Family Life Pregnancy Center welcomed a new executive director who says she is anxious to lead her team.
Dee Zimmerman took over the reins from Rhonda Creten, who had been with the center since January 2020.
Zimmerman first arrived at the center in 2000 and worked as a staff member until 2006 as the abstinence educator speaking in schools.
From 2006 until 2015, Zimmerman started her own nonprofit organization as a motivational speaker on the subject of sexual health.
"I spoke in high schools and colleges throughout Kern County," Zimmerman said.
As a motivational speaker, Zimmerman talked to students about pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and healthy relationships, all in compliance with the California sex education code.
"It was so rewarding, and it was constant. Teachers were booking me a year out and I was turning schools down," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said what she was most surprised about being a motivational speaker was that teens were "starved for the truth."
In 2015, Zimmerman then moved on to the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center, working as a volunteer and a trainer for other volunteers.
As the Tehachapi center's new executive director, Zimmerman said her primary duties will be fostering relationships within the community and churches as well as overseeing staff, volunteers and finances.
Currently, the center is down to three staff members and approximately 15 volunteers.
"In a perfect world, we would have four staff members and more volunteers," Zimmerman said.
The Family Life Pregnancy Center provides free, confidential services to all its clients of all ages, including pregnancy testing, education on pregnancy options and the Earn While You Learn Program.
"Instead of just handing out assistance like formula, diapers and baby furniture, clients are encouraged to come in by themselves or with their partners and learn parenting classes," Zimmerman said. "In these classes they earn points that they can use for the material assistance. It is an amazing program."
In addition, the center provides childbirth education, referrals to social resources and medical services and grief counseling for pregnancy losses.
Zimmerman said she would like to see more clients come through the doors now that the pandemic lockdown has lifted.
"What we get to do is meet our clients on a personal level to get an idea of her relationship and her family, and what direction she might want to go, whether that is parenting, adoption or abortion. We give information on all of those areas. Our whole goal is to empower this girl to make a decision that she is comfortable with for the rest of her life," Zimmerman said.
The Family Life Pregnancy Center is located at 112 S. Curry St. For more information, visit familylifepc.org or call 661-823-8255. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.