Marking 40 years, Wakota Life Care Center becomes Guiding Star affiliate

| November 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

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Wakota Life Care Center celebrated more than its 40th anniversary Oct. 29 during a banquet at St. Joseph in West St. Paul. Executive Director Ginny Cronin announced to supporters that the pregnancy resource center is now an affiliate of the national Guiding Star Project based in Duluth.

“We think [Guiding Star’s vision and mission statement] marry really well together with what’s happening at Wakota and what we could be moving forward with,” Cronin said. “Really, the sky’s the limit. This affiliation really highlights what a Guiding Star center is — it’s key to family life.”

Wakota Life Care Center already offered free pregnancy testing, counseling and ultrasounds, low-cost testing for sexually transmitted infections, educational counseling on abortion and alternatives, and free baby supplies and maternity clothing. The affiliation allows the center to expand in the areas of natural fertility care and family planning, pregnancy and childbirth resources, breast-feeding and postpartum support, and family support, all under one roof.

Located at 1140 Robert St. in West St. Paul, Wakota Life Care Center serves between 200 to 250 families a month. In 2016, it added more than 300 new clients, said Cronin, a parishioner of Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville.

“So, it’s just kind of logically the next step that we would partner with an organization like Guiding Star with looking toward the future,” she said. “We’re already serving these women. And it gives us and our clients access to resources … which will begin immediately.”

The Guiding Star Project launched in 2006 when Leah Jacobson, a wife and mother who lives in northern Minnesota, felt inspired to help young women and mothers make choices that would build a culture of life. Cronin said Wakota’s mission has been doing just that for the last 40 years.

“If you look at the statistics that come out right now about women choosing abortions, over 60 percent who are choosing abortions are saying they already have one or two children, and part of that decision is truly on economics,” she said. “And so at Wakota, it’s our philosophy that we provide for our clients without conditions.”

Since January, Wakota has given out more than 20,000 diapers to clients, who also come to the center for clothing, baby equipment, classes and support.

“We’ve already established that relationship, and they know we’re going to walk with them,” Cronin added.

Karen Schultz, Guiding Star Twin Cities board chair and parishioner of Our Lady of Grace in Edina, said Guiding Star resources recognize the authentic needs of women regardless of their socioeconomic background. And now they can refer women of diverse economic backgrounds to a center that covers their particular needs.

“It’s an idea of women supporting women,” said Schultz, an NFP practitioner, postpartum doula and breast-feeding educator. “We are so connected nowadays to a technological community, but the goal of a Guiding Star center is that women keep coming back. It’s a place where women build community and find relationships that encourages [them] to choose life.”

While Guiding Star has affiliates in Iowa and Texas, its first fully operational center opened in Tampa, Florida, last year. Wakota Life Care Center — which will likely be called Wakota – A Guiding Star Affiliate, Cronin said — is the first Guiding Star center in Minnesota. As such, the Guiding Star Twin Cities board, which formed in 2014 with four members, will likely transition into work solely with Wakota.

In the next few years, Wakota will seek to expand its space, either undergoing renovations of its current site or purchasing a larger property, Cronin said.

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Category: Local News