Students in the child and family studies program at Northwestern State University collected about $3,000 worth of supplies for the Women’s Resource Center, an organization that provides education and support for women who plan to carry their pregnancy to term.
The Women’s Resource Center provides free one-on-one childbirth and breastfeeding instruction, material assistance for mothers and newborns, community referrals and information on adoptions. WRC also provides counseling, free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and other resources.
An important component of child and family studies is community sustainability, according to Dr. Rania Salman, CFS professor and program coordinator.
“Working with our community partner organizations gives our students experience in how families and children participate in the community and opens up opportunities for internship and volunteering with a local impact,” she said.
WRC provided a list of items needed for pregnant women, infants and new parents such as diapers, bottles, baby wash, wipes, pacifiers and new or gently used infant clothing and equipment as well as paper goods and supplies for the center. Most items are inexpensive and easy for the NSU students to purchase.
“Every semester, Dr. Salman gives us an opportunity to collect items to help people in need or fill a need in the community,” said Dajha White, a CFS major from Natchitoches. “I like finding a way to give back to the community, which is what DFS is all about, helping and uplifting those in the community.”
Women’s Resource Center Office Manager Danette Westfall said the center serves 350-400 women each year and relies on support from churches and community groups for help with supplies.
“This is by far the biggest collection and stocks us up for next semester,” Westfall said as she and students loaded a truck full of boxes.
In addition to education and supplies, WRC has a rewards program for clients who keep appointments and complete educational programming. Clients can earn coupons to exchange for items in the WRC baby boutique.
“For each young woman who comes to the center, we hope to impart to her skills and education to empower her to make life-affirming choices to lead healthier lives, experience healthy pregnancies, and deliver healthy babies. Along with that, we provide material assistance throughout her pregnancy and for the first year after the baby is born. All of our services are free and open to anyone in the community,” Westfall said. “We greatly appreciate Dr. Salman’s effort to organize this drive for the past few semesters. The items donated has been such a blessing to our Center.”
CFS prepares graduates to work in a variety of fields, but all are aimed at improving the lives of individuals, families and communities. CFS has been called the ideal “helping” profession, because those in the field are ultimately concerned with meeting the needs of children and families in a variety of contexts. In addition to a focus on infant and toddler development, family systems and human ecology, FCS also includes coursework in nutrition, parenting, educational psychology and early childhood education.
CFS is part of the Department of Teaching, Leadership and Counseling within NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. Information on the CFS is available by contacting Salman at (318) 357-4202.
Information on the Women’s Resource Center is available by calling (318) 357-8888.
Pictured above: Students in NSU’s child and family studies program loaded a truck full of items and supplies collected for the Women’s Resource Center in Natchitoches. From left are Chelsea Parrie of Zwolle, A’lexus Johnson of Winnsboro, Danette Westfall, office manager at WRC; Dajha White of Natchitoches, Dr. Rania Salman, CFS coordinator; Inda Gurley of Logansport, Madeline Taylor of Natchitoches and Holly Penta of Slidell.