First Look Clinic hosts groundbreaking ceremony
First Look Clinic held its groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 10, celebrating the ongoing building of the future clinic with the Ellis County community.
The celebration began with Vernon Witherspoon, the Board President of First Look Clinic, thanking the community for coming and celebrating the new building in the process of being built.
“This is because people believed and shared their Christian walk. It’s one, it’s one goal, one direction, and I never want that to be forgotten in all that we’re doing because we’re here to save lives. This building is all about the next chapter for First Look, with an increasing population coming into Ellis County, we need to be ready,” shared Witherspoon. “Where we are is very constricting, but this is going to provide us the opportunity to expand our services and go to that next chapter. I have appreciated everyone that has attended today and has decided that they will take their steps forward and that they will act on their beliefs. It’s not about this building, it’s about what’s going on in this building and about what’s going to go on in Ellis County, Texas, our community."
Witherspoon then took a second to acknowledge the First Look board and the Commissioners that were present.
Then, Ellis County Judge Todd Little continued the meeting with vindications and praying before the crowd.
Donna Young, CEO of First Look Clinic, then shared her heart with the audience.
She opened up by reading a verse from Psalm 106.
“I will start up by saying this has been a long journey. I’ve been in there in my 14th year right now and I think probably for about 10 years, but as soon as we became a medical clinic in 2011, we began in earnest to talk about a new place,” shared Young. “We looked all over town. We looked for places to rent. We looked to places for sale, nothing suited our needs and we just kept on praying.”
In 2015, Young began to map out the vision for a new clinic with her colleagues.
“We decided it’s time we really think about this vision, and so we had a couple of meetings. Our staff got together ... and we just started to talk about if we had what we wanted, our dream, what would it look like? What would be in that room? In that building? And we just kept talking through that,” said Young.
Although the process to construct the new building has taken about five years, the clinic was able to commence the building by having community members participate in fundraising events and giving donations.
“We wanted it to be a place that when you came down YMCA drive, you would feel welcomed and you would feel unjudged and you would feel this is a place for hope. And this is home and this is what we’re trying to do...” said Young.
Board Member Bridgette Hawks then took to the podium to share.
“What an honor it is to be part of something so big ... When we first met Donna in that little cubby hole ... it didn’t matter what a building or the surroundings look like, you'd have to be dead if you couldn’t feel that this place was special,” said Hawks. "We are so grateful for Cotton Patch and for those that donate. We design around what has donated. We know when we get something donated, you get involved and we can wrap the environment around what’s important and that’s life.”
Closing out, Board Member Cassie Fulton shared a few words.
“It’s amazing that women are gonna be able to come and have a sonogram at an appointed time and not wait two weeks to see their baby for the first time because two weeks can be the difference between life and death. It’s great that our vision can come together and that we can expand our services for men in our community. You know men are hurt as well when life is taken, and to be able to offer services for them is gonna have a great impact," said Fulton.
Additionally, the clinic also touched base on finances that are still needed and how community members can donate as they continue to build.
"Being the only pregnancy center in this county, we wanna meet as many needs as possible, but we couldn’t have done this without our donors and without you," stated Fulton. "We want to be able to move into our new building debt free ... We wanna do that so we can meet the needs of every man and woman, unborn child that comes through those doors. And the easier way to do it is when we’re not worried about debt."
After the scheduled speaking, the Board of Directors, commissioners and other members were invited to grab a shovel and scoop a pile of dirt, in support for the groundbreaking ceremony.
The first scheduled ceremony ended with tours that showcased the inside of the building and what each room would consist of. The ceremony also consisted of beam-signing event by inviting attendees to “leave your mark."
A second ceremony followed the first one, with a similar structure. First Look Clinic provided lunch for attendees with the partnership of Cotton Patch.
For additional information on the clinic, visit https://firstlookcenter.org/ .