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Woman of Influence – Christa Wetzel, Alpha Women's Center of Lowell

christa Wetzel225Christa Wetzel, Executive Director for the Alpha Women's Center of Lowell, always desired to walk alongside people in the midst of their hurts and offer hope, healing, and encouragement. This desire led her to major in criminal justice with the intention of working with youth. She followed this calling with a two-year internship at Alpha Women's Center of Hastings, a four-year stint at a homeless shelter in Holland, a year-long cross-cultural experience working with recovering alcoholics, and eventually a job at the Department of Human Services as a caseworker for the State of Michigan. While working in the Department of Human Services, Wetzel said she missed being able to share Christ and offer practical help.

Wetzel left her job with the state to work with an area church for a short term. Then the Executive Director position opened at the Alpha Women's Center in Lowell. Wetzel began her tenure with the center in October 2013.

Alpha Women's Center of Lowell offers free pregnancy testing, parenting classes, and a unique "earn while you learn" program allowing clients to earn "Alpha Bucks" to spend at the Alpha Store. The store is stocked with children's clothing through size 5, maternity clothing, diapers, formula, and larger items such as car seats, strollers, and cribs. The store is stocked entirely through donations.

In her year and a half working for Alpha Women's Center of Lowell, Wetzel said she has learned more about her own weaknesses and how God comes in to fill in the blanks. "Especially since I'm not a mom myself, no matter what the circumstance is, God gives me the words to say to women who come into the center." Wetzel said. God has "blown her away" with how He has worked things out. "Things will work together, not because of my gifts or abilities, but because the Lord works things out." Whether it's sending a new group of volunteers just in time, or providing an unexpected donation to cover financial needs, Wetzel realizes God knows their needs before they even ask.

Wetzel started several new initiatives in the past year and a half. In December she launched a baby bottle fundraising campaign. "When I was thinking of the idea for the baby bottle campaign, and talking to other women's center directors who've done similar campaigns, I was a bit terrified with the upfront cost of buying the bottles," Wetzel said. Then God provided just what she needed once again. "A local company donated all the money to purchase the bottles," she explained. Over five hundred people participated in the campaign and two-thirds of those were new donors to the center. "The campaign raised $4,000 with funds still trickling in," Wetzel said. She has also seen increased involvement from area churches and individuals as a result of the campaign.

Currently, Wetzel is gearing up for the second annual Ladies' Luncheon, which will be held Thursday, March 19, at the Lowell City Hall. A woman who attended the luncheon last year came to the center a few weeks ago and told Wetzel what happened in her family after last year's event. "The woman came to the event last year, heard the speaker, and really began to be burdened for her daughter and the struggle she was going through," Wetzel explained. At the time, the woman's daughter was adamantly considering abortion. After the luncheon, the woman picked up some resources and began encouraging and walking alongside her daughter, offering her hope and a different perspective. "Her daughter chose life, and the baby is now a few months old." Wetzel said hearing this story reminded her of the gift that comes with this work. "This is God's place, and He's at work," she said.

As she looks to the future, Wetzel desires to see an increased awareness of the center's presence and work in the Lowell community. She also looks forward to continued support and involvement from area churches. "I'd also love to see us grow to include ultrasounds, and begin an initiative for preventing teen pregnancies she explained. Another desire is to expand their curriculum offerings to include programs for parenting toddlers, special needs children, a Spanish curriculum, and to find Spanish speaking mentors.

To get involved with Alpha Women's Center of Lowell visit: http://www.awclowell.org/

Upcoming Event:

Ladies' luncheon and silent auction.

March 19, 2015

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Lowell City Hall

Tickets are $10
Enjoy a lunch catered by Grand Volute Ballroom and coffee from Biggby, bid on silent auction items, and enjoy a talk from local speaker and author, Amelia Rhodes.

To RSVP for the event, call 616-987-9533 or visit http://www.awclowell.org/Donors/Donate/SponsoranEvent.aspx  

At a Glance:
Name: Christa Wetzel

Organization: Alpha Women's Center of Lowell

Title: Executive Director

Address: 517 E. Main St., Lowell, MI 49331

Web: http://www.awclowell.org

Phone: 616-987-9533

Author Information
Amelia Rhodes
Amelia Rhodes lives in West Michigan with her husband and two young children. She is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul's books Here Comes the Bride and Inspiration for Writers. Her essays have appeared on the Burnside Writers Collective and Catapult Magazine. Her first book, Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world encourages women to reach out to their communities and live an authentic life together.

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