by Brian Manning
WALSENBURG — Shelley Barber runs the Open Arms Pregnancy Center in Walsenburg with the help of several volunteers and generous donations from the public.
The free services include pregnancy testing, parenting information, counseling, childbirth classes, breast feeding information, becoming a father and many other topics.
Open Arms gives guidance to families through their pregnancies and in life situations. Everyone is made to feel respected and welcomed, and the volunteers are never judgmental. Some girls will stop in just to talk and they always find someone who will listen.
One program allows women to earn points to be used on baby products such as diapers, maternity clothing, baby wash, cribs, car seats, high chairs and many other necessary items. The points are called “Baby Bucks,” and women earn them in a variety of ways. For example, points can be earned in the first visit, by viewing parenting tapes, by doing homework, by attending church or Bible study, and by reading to their baby. The training classes teach how to feed, bathe, potty train, and breast feed a baby as well as responsible parenting.
Several churches and ministers are involved in raising funds and giving spiritual support.
The center puts on fundraising events such as banquets, walk for life, silent auctions and private donations. Anyone can stop by and pick up an empty baby bottle and fill it with loose change. Every bit helps.
Open Arms is located at 116 East Sixth Street in Walsenburg and is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. People can call for help any time at 719-738-9994. They also have a website openarmsprc.org that is full of useful information.
Shelley and her husband, Bob, have been married for 27 years and have two children, Emily and Zane, who both were home schooled. Bob is a science teacher at Peakview School. Barber became interested in helping young people so she became involved through her church when she saw a need.
Shelley Barber is an active volunteer who helps bring new lives into the world, supports young families, and lets girls know there are always alternatives. She works faithfully and feels comfortable that everything is in God’s hands.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward