As outreach director for the Catherine Foundation, I have the pleasure of meeting people throughout Charles County to build awareness for our pregnancy resource centers in Waldorf, La Plata and Nanjemoy. I tell potential clients about the many free, confidential services we offer and seek out individuals, businesses, churches and other organizations to support our mission.

Not a week goes by that I do not meet someone who says “You guys are great,” “I was so young when I got pregnant and you helped me when I had no where else to go,” “I didn’t want to have an abortion, but I thought it was my only option,” or “I can’t imagine my life without my daughter (or son).” The children of some of these former clients now have families of their own. I am not personally responsible for any of their stories, but it is my honor to work for an organization that is so loved and respected.

Then there are days when I talk to a church leader or the president of a local service organization who chooses not to support the foundation. I respectfully accept their decision, but when they say, “If we donate to the Catherine Foundation we have to donate to the ‘other side,’” that gives me pause. The reality is every taxpaying member of that church or organization already donates to what they refer to as the “other side” without knowing how their money is spent.

Fortunately, the Catherine Foundation is not in a financial competition with “the other side.” And as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we do not engage in any political discourse. We focus on providing free, quality services for women, men and children in our community. We do not have sliding scale payments for services based on a client’s income and we do not seek reimbursement from health insurance companies or government agencies.

Our services include free pregnancy tests and sonograms, learn-to-earn childbirth and parenting classes, mom-to-be support groups, fatherhood mentoring, referrals for medical care and adoption, and material assistance such as diapers, formula, baby supplies and clothing. We welcome women who have chosen abortion to seek our help for abortion pill reversal, post-abortion recovery counseling and a future pregnancy.

The Catherine Foundation has been working to improve the quality of life for families in Charles County for 36 years. Our vision is to become the first place women and men dealing with an unplanned pregnancy seek help. Our client advocates understand what it means to have made plans for your future that did not include pregnancy. They have experienced it.

The Catherine Foundation and our clients are forever grateful for the generosity of our volunteers and financial donors. To support our work, please call me at 301-932-8811, ext. 401, or visit our website at www.catherinefoundation.org.

Janet Beck, La Plata

The writer is the outreach director and La Plata Center manager for the Catherine Foundation.