The New Beginnings Pregnancy Help Center is an organization that provides many free services to both mothers and women who are expecting. The center, funded by donations, holds private parenting classes, group breast feeding classes and post-abortion groups.
Janice Rabon, the center's director, was formally a teacher who was asked to start the center in 2000. Rabon continued to work as a teacher part-time while the center was getting its start. Now, eight years later, Rabon works full time at the center.
Lisa Fisher, the center's nurse, conducts ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. "She takes the time to go over everything step-by-step and is very good at answering questions," Rabon said of Fisher.
The center offers parenting classes to expectant parents as well as post-natal parents. Rabon always encourages fathers to come with the mothers. The pre-natal parenting classes are held weekly to help prepare parents; these classes are given individually. The post-natal classes are given individually, once a month.
New Beginnings also offers breast feeding support groups. These are held the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.
All classes and support groups are offered at no charge.
The center offers a program called "mommy money" that awards those who attend parenting classes. Each parent earns $4 for coming to class on time and doing assignments. "Mommy money" can be spent on any of the items at the center or at the second-hand store down the road -- Second Chance. Items range from baby bottles to cribs, as well as clothes, blankets and strollers. Mothers can also earn milk money for attending the breast feeding groups which are spent the same way.
Vouchers are available for mothers-to-be, that allow them to pick out three maternity outfits per month while they are expecting. The only thing the center asks in return, is for the outfits to be redonated or exchanged once the outfits are no longer needed.
The center also gives baskets to their expecting mothers when they reach their seventh month of pregnancy. These baskets are stocked with necessities such as crib sheets, bottles and receiving blankets.
Rabon says she runs the center with an open door policy, and that they do not judge anyone, regardless of the situation. "We are here to counsel," Rabon said.
The center holds an extensive six-week program for parents who have been referred by DHS to help them try to regain or keep custody of their children. Rabon also conducts a post abortion group, to help women who have chosen that route, cope with their decision and surroundings after the procedure.
"We don't preach to anyone. We strictly adhere to our open door policy and our motto, You Have Options. The center is faith based and does not provide contraceptives, although we do try to teach abstinence." Rabon said.
"I never would have thought when I was younger that I would be sitting here talking to kids about sex," Rabon said.
Rabon works with schools helping them expand their health programs and teach children about diseases and potential dangers young adults might face by not practicing abstinence or safe sex. She also welcomes parents who want to bring their children in to talk with her about sex education. She says she is honest and forthcoming with them while she counsels and educates.
The center is funded by donations received from the community. A fundraising program called the Baby Bottle Boomerang is conducted each year. Baby bottles are placed in area churches and the members fill them with donations. They also accept donations of clothes and baby furniture.
One of the center's largest fundraisers is their annual banquet where they hold a dinner and host a speaker and it involves several different groups. This year's annual banquet will be held Oct. 16 and reservations are available now, Rabon says.
While the center does not have the funding to do extensive advertising, they do have a Web site at www.pregnantnowwhat.com, and they are listed in the yellow pages. They hang flyers at schools and local businesses but, Rabon said their biggest advertisement is word of mouth.
"Many people don't know what we are or what we do," Rabon said. "We are here to help."