Options. The very word means “a thing that is, or may be chosen,” according to Webster’s Dictionary.
The synonyms - choice, alternative and recourse - are words Dana Blankenship, Charley Rickey and the rest of the Grace House Ministries team are all too familiar with. That’s why for the last few months, in the heart of the medical district in Weatherford, a building has sprung up bearing the name, Options Clinic.
In a few short weeks the clinic, a branch of Grace House Ministries, will open at 902 Foster Lane, formerly Dr. Anesia Garmon’s office, with Rickey as its Client Services Coordinator.
“My primary responsibility as coordinator at the clinic is to begin some new aspects of the ministry Grace House provides, specifically the fatherhood mens ministry,” Rickey said. “It’s a area where there was a gap; it’s something that ministries like this one began to realize was missing.”
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He said the opportunity to be a part of building healthy, functioning families, with men standing up where they’re called to be, spoke to him “clearly.”
"The trainings and other experiences I’ve had since further confirmed that I had the heart for this and that the Lord was opening the door to it,” he said.
When young fathers accompany their wives and girlfriends to pregnancy resource centers, they are encouraged to attend the parenting classes Grace House offers. However, his will be the first time Grace House will offer classes and other services, designed specifically for dads.
"It’s relatively rare to have men’s advocacy in a crisis pregnancy setting," Rickey said.
At the new clinic, women can receive free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, as well as parenting and adoption education. In addition, men can now meet with Rickey and receive support in their role as husband, boyfriend, or perhaps new dad.
"We meet with clients and discuss their options, and educate them on what’s available,” said Rickey. “We find a lot of choices people make are because they are unaware of the options that are available, and they believe that they have only one choice."
Rickey said they present the options available and offer a safe place for those facing crisis pregnancies to talk through those options.
"We are pro-baby, but we are also pro-parent, pro-mom, pro-dad, and pro-family," Rickey said. "So we want to meet with the parents, acknowledge that this is a difficult situation they’re in, and we meet them with the support, information, and the material assistance they need."
Once the couple is through at the clinic, they are connected to Grace House Pregnancy Center where they are offered free pregnancy, parenting and life skills classes. The classes provide a safe environment for clients to learn, grow and connect with other parents.
"We have a Mommy & Me class that meets once a month," Rickey said. "It’s a time where moms and dads can bring their small children to play and parents build a social network of support."
First time parents classes are also offered and last about eight weeks.
"If needed, we want to connect parents to other organizations in our community, like a good church or other organization that can help them," Rickey said. "We feel like we can give them a good base to start with."
The new clinic will be open Feb. 27 and the last day at the previous location will be Feb. 16. The Options Clinic will be open five days a week: Monday and Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and Thursday noon to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit GraceHouseMinistries.net.