Advocates for Reproductive Education (WeARE) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, organized in 2015 around a commitment to promote and provide comprehensive reproductive education and healthcare services for youth, young adults, and the marginalized in Brainerd, MN and the surrounding community.
Our vision is that everyone in the Brainerd Lakes Area have access to accurate and evidence-based reproductive education and healthcare. Through community collaboration, led by compassionate healthcare professionals, the underserved living in the Brainerd Lakes Area are empowered to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
Lack of sexual health education and services in the Brainerd Lakes Area has had dire consequences for youth, young adults and the underserved in this community. This gap has led to high unintended pregnancy rates, twice the state average for 18-19 year olds, and rising rates of STIs (chlamydia and gonorrhea). WeARE here to change these statistics and change our community.
In October of 2017, we met our strategic goal of opening WeARE The Clinic. Clinic services focus on the underserved and marginalized in our community; youth, young adults and the uninsured.
WeARE is meeting our budgeted patient visit goals! We continue a presence in the community with education programs and services provided at 3 locations: our main clinic WeARE The Clinic and 2 outreach sites: WeARE@CLC and WeARE@MMWC (Mid MN Women’s Center).
In April of 2019, we relaunched our website with an updated design. In the fall, our goal is to add more interactive content to our website.
Our goals for 2019 include continuing our community partnerships, increasing our social media presence, and expanding our educational opportunities. In our partnerships with local organizations, we aim to increase access to healthcare for all those in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Our Youth Advisory Council will continue to influence and lead in our online content. Our educational events continue to grow, and we have grand plans for the rest of the year.
WeARE continued to increase our patient base at WeARE The Clinic, providing a walk-in clinic environment for free or affordable birth control, annual exams, and STI testing and treatment. We conducted our 2nd annual free STI Testing Day at CLC and in the fall of 2018 opened WeARE@CLC, an outreach clinic on campus. Our commitment to the community continues with education programming on topics such as birth control, STIs, anatomy, consent and healthy relationships.
We spent most of the year fundraising, searching for the perfect clinic spot and writing grants and clinic protocols. In October of 2017, we opened WeARE The Clinic. Oh yeah…not without a lot of community help: cleaning, painting, donations of furniture and cash! We actually hosted our 1st annual STI testing day at CLC before we had a clinic open!
Once we decided on a name and a mission and vision, we hit the ground running. Our days were spent developing marketing materials, writing our 501c3, fundraising, and bringing structure to the organization with articles of incorporation, by-laws, and a board of directors.
This year, we also expanded our web presence with a website and social media for supporters and the growing community.
WeARE existed in the minds of four women at a table somewhere (a coffee shop, our homes, The Shop). 2015 was filled with a lot of conversation and brainstorming!