Since relocating to South Fayette Street in Washington C.H., the Pregnancy Center has more than doubled the average number of people it serves on a daily basis but still mainly operates on volunteers, donations and grant money.
The center is faith-based but welcomes anybody of any religion who needs their services. Any income level is also welcome as some moms and dads just need a listening ear.
The center is governed by a board of directors. Barbara Fox is the director and has volunteered for the pregnancy center for 14 years. The assistant director is Shawn Lachat.
Fox said, “We are the best kept secret in Washington Court House but we don’t want to be. We want to expand.”
Approximately two years ago, the center had about 100 visits or less per month. In May of 2019 Fox explained they served 229 moms and dads.
As the number of individuals served continues to increase, so does the amount of volunteer hours. The center currently has three part-time paid workers.
Fox explained that with the amount of work the center is doing, she realizes they will eventually need to move to a paid staff model as volunteers willing to help can be difficult to find.
The center offers several services to both moms and dads, including one-on-one consultations, court-ordered parenting classes, educational lessons, free clothing, hygiene products, special baby gift bags, new diaper bags filled with baby items, diapers and wipes.
The Pregnancy Center website states, “We do not offer, recommend or refer for abortions or abortifacients, but are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks.”
Fox explained while they do not offer abortion procedures, they do offer grief services for those who have had abortions and need help healing. They also provide confidential support that includes education to help women make the best choices for their lives.
The center offers a free ultrasound which, according to Fox, helps many women feel more connected with their babies and less likely to seek abortion.
The educational materials are gained through the Pregnancy Health Movement. In previous years they utilized DVDs for the “Learn-to Earn” system.
Fox explained, “Last year we updated our ‘Learn to Earn’ program with the latest DVD versions. This year we are switching to a streaming service.”
That streaming service is $80 a month, and those videos provide several “moms and dads with lifetime knowledge on how to care for their babies. That gives parents the confidence to know what they’re doing,” said Fox.
The “Learn to Earn” program uses a token reward based system of Baby Bucks. Moms and dads watch those educational videos and gain the Baby Bucks through their participation. Those baby bucks can then be used in the center’s store to purchase toys, car-seats, high chairs, books, clothing items, etc.
According to Fox, the center does receive a small grant that is about $11,000 from the Ohio Department of Health. Currently they teach “Sexual Risk Avoidance Curriculum” at Miami Trace Middle School, Miami Trace High School and Washington High School.
The center has many costs, including the cost of educational materials, pregnancy testing supplies, maintenance, operational costs, etc.
Fox said the issues coming into the center more recently are more complex due to the material, emotional, medical and spiritual needs of the moms and dads.
When asked about the requirements for volunteers, Fox said, “They have to interview and agree with our faith, vision and mission statements.”
“The Pregnancy Health Organization is really unlike any other non-profit organization so we have extensive training for volunteers.”
Approximately 30 hours of training are given to volunteers who would be consulting as well as assisting with the learning modules. The volunteer positions are numerous and possible future staff needs include a director of development, additional peer consultants and donation processing help.
Other types of outside work people have volunteered to do in the past include pulling weeds, planting flowers, painting, cleaning out a shed and providing maintenance.
“I always say whatever talent that you have I can put it to use,” said Fox.
They accept several types of donations but do not take in used cribs or car-seats. Accepted donations include baby blankets, wipes, diapers, personal hygiene items for both moms and dads, hygiene items for babies, gently-used clothing up to 3T and gently used items such as high-chairs, strollers, Pack ‘n Plays and toys. Monetary donations are always welcomed.
“The staff care about the moms and dads and the babies. We desire to serve, and we love what we’re doing to help the community,” Fox said.
Those who wish to donate, volunteer or use the confidential services can direct questions to the center at 740-333-3030 or stop in to the Pregnancy Center, 238 S. Fayette St. in Washington Court House. More information can be found on its website at https://pregnancycenterwch.org/.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.