Membership Spotlight: Options for Women
Options for Women is a faith based, non-denominational family and pregnancy resource center. They provide support not only to women but fathers too and all family members involved in a child’s life. They offer emotional, and spiritual education and material support for families in need and women in crisis. The good part for families is that all of their services are free. There is no screening process or financial hurdles to overcome to get help and assistance. They are fortunate to partner with many organizations and individuals who support their mission. Options for Women does not just help people living in Morris, but also the counties of Stevens, Grant, Swift, Pope, Traverse and Big Stone. The non-profit was started in 1996 by Mary Odegaard and is now run with the help of a passionate board of directors. Options for Women also started their first satellite location in Starbuck this June and hope to have more locations in the future, which helps families who may have transportation issues.
Angela Franey, Executive Director at Options for Women, says she loves the people and networking opportunities her job offers. “I love seeing the changes on the client’s face as you help them see that they have a lot of options and empower them to make choices in their life that can be life giving.” Says Angela. “People don’t know that this resource is available. We also invite people to get involved and volunteer. We have incredible people in our communities and they want to make a difference.” And making a difference is exactly what their volunteers are doing. They rely on volunteers to work in various capacities including fundraisers, bookkeeping, talking to clients, or whatever they are passionate about doing.
Options for Women provides a space for hundreds of women and families each year to have a safe and confidential meeting room to share their hearts without judgement or condemnation. “Many people don’t have the support system of families,” says Angela. “This organization can be there for them like a family.” Not only do they provide emotional support, but also important items for babies and children including car seats, clothing, diapers, pull-ups, cribs, pack-n-plays, and much more. In 2016 alone, they had 3,384 instances of service for 95 family units. And they are hoping to increase the services they provide. They still work with hospitals and clinics so that clients can receive medical care and are not trying to replace those. But they would like to have an ultrasound machine at their Morris office to confirm pregnancies and allow families to see their babies. Many people will come to Options before seeing their regular doctor and it’s a safe place for those worried about insurance. They are also HIPPA compliant and completely confidential. Around 60% of their clients are Hispanic and many are afraid to go to the doctors in the community or do not know how a clinic in the United States operates. Options offers a good stepping stone between and they have a Spanish speaking director on staff.
Options for Women is open 12-5pm Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 12-8pm on Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate working families. Their office will soon be moving on main street by Visible Changes and they are looking forward to having a more prominent presence in downtown Morris. If you would like to volunteer or donate to help support this important organization, please contact them at 320-589-0300.