In a small Florida town, Immokalee Pregnancy Center makes strides to impact more women through pregnancy options education and materials assistance. Recent endeavors, including youth engagement and a new approach to educating clients on their pregnancy options, assist in that positive impact.
In a time of increasing pro-life identification and participation by America’s youth, Immokalee students began gifting their time to the pregnancy center after school began in September.
“They asked, ‘What do you need here?’” recalled Stefy Valencia, client services manager for Immokalee Pregnancy Center. “They were very excited (to help). We’re getting to witness the next generation loving on moms (in the community).”
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One of the students, Jazmin, started a new club called Baby Steps at the high school, Valencia explained. The young woman brought five others, including one young man, to tour the center. After learning how the organization helps women in the community, they offered to help.
“They are happy to do anything,” Valencia said. “They helped make trimester gift sets, which we give out to moms during every trimester of their pregnancy. They also washed toys, cleaned, decorated the center for Christmas. They even held a fundraiser to help buy supplies. Seeing the love they have for this town and for helping the community was very inspirational.”
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She said the students plan to continue the club and their volunteerism at the center after the Christmas break.
Immokalee Pregnancy Center serves 200-250 clients each year, said Diane Hanson, executive director.
The area is a farming community with many migrant workers. Hispanics, Haitians, and Native Americans comprise much of the population and the center’s clientele.
Helping families with materials, like diapers and wipes, pacifiers and clothing, is a large part of what the center provides. The center also offers medical services and an Earn While You Learn program, helping mothers and fathers be the best parents they can be.
The center is located on Main Street and is “very visible” to community residents, Hanson said.
However, she and her staff have faced several challenges this year, including the electricity going off and water leaks in the building. There has been thought given to relocating, but the center is on a lease which isn’t up for a few more years. Another consideration involves expanding into the space next door.
“We’re praying about having a larger space,” Hanson said.
Three box method
Engaging clients in options education can present challenges, especially during a discussion on adoption.
A few months ago, Immokalee staff and volunteers implemented what’s known as the Three Box Method.
The team learned about this approach at a conference. Three boxes are placed in front of the client; one is labeled Raise Your Child, another Adoption, and the third, Abortion.
“Our job is to educate on all three options,” Valencia said. “The client chooses what she wants to talk about first.”
Inside each box are cards with information on that particular option. When the client reads the statements out loud, she often asks questions, which leads to deeper discussion.
“We have clients asking more questions, and they are really listening,” Valencia said. “We’re getting more connection with them.”
“They’re more engaged,” Hanson added. “They’re hearing what we are saying.”
Other centers have found this effective, even with increasing interest in adoption.
“The center we learned this from saw 12 adoptions in one year,” Hanson said. “It’s on our hearts to be more proactive about adoption.”
She and her staff implemented some of the same pieces of information for the three options boxes, but they also developed some of their own, better suited for the clients seen at Immokalee.
Despite the challenges faced, new opportunities, such as participation by young people and implementing the Three Box Method, keep Hanson, Valencia, and the other staff and volunteers fighting for life in their Florida community.
“The Lord isn’t through with us yet,” Hanson said.