New place, new face

  • Tue Feb 9th, 2010 7:59pm

By Mina Williams Enterprise editor

From its inception, Angelorum Pregnancy Services’ mission has been to serve women and their families, helping them through the labyrinth of pregnancy and tumultuous first two years of a baby’s life.

The center provides free pregnancy tests, then takes their mission to the next step by offering maternity clothes and everything a baby might need for its first two years, down to the diapers, for free.

Late last year, the center moved from its Shoreline location to a larger 1,440-square-foot space in Lynnwood. The move was made in anticipation of a donation of ultrasound equipment. The equipment, expected to be delivered this spring, will make it possible for ultrasounds to be added to the group’s list of no-charge services.

Moving to a new space also spurred a more declarative dubbing: Next Step Pregnancy Services.

“Moving to Lynnwood means we can become a true medical pregnancy center,” says Kathy Gipson, executive director. “We want to give first trimester ultrasounds and needed extra space with more comfort. There are a lot of women and families in need and we want to help them with compassion and dignity.”

Gipson tells of one client who went to Stevens Hospital with a stomach ache and came out with a baby. “Talk about unplanned.” Gipson put to work the center’s e-mail “tree” to broadcast the woman’s needs. “The response was phenomenal. From a car seat to cash and all sorts of baby items — blankets, cloths, a bassinet — everything just materialized.”

The new office, located centrally at 17602 Highway 99, is more accessible for clients, Gipson said. Most Next Step clients are unmarried, with about half being Hispanic. The center, open four hours a day, six days a week, sees on average 15 families and conducts four pregnancy tests per day. Proof of income is not required for services or goods.

Donations make up half of the nonprofit’s budget. The balance comes from the center’s annual auction, typically held in June.

The new location has also enabled the group to build two counseling rooms, a nurses’ office and a formal reception desk with three work stations, plus much needed storage for maternity clothing and baby supplies.

The nonprofit is not a proponent of any particular position or faith; however, it has many Catholic supporters and a spiritual director. The board is comprised of community members with a diverse background.

“We speak truth out of love,” Gipson said. “There are three choices — abortion, adoption and parenting. We don’t judge; we present the facts. We have to do what’s right for them. We are here to help. We don’t refer for abortions, but we will help our clients through the process emotionally.”

Next Step offers free childbirth classes and free parenting classes and encourages fathers to be a part of all of it.

“Parenting is always an option,” she said.

Angelorum Pregnancy Services was launched in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood in 1998. It relocated to Shoreline in 2004.