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Pregnancy Help Center starts Guys for Life

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POSTED December 28, 2008 1:06 a.m.

Last year, the Pregnancy Help Center in Manteca helped 720 clients, all women who were pregnant or had babies.

At the start of the new year, the all-volunteer nonprofit organization will have a program addressed to young fathers and would-be fathers. It’s called Guys for Life.

“It’s a program to reach the young teen-age men, the fathers of the babies,” said Pregnancy Help Center Director Janice Leplume.

“The reason for that program is, a lot of the girls that come and talk about abortion is because their boyfriends are pressuring them, because the boys are scared. They are just as scared as the girls and they don’t know what to do,” Leplume explained.

She said national statistics show that 78 percent of the girls who are asked why they are getting an abortion say “it’s because of a male influence, either their boyfriend or father,” she said.

“What they have found, nationally, is that if you can reach the fathers also and educate them that this is a responsibility, there are far less girls asking for abortions,” Leplume said.

Guys for Life will be staffed by an all-male volunteer crew who will be all trained on what to do as mentors for the young men.

This is not a new program, Leplume said. There has been one similar program already launched in Modesto, she said.

In fact, she said, the leader of that Modesto group came down to Manteca to train volunteers for the program here.

“Now, they meet monthly and are getting more volunteers” for the Pregnancy Help program, Leplume said.

They are still looking for more men to help run the new program.

“They don’t have any clients right now,” but they hope to get it running at the beginning of the new year, she said.

“We’re still looking for volunteers. They will go through a program and learn  how to mentor these young men,” Leplume said.

The training is a 12-week program, but most of it can actually be done on the computer. “You can do it at home on the computer,” she said.

Young fathers and fathers-to-be will be able to take advantage of this free mentoring program by making an appointment at the Pregnancy Help Center.

Not only will they be able to receive mentoring from the volunteer staff but they can also earn coupons that they can exchange the center for things that can be used to help the moms and the babies.

The bottom line for this mentoring program, Leplume said, is that “we want to teach the young boys that even though they made a mistake, they will have a responsibility to that baby. It’s their baby also and they should be supporting the mother. So the (volunteer) men will try to mentor them and try to help them through. I think it will be good.”

Those who would like to volunteer as mentors for the new program Guys for Life can call 239-9899. Pregnancy Help Center is located at 327 N. Main Street (across the street from Book Exchange). Business hours are Monday,

Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m., and closed on weekends.

However, there are plans to have the office open one evening a week to allow their clients who are young girls going to school or working young moms to avail themselves of the Pregnancy Help Center’s services, Leplume said.

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