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By Siri Schuchardt
Special to The SUN
A young girl thinks she is pregnant. She is scared, worried and desperately needs to turn to someone for help and guidance.
Luckily, our community has a wonderful organization that is devoted to serving her needs, as well as the needs of the baby’s father, by offering pregnancy testing and support, along with ultrasound examinations and life skills training.
These services, and many more, are offered in a caring and safe environment where the mental and emotional stability of the client is of the utmost importance.
This organization is the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center (PPSC).
The PPSC was founded in the late 1990s in response to an increase in the number of pregnant teenage girls in Archuleta County. Who would help them through this time of crisis? If they were pregnant, who would talk with them about their options? For those women who had an abortion and were now struggling with that decision, where could they go for grief counseling? Seeing the struggle of sexually active teenage girls and young women, as well as the issues facing single moms, prompted the formation of the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center.
The center provides so many services and programs in addition to pregnancy testing and ultrasound:
• Earn While You Learn: This educational program covers pregnancy and prenatal issues, infant care, life skills and parenting. Clients who participate earn incentives ranging from maternity clothes to cribs and baby clothes to diapers.
• Men’s programs: Many men are unprepared for fatherhood. This program places the male client with a male mentor who works with him on how to support his pregnant partner, how to be a dad, and how to stay engaged in the life of his child.
• Abortion Recovery Program: Men and women who have experienced a previous abortion from another facility, whether it is recent or years in the past, can participate in either a men’s or women’s small group setting, where facilitators work with them on their grief issues.
• Childbirth education: Our Nurse Manager and another volunteer RN offer the only class of this kind in Pagosa Springs.
• Special group classes: The center provides a variety of special group classes such as infant massage, money management, nutrition and basic Christianity.
The center has seen a dramatic increase in client visits throughout the years: from 229 in 2008, to 666 in 2009, 1,331 in 2010 and an all-time high of 1,802 visits in 2011. Since the center relies on the generosity of its donors, local churches and the community, the challenge in the last year has been obtaining enough funds to enable us to meet the increasing client demand.
On Thursday, Oct. 11, the PPSC annual fund-raising banquet will be held at Centerpoint Church. The evening is by invitation only, and if you are interested in learning more about the center and how you can help support the services of this wonderful organization, contact Darlene Cassio at 264-0562 for an invitation.