GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Carlos Pacheco was excited when he found out he was going to be a father. But at only 18 years old, he was also nervous.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was unprepared. I didn’t know what to expect and the beginning was rough,” Pacheco admitted to 24 Hour News 8.
So one of the first stops for him and his wife Maria was the Alpha Women’s Center of Grand Rapids, where they got everything from guidance to diapers.
“They’ve helped us prepare for (our son) Isaiah. They were able to give us the resources Now that he’s starting to walk, they’re actually helping me in school,” Pacheco said.
Alpha Grand Rapids is making room to help more young fathers like Pacheco. The organization is tearing down the building next door to the Women’s Center off Division Avenue south of Dickson Street and building the Alpha Men’s Center, the first facility of its kind in the nation.
“Where this building used to have addiction, drug abuse and prostitution, what we can do is erect a new facility that will bring family and hope and health,” Alpha Center Executive Director Colleen Geisel explained.
The new Men’s Center will provide services to expectant and current fathers including one-on-one coaching, support groups and classes. The organization says that while many programs are successfully reaching men, there is no standalone building dedicated to providing help for fathers.
Alpha Men’s Center Director Stacey Baker grew up without a father in the home. He says that too often, programs focus on new mothers and leave fathers out of the mix.
“When we think of pregnancy care you hear (about) mom and baby. We’re doing something new and exciting and uplifting to the family unit,” Baker said.
Demolition on the old building that the Men’s Center will replace began this month.