February 2, 2022
By Jasmine Willis
HORNELL, NY — New Hope Community Center has several resources available for the community at no cost.
The latest to open in the brand-new community center is the Pregnancy Resource Center. It will offer parenting classes, child birthing classes, pregnancy tests, STDs tests, ultrasounds, counseling, training, and a support system. Donations are needed to be dropped off at the center including diapers, wipes, blankets, baby clothes, formula, toiletries, and more. If you wish to donate the center is open Tuesday 2 to 7 p.m. and Thursday 1 to 7 p.m. Some donations have already been made with hand-knitted baby clothes, diapers, wipes, and stuffed animals for the boutique shop. This shop is in the center and every client who earns points through various classes and programs will be able to shop there. Set donations are given to each client to get them started. The shop is to boost up the client’s confidence and allow them to make donations too. For instance, if a client wishes to donate a crib or a stroller. Car seats need to be brand new out of the box. They have an expiration date.
This local reporter visited with the center to get a tour of the facility and talk with the staff about the hope for the community.
Aaron Strange, New Hope Wesleyan Church pastor said it was on their hearts to open a community center to reach out to as many people as they could. He said they offer help to anyone in need and everyone is welcome. Some of the classes are offered through the church, but you don’t need to be a member to take part in the resources available at the center.
Damirae Shepard, Hornell Pregnancy Resource Center director said the donations that have come in so far have been a huge blessing.
“What we have to offer here is amazing. We will have a boutique shop that our clients can earn points to shop at. We will have emergency donations available as well,” she said. “We had a doctor who retired donated his equipment to us for the ultrasound room. These machines and beds can be very expensive, so this was a huge blessing for us.”
“The best part is how the community has already come together for this center,” Strange said. “With how things have been limited due to Covid-19 Pandemic we were lucky to have everyone reach out. We are looking to expand our classes soon with some cooking classes. We want to offer something special for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up. The main thing about this center is it is an extension of our ministry. We are not looking to make any financial gain off what we do here. We just want to be a place in the community where people can come for resources.”
Shepard said she would set up a schedule with the clients on getting them the support and education needed on parenting.
“If they stick to the materials, we give them and the classes they will earn points. Those points add up to help them get things from the shop. We will have educational films, classes, and counseling available. This is about giving back to the community. If we have a client in need we want to help them,” she said. “We hope to get the word out to as many as we can, so that they will take advantage of all these resources.”
Shepard said she watched the film Unplanned, and it woke her up to how horrible abortion really is for everyone involved. She felt inspired to do whatever she could to help mothers no matter what path they have been on in this new journey. She wants to help people understand there is another way. They are not going to offer or refer abortions at this center. They will help with grief counseling if a woman has gotten an abortion. The center believes in ministering to women and men that there is another way. There are resources available for you if you feel the burden caring for the child.
“I admit I didn’t really know much about abortion until I watched that film. I decided after that I wanted to do something for the pregnant resource center. I feel respected here and I love what I do,” she said.
Marcia Hall, Bath Pregnancy Resource Center of the Valleys executive director said this center will be a safe haven for all their clients. It will be a place anyone can come to without judgment. The idea is to minister to the young moms, older moms, fathers, and children. It offers a support system for those who feel they don’t have one at home. It offers a safe place to go for a pregnancy test and ultrasound. The concept of this center first opened its doors at the Bath Location called Loving Arms in 1998. Hall said they have locations in Bath, Corning, Mount Morris, and now Hornell. The pregnancy resource center as a whole has been around for 24 years.
“I gained my passion for this kind of work when I learned about the lack of knowledge in nursing school on abortions. I saw the effect it has on a nursing career. A friend of mine showed me how I didn’t want to be that kind of nurse. I wanted my clients to be cared for and have their voices heard,” she said. “I want this ministry to be like that in this community. I want women to be educated and informed on what happens. Even if they took the pill form it does major damage to their internal organs. I want them to understand this is not just about saving the baby, but we want to listen to the mother and her concerns as well.”
Hall said the mother will have a support system for the first three years of that child’s life with all the resources available. There are classes for the fathers to take as well if they are interested in being part of the parenting. The classes talk about the importance of the child’s need for a connection to their father too. There is counseling for the fathers who have lost a child due to abortion or a miscarriage as well. The fathers can go through pain and grief of loss too. The classes are taught by men who have been through it.
Hall said there is a need for volunteers and counselors at the new center. If anyone wishes to take part in this, they can reach out to Shepard at the center. They offered a teen moms class in Corning location that encouraged the fathers to stay. There was a large impact within the community to create a safe place for the youngest moms.
All of the funding for this nonprofit organization comes from generous donors and churches. If you would like to make a financial donation to the pregnancy resource center for programs, supplies, and keeping it operational you can reach out to them.
Christian Contemporary Artist, Rebecca St. James visited the center in 2010 in Bath. She came in to perform a concert and talk about a film she did on prolife. When she walked into the center she leaned up against the wall and smiled. She said she felt like she had just been hugged.
Hall said that visit and the concert meant a lot to everyone in the facility. She wants everyone to feel the way St. James felt when they come into the center. She wants them to feel that loving embrace of Christ. Hall added it’s the testimonies that keep them going in this job. They often are not certain how the story will turnout for these women and children. Yet when they bump into a client many years later it is blessing to see they kept the child. Hall saw a woman who knew her from Loving Arms at the Steuben County Fair. She introduced her to her 19-year-old son and thanked her for what she did. These kinds of testimonies are encouraging for what they do at the center.
Shepard added the center will help these women no matter what choice they make or have made regarding the baby. The goal of the center is to educate them on their options, guide them to resources, and show them a support system.
During the pandemic in 2020 they only had to shut down two sites. They closed the Corning and Mount Morris locations briefly. All locations are now operational again.
Shepard said it is important for these women to get their pregnancy tests and first ultrasounds. These can be pricey at a hospital. This center offers these services for free.
Hall said the women also get a 90 day supply of prenatal vitamins and teen moms get taught on delivery and breast feeding.
All classes available will be scheduled around the client’s own schedule. They will sit down with each client and consult them on what needs to be done.
The center helped 26 families this Christmas and held 50 baskets for Easter. They are always trying to think of ways to reach out to those in need.
Shepard said she is very excited to be head of the center in Hornell and her biggest goal is to save as many people as she can. She wants to help reach this community.
On Monday nights from 6 to 9 pm. there is a narcotics anonymous class for people struggling with drug addiction.
On Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. people can rent out the space free of charge for birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, and more.
Strange added there is a studio out back for Podcasts. The church is looking to have their own talk show up and running soon.
If you want to reach out to the center you can contact them via call or text to 607-288-3772.
You can donate at https://www.prcvalleys.org/ You can find more information, make an appointment, or reach out to the center at https://be-prcv.org They are located at 282 Canisteo Street in Hornell. Hours are Tuesday 2 to 7 p.m. and Thursday 1 to 7 p.m.