By Trishna Buch
That is the motto of Anchor Point and the message they want to get out to everyone they service. “Just breathe and we will be able to work through any problem you may be having,” Debbie Simmons, founder of Anchor Point, told us.
We were able to meet with Debbie earlier this week and gain some insight into the services that Anchor Point provides. Before sitting down to talk, Debbie and a few other Anchor Point volunteers took us around the office, explaining several of their rooms. We were shown the counseling room—which is made to look like a living room in order to keep the parents comfortable, the ultrasound room—which includes models of babies that show parents how the baby will grow over the month, the baby boutique—a shop where parents can use their baby bucks to purchase necessary items, a man-cave—where the fathers can sit and hang-out while the mothers are being assisted and various rooms for one on one mentoring and classes.
After the tour, we sat down with Debbie who told us all the ins and outs of Anchor Point. When I left the office, I did so with a feeling of impression and excitement. And, after you read this story, I hope you will feel the same way. The League City location of Anchor Point, which is where our interview took place, is known as a pregnancy service center. Debbie told us that the center provides assistance for parents from the time they find out they are pregnant until the baby is two-years-old. I asked Debbie to talk me through this process. “When a mother or a couple comes to us—either through a referral or contacting us themselves—we will assist them throughout their pregnancy, providing all the services the woman or the couple requires.”
Debbie told us that each client is provided with a crisis advocate and, if they choose, a spiritual advocate. Each advocate is responsible for guiding the parent(s) throughout their journey, and helping them make the best decisions for themselves and their children. The pregnancy service center provides prenatal and parenting education classes. And one added bonus to the classes is that taking the class allows parents to gain baby bucks—which they can use in the boutique. The center also offers classes in dealing with difficulties such as sexual abuse. “These classes are open to all members of the community, even if they are not pregnant,” Debbie told us. “For example, if someone has gone through a traumatic event at one point in their lives and now—years later—need a safe place to process it, they can do so in our classes.”
Debbie, who is the mother of nine adopted children, told us that Anchor Point’s pregnancy service center also provides free ultrasounds, case management, bible studies and licensed counselors. “Our goal is to reach a point where we can provide Well Woman exams and other forms of testing,” Debbie told us.
Along with the pregnancy services center, Anchor Point—which is a nonprofit organization—also has a family services center in Seabrook. This center provides assistance to families who have children that are past the age of two, and all the way up to their teenage years. The important point about the Family Services Center is that it provides assistance to children as well as parents. “We have two counselors who are trained in “Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)” who work with families as they are struggling,” Debbie said. “This comes from dealing with kids from hard places, such as those who have experienced abuse, neglect, medical trauma, a difficult pregnancy, a difficult delivery and prematurity.”
Keeping with the aim to help parents who are struggling to take care of and help their children, the nonprofit offers a therapeutic family camp called Pathway To Hope. This camp is filled with fun activities for children to participate in, as well as providing guidance to parents on how to deal with their children when they are acting up. In all the excitement, the children will sometimes become dysregulated and lose it. “Our job is to help the child walk through this breakdown and return to a safe loving consistent relationship,” Debbie said. “This way, the parents can see how to calm their child down without getting mad or yelling.”
Anchor Point wants to do everything it can to help parents and children. This is why they have expanded to include Excellent Minds Academy under its nonprofit umbrella. Located at Bay Area Presbyterian Church (Medical Center/Hwy 3), this academy is an alternative to the traditional schools, because it services children with learning disabilities such as autism, dyslexia and anxiety disorder, children with sensory process issues and those children that need the smaller classroom setting. Debbie told us that, through no fault of their own, traditional schools are not equipped to dealing with children who have these types of difficulties or children who are disabled. At Excellent Minds Academy, they are able to resource the child throughout the whole day and to work to overcome learning deficits. The school is open to 1st through 8th graders. “This class helped my youngest son,” Debbie said. “He was having trouble with reading and his school told me that he’s going to just be a slow learner.” “I did not find this acceptable so I went and found Excellent Minds Academy. He’s been there since October and, now when we go out, he asks to read t-shirts and road signs, for example.” “As a mother, hearing that my son is excited to learn and wants to learn, is just amazing.”
Anchor Point really likes to get the community involved in their programs. For one, the Discover Adoption class is open and complimentary to all members of the public. This class provides information on adoption and teaches people the best questions to ask adoption agencies when they are interested in giving a home to a child. Debbie also told us that the organization believes the fathers to be just as important as the mothers in the process, which is why they invite successful community men to guide these new fathers into embracing their new role. “We have an All-Star dads program which takes place quarterly. The men in the community are the coaches and the to-be fathers make up the team,” Debbie said. “They’ll play golf or basketball, but—in that time—they’ll also be educated on what it takes to be a good dad and what they need to do for the mother and the baby.” “After that, they will break down in groups with the men in our community, who will start coaching relationships with these fathers.”
Anchor Point is an amazing organization which provides assistance, support and advice to anyone that may require it. You can learn more by visiting their website at www.anchorpoint.us. They also have an upcoming Gala on September 7 and would love to have you join them there. If you would like to get in touch with them, please call 832-632-1221. Since the organization is always looking for volunteers, I invite you to call the same number if you are interested in helping out.