Item Photo by Brian Dowlin
Keena Shaffer (left) and Brenda Bauer are the friendly faces ready to help those who utilize the services at Life's Choices in Hamburg.
Help without judgment.
Life’s Choices, a pregnancy and education resource center located at 326 State St. in Hamburg, aspires to aid women, men and families with the decisions they make, without passing judgment. And at the same time, the organization desires to show there are people who care.
“We’re not here to judge. We’re not the judge,” said Brenda Bauer, executive director of Life’s Choices, of the clients for whom the organization provides help. “We’re here to love them and to meet them where they’re at.”
She said the life affirming organization, which provides such services as pregnancy tests, parenting preparedness, parenting and childbirth classes, relationship mentoring, information on STDs, and referrals to adoption agencies, has the goal of helping to improve the quality of life for those who choose to use any of the services, which are all free and confidential.
“The goal is to be able to improve people’s quality of life,” said Bauer. “I don’t think people are always thinking about that the choices they make not only affect them but they affect all the people in their sphere of influence, their communities.”
Bauer said one way Life’s Choices knows that clients feel as though they were helped without receiving any condemnation is through the responses the organization has received through a post service survey. The assessments are performed by clients so the organization can see how well the services were provided.
“One of the comments that we will get a lot is that they didn’t feel judged,” said Bauer, of responses on the survey.
According to Keena Shaffer, director of client services for Life’s Choices, one of the main factors in the provision of services without judgment is the faith of the organization’s members. Shaffer said faith is what causes an even deeper desire for the members to help and care for the clients who seek the services provided by Life’s Choices.
“Faith is at the core of who we are and what we do,” said Bauer. “I feel like we try to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And we do let know that we believe that we are created in the image of God and that they do have worth and value and that they are special.”
Bauer also said she knows there are not a lot of social service agencies in the Hamburg area, so Life’s Choices looks at itself as being able to “fill in that gap a little bit.” And while the organization does not boast alcohol/addictions counselors, the volunteers do hope to serve as a point of contact to get individuals to where they need help.
Along with the aforementioned services, the State Street location of Life’s Choices also serves as a re-use it shop that sells gently used women’s, children’s and infants’ clothing, as well as accessories including jewelry and scarves. Proceeds from the shop, Second Chance Boutique, are funneled back into the Life’s Choices organization.
And regardless of the services clients utilize, Shaffer said simply helping people is the greatest reward of the work.
“ seeing a change in people when the light comes on and they realize there is help and the help we’re giving them can help them to make a difference in their lives and in their child’s life,” said Shaffer.
For more information, contact Life’s Choices at 484-660-3526 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.