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By Kate Kelley
Special to The PREVIEW
It’s Thursday at the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center. If you walk into the center and take a look around, you’ll see lots of smiling faces that belong to both the supportive volunteers and the clients they serve.
Now, the month of June has brought a new face and a fresh perspective to PPSC.
Welcome Cynthia Minor, who has been appointed as the center’s new executive director. Cynthia brings a fresh kind of enthusiasm to the duties of her job. A self-described “tender-hearted listener,” she feels called to the work at PPSC and believes in the center’s commitment to providing a safe, friendly and confidential atmosphere for women — and men — who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
A gradual process
Cynthia and husband David Minor transplanted to Pagosa Springs in 2002.
“I heard Kathy Koy (PPSC executive director at the time) speak and it touched a deep place in me,” recalls Minor. “I knew I wanted to get involved with the center.”
She attended a Client Advocate Training and began serving at PPSC one day each week.
“I would come home from that day at the center and tell David, ‘This is always the best day of my week.’”
Minor began learning more about all that the center offers and, as she learned, she became more enthusiastic.
“I realized that there’s always a ‘now what?’ when a client receives a positive pregnancy report. Will she keep her baby? Will she parent this child on her own? With her partner? With the support of her own parent(s)? Is placing the child for adoption a suitable alternative for her?”
Learning more and more
“I was so excited to also discover more about the Earn While You Learn (EWYL) program. It offers choices to parents in their unplanned pregnancy while building their life skills and their self-esteem.”
EWYL is a series of modules dealing with various aspects of life with a baby: proper infant care, what to expect as your child grows, effective discipline strategies, as well as budgeting and couples communication.
“There’s even a ‘now what?’ plan for clients whose pregnancy tests come back negative.”
The program called “Steps to Sexual Health” is an opportunity for women to look at themselves in a new way that promotes healthy awareness with regard to a sexual relationship.
A unique path
Little did she know when she arrived in Pagosa Springs that her life experiences and skills set would be put to use so effectively at Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center.
Minor, who formerly lived in Pittsburgh, worked for Bayer Chemical Corporation. She started in the “steno pool,” but eventually pursued a degree at Duquesne University in leadership and communications, which opened up a whole new set of opportunities at Bayer. She developed leadership programs, trained others to do what she was doing, and began traveling to coach other leaders, retiring from Bayer Chemical in 2002.
Working positively and collaboratively
Minor fairly lit up the room when asked what her favorite part of her new job might be.
“It’s the client interaction and all the networking with other local agencies,” was the unhesitating reply. “Collaborating with Pagosa Outreach Connection, Justice Ministries, Nurse Family Partnerships, Fatherhood Initiative and Self Care, to name a few, is such a privilege. You’d be amazed at what people can accomplish together when no one cares who gets the credit.
“The goal for us at PPSC is to serve others — to find out what their needs are and get those needs met. Sometimes a faith-based organization can accomplish that, and sometimes it’s a secular organization, but we all work together to promote a better quality of life for the clients involved.”
More than pregnancy testing
Minor emphasizes that she has a heartfelt desire for the community to know that the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center is much more than a place that offers free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds — the center can really provide for the tangible and educational needs of anyone in a pregnancy-related circumstance, teaching parenting skills and budgeting, offering diapers and cribs along with baby and maternity clothing.
One of Minor’s important goals is to make the community of Pagosa Springs more aware of all that goes on at the center and its positive impact on the local population.
“What we do here at the center affects the community of Pagosa Springs as a whole. We hope to make everyone aware of that.”