Care Net of Tamaqua encourages both families and single parents to stop by and learn about parenting during their open house held recently.

The center, which opened April of 2011, was established to assist and support single pregnant teens. Volunteers stated that as much greater needs beyond the pregnancy has become apparent, our role expanded to aid the existing family in developing sustainable life skills.

Care Net, a non-profit organization, which operates inside the Bethany E.C.C. at 223 East Broad Street, was created to provide free services to local families, such as care, counseling, clothing, and referral services. Some services provided also consist of basic pregnancy 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 all clients are treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity.

In addition, 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, diapers, blankets, formulas, ointments, bottles, lotions, shampoos, combs, pacifiers, brushes 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 committee member, said, "Our 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 once a single mom and new to the challenges it involved," adding, "Care Net brings families together by connecting clients with resources and knowledge to give them stepping guidance to live healthy and productive lives."

Care Net is always looking for new baby items, monetary donations or volunteers to help with counseling, 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.

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 Fridays from 12 - 5 p.m. and throughout the week via appointments.

For more information about Care Net or to inquire for family support, see them on Facebook or call (570) 225-8906.