FirstLook Pregnancy Clinic may be one of Ellis County’s “best kept secrets” because so many residents do not know the services that they offer are available. Since opening their doors in 1995, they have served over 28,000 people. Hopefully that number will continue to grow as the word spreads so that all residents will receive the help that is available.
It is the only life-affirming pregnancy help medical clinic in Ellis County. They offer life-affirming choices with practical support. They exist to erase the perceived need for abortion in Ellis County. Their mission is to save lives and offer the hope of Jesus Christ. Their vision is to one day compete on a level playing field with those who desire to take life for the sake of profit. Last year 95 abortion minded mothers changed their mind and chose life for their baby.
FirstLook is not like most pregnancy clinics where the focus is only the physical health. Because they believe the wellness of the whole person is important, they address the spiritual and emotional as well as the physical needs of their clients.
The clinic provides options counseling, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds at no charge. They also perform tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
One of the most important things they offer is parenting classes to help equip their clients with the skills necessary to be good parents and successful individuals. These include prenatal, breastfeeding, parenting, disciplining, Bible study, life skills and positive relationships.
Support services are also available at the clinic. Adoption referrals and referrals to community agencies, father-to-father support and post abortion healing support is offered. Four of their staff members are Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialists.
“We are the only life-affirming pregnancy help medical clinic in Ellis County,” said Sharra Poteet, Clinic Director. “We listen to our clients and equip them with the facts, educate them on their options and empower them to make healthy decisions. With the nearest abortion clinic only 20 minutes away, we want them to know that abortion is not the only choice.”
In addition to the paid staff, FirstLook volunteer staff are an integral part of the work done there. In 2015, 45 volunteers logged in 11,227 hours equivalent to over $250,000.
Sharra Poteet decided to become a volunteer for First Look 11 years ago. She was later hired as the Clinic Director. She has never regretted that decision. She knows she is where God wants her to be. She said she can feel God’s hand every day in serving at Ellis County FirstLook. She said that over the years, God has developed a heart in her for women that are struggling or hurting.
“I am here to serve, not to solve,” said Poteet. “It is difficult sometimes because we don’t always know the outcome. I do, however, work with the most amazing group of staff. We try to serve as many people as we can. Our desire is to make a difference in the lives we touch, one at a time.”
Sometimes clients do return to the clinic to thank the staff and volunteers for their help and guidance or just to visit. It is times like these that really make their effort worthwhile.
CEO, Donna Young, said that when she was a young girl, God gave her a servant’s heart. She knows how important the work is that they do at the clinic.
“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to sit back and witness the small miracles all day. Being able to save and change lives is such a blessing,” she said. “We, at the clinic, believe that one day we will compete head to head with the abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood, where money is flowing in each day. “
“We dream of expanding our hours of service; of a facility what will allow future growth; of adding medical personnel; of having a full-time father on staff to direct our outreach to men; and of having an Education Director with expanded classes throughout Ellis County including sexual risk avoidance.”
Another important area of the clinic is Noah’s Boutique. Clients are awarded points when they attend classes and keep their appointments. The points can be spent just like dollars in Noah’s Boutique. The room is stocked with new items such as baby clothes, crib sheets, hand made blankets, diapers, baby toiletries, and other necessities. The clients spend their points to get the things they need for their baby. They also offer baby food and formula at no cost.
“We receive generous donations from individuals, groups and businesses for Noah’s Boutique. These donations are so important to our clients. We appreciate everyone’s willingness to help us stock the Boutique,” said Poteet. “Several church groups have held baby showers for Noah’s Boutique.”
The clinic receives donations from businesses, churches and individuals which make it possible for the center to continue their work. Anyone can become a life investor with a monthly donation, a one-time gift, boutique donations or volunteering.
Another facet of their ministry is FirstLook Boutiques in Waxahachie at 1204 Ferris Avenue Suite B and in Ennis at 210 West Brown Street. The boutiques are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. New and gently used items that are donated are sold to help support the ministry.
FirstLook is located at 1204 Ferris Avenue, Suite E in Waxahachie. Their hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call 972-938-7900 to volunteer, donate or receive services or go to Txlifeinvestors.org for more information.