Offering hope and help to the community

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Hope Pregnancy Center has had a busy year.

“We’ve expanded our hours from 10 to 24 ee we’re also going to expand our office space in a new location (at the end of the month) to accommodate more clients,” executive director Sarah Taylor said. “We’ve hired a new client service administrator who oversees our in-house operation.”

But there is much more on the pregnancy center’s to-do list and to accomplish more, it needs the community’s help.

Therefore, the pregnancy center will host a banquet to kick off a fundraising campaign at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the White Rock Baptist Church.

The guest speaker will be Michelle Madrid-Branch, the founder of the AML (Adoption Means Love) Foundation and Adoption Tribe Publishing.

As an adopted child, Madrid-Branch will be discussing her own experiences during the banquet.

While the banquet is an opportunity to hear Madrid-Branch’s story, it also a chance for the center to begin collecting pledges for its campaign.

Taylor explained all the center’s funds come from individual donations as well as United Way of Northern New Mexico, Smith’s Earn and Learn and LA Cares.

The campaign, she said, will bring in the bulk of the money that is needed for next year. And there is a lot being planned for 2009.

Last year, Taylor explained, a few goals were to increase the center’s support base and strengthen the center’s programs. These goals were successfully met, so a few new objectives have been set for next year.

These objectives include reaching out to the target demographic for the center and expanding the center’s programs. Taylor added another goal is to increase the budget by $15,000 to $20,000. The current budget is $75,000.

The budget increase is due to moving into a new building, which is located at 1183 Diamond Drive, Suite E, and extending office hours.

There are a number of reasons why the center has experienced so much success this past year. The first reason, Taylor said, is “my efforts to increase our support base ee once someone gets involved in the program ee they go whole hog. As supporters become aware of (our) services to young women, they become excited and want to participate in it.”

Secondly, she said, Nancy Smith, the new clients and service administrator, has been “a huge asset to our organization as far as giving our clients the best possible care they could have.

“I think a lot of them really appreciate her.”

To allow the success to continue, Taylor encourages the community to help the center because its services are important.

Taylor herself went through a pregnancy as a teenager and as a result, “I understand how difficult it is to be able to really make a good decision,” she said. “I understand the pressure these girls face ee it’s important for someone to be there to support them regardless of the decision they make.”

The center’s unconditional support is valuable. In fact, Taylor said one client was so impressed with the center that when her pregnancy is finished she plans to be a volunteer. “She said it changed her life,” Taylor said.

This particular woman is not the only one who has been significantly affected by the pregnancy center. Other clients have appreciated the center so much they’ve recommended it to other people.

In fact, Taylor said more than 50 percent of the pregnancy center’s clients come by referrals.

It’s really no surprise people turn to Hope Pregnancy Center “because these are our young people,” Taylor said, “If we don’t help them out, who is going to?”

Hope Pregnancy Center is currently located at 3500 Trinity Drive.

The nonprofit has operated in Los Alamos since 1995 and offers everything from pregnancy tests, community referrals, parenting classes to material support and information on sexual choices and STD’s.