Our story begins over three decades ago when a group of local individuals had a vision: that all women facing an unintended pregnancy would feel supported – no matter what they decide – and not feel judged, to be respected and empowered all while receiving the information they needed to make a confident choice. And in December 1984, we opened to the public and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has grown to provide laboratory quality pregnancy testing, STI testing, obstetric ultrasounds, client advocacy, men’s mentoring, after-abortion care, and community resource referrals.
In the summer of 2014, we rebranded our organization which included changing our name from Harrisonburg Pregnancy Center to AVA Care of Harrisonburg. Through focus groups we realized that this name was no longer relevant to our target demographic. For women who do not want to be pregnant, coming to a place with the word “pregnancy” in the name was not preferable. In addition, we redefined our messaging and strategy to further reach and support women facing unintended pregnancy. Internally, we created a new Equipping Parents program entitled EXCEL. Our new identity embodied the heart of our work – to Advocate for our clients, to Validate their concerns, and to provide Answers to their questions.
A new name also allowed for expansion of our services. We recognized the need to better serve women facing unintended pregnancy by also providing them with sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia – two of the most common STIs. In November of 2018, we began offering this service to our clients. We believed by offering STI testing, we were more equipped to educate and empower women regarding their sexual health and pregnancy decisions.
As we move forward, we remain committed to the mission that has brought us here today. The core value of supporting women facing unintended pregnancy – no matter what they decide – has and always will stay the same. We are committed to staying relevant to the changing dynamics and challenges of our target demographic and the culture in which they are growing up in. This is reflected in our advertising strategies and venues and the evaluation of additional services that may help us more effectively reach the very women and men who most need us. We invite you to become part of our story and partner with us as we serve women and men in our community. Whether you would like to partner financially, through prayer, get your business, church or community group involved, you can make an impact.