Expanding to Sunnyside top priority for Life Options

GRANDVIEW - Life Options, a pregnancy medical center in Grandview, will be going through some changes in 2008, according to Executive Director Jan McDonald.

She said when board members recently met they decided on three major goals for this year, starting with expanding its services to Sunnyside.

"That's the number one thing," McDonald said. "We need to have some type of presence there. At least for a couple of days a week."

McDonald said Life Options exists to help women through unplanned pregnancies. Staff at Life Options do not suggest or provide abortions, but will provide complete information on other options available. Support is also provided through any decision made.

Life Options also offers limited ultrasounds and all programs are provided in Spanish as well as English.

It is the only center of its kind between the Tri-Cities and Yakima, and McDonald said it's time to expand.

"We're not serving that particular population as much as we'd like to," she said of Sunnyside.

Nothing is set in stone with the expansion in Sunnyside but ideas are being tossed around, McDonald added.

The second priority for Life Options in 2008 is training men to mentor men.

"For every woman who comes into the pregnancy center there is a man involved," said McDonald. "We have not been equipped to serve them in the manner they need to be served. A man will talk to another man a lot easier than a woman."

She said she really believes men want to do what is right but they are in a situation they have never faced before and don't know what to do. Because it's a situation they have never been in, McDonald said they find it hard to talk about, especially to women.

"To have men be with men will make a huge difference," she predicted. "We've had eight men come forward to volunteer for this job. I think that speaks volumes for this valley."

The third goal Life Options has for 2008 is to offer testing for sexually transmitted diseases. McDonald is hoping the service can be offered by April. The service will be free and confidential. She said at first the clinic will just test for chlamyidia and gonorrhea because these two diseases can be identified with a urine test. STD testing will be expanded in the future to include blood tests.

Life Options gets its funding through business and churches in the valley and private donors.

"We're excited about where God has us going," McDonald said of the coming year.



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