Walk for Life planned in Suffolk

Published 9:40 pm Monday, April 6, 2009

A local organization has some big shoes to fill with its upcoming Walk for Life.

The Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater hopes Suffolk residents will lace up their sneakers and participate in Walk for Life fundraising event in Suffolk on April 25. This is the second year of Walk for Life, which is one of the biggest fundraisers for the faith-based organization.

The Crisis Pregnancy Center, which operates the Keim Centers in Suffolk, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, defends life by supporting women facing unplanned pregnancies, educating the community about healthy relationships and promoting healing for women who have had abortions.


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“A lot of our approach is woman-centered,” said Georgia Bartlett, director of development for the organization. “We give women information on all their options, so they can make a well-informed choice.”

The Keim Centers offer mothers pregnancy confirmation; ultrasounds; medical consultations; prenatal vitamins; parenting classes; help with baby essentials; information on abortion, adopting and parenting; abortion trauma support groups and more – all free of charge and confidential. The centers do not perform abortions.

In addition, the personnel at the Keim Centers can help mothers connect with resources for other needs, such as housing, doctors, social services and adoption agencies.

Through the organization’s parenting classes, mothers can earn baby items while participating in education on pregnancy, baby care and basic parenting skills. Fathers are encouraged to attend the classes and help take care of the baby.

“With this economy, our classes our increasing,” said Vernicia Eure, the director of client services for the Keim Centers.

In 2007, more than 9,000 abortions were performed in the five South Hampton Roads cities, according to Bartlett. Of the women who come into the center’s facilities, about 85 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24. The top reasons women give for seeking an abortion are finances and convenience. Other reasons include women who are still in school, consider themselves too young, a father who doesn’t want to be involved and lack of family support.

In addition to supporting women who are pregnant, the centers provide support for women who have experienced abortions.

“A lot of people don’t realize there is trauma (associated with abortion),” Eure said. The centers have worked with women as many as 30 years after having an abortion who are still struggling with issues related to it, she said.

To provide all these services for free, the organization relies on donations from individuals, churches and other groups to bankroll the centers’ operations. The Walk for Life is one of the organizations’ biggest fundraisers.

The Suffolk Walk for Life will be held April 25 beginning at the First Baptist Church parking lot at the corner of Main Street and Finney Avenue. Check-in begins at 8:15 a.m., and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. Participants are asked to obtain pledges from friends, family, co-workers, church members and others to raise money for the Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

To register, or for more information about the walk, visit www.cpcfriends.com or call 410-9703.