South Charlotte

Her passion is helping pregnant women

Each year, many pregnant girls and women in Charlotte are helped by Florence Crittenton Services, located on Blythe Boulevard.

This organization provides a variety of services that address such needs as health and prenatal care, parenting skills, counseling, substance abuse and life skills.

Florence Crittenton maintains a residential program for pregnant girls and women (and their babies), as well as one for nonpregnant, at-risk teens.

One person who strongly believes in the mission of FCS is Elaine Langstaff, 73. Langstaff worked for 12 years at FCS, serving as the director of volunteer services. After retiring in 2000, she wanted to continue helping in the community, only now in a volunteer role.

She did not need to look far when it came to deciding where to volunteer.

"Florence Crittenton is dear to me. The mission is very real and they deliver it well," said Langstaff.

Langstaff lives in the Raintree area with her husband of 50 years, Jim, 73. They were college sweethearts who met on a blind date in Chapel Hill. The Langstaffs have three daughters who live locally, as well as two grandchildren.

Technically, Langstaff was a "staff liaison volunteer," but she helped "wherever needed."

Langstaff explains that volunteers participate in such areas as mentoring, tutoring and leading activities, among others.

Langstaff is currently the co-chair of the Florence Crittenton Auxiliary, a position for which there is an election every year.

The auxiliary collects items that meet the needs of residents, such as toiletries, maternity and baby clothes, towels, bedding, disposable diapers and more.

They also address the educational aspirations of residents with their scholarship fund. A fundraiser related to the scholarship endeavor is an art auction and wine benefit at Bonterra Dining and Wine Room. Langstaff recognizes that it is with the "generous help" from Bonterra that the fundraiser is successful.

Another way the auxiliary has raised money is by publishing two cookbooks with recipes contributed by individuals associated with Florence Crittenton Services.

Langstaff's favorite auxiliary event is the annual July picnic at which food and games are enjoyed by residents and auxiliary members. She also likes Alumni Day, in which past residents return to catch up with everyone at Florence Crittenton.

When she finishes her term as co-chair at the end of the year, she plans to continue her involvement with the auxiliary.

Langstaff also volunteers at Crisis Assistance Ministry and is involved in her church. In her free time, she and Jim enjoy traveling and are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park in the spring.