SANDY LAKE – The Alpha Omega Center has expanded its service area to Sandy Lake, offering pregnancy and parenting resources to local families at no cost.
“I’m passionate about the work that they do,” Danielle Degilio said on Thursday afternoon.
She was hired by AOC earlier this year to work as site manager for the agency’s New Beginnings location in Sandy Lake.
“It’s home. It fits. They’re very much family,” she said of the relationship she’s formed with AOC.
The nonprofit also has sites in New Castle and Slippery Rock, where certain medical services are offered along with the New Beginnings program.
AOC, which is funded by donations and fundraisers, saw a need for pregnancy and parenting services in the rural Sandy Lake area.
Through a partnership with Sandy Lake Wesleyan Church, 3096 Sandy Lake Grove City Road, New Beginnings recently opened its doors in an area of the parish facility that church volunteers sectioned off into rooms and offices.
“They built these rooms for us,” Degilio said, pointing out her office, two client rooms, and a waiting area.
The space is decorated with watercolor paintings done by her friend, artist Jen Doyle, and there’s also a small store for clients that’s filled with children’s clothes, baby gear, toys, diapers, breastfeeding supplies, and more.
New Beginnings offers testing for pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, parenting education, adoption and abortion information, breastfeeding support, childcare guidance, mentoring for fathers, and more.
The center can also help clients find an obstetrician/gynecologist, and while it is not a medical facility, all information is kept confidential.
“All of our services are free,” Degilio said.
Parents and guardians of children under the age of four and expectant mothers and fathers are eligible to register as clients.
Clients must complete an intake application, and the Sandy Lake site is open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Appointments are encouraged but not required.
There’s an “earn while you learn” program – clients can collect “Mommy Money” or “Dad Cash” to use in the New Beginnings store after completing parenting classes that cover a variety of topics.
“All of our things are donated,” Degilio said of the store items, which include handmade blankets.
Some of the New Beginnings families don’t have strong support systems among their friends and relatives; the program is all about empowering families.
“We just love loving on the families,” said Degilio, who has three children.
She wants families to know that New Beginnings is a safe place to come, and that there’s no shame in asking for help. Potential clients can also call or text AOC at any time.
AOC is thankful for the church’s support. In 2018, AOC Executive Director Sarah Bowen had asked Adam Simcik, the church’s pastor, about opening an office at the church.
At that time, Simcik had been wondering how the church could further help the agency – they were already providing support – and things soon fell into place.
“It’s a beautiful partnership,” Degilio said.
It’s going to meet a huge need in the community, and the church is glad they have the extra space, Simcik said.
“It’s one of those things to see a vision come true. It was a little emotional for me,” he said.
FOR more information about New Beginnings, to schedule an appointment, to donate items for the store, or to find out about volunteer opportunities, call 724-658-6329, call or text 724-698-2689 visit alphaomegacenter.org or the Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com