For 24-year-old Sabrina Johnson, the FYI (For Your Information) Clinic in Camden was a life changer. The Big Sandy resident shared her story of hope and how the pregnancy center helped her when she was a 15-year-old soon-to-be mother in January of 2011.
Johnson recalled, “I went to the FYI clinic, it was then Life Choices. My first time going, I went with my mother. I was 15 at the time and had found out I was pregnant at the health department on December 10, 2010. My husband was 17. When we went there we were able to see what all they offered anywhere from pregnancy test, baby classes, and earning baby dollars to be able to shop in the supply closet. I was able to take a pregnancy test there to see that it was positive and that it was very real.”
Johnson said at such a young age she did not know what to expect but that the staff at FYI were there when she needed them most. She explained, “I did not officially start baby classes until February of 2011. I learned about a baby from when they were conceived on to when after they were born. I went every week either Monday or Thursday after school.”
Johnson said the staff had an open-door policy and were there even if she just needed to talk to someone. FYI associates even described what the future would be for the young mother and her then 17-year-old husband. She said, “The FYI clinic gave me a binder to keep and bring to class each week, that way the papers (developmental milestones) that they gave me would be easier to access and review them when I wanted.”
The process was easier than expected. Johnson said, “We would watch a short video explaining what was going on this week of a pregnancy. My husband would go with me when he could to the FYI clinic. He was very supportive about it and he went to every baby doctor appointment. Every class that I went to earned me baby dollars so that if I wanted to go shop on the baby closet I could. I enjoyed going to look and see what all they had. Some days I would get diapers and wipes or most I would get a few baby outfits. I was having a boy.”
She said the care did not stop once the baby came. Johnson said, “I took all the baby classes and even took bible study classes after.”
Johnson and her husband, a radiologic technologist at Jackson General Hospital, have been married for six years now and will celebrate their wedding anniversary on Saturday. Their son is a thriving 8-year-old second grader and Johnson is in her last semester of nursing at Jackson State Community College where she will earn her RN degree.
She said the FYI Clinic helped her in so many ways, from learning about baby developmental stages to what to expect each trimester. Johnson finished with, “I would encourage all expectant mothers who aren’t sure what to do to go to the FYI Clinic and get the knowledge needed. They will offer you a great support system and everything else associated with pregnancy.”
For clinic director Shannon Dykstra, Johnson’s story is not new. Dykstra said the clinic sees more than 50 mothers a year. Most of those expecting are from Benton County.
While the clinic shares all choices available to the expectant mother, they strive to show the positive ways they can assist the mother when keeping the child. From pregnancy tests to ultrasounds, all services offered at the FYI Clinic are free. Free of charge and free of judgment.
The clinic itself is warm and welcoming, with privacy being the primary goal. “We don’t want women to have to face this confusing time alone. We want to offer them choices and then support them through the process. We specialize in early pregnancy diagnosis but offer so much more. From parenting classes, to free ultrasounds, to even ways to earn points towards diapers and baby cribs, we are here for every step of the pregnancy and beyond.”
Dykstra explained the clinic is for men, also. “There are a couple of men that help counsel males in a number of life’s areas including parenting and anger management,” she said. There are six board members and several counselor and associates involved in the clinic.
According to Dykstra, all of the donations made to the clinic are gifts generated through prayers. “The prayers keep us going and we always give all the glory to God. Without Him, we wouldn’t exist.”
The FYI Clinic is located at 1241 Hey. 70 W. and can be reached by calling (731) 584-1717.