A Women’s Pregnancy Center can help you find HOPE in this situation
By Sid Riley
In September of 2008, just six months ago, the Marianna office of "a Women’s Pregnancy Center", a non-profit organization, opened. Today they are helping over thirty local women monthly through their pregnancies with counseling, moral support, prenatal and postnatal supplies, and education, to make informed choices. They are filling an existing social need in our community by providing caring, Christian assistance to women who find themselves alone and pregnant.
This organization was started twenty years ago by a group of concerned Christian citizens, and today is offering services in Tallahassee, Madison, and Marianna. They have saved thousands of lives of unborn babies by the guidance and assistance they have provided for distressed, pregnant young women.
Sherri Fejes, the Marianna Director, is very excited about the work the organization is doing, what they have already been able to accomplish, and what the future holds. "Our small budget of $35,000 per year is totally funded from private sources such as donations and fund raising events. The Tallahassee office of "a Women’s Pregnancy Center" has graciously helped us during our start-up phase, but we need to become totally self sustaining, so they can then help foster other much needed centers in other communities. The people and organizations of Jackson County have been very generous thus far, and this is greatly appreciated, but is also an ongoing need. We have a big fund raising event scheduled to occur in April, with our Celebration of Life Banquet."
She proudly displays the $23,000 ultra-sound fetal monitoring machine which was donated to the center during the first month of operation. It was given by a benevolent donor who wishes to remain anonymous in this Christian act. "This ultra-sound machine is a great assistance to the Center, and vividly demonstrates the level of support we are getting from those who care", Sherri exclaimed.
The main objective of the center’s programs is to assist women and men to make informed decisions, and in the process to hopefully prevent an abortion from taking place. In complete confidentiality they will provide these men and women counseling on sexual behavior, pregnancy testing, and if a pregnancy has developed, they will provide compassionate guidance and needed assistance to the mother and father to be. They will assist in obtaining eligibility for Medicaid and Healthy Start programs, and they try to maintain a supply of donated pre-natal and post-natal supplies for the mothers. Some of the most needed items are gowns, bibs, infants blankets, crib sheets, lap pads, towels and washcloths, ointment, cotton balls, Q-tips, burp clothes, diapers, strollers, and gift cards.
When a woman comes to their center seeking guidance and help, Sherri and her volunteer staff are there to help. In the process they will explain in detail what could occur should she decide to abort. They inform her that although the situation is serious, it is not the end of the world, help is available, and options do exist. If adoption appears to be a desired alternative after delivery, they will assist in making arrangements and decisions for that purpose. If the decision is to keep and raise the infant, they will provide all possible guidance and assistance in successfully accomplishing that goal.
Sherri related the following revealing information:
· Pregnancies are up 47% in Leon County.
· No doctors in Jackson County are performing abortions. These operations are being performed in Tallahassee and in Pensacola.
· Girls as young as 10 years of age have become pregnant in Jackson County.
· 3 out of 5 teenagers in Jackson County have a STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease)
· The Center is partnered with the Jackson County Health Department, Healthy Start and Healthy Families, Dr. Vanessa Johnson and Dr. Speights in helping the women of Jackson County.
· The center will also provide counseling to assist women through trauma of choices previously made or choices not yet made.
Sherri Fejes lives in Cottondale with her husband Mark, who is the pastor of the Crossroads Baptist Church. They came to BBI in Graceville in 1995 from Arizona, and decided to make Cottondale their home. They have two daughters. Over the past six months Sherri has spoken before several civic groups including the Pilot’s Club, and numerous church organizations. She hopes to speak to area high school and middle school students, but has not yet had that opportunity.
If you have time, used or new baby items, or can afford a financial donation, this organization is certainly worthy of your help. They are open at their offices at 4469-A Clinton Street in Marianna on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM., Thursdays from 10:00 AM till 8:00 PM, and Fridays 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Walk-in’s are welcome. Phone 850-526-4673 (HOPE), or email@example.com.