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Betty Helmer, Published September 24 2010

Bristol Palin is fine example of The Perry Center’s mission

Recently the public was informed of exciting news: The Perry Center is having a Fall Celebration fundraiser on Oct. 7 at the Fargo Holiday Inn featuring Bristol Palin as our special guest.

Yet it seems not everyone agrees with our choice of a special guest. We believe that Bristol is an example of the young women we work with every day – the difference is that she has a supportive family.

On Oct. 7, we hope to communicate with the community the mission of The Perry Center, which is to minister the love of Jesus Christ to single women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy by providing for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs in a residential setting.

The Perry Center has been serving women and children from the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as other states since 1986. The Perry Center was established to carry on the work of Dr. David and Judy Perry, who were killed in an auto accident in 1984. Dr. Perry was an obstetrician/

gynecologist who worked in the Fargo area. He and Judy offered their home and their hearts to women struggling with an unexpected pregnancy.

After the Perrys’ deaths, Darold and Patricia Larson founded a maternity home in their name to carry on this work. The Perry Center opened in 1986 in a small frame house in Fargo and then moved to a facility near North Dakota State University in 1993. In October 2005, a new home was built in West Fargo. The Perry Center is a temporary housing option for these families and is licensed annually by the North Dakota Department of Human Services. The Perry Center is the oldest Christian maternity home in North Dakota.

It is comforting to me personally and professionally to know that our community has a local resource for pregnant women and children that supports their life-giving decision to give birth to their children. Many of these women have nowhere to live and often don’t have their basic needs, such as medical care, food, shelter and clothing, met.

The Perry Center is a faith-based nonprofit that offers a second chance to many women who have made life-changing decisions and they are looking for a second chance at making better choices. We provide programming, classes and counseling that teach the women parenting skills, budgeting, decision-making, employment and other essential life skills as well as presenting them information on adoption vs. parenting and regular Bible study and church attendance

I am honored to be a part of the life-giving work The Perry Center has done for women and children in our community for more than 24 years. I encourage you to come to our Fall Celebration and hear more about what goes on at the center.

Helmer, a licensed social worker, is director of The Perry Center, West Fargo.