether it’s to sort donated items or to stock the shelves or to make copies, run the washing machines,” she said. “We launder all of our donations whether they need it or not. There’s lots of volunteer work that could be done here.”

“The typical volunteer who comes in during the day works a four to five-hour shift,” Lyddon said.

“It can be used for community service hours for high school students,” Schwab said. 

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