Snowflakes and Sweets to benefit Plus One Pregnancy Guidance Center

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Enjoy a sweet treat and hear uplifting Christian music of singer-songwriter Jason Gray next weekend, all while supporting the Plus One Pregnancy Center in Huron.

The annual Snowflakes and Sweets fundraiser for Plus One featuring Gray will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at James Valley Christian School, 1550 Dakota Ave. N.

Sweet treat boxes will be given to the first 600 tickets sold. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at local churches and Dakotaland Federal Credit Union. All proceeds go to Plus One.

Gray was raised in southwestern Minnesota, moving to Nashville in 2015. He has a speech disorder; as a person who stutters, he emphasizes the theme of finding strength in weakness.

He spent six years in youth ministry before going into full-time music ministry in 1999 as an independent artist.

He released his first major-label record, “All the Lovely Losers,” in 2007.

He’s received awards for popular songs like “Remind Me Who I Am,” and “Sparrows,” leading to his first chart-topping single, “Nothing is Wasted.”

The Plus One Pregnancy Guidance Center opened in Huron in 2015 next door to Dominoes Pizza, and serves women and families in Beadle, Spink, Jerauld, Hand, Kingsbury and Sanborn Counties.

“During the training we were told we would likely wait six-plus months before seeing a client,” said executive director Mary Helen Wipf. “But we had our first client shortly after the ribbon cutting.”

Wipf said many clients who come in are “abortion-vulnerable,” which is the woman facing many obstacles by continuing her pregnancy.

“Some are ‘abortion-minded,’ strongly leaning toward ending the life of her child, and some are ‘abortion-determined,’ seeking information on where and how to obtain an abortion.

“The staff aim to provide confidential, judgement-free information to clients seeking help with faced with an unplanned pregnancy,” she added. “Factual information concerning their options and the impact of their decision for them and their unborn child is shared with each client seeking help.”

They also work with adoption agencies if the client wants to make a plan of adoption. The Center does not facilitate this, but supports the clients making this choice.

The center is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m., and by appointment if needed.

They are staffed by 10 advocates who volunteer on a regular basis. A myriad of volunteering opportunities exist for those who would like to help. While client advocates are the greatest need, they also need front desk personnel, help cleaning and helping with special events.

“The center has men who have volunteered to meet with fathers in need of mentoring,” Wipf said. “Currently, the center has a volunteer who sews ‘New Mom Bags,’ which are given to any client with a positive pregnancy test.”

The bags are filled with items to help the new mother take care of themselves during their pregnancy.

“The goal of the bags is to help the client understand they are already a mother,” Wipf said.

Another group of volunteers put together new baby bundles, which are given to the new mom and baby after delivery. These include a blanket, newborn clothes, a toy and other baby necessities.

The Center offers weekly educational classes utilizing the online curriculum from BrightCourse.  Sessions are tailored to fit the needs of the individual client. Clients can attend weekly meetings during their pregnancy and based on their individual circumstance can benefit from the Center’s services until their child is two years old.

Points earned through taking these courses can be redeemed at the Center’s baby and maternity boutiques.

Three different programs are currently available:
• Pregnant U! Program includes classes on fetal development, prenatal care for pregnant women, what to expect during labor and delivery. Clients earn points for attending the weekly classes; which can be spent on a variety of items in both the maternity and baby boutiques.  
• Empower U! Program includes classes on infant care, breastfeeding, bonding with baby, safety measures for home, post-partum care for mom, parenting skills, and early childhood development.

• Healthy U! Program is designed to teach sexual integrity by providing information on making healthy emotional, mental, physical and spiritual decisions. The goal is to help young people make the decisions that will allow them to have healthy relationships.

The Center offers clients an “earn while you learn” option.  This means clients earn points for attending sessions, completing homework, keeping doctor appointments, meeting with community assistance agencies, and attending school if the client is school age. The points they earn can be used to purchase clothes and supplies from the popular maternity and baby boutiques.

“We want to empower, not enable, the people who come for assistance,” Wipf said.

“The center’s layout and décor is designed to be welcoming and comfortable,” she said.

In addition to four meeting rooms, there is a small kitchen area, storage rooms, and maternity and baby boutiques.

Along with volunteers, the center can also use insulated tumblers for moms, Avent baby bottles, baby grooming kits, baby clothes, lotion, diapers, baby wet wipes, bottled water, printer paper, canned Minute Maid Lemonade and self-seal business envelopes.

“People in the community are very generous,” Wipf said.

Along with free pregnancy tests, the Center offers peer counseling.

Churches in the six-county area support the center, as well as many local agencies, businesses and individuals.

The center has two major fundraisers. The first, which is popular with churches, is the Baby Bottle Fundraiser. It involves filling a baby bottle with coins, cash or checks. It typically runs from Mother’s Day through Father’s Day, but can be done at a different time if more convenient for a group.

The second fundraiser will be Saturday night’s Snowflakes and Sweets concert.

“The ultimate goal of Plus One Guidance Center is to impact generations of families forever,” she added. “We do this by assisting women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies in making the healthiest choices possible for themselves and their unborn children. In assisting our clients, we work to meet their immediate needs for guidance as well as their ultimate need for connection to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”