"A message of love and committment to protect and enhance the lives of children and families."

Those words reflect Schuylkill Care Net's mission statement as they add a new family support office in Tamaqua.

Care Net, a non-profit organization, was created to provide free services to local families, such as care, counseling, clothing, and referral services. Some services provided also consist of basic pregancy testing, as well as counseling services for women considering adoption and abortion.

Danette Roberts, acting center director for Tamaqua's office, stated, "The center is staffed by personnel and volunteers who are training and supervised in a professional and skilled manner." She added that all information shared by clients is kept strictly confidential, and clients are treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity.

Care Net's Tamaqua office, which officially opened in April, and currently operates inside the Bethany E.C.C. at 223 East Broad St., was originally established to assist pregnant teens. A much greater needs beyond the pregnancy became apparent, their role expanded to aid the existing family in developing sustainable life skills.

Their Men's Mentoring Program helps fathers to work on maintaining healthy and supportive relationships with their children. Another program they offer, called Sexual Integrity Program, provides a comprehensive approach for dealing with sexual trauma, sexual abuse, sexual misuse and the ramifications of sex outside the marriage.

Another program called, Earn While You Learn, offers women the opportunity to earn "baby bucks' for participating in parenting classes and development parenting skills. Baby bucks can be used to earn items such as baby clothes, blankets, diapers, ointments, formulas, bottles, shampoos, lotions, combs, brushes, pacifiers and any other item a newborn baby may need.

Other programs and services provided are parenting education, post abortion counseling, men's ministries, biblical counseling, material assistance, abstinence education and teen life skills.

Pastor Kevin Roberts, steering committe member, said, "This new Tamaqua branch office is looking to meet many needs of the local community and families by improving lives in practical and educational ways." Mary Ellen Klebe, development director, said, "I was a single mom and new to challenges it involved," adding, "Care Net brings families together as it connects clients with resources and knowledge to give them step guidance to live healthy and productive lives."

Care Net is always looking for new baby items, monetary donations or volunteers to help with couseling, maintenance, stuff envelopes, help with publications, answer phones, help at fundraisers, distribute flyers and to watch children while parents are in session. Background checks and training will also be provided to all qualified volunteers.

Care Net staff pointed out that they are having a fundraiser to benefit Care Net Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside the Hometown Wal-Mart. They are asking for donations of baked items such as whole cakes, pies, cookies, and individually wrapped items, such as whoopie pies, brownies, Rice Crispy treats and so on. These items can be dropped of at the bake sale. In addition to that fundraiser, they also hold another fundraiser called Baby Bottle Boomerang which involves providing large plastic baby bottles to local businesses to collect donations of loose change.

Volunteers are also asking church parishioners and community members to help donate these supplies which can be earned with "baby bucks" which can be dropped off at the church during the hours of operation. The center is opened for scheduled appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 - 5 p.m.

For more information about Care Net or to inquire for family support, see them on Facebook, email carenetoftamaqua@gmail.com or call (570) 225-8906 or (570) 778-2603.