Life's Choices moves to new location and offers new services

Item photo by Shea Singley Keena Shaffer and Brenda Bauer in their new location on State Street in Hamburg.
Item photo by Shea Singley Keena Shaffer and Brenda Bauer in their new location on State Street in Hamburg.

Life’s Choices is coming up on two years in Hamburg and is ready for some changes. The faith-based pregnancy and resource center started STI testing once a month, financial counseling which started this month and has a new location.

Since the center opened an office in Hamburg, the other office in Kutztown, it has been located in the back of Second Hand Boutique on State Street with the entrance being in Apple Alley. Now the center is move visible with a location on State Street in the same building where Gathers and Blessing was located, next to the boutique.

“The move over here has definitely been a God-send,” said Keena Shaffer, Director of Client Services at the Hamburg location. “It’s helped us to move forward in Life’s Choices, to create more of an opportunity for the community. This building offered us a chance to have STI testing more comfortably and for classes in the future.”

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Life’s Choices is a Christ-centered ministry committed to cultivating a culture that promotes life through developing relationships and providing education and the necessary resources to our community according to their mission statement.

“We are not professional counselors. We can fill in the gap,” said Brenda Bauer, Executive Director of both Life’s Choices location. She did note that Shaffer does have a degree in pastoral counseling. “When you’re in communities such as Hamburg and Kutztown, you find yourself, it’s not like being in Reading, Pottstown or Allentown where there is a lot more social services agencies. So these are people who could otherwise fall through the cracks and miss out on the services.”

With the move, the center is expanding its services adding once a month STI testing and financial counseling.

“We are a pregnancy center, but we’re so much more. We’re a source in this community,” said Bauer.

Having started as a pregnancy crisis center, Life’s Choice has already added on relationship counseling and preparation for having a child. As it has done with the past, the center is adapting to the times and both Shaffer and Bauer find that there is a need for not only STI testing, but also education.

“We are trying to show that there are consequences and side effects,” said Shaffer.

The STI testing is in partnership with the Department of Health and is an outreach that is already happening at the Kutztown location.

Along with the counseling services already in place will now be financial counseling in partnership with the Salvation Army. The counseling will begin by appointment and individual with the hopes of it expanding to group.

“The will learn how to make a budge, learn how to save for the future, learn how to spend money, what’s important and what’s not,” explained Shaffer.

“We look at it as a really great opportunity,” added Bauer.

The center focuses on the whole person and other areas in their lives as opposed to just on pregnancy.

“We value the whole person,” said Bauer. “We value the client coming in finding themselves perhaps in an unplanned pregnancy as much as we value the life that may be in that.”

“The lives of those who come in and need our help as well as helping them to have a better life,” began Shaffer.

“To make better life choices,” added Bauer.

Though they are no longer in the back of Second Hand Boutique, all proceeds from the boutique go to the center which is free and confidential in all of their services.

Coming up is the Celebrate Life Event Spring Chick Walk/5K Run which will be held April 26 at 9 a.m. at the Kutztown Park. All proceeds from the event will benefit Life’s Choices and there will also be a Chick Chase Fun Run for the younger participants.

For more information on Life’s Choices visit http://www.lifeschoiceskutztown.org/ or stop by the center at its new location.

Follow The Item on Twitter @hamburgitem.

About the Author

Shea Singley

Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She grew up in Berks County and spent three years at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she double majored in Creative Writing and English before transferring to Kutztown University where she majored in Professional Writing. Shea graduated from Kutztown University in 2012 and during that time completed an internship in the publication department of a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. She joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in March of 2013 and had enjoyed getting the chance to explore the Hamburg area and meet the readers. Reach the author at ssingley@berksmontnews.com or follow Shea on Twitter: @hamburgitem.