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Next step for women in need

Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at 2:49 pm

LACIE SILVA – Editor

On November 30, Next Step Resources’ Executive Director and President, Debbie Chandler, presented the new phase the organization will be entering in the new year.

Established in 2008, Next Step originated when concerned individuals from the Sequatchie Valley collaborated with the Women’s Care Center of Rhea County to address the growing community need for a care center. With Board approval, a steering committee, consisting of local leaders, was formed to drive the initiative. Embraced by churches, groups, and individuals, the plan for this vital ministry took shape through fundraising efforts and the search for a suitable location. Volunteer training sessions drew support from the community, and Chandler assumed the role of Center Director. The Dunlap center officially opened its doors on August 4, 2009, at 15324 Rankin Avenue. In a remarkable five months, the center served 56 new clients and documented 172 follow-up visits, highlighting its quick and impactful integration into the community.

In 2012, the Center acquired a building at 1817 Old York Hwy East in Dunlap, and after a group of supporters completed renovations, operations shifted to the new location on January 28, 2013. Significant developments unfolded in early 2014, prompting the Boards of Directors in Rhea County and the Advisory Board in Sequatchie Valley to envision a more expansive future. The decision was made for the Sequatchie Valley office to seek its own 501c3, initially aiming for January 1, 2017. Bolstered by two years of strong community backing, a Board of Directors was formed, and the timeline was expedited to August 1, 2016. Simultaneously, The Knights of Columbus of Rhea County collaborated with the Center to fundraise for an ultrasound machine for the Sequatchie Valley Office. By May 2016, the machine was acquired, accompanied by the hiring of a Nurse Manager and the completion of training.

On August 1, 2016, Next Step Resources Center resumed its operations, reintroducing limited OB ultrasounds alongside its existing services. In 2019, the organization expanded its approach to better support clients, particularly those vulnerable to abortion decisions, by incorporating STI testing and treatment. Responding to the rise of telemedicine and chemical abortions in 2022, Next Step began providing Abortion Pill Reversal, offering hope and support for individuals regretting their abortion pill decision. In 2023, significant strides were made, including the mortgage payoff with the aid of generous partners and the acquisition of a mobile medical unit to enhance outreach efforts.

In 2024, Next Step is extending its medical services to neighboring communities, aligning with its core mission established in 2009. The organization remains dedicated to providing hope and compassion to all who seek assistance, steadfast in its commitment to extending friendship and sharing truths with those in need.

Next Step Resources Center provides a range of free and confidential services, emphasizing support, education, and compassion. These services include STI testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, limited OB ultrasounds, ‘options’ education, adoption referrals, pregnancy and parenting support, post-abortion support and recovery, and abortion pill reversal.

The organization is led by a dedicated Board of Directors, with Adam Green as Chair/Vice President, Allen Jones as Vice-Chair, Debbie Reid as Treasurer, and Cassi Summers as Secretary. Board members include Brenda Kearns, Sue Ann Lockhart, and Bill Phillips. Additionally, the center is supported by Shenni Murphy, the Client Services Director, and Whitney Layne, the Nurse Manager.

For more information contact Debbie Chandler, Executive Director, Next Step Resources at (423) 949-9190 and nextstep@bledsoe.net.

The Marion Tribune – January 4, 2024