Beginning in 2020, area nonprofit A Step Ahead Chattanooga has increased outreach activities throughout the southeast Tennessee region. ASAC provides education and free preventative birth control to any woman of reproductive age who lives or attends school in eighteen counties in southeast Tennessee, north Georgia and north Alabama - regardless of their income or insurance status. A partnership with The Elsa and Peter Soderberg Foundation will support these outreach efforts by providing a two-to-one match on all new dollars raised in ten counties in southeast Tennessee. Any donation coming from residents or businesses in Bledsoe, Bradley, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea or Sequatchie counties will be doubled, up to $20,000, until the end of 2021.
Officials said, "ASAC envisions a world where women become pregnant on their terms, enabling them, their families and communities to thrive. Access to long-term and reversible birth control allows women to decide if and when they want to become pregnant, allowing them to pursue an education, get ahead in their career, have healthier babies, or pursue any other goal before deciding if or when they want to start a family or grow their own.
"While A Step Ahead Chattanooga has been removing barriers to contraception through education, outreach and access to free birth control since 2014, outreach efforts have expanded recently with Health Educators dedicated to specific communities and new partnerships with existing medical offices in rural counties."
ASAC has also now appointed Lissa Goeltz as regional community investment officer to focus exclusively on these outlying counties. Ms. Goeltz hopes to build relationships with residents who see women's health and the preventative services offered by ASAC as a high priority to their community's overall health and well-being.
Ms. Goeltz is a native of South Pittsburg and a former ASAC appointment line volunteer. She understands the growing need and is excited to serve her hometown and the other towns where she was raised.
“Every woman, regardless of her income or zip code, deserves to have access to accurate information and good overall health services. We want to remove the barriers that exist so that women can become pregnant when they are ready and on their terms, using the method that works best for them,” she said. "ASAC is a prevention-only organization that has connected nearly 5,000 women with access to free birth control and provided reproductive health education to thousands more. There is no better time to join in supporting ASAC as the organization aims to reach even more women.
“We need Community Ambassadors in every pocket of the ten counties that I serve. We need folks who can help share our mission with the people who need it, and supporters who can help make sure that every time someone calls us for help, we have the resources to answer yes.”
For more information, call A Step Ahead at 423-265-STEP (7837), email email@example.com, or visit www.astepaheadchattanooga.org.