HAMILTON, Ontario: The Atwell Centre: Pregnancy Support Options, a non-profit charity whose mission is to assist women and men facing unexpected pregnancies and post-abortion realities, has been nominated for the 2022 International Peace Awards. The International Peace Awards are an initiative of the GIDSS (Gandhian Initiative for Development of Support Services). They will take place on December 16, 2022, in Toronto, Ontario.
When Lois Benham-Smith, Atwell Centre’s executive director, founded the charity in 2012, it was with the conviction that no woman or couple should have to face an unexpected pregnancy alone. The organization’s steering committee saw a need for a pregnancy care centre in the university community of Hamilton, ON, and by 2016 the Atwell Centre was open with full-time hours throughout the week. Just this past September, the Atwell Centre opened the doors of its second location in Halton, ON.
The Atwell Centre offers pregnancy assessment through medical-grade pregnancy tests and point-of-care-ultrasound, pregnancy options and support, post-abortion support, STI testing and treatment, and a baby boutique. It has also fostered an educational branch called S.H.A.R.E. (Sexual Health and Relationship Education) and is staffed by a full-time team of dedicated nurses and social workers. As a Christian faith-based agency, the Atwell Centre’s mission is to provide education, information, support, and practical assistance to women and their partners as they face important decisions about their pregnancy and sexual health.
“Our vision,” says Benham-Smith, “is a society where no one has to face an unexpected pregnancy, sexual health decision, or post-abortion experience alone.” She also emphasizes that the Atwell Centre provides a safe and non-judgmental environment where individuals are empowered to make the best decisions they can with the best evidence-based information available.
The International Peace Awards, a GIDSS initiative supported by the government of Canada, aims to promote peace, harmony, and community services around the world. They acknowledge the efforts of people who are dedicating their lives to helping needy and marginalized groups without any personal gain. The Atwell Centre has been nominated in the category of “Best Work in Women’s Empowerment & LGBTQ+”.
For more information about Atwell Centre: Pregnancy Options Support and the services it provides, visit https://atwellcentre.ca.