Center offers options

Published 8:01 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Special to the Daily News

Washington’s only crisis pregnancy center is staying active this summer
The center started in Washington 22 years ago. Five years ago, it merged with Carolina Pregnancy Center in Greenville. The nonprofit organization has offices across eastern North Carolina, including offices in Kinston, Goldsboro and Rocky Mount. The Washington office is not directly affiliated with them.
The center is connected to a number of agencies in Washington and Beaufort County. The Beaufort County Department of Social Services and Beaufort County Health Department often refer clients to the center. Beaufort County Schools has an adolescent pregnancy-prevention coordinator who works closely with the center when high-school girls become pregnant.
Susie Rollins, the center’s director, said her work is about giving clients options.
“We are just here to point to the different agencies in town. There are lots of great programs out here that really help. We just want to provide support,” she said.
Rollins has worked on the Beaufort County Schools’ Student Health Advisory Council. Some the council’s work included picking a new sex-education curriculum that will be used in Beaufort County Schools during the upcoming school year.
Center members are working on a program that is expected to begin this fall. The program, Diapers for Diplomas, will provide assistance to high-school girls (who are pregnant or have infants) if they consistently attend school, meet a minimum GPA standard and participate in some parenting programs.
Rollins noted that clients have to attend a minimum of seven classes before they can receive assistance.
“We want to establish a relationship with the clients first and find out their needs. Statistics do support the assertion that younger clients have a second pregnancy shortly after their first one if they do not get some help,” she said.
The center depends largely on six regular volunteers. Three of the volunteers are registered nurses. Rollins runs the day-to-day operations of the center.
Ten to 12 clients a month used to visit the center when it first opened. Now, 40 to 50 clients visit the center. Fifty-five clients is been the largest number of the clients the center has served in a month.
Center members are planning for the Legacy of Life Banquet on Oct. 18. Blake Honeycutt, executive director of Carolina Pregnancy Center in Greenville. will be one of several featured speakers.
Last year’s banquet featured Star Parker, a conservative author and commentator. Parker, a syndicated Scripps-Howard columnist, spoke about her work at the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She also highlighted previously being an unemployed mother on welfare and how that experience drove her to support conservative causes.
The Carolina Pregnancy Center in Washington is located at 1009 Brown St., Washington. It may be reached by calling 252-946-8040.