In the foothills of the West Virginia mountains near the Kentucky border a new pregnancy center opened its doors in October, ready to help women and families in the area.
Wellspring Pregnancy & Family Resource Center in Williamson held its grand opening on October 15. Co-executive director Cody Justice said nearly 60 people showed up to celebrate, including people who helped guide him and the board of directors in establishing the center.
“We did a grand opening in the park,” Justice said. “Our building is actually a Williamson Parks and Recreation building, and we rent from them. There's a little park right next to us and there's a softball field right behind us, and so we set up a little stage in between the park and the softball field, and we did a ceremony outside.”
West Virginia governor Jim Justice (no relation) attended and presented a check for $25,000 to the new center.
“That was a surprise,” the new center co-director said.
“He gave us $25,000 from his contingency fund specifically for ultrasound stuff,” said Justice. “We got an ultrasound before we received the check, so we’re going to use the money to provide training for our nurse and for extra things you have to get for an ultrasound machine, like attachments. So, we're still going to use it for the medical piece of the facility.”
“It was just a great day,” he said.
These funds help start-up centers, whether brick and mortar or mobile, open their doors, bringing pregnancy help to underserved communities in the United States.
Wellspring offers pregnancy tests, options education, parenting classes and a fatherhood program, as well as abstinence education and post-abortion support. The center’s medical director, Dr. Gabriel Carrillo, practices in both Kentucky and West Virginia, and his wife, Brooke, co-directs the pregnancy center with Cody Justice.
Justice served as director of a substance use disorder treatment center and was encouraged to lead the new pregnancy center.
“I said, ‘Okay, I'm great with that and I will do it, but I really feel there needs to be a female presence too,” Justice said. “She focuses on programs and clients, and I focus on more administrative tasks.”
The idea for Wellspring Pregnancy & Family Resource Center began at a prayer summit, where he met a couple with a vision, he said.
The couple had come to the prayer summit that day to talk about and to pray about opening a pregnancy center in Justice’s area.
The seed was planted and took root and then began to grow.
The community has been supportive, Justice said.
“Everybody's been really positive, and the churches have been very supportive,” he said. “We had a ministers’ luncheon before the grand opening to just to kind of talk about it, and we had 16 different churches show up.”
People have also stepped up to volunteer, he added.
“We already have 16 people who have signed up to be volunteers, and we’ve already been through our very first volunteer training,” Justice said.
Several of them are working through Heartbeat International’s Love Approach training.
“I feel like that was a very good sign that people want to help,” Justice told Pregnancy Help News. “That's been great, and we're excited.”
Although the doors to the abortion facility have closed in West Virginia, the abortion pill and virtual abortion appointments occur throughout the U.S. every day. Therefore, serving women and men with resources is critical, Justice said.
“You can overturn legislation, and all that's wonderful and great and exciting, and we celebrated and cried (at the overturn of Roe v. Wade),” said Justice. “But now is the perfect time for the body of Christ to step up and say, ‘Okay, you do have options. First, let me love you and then second, let me help you determine what your options are to really succeed at this thing. That's our whole thing – we want them to succeed.”
Tweet This: Now is the perfect time for the body of Christ to step up and say, "Okay, you do have options."
“We just love them and walk with them,” he added. “It's a journey, and so I just feel that's the ‘what's next’ for us. I know that pregnancy center ministry isn't the only answer or the only option, but right now, for our region, it is an answer, and so we're just here trying to do it the best we can.”
Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages the Life Launch Grant Program and Pregnancy Help News.