Through G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach
By Emily Banks Wooten
Misty Nettles, the executive director of G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach for the past five years, recently presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston.
G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach offers prenatal care, education, community referrals, peer counseling and materials assistance to Polk and 18 other surrounding counties and all the services are free. The program operates out of its location at 404 S. Washington in Livingston where they’ve been since August. Although the building had been abandoned for 11 years, Nettles said Jared Jernigan, the vice president of G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach, headed up the remodeling.
Pregnancy tests, Medicaid referrals and limited ultrasounds are offered. Additionally, referrals for housing, job searches, childcare and food are also offered. She said her group works closely with Oasis Resale Shop and Habitat for Humanity Resale Shop to provide needed items for the clients.
“We know this is a low socioeconomic area but we want our moms and our dads to have an abundant life,” Nettles said, adding that the program is a non-profit and relies heavily on donations.
“We have really been blessed. In 2021, we served 494 families in 19 counties. There’s a huge need for the services we are giving,” Nettles said.
She said over 15,000 minutes was spent on education last year. A variety of classes are offered including prenatal, childbirth, parenting, breastfeeding, newborn care, postpartum and much more. Also offered is a program called “Earn While You Learn,” which allows clients to accumulate points through the classes and then spend the points on baby and maternity items. Series of classes are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Also on staff are a client service coordinator, a social worker and two lactation consultants who are also certified childcare consultants.
We saw 492 clients last year and this year we’ve already seen over 400. We get a lot of girls that are scared to death and don’t know what to do so they come to us because everything we do is confidential,” Nettles said, adding, “We’ve really been able to see some beautiful transformations.”
Nettles said that based on the value of the services that G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach provides, as well as the car seats, cribs, playpens, swings, diapers, wipes, etc., that it’s approximately $700,000 worth of economic relief provided by the community.