The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

April 1, 2011

Living Alternatives moves to new location

PALESTINE — Living Alternatives of Palestine Pregnancy Help Center, which offers counseling and services to women and families facing unplanned pregnancies, has moved to a new location.

Living Alternatives is now at 1002 S. Magnolia St. in the building located on the corner of Brazos and Magnolia streets — the same building where the Health Department and WIC offices are located.

“We moved to the new location on Feb. 14,” Living Alternative’s new Executive Director Jenifer DeFreece said.

DeFreece has served as the new director since Jan. 4. Former director Dana Morgan remains on Living Alternative’s advisory board.

“We want to offer a positive solution to unplanned pregnancy,” DeFreece said. “We want to help people become better parents, better people.

“We understand that clients are stunned and scared sometimes when they find out they are pregnant and don’t know where to turn,” she said. “Whatever they decide, we are here for them with counseling and our services.”

Living Alternatives, a non-profit 501 c3 classified as a religious organization, originally began seeing clients in January 2001.

Living Alternatives offers free, confidential pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling and parenting education by trained peer counselors, as well as free baby clothes, maternity clothes, baby furniture, diapers, wipes and other items clients can earn through the education incentive program.

DeFreece, who previously was a stay-at-home mom with her six children, said she is excited to be serving as director.

“I have a passion for Living Alternatives,” DeFreece said. “These women need someone to encourage them or offer an encouraging word.”

Women of all ages and families are encouraged to use Living Alternatives services.  

“Mostly we see girls ages 16-17 but we have all ages,” DeFreece said. “We are confidential and we offer compassionate care to all.”

Clients come in at all stages — from not knowing if they are pregnant to eight months pregnant.

“We give them a pregnancy test if needed, have them fill out forms and get an idea of what they are planning to do,” DeFreece said. “If they are considering abortion, we send them to get a sonogram of their baby.”

Living Alternatives as a religious organization gives accurate information on parenting, adoption and abortion, but does not offer abortion referrals.

The clients are offered pregnancy and parenting classes and optional spiritual wellness classes.

“They can take the parenting classes up until the baby is a year old,” DeFreece said. “We also have helped with labor coaching. Sometimes these girls have no one for support.”

Clients are encouraged to attend the parenting classes weekly or at least twice a month during their pregnancy, earning points for free baby clothes, furniture, maternity clothes, etc.

“We have baby beds, high chairs, car seats, lots of baby clothes, diapers and wipes that they can earn through the classes,” DeFreece said.

As director, DeFreece is currently working on several events throughout the year, as well as expanding abstinence programs in local schools, building a larger team of volunteers to help meet goals.

“Volunteers can work as little as an hour a week,” DeFreece said. “We need volunteers for spiritual counseling, pregnancy classes, pricing baby clothes, teaching abstinence classes in local schools or even help cleaning.”

Living Alternatives is sponsoring a Children’s Fashion Show on April 16.

Board members and fundraising committee volunteers also are needed. Applications for all volunteer positions are available at the Living Alternatives office.

Those interested also can donate baby items or send donations to: Living Alternatives of Palestine Pregnancy Help Center, P.O. Box 2656, Palestine, TX, 75802.

“Anyone who would like to view the facility to see what we do is welcome,” DeFreece said.

For more information about Living Alternatives of Palestine Pregnancy Help Center, call 903-723-9944 or visit Living Alternatives Palestine also has a Facebook page.

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