At some point in life, everyone needs a fresh start—a clean slate, a do-over, a new beginning. Myself, I love to benefit from the wisdom of others. One way I do this is by considering quotes like this one from Harvard graduate and author Ralph Blum: “Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings,” and, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, and new is here,” written by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Saline County is blessed to have an organization that specializes in second chances and the gift of real life change.
New Beginnings Pregnancy Center, located on Conrad Street in Benton, started in 2003 by a group of volunteers from the Central Baptist Association who were passionate about helping new and expectant mothers. The mission of New Beginnings is to promote the value of life through education and mentoring young families with biblical teaching and sharing God’s love.
Presently, six part-time employees and four board members continue the work started in 2003, managing about 230 client visits per month. Over the years, New Beginnings has helped thousands of mothers and babies. “Clients come to have pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Others come for parenting classes, Bible studies, and to “shop” for baby items, such as diapers, wipes, baby clothing and formula,” says Janet Dixon, New Beginnings Executive Director. The Center also offers the “Baby Bucks” program, which allows clients to earn rewards to spend on supplies by participating in various activities like visiting the doctor, going to work or school, or attending a Bible study or church service.
There is no other organization in Saline County offering the services New Beginnings provides. “Although pregnancy tests are inexpensive and available in stores, young women need someone to process with. Many times, family members or friends pressure women to make a decision about their pregnancies. We offer a non-judgmental place to explore all the options of pregnancy: parenting, adoption and abortion. We don’t offer abortions or referrals for abortions, but we can educate about the procedure and empower a woman to make a decision that she feels comfortable with,” Janet says.
New Beginnings also provides pregnancy confirmation necessary to register for pregnancy Medicaid and WIC, which is a government-sponsored program designed to ensure that women and their children get the nutrition they need. “The health department offers pregnancy tests, but they have been very busy with COVID, and have referred many people to us during the pandemic. This helps clients get services they need, such as obstetric care, faster and at no additional cost to the public,” adds Janet.
The new beginnings that this non-profit offers extend beyond obstetric and pediatric services. “We also point young families to other services, such as food pantries, CADC, and employment assistance. Of course, we encourage them to find a local church for support.”
Janet says that some people would say that helping a pregnant woman to “choose life” is the ultimate goal, meaning that she chooses to continue her pregnancy instead of having an abortion. While that is one of the goals, the most desirable outcome is seeing young women (and men) choosing to follow Jesus Christ. “We believe that by allowing God to equip them, they will be better parents and empowered to make good, healthy choices. One young mom recently said that by coming to New Beginnings, she realized she was ‘worthy’ of being a mother. This perspective gives her the energy and emotional stamina to strive to be a good mom to her little one.”
Many clients who come for pregnancy confirmation are using drugs. Often pregnancy is the encouragement a woman needs to get out of a bad living situation and start living a sober lifestyle. The trained staff at New Beginnings listens to each person’s struggles related to addiction and abuse and encourages the client to seek help. “When they do see that they can have a fresh start and be the kind of parent they want to be, that is a great ‘new beginning.’ We see ourselves as cheerleaders and mentors, communicating to young women that they have the ability to change the trajectory of their family and make a better way for their children.”
New Beginnings is a non-profit, and as such relies on the support and generosity of the community. “We always need larger size diapers and wipes. Our families often need strollers that are in good shape, including double strollers. We also need new items to be given to new moms right after delivery such as bath sets, thermometers and first aid kits.” As a safety precaution, car seats and cribs are not accepted.
A tax-deductible financial contribution is the best way to help New Beginnings. A one-time tribute in honor or in memory of someone, or sending monthly donations, is the perfect way to show support for the building of healthy families in Saline County through the gift of a new beginning.
For more information about New Beginnings Pregnancy Center, visit nbpregnancy.com, or Facebook at New Beginnings Pregnancy Center.