By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — The Darke County Pregnancy Help Center (DCPHC), located at 105 W. Third Street in Greenville, is now open five days a week to assist women, and men, involved in an unplanned pregnancy. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization provides resources, education, and emotional support, including abortion recovery, in a non-judgemental, confidential environment.
The center houses a boutique, examination/ultrasound, consultation room, lobby, or “living room,” a classroom, and child care room. DCPHC also bridges the gap to other resources, including government programs and agencies such as Women Infants and Children (WIC), Help Me Grow, and other local nonprofits.
DCPHC Director Jeannette Shuff has seen a dramatic increase in clients over the past two years. “We’re slammed,” she said, explaining that 62 percent of women in Ohio who consider abortion, are pregnant with a second or third child, and are struggling financially. “We don’t just help teen moms,” she advised, “the majority of our clients now, are between the ages of 25 and 32 years old, and around 21 percent of people we are seeing, are married couples.”
DCPHC’s boutique offers gently used baby and toddler clothing for one dollar per item. The boutique is available to anyone experiencing difficult circumstances, not limited to unplanned pregnancy. The unemployed, and victims of house fires, or other disasters, are welcome to shop at the boutique.
Homeless clients transformed the lobby into a “living room,” by painting flowers on the wall. “Winter months are obviously the worst,” Shuff said.
In the consultation room, results of pregnancy tests are confirmed, and volunteer mentors learn all they can about the family situation of individual clients. “We try to figure out if there is abuse. During the latter part of September, and first of October, we start seeing sex trafficking victims. It’s always after [The Great Darke County] Fair,” Shuff stated.
Clients are shown a model of the baby’s developmental stage, based on how many weeks into pregnancy they are. DCPHC offers classes covering pregnancy development, and many other topics, such as co-parenting in separation/divorce, optional Bible study, cleaning, and how to manage temper tantrums. Basic car maintenance and repair, including jump-starting, will soon be offered. Additionally, fatherhood classes are held in a group setting once a month. Classes are 45 minutes to one hour long, and child care is provided. Points can be earned for merchandise, and upon completion of ten classes, clients earn a new crib from Walmart. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, guardians, and foster parents, may participate.
DCPHC also gives sexual risk avoidance classes in six of the eight Darke County schools. The three-day program covers such topics as healthy relationships, the importance of fathers, pregnancy development, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), abstinence, dating violence, and sexual abuse.
DCPHC provides “starter baskets,” to new parents who deliver at Wayne Hospital, containing essentials for the first week after a baby is brought home. The center also helped the community with the baby formula shortage; a volunteer drove to Michigan to procure formula, which was subsequently distributed to those in need.
To schedule an appointment, call 937-548-2731. A 24-hour hotline is available, at 937-547-1112. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts at [email protected].