New Beginning For New Beginnings

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New Beginnings Pregnancy Center in Payson has a new director at the helm, but its mission to educate remains the same.

"It has a faith-based, abstinence-based, pro-life focus," said Michele Derouin, the new director. "We are even listed in the yellow pages under abortion alternatives."

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Michele Derouin shows off some of the infant and toddler supplies available through the "Mommy Store" at the New Beginnings Pregnancy Center.

Girls and women can go to the organization and get a free pregnancy test whether or not the pregnancy was planned.

If the test is positive, then a counselor listens to the girl's concerns and asks what her future plans are.

"A lot of times they are considering abortion and they want information," Derouin said. "One of the reasons I think girls consider abortion is the financial part -- how am I going to take care of this baby? They may not have a lot of support at home and are maybe in a minimum-wage job. We are hopefully getting a computer donated to put in the library room, so we can do case management -- assist the girls with planning for their future. On the computer, they can look at maybe getting their GED or take online college courses, or learn how to budget.

"We provide information on what (abortion) really is, but we always encourage, of course, for them to keep their babies.

"We give them a positive test bag that is filled with all kinds of goodies to celebrate the fact that they have a baby, an actual person, growing inside of them."

Next, the girls are introduced to the center's earn-while-you-learn program.

"Education is so important," Derouin said. "Prenatal care and parenting skills need to be learned."

NBPC has a library where girls can check out books and videos. There are filing cabinets full of informative pamphlets on sexually transmitted diseases, parenting for moms and dads, adoption and what to do when the baby is born.

After reading a book or pamphlet, or viewing a video, the girl can take a quiz and earn "Mommy Money." It is not legal tender, but it can be used to purchase car seats, clothing, diapers and baby booties from the center's "Mommy Store."

The center also offers emergency assistance on an individual basis. If someone is in need of diapers, it provides diapers Derouin said. Many churches in town collect diapers for the center. "Local churches and other organizations and individuals who support the nonprofit center bless us," she said.

St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church just hosted its annual "baby shower" and luncheon in support of NBPC.

Crossroads Church sponsored a Rim-to-Rim "hike for life" in September.

Autos and trucks can be donated to the center. Greg Friestad repairs them and the center sells them.

It relies on these and other donations to keep the doors open.

NBPC promotes abstinence as the best form of birth control outside of marriage, therefore, it does not provide birth control, but does offer information on the different methods and their effectiveness. According to their pamphlets, NBPC respects a woman's right to make her own choice.

According to Derouin the people who come to NBPC are encouraged to think before making a decision.

She believes that prevention in the school and the community is key.

"The media is educating our children on sex," she said.

Challenging parents and adolescents to take a look at and discuss their own values and opinions on sex in a group workshop setting is one of the services the new director would like to offer.

The Maze (a program designed to teach high school students about the perils of pre-marital sex) will be held before the prom next spring, but Derouin said she would like to see a similar program in the middle school because "we're seeing 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds coming in pregnant."

New Beginnings is located at 701 S. Ponderosa St. For more information, telephone (928) 474-7466.

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