Another outlet for young parents to find support is coming to Carthage.

Another outlet for young parents to find support is coming to Carthage.

LifeChoices, an organization that provides medical services and education to young parents, will open a new location in Carthage this summer.

LifeChoices has provided the Joplin area with free and confidential services to those in need since 1989. Approximately 7,000 medical services were administered to more than 2,000 individuals last year alone. In the education focus, the organization's Connection Institute department gave more than 9,000 students across the region prevention education dealing with relationships and healthy decision making.

“During the last two years, the LifeChoices’ clinics have seen over 650 individuals and provided over 1,500 medical services to members of the Carthage community,” said Karolyn Schrage RN, BSN, clinic services director for LifeChoices. “This increase in providing sexual health services to the Carthage and surrounding community has been acutely recognized by our LifeChoices/4U Testing medical staff.  Understanding that many of the individuals in the demographic we serve have limited resources for transportation and/or after school hours to travel to Joplin, we recognized the need for more accessible hours and services within the Carthage geographic location.  During this same time period, several concerned Carthage community agencies and individual citizens approached LifeChoices about opening a clinic to address the issues of unplanned pregnancies and related sexual health issues.”

The Carthage Caring Communities with the Alliance of Southwest Missouri in Carthage reached out to LifeChoices, expressing the great need in the local area.

“On contacting the Missouri Department of Health in regards to their Missouri Infertility Prevention Program and STD sites, it was noted that there were no such identified locations in this region and agreed that the need was substantiated,” Schrage said. “Recognizing the return on their investment through the STD testing provided by LifeChoices’ clinics, they agreed to add Carthage as a new MIPP site.”

LifeChoices will be providing pregnancy testing, limited OB ultrasounds, STD/STI testing, basic parenting 101 classes, collaborating with other established community organizations for resources as well as providing referrals to encourage early pre-natal care to area OBGYN providers for immediate care for mothers and children.