News

Giant baby mascot spreads message of hope

Vincent Ball

By Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor

Kendra Hall, 12, a volunteer at the Norfolk Pregnancy and Family Resource Centre's information booth and Marie Mitchell, of the centre, pose with Hope, the centre's new inflatable mascot. Vincent Ball/Postmedia News

Kendra Hall, 12, a volunteer at the Norfolk Pregnancy and Family Resource Centre's information booth and Marie Mitchell, of the centre, pose with Hope, the centre's new inflatable mascot. Vincent Ball/Postmedia News

SIMCOE - 

Hope is alive and well in Norfolk.

Even if she is a big baby.

Hope, the new Norfolk Pregnancy and Family Resource Centre inflatable mascot, is 10-feet tall and was introduced to residents in a big way on the weekend. The new mascot was with representatives of the centre as they occupied a billboard and information booth at the corner of Highway 3 and Highway 24 in Simcoe.

“We just got her in the spring and we named her Hope because that's what we represent and that's what we want our clients to feel,” Marie Mitchell of the centre said Saturday. “We want our clients to understand that even though they might be going through a tough time that help is available and things can get better.”

Hope is available to promote a business or event free-of-charge, however a donation to the centre would be welcome, Mitchell said.

By way of example, Baby Hope can be present for a birthday party or anniversary and guests can be encouraged to bring gifts of diapers, formula of gift cards for the centre.

The centre provides a range of services to women and parents in Norfolk including self-administered pregnancy tests, one-on-one parenting education and support, information about abortion procedures and risks, mental health clinician support, post-abortion support and grief support to name just a few of the programs.

“We have 67 active clients right now and that translates into helping about 230 people when you consider spouses, other children and family members,” Mitchell said. “We help pregnant women but we also provide supports to parents who could be facing any one of a number of challenges.

“We can help parents who have a special-needs child for example and we can help fathers who may be having a tough time adjusting to being a dad.”

Although the majority of the people helped by the centre are low income, many others also receive support from the centre, she added.

Representatives from the centre were perched on a billboard overlooking the busy Simcoe intersection for a 24-hour period on the weekend to help bring attention and raise money for their programs.

“It costs $47,000 to operate the centre and we don't receive any government funding,” Mitchell said. “We raise money to support the programs and services we provide so events like this – which help us raise money and awareness – are important.”

Although Mitchell was on the ground in the information booth in the early afternoon on Saturday she has, in the past, sat up on the billboard for the 24-hour stint.

Asked what the most interesting thing she has seen looking down from the billboard perch, Mitchell smiled.

“Well, it's always interesting watching some of the guys stagger out of a bar at 2 a.m.,” Mitchell said. “They see us, recognize what we do and of course they all have to say 'Want some help getting pregnant?'.

“I just tell them 'no thanks.'”

WHAT: Norfolk Pregnancy and Family Resource Centre

WHERE: The centre is at 37 Robinson St., Simcoe and 41 Church St. in Delhi and can be reached at 519-428-2177.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.norfolkpc.org.