Alpha Omega Center History: The Tale of Two Centers
The Slippery Rock office was founded in 1986 as the vision of Mike and Kathy Bruno, a local pastor and his wife. It started off as a hotline but by the following year the pregnancy support service was incorporated. Meanwhile a group of local pastors were gathering to pray for a place where young women facing unplanned pregnancies could learn about alternatives to abortion. That prayer was answered in 1989 when the Slippery Rock Crisis Pregnancy Support Center opened in a building in downtown Slippery Rock. They added more services such as pregnancy tests, counseling, and education for clients in Butler and Mercer counties. In 2001 the abstinence program was introduced and in 2002, the Center purchased a building on Franklin Street. In late 2011, the center changed its name to Alpha Omega Center and relocated to 255 Grove City Road in Slippery Rock. At about the same time, AOC became a medical office offering ultrasound services.
The pregnancy center in New Castle started out as an outreach of the City Rescue Mission. In 1984 the City Rescue Mission opened the doors of Bethesda Home at 449 E Washington St to offer free pregnancy tests as well as provide pregnant women a place to stay overnight or single mothers and their babies short-term shelter. These clients appreciated the food and clothing as well as the chance to learn essential living skills such as cooking. During the 80s and 90s, volunteers pioneered abstinence education in Lawrence county schools as primary prevention against abortion. The start of the new millennium brought a new name and location. In 2000 Habakkuk Pregnancy Resource Center separated from City Rescue Mission and, with the help of Rev. Dickson Marshall, moved into free office space on Croton Avenue. Its mission no longer included housing women but instead focused on administering pregnancy tests and meeting infant material needs. The following year saw another change of address, this time to the heart of downtown New Castle to 35 South Jefferson Street. It was here that the Earn While You Learn program was launched to educate families and reward them with material items for participating in parenting and child development classes. In 2005 the Pregnancy Resource Center, as it was then known by, moved up the hill to a house at 321 North Jefferson Street.
In 2012 Alpha Omega Center and Pregnancy Resource Center realized that together, with shared mission and purpose, they could do more than they could separately. The two organizations decided to merge and become two offices of Alpha Omega Center. At this time AOC (Slippery Rock) was already an experienced medical facility and by 2013 both facilities had ultrasound capability. In 2013 New Beginnings was only offered in the New Castle office, but by 2015 the parenting program was available in both offices. The LifeMatters abstinence program expanded as well and instructed students on sexual integrity and healthy relationships throughout Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.
By 2016 change was again a necessity. Amidst a growing need for more client and office space and to be more accessible to the Slippery Rock University and Slippery Rock High School students, AOC relocated to downtown Main Street.
In 2018 Alpha Omega Center and Sandy Lake Wesleyan Church joined together to start a non-medical resource center inside of the church. This satellite office of Alpha Omega Center opened in May of 2019. Also, starting with the 2019-20 school year, LifeMatters was rebranded as Healthy Relationships Today with an expanded social media reach. And finally, Alpha Omega Center launched its first national initiatives. The Sunday school curriculum, Courageously Pro-Life, was published and the website athomeabortionfacts.com was built and promoted nationwide.
At this time, Alpha Omega Center continues to serve clients at 321 N Jefferson St, 247 S Main St, and 3096 Sandy Lake-Grove City Rd. Its mission is to honor Christ by empowering mothers to choose life, educating individuals and families about healthy relationships, and providing medical services, material assistance, and spiritual support in Butler, Crawford, Lawrence, Mercer, and Venango Counties. Alpha Omega Center is governed by an invested Board of Directors and staffed by dedicated, paid employees and volunteers. We continue together to work towards the same goals established by our founders: to lower the abortion rate by encouraging abstinence, help women considering abortion, make it possible for women to parent their children, and teach the culture of life to our community.