A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pregnancy center offers client experience to ministry leaders ‘you can’t get by just sharing the stories’

Terri Lynn Johnston, a registered nurse who performs limited ultrasounds for New Hope, demonstrates how she walks a client through an ultrasound. (Photo by Tessa Redmond, Kentucky Today)

By Tessa Redmond
Kentucky Today

New Hope Pregnancy Center, a multi-site pregnancy support ministry in Northern Kentucky, provided a walk-through experience for local women’s ministry leaders to see firsthand what clients are offered during their visits.

Participants visited six stops exploring different facets of New Hope’s resources, which include medical services and material help.

Mentoring for Women and Parenting Classes

According to Cindy Feldkamp, director of the Falmouth center, clients are offered access to over 60 classes on pregnancy, infant care and parenting. Women who commit to the program are paired with a mentor who meets with them one hour a week to work through the educational materials. And after completing 14 weeks of classes, expectant moms are gifted a free car seat and crib.

Angela Helvy, center director for New Hope’s Covington, Ky. location, walks a tour participant through fetal development. (Photo by Tessa Redmond, Kentucky Today)

Between four centers, New Hope works with over 30 mentors who invest in the lives of clients. Feldkamp added that mentors ask to share the Gospel with clients, who are free to decline. The centers offer 6-week bible studies to those who are interested and connects clients to local churches.

The Fatherhood Program

Daryl Mullins, pastor of Butler Baptist Church, explained how many men who accompany their partners to New Hope don’t have positive male role models. In order to break negative cycles, Mullins and other mentors in the fatherhood program give men a firm foundation to build upon, “one brick at a time.”

“(We) meet them where they are and don’t judge them,” Mullins said.

Fatherhood classes explore boundaries, leadership, how to provide for a family, budgeting, discipline and how to treat and respect a partner.

Mullins and his wife also tag team for couples counseling. As a couple who married early and had a baby shortly thereafter, Mullins said they both can easily relate to the young couples who come to New Hope for mentoring and parenting classes.

Counseling Abortion-Minded Clients

Many women considering abortion are motivated by fear, according to Angela Helvy, director of the Covington center. It’s her job to “see why there’s pressure there,” Helvy said.

Part of providing options counseling to clients includes walking them through the fetal development process and offering an ultrasound to confirm the viability of a pregnancy.

The Ultrasound Room

“The sound of a baby’s heartbeat is a powerful tool,” said Terri Lynn Johnston, a registered nurse who performs limited ultrasounds for New Hope.

Employees and volunteers at New Hope refer to the ultrasound room as a “miracle room,” because a pregnant woman’s ability to see her baby and hear a heartbeat often inspires her to choose life.

Post-Abortive Care

Lori Gohs, director of the Crestview Hills center, shared her personal abortion experience with participants toward the end of the tour—by the end of college, Gohs had aborted 3 babies and didn’t begin the healing process until much later in life.

Women’s ministry leaders were given client intake forms that featured the real life stories of clients whose names and pictures were changed. At the end of the tour, they were able to pair their form to one on the wall, revealing whether the client aborted their pregnancy, created an adoption plan, made a profession of faith or chose to parent. (Photo by Tessa Redmond, Kentucky Today)

Because 1 in 4 women have abortions by the age of 45, New Hope seeks to provided resources to post-abortive women in the form of counseling and bible studies. And they hope to assist local churches who don’t have the resources to help women in their congregations heal from past abortions.

The Sexual Risk Avoidance Program

New Hope staff and volunteers teach the “Choosing the Best” curriculum to sixth-through ninth-graders at 15 schools in the Covington area.

The federally funded program uses fun themes, games and activities to teach children about their value, consent, setting boundaries, and wise decision-making. Several sexual risk avoidance educators demonstrated these lessons, including one that utilized a balloon full of helium and a basketball to explain the difference between infatuation and love.

Karen Class, executive director of New Hope, said women’s ministry leaders are “the backbone of the church,” which is why the pregnancy support center invited them to experience the resources it provides.

“They’re the worker bees,” Class added. “We need their support, and we can help (them). How many of those women need our help for after abortion support, and care, and healing, and restoration?”

Feldkamp added that involving local churches in what New Hope is doing shows how “their money and prayers are put to work.”

Class hopes the immersive tour inspires local churches to get involved in what New Hope is doing.

“It’s exciting to be part of a ministry where we’re a part of saving babies and strengthening families and sharing the gospel, and we would love to have them join (and) be a part of it,” Class said.

To learn more about New Hope Center, visit givingforhope.com.

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