PRO-LIFE GROUP HELPS MOTHERS TO THE FINISH LINE
Opelousas Pregnancy Center (OPC) held its second annual “Geaux the Extra Mile” 5K today. Local runners and walkers gathered on this cool and overcast morning at Opelousas’ South City Park to support the Center’s pro-life fundraiser.
April Sharp, Director of Operations, said, “Opelousas Pregnancy Center has our annual 5k to raise awareness in the community that we are here to support mothers and their babies as a source of hope, love and support.” In addition to the race, the event included food booths, games, pro-life information, and live music.
One OPC board member, Teri Cober, added, “We are so excited for this race and all these people that have turned out for this event. It’s just essential for the financial health of our center and helps us provide the services to the women in our community who need them.” Cober expects this year’s race’s sponsorships and fees to bring in about $15,000. Cober knows this funding translates into lives saved, noting, “OPC has assisted in convincing approximately forty mothers to choose life over abortion.”
Since OPC offers free resources, it depends heavily upon private donations, grants and fundraisers such as the race and its annual gala. Through local support, OPC’s services include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, Christian counseling, parental training, lactation support, maternity and infant clothing, along with diapers. The center, located in Opelousas at 414 South Main Street, was formed in 2019. It is one of thirty-nine pregnancy centers across Louisiana which, according to Louisiana Right to Life’s website https://prolifelouisiana.org/centers, provide pregnancy education, testing, maternal wellness, and adoption assistance services.
Makesha Shelvin staffed the event’s Embrace Grace information booth. Shelvin, along with other local volunteers, use the Embrace Grace curriculum through her local church to help OPC clients in their faith and in connecting with a local church. Shelvin noted, “It’s a Bible study program that guides mothers through different aspects of faith, trust, grace, salvation-things to help point them back to Jesus and to find their identity in Christ.” Kirk Alexander, OPC’s board president, sees the importance of efforts like Shelvin’s, “Our mission is not only to help women through a difficult time but to also connect them with a lifetime of support in a local church to get them to the finish line.”
Opelousas resident and runner Alyshia Boagni and her daughters returned for their second year at the event. She said they have been training for this race over the past six months. “This is the most important race because it helps us to support mothers and children and it tells the community how much we value life,” Boagni explained.