Non-profit works to lower teen pregnancies in Mississippi Co. - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Non-profit works to lower teen pregnancies in Mississippi Co.

Teen pregnancy is on the rise in Region 8, but one county takes the lead in having one of the highest rates in the area.

Stacy Harris, the Executive Director of Arms of Hope, said she thinks it's a heartbreaking statistic.

“We have young girls, some that are 12 years old that are having babies,” she said.

Arms of Hope helps teens or anyone else who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.

It is a non-profit ministry and offers a variety of assistance such as parenting classes, abstinence classes in schools, post abortion healing and more.

“ It makes them aware of what our teen pregnancy rates are here and how that contributes to poverty levels around here and the STD rate," Harris said. "Usually that gets their attention fast because they don't think about that.”

Harris said the fight against those rising numbers requires community effort

A friend introduced Renotta Estes to Harris and the Arms of Hope. She was 17 years old at the time and was six months pregnant.

Estes says Harris was there to personally help her throughout her pregnancy. “In my head I'm thinking I have no-one, but these people, never met them in my life, popped up and it was like 'Wow! it really, really helped,” she said.

She said Harris even took her to her doctor's appointment. Estes feels Arms of Hope is something Blytheville needs considering the high teen pregnancy rate.

“Sometimes they don't always have someone, sometimes their baby's father is not always there so it's nice to have someone to talk to,who can help you through the stress because being pregnant and being a mother is not easy at all,” Estes said.

She expressed gratitude for everything Mrs. Harris did to help her during her pregnancy.

“It really made an impact, it made me think and mature and now everything is good,” Estes said.

Arms of Hope currently operates out of the Baptist Association office in downtown Blytheville.

Harris said they have received numerous donations ranging from supplies and even land to get them settled in a new location where they will become a pregnancy resource center.

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