The Parenting Network at FYI is celebrating 40 years of service to three communities this year. The unique organization began as a help to the many calls coming into Tri-County Right to Life from scared young girls and even older women who thought they might be pregnant but were uncertain as to what to do. Abortion, to many, seemed to be the only way to go, but the young women did not want to do that procedure, but were so scared to tell their parents. And older women were worried about deformations with their babies, having another child they could not afford, or even feeling very emotional about being a mom. Founder and Executive Director, Pat Banaszak, revealed her deep emotions at the time, “From our faith, we knew that abortion might not be the way for our clients to solve their problems. So many of the women who came to us then did not necessarily want an abortion, but they felt that was the only way. When we listened to many of their stories, we cried with them. Their fears were so real, but so many were seeking a positive solution to a difficult situation. We would sit with them, listening, discussing options, praying with them, and even in many cases of teen pregnancies, going with them to talk to their parents and make tough decisions. Some girls chose abortions, but many felt very conflicted and just needed a mentor to support whatever decision they made, to love them, and especially to educate them on how to be a mom and how to care for both themselves emotionally, and how to care for the baby.”
As more and more women heard of this place called at that time, The Moses Project, they came in droves to get help, to be listened and catered to and mostly to get both support and education then for their very hard decisions. And throughout the many years, the organization has matured and changed and now includes many projects and off-shoots of helps for the whole family and wrapping around each family member to give them the tools they need to become people of character, with the abilities to care for their children, to reach their long-term goals and to create families who can raise their children the best they can.
As the years went by, the organization understood that women and men need so much more than to just be told not to have an abortion. “We knew that many new moms and dads did not understand how to take care of themselves much less the baby. In the early years we listened to them, then created a curriculum that would allow us to give them the knowledge they needed to take care of themselves during the pregnancy, then how to diaper, feed, breast feed if possible, and love their child. A few years ago, we discovered a company that had most of the curricula for men and women of children from conception until 5 years of age. The Earn While You Learn program allows our advisors to meet with clients, talk to them what is happening to their bodies before birth, how to care for themselves, and prepare the for the birth of their child, and then to help them to become the best parents they can be and become self sufficient within those first 3-4 years. With supplements of the Help Me Grow and other child rearing helps, with the partnership with WIC and other community groups who are invested in positive child development, FYI has grown in Springfield, New Carlisle, and Fairborn to centers that girls come to trusting they will be listened to, comforted and find help for their families.
About five years ago with the asking by many men for help in raising their children, FYI began a Fatherhood program. Now days, it is common to see men waiting for appointments, men in the baby boutique picking out dresses for their daughters and speaking to their mentors about how to better their relationships with their children. Unless domestic violence is involved, men and women are also encouraged to find a civil relationship in which both can participate in raising the kids. “And we have seen the positive changes within the families,” states Banaszak. “We know parents really want the best for their children. We try to give them homework assignments that highlight what issues are most important for them to understand. For their work, they are given points which can be spent in our baby boutique to get almost anything for a baby—including cribs, car seats, and so many other necessities. All for free—all for just points from their visits.”
To fund these programs, FYI have grants from Clark County Job and Family Services and United Way of Greene County, but also deeply relies on individual and organizational fundraisers and diaper drives to help take care of much of the needs. With the rising needs, they also need more individual help and both diaper and baby items are always welcomed, as well as tax deductible donations from the public. Please come and visit us in one of our locations and leave a donation for the babies. Your help may help FYI staff even save a life.