I contacted Open Door Women’s Care Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia by email. Executive Director, Heather Harman, kindly answered my questions and shared this information with me.
1. Who founded Open Door Women’s Care Centre and what was his/her vision?
Open Door Women’s Care Centre was founded in 1987.
The original name of the organisation was Halifax Metro Crisis Pregnancy Centre. The board of directors hired Willa London as Executive Director and she served in that role until 2014 (27 years!). The original vision of the Centre was to offer free pregnancy tests and options counselling to the community. Willa also served the community in various other ways by providing parenting support and maternity/baby supplies for women as well as offering sexual integrity talks to young people.
2. What do you see as the centre’s greatest strength?
The Centre’s greatest strength is the caring staff and volunteer team who provide excellence in service for our clients. Our team serves sacrificially as they reach out to the men and women who come to the Centre.
3. Do you have a personal testimony or story to share about working at Open Door Women’s Care Centre?
When I began working part time as Executive Director at Open Door in 2013, there were no clients coming in except for a handful of women wanting free baby supplies. There were only 2 volunteers and a dwindling financial support base. It took a year to establish a new name and website, new marketing approach and materials and to develop internal policies, procedures and intake forms. Once we launched our advertising, we have had a continuous intake of pregnancy tests and options counselling, we have already doubled the number of clients from 2015 to this year. We are seeing lives changed and we are supporting both moms who have carried to term and those who have chosen abortion. We now have 4 staff and I work full time and we have over 40 volunteers. Our financial income has almost tripled in the past 3 years. It has been an exciting journey filled with challenges and victories.
4. What is the one thing that you want people to know about the centre?
The one thing I want people to know about the Centre is that we are a safe place to talk about an unplanned pregnancy. We have also just launched a new program called HEY (Helping Exploited Youth) which provides a safe place to talk if a youth is being sex trafficked.
5. If a woman was considering abortion what do you hope someone would tell her about the centre?
If a woman is considering abortion, I hope they would hear that Open Door is the first and best place to come before making the decision. We are not medical and we cannot offer referrals for any medical procedure so we are that safe place to talk with no pressure on the decision.
6. How can members of the community best support the centre?
There are so many ways to support the Centre. People can volunteer their time, we have flexible volunteer opportunities. We are looking for financial support for some of our new programs and so that we can get into some bigger space. And most importantly we need prayers! Each client that comes in needs lots of prayer as well as our team.
Two centres responded to my email and I couldn’t pick just one. So, follow the link to keep reading.
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