Linda Tinklenberg ( nee Smeenk, class of 86’), Alyssa Blankespoor (nee Knuth, class of 2012), Abby Guthmiller (nee VanGorp class of 2010), and Natalie Pfaff (nee VanEssen class of 2013), all graduates of Sioux Falls Christian, have now found themselves working together at the Alpha Center. The Alpha Center’s mission is “Clearing confusion, with a message of hope." When women are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it can often be a time of fear, guilt, doubt, and concern. These four women are part of an organization that offers love, acceptance, guidance, and hope. They were introduced to the Alpha Center in different ways, but now they have an opportunity to sharing the love of Christ with those who are in need.
Linda Tinklenberg (SFC class of 89') was a sophomore at Augustana College and between jobs when she was asked to help write some thank you letters on behalf of the Alpha Center after a fundraising dinner. She was planning on volunteering for two weeks but was asked if she would consider working at the Alpha Center part time. Linda accepted this position and continued working through the rest of college. The Alpha Center mission became her passion, and Linda has continued working there over the past 30 years. She has moved around in many different roles and now serves as the business manager.
Abby Guthmiller first heard about the Alpha Center in her living group at Sioux Falls Christian. As a leader of this small group, she decided to go to the Alpha Center on a service project day. “None of us really had a clue what the Alpha Center was”, she remembers, but they showed up and helped stuff envelopes and learned more about it. This sparked an interest in the pro-life movement and working with women. Abby went on to Northwestern College to get her master's degree in social work. She is now the client services social worker at the Alpha Center. She supervises and helps train the volunteers that work with clients.
Alyssa Blankespoor remembers coming to the Alpha Center to volunteer as a middle school and high school student at Sioux Falls Christian. During this time she became aware of the pro life movement and abstinence issues. An “aha” moment for her was when she went to college and saw how sexual integrity and setting boundaries were important. During her time at Northwestern college she became interested in the idea of prevention through abstinence education for parents and children. Alyssa is now the director of the National Abstinence Clearing House. This organization works with other pregnancy centers on a national level to spread the message of abstinence.
Natalie Pfaff first had the opportunity to volunteer at the Alpha Center through a church ministry called GEMS. Natalie went on to pursue a career in social work and psychology at Dordt College. During her senior year, she applied for an internship at the Alpha Center. After completing this internship in May of 2017 and graduating college, she became the client care coordinator for the Alpha Center. Natalie works one-on-one with clients to get to know their situations and figure out the best way to help them. She enjoys finding creative ways to show support and build relationships that last way beyond the pregnancy.
In the following video, two women share how the Alpha Center, and the people who serve there, made a difference in their lives.