By Tim Hunt
Next Step opens in Livermore and offers free diapersUploaded: Apr 2, 2020
Next Step expanded its services to Livermore at the New Year when it opened an office at 4200 East Avenue. It’s now adjusting to the coronavirus shelter-in-place by offering phone conversations instead of face-to-face meetings.
It’s also launched a free diaper campaign for parents struggling financially during the shelter-in-place order. Moms, whether clients or not, can call 925.416.9997 or email [email protected] with their name, phone number, diaper size (1-5) and preferred pick-up location (Livermore office or Pleasanton at 5776 Stoneridge Mall Road, suite 200).
Executive Director Michelle Kelly explained that it was a service Next Step could offer to help moms in these tight economic times. The offer will continue as long as they have supplies.
Client advocates also are available by phone to clients facing stressful decisions.
“We are prepared to weather this storm with our community and happy to help in any way we can,” she wrote in an email.
When things return to normal, it will be expanding its offerings beyond serving women with an unplanned pregnancy to include services for teens focused on making healthy and confident choices daily.
Kelly is excited about the new location, within a block of East Avenue Middle School and less than a mile from Livermore and Del Valle high schools. With students walking by to and from school, she’s hoping they will drop in and take advantage of Next Step’s trained staff to talk about their day and decisions they may be facing.
The office previously housed the Livermore Pregnancy Resource Center, a non-medical facility serving women facing an unplanned pregnancy. When the executive director, a long-time colleague of Kelly’s retired, it made the expansion to a second office easy. As a licensed medical facility, Next Steps offers ultrasounds for pregnant women. Initially women will have to travel to Pleasanton for that service, but the organization is considering purchasing a portable ultrasound that can rotate between the two sites.
“What we are really excited about reaching out to a younger population of high school and middle school girls with after-school drop-in sessions that we promote on social media. The goal is to help them make healthy and confident choices every day before they might need our (pregnancy) services,” Kelly said.
The main office in Pleasanton is next to Stoneridge Shopping Center and a short walk from the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station.
The Next Step team is rotating staff members between the two sites, so the team has not grown. In addition to the drop-in sessions, Next Step offers a range of services to pregnant women including tests, ultrasound, a client advocate to coach a woman through her pregnancy, as well as classes and workshops after delivery. It also offers parenting classes and other educational programs to support a new mom and the baby’s father in their relationship.
The organization was established in 1989. Interestingly, Kelly observed that the Livermore location is going to be helpful because very few clients come from Pleasanton and other affluent cities along the Interstate 680 corridor. Most are from Livermore and income level seemed to be a factor. She noted that statistics show the teen pregnancy rate dropping and the sales of the morning-after abortion pill increasing.
Their typical client, in recent years, is a married woman in her mid- to late-20s.