Local women’s center transforms fear into confidence for expectant mothers

Grace Murphy

Staff Writer

Kathleen Barton, executive director of Aim Women’s Center, said she wants Aim to be “the first place” where women considering abortion turn.

Aim was originally founded as a telephone helpline in 1987. From there, it grew to be a bustling support center located on North Fifth Street in downtown Steubenville. In 2018 alone, Aim helped 125 women choose life for their babies.

Aim offers numerous services to support both women and children. Aim helps women from the moment they first believe that they are pregnant by offering free pregnancy tests and free STI testing and treatment. Registered nurses and sonographers are available to provide free limited obstetrical ultrasounds.

Aim gives confidential counseling to pregnant women both in person and on its 12-hour telephone helpline. Aim provides women accurate information on fetal development, abortion procedures, adoption and parenting.

Barton said, “We want to be here for the woman because we feel that if we give her good counsel, good medical care, confidentiality, love and support — if we help save her heart — we are more apt to save that baby’s heart.”

If women decide to continue their pregnancy, Aim offers parenting classes and refers women to other local nonprofits where they can receive assistance with job-finding, finances, insurance, housing, childcare and a multitude of other needs.

Barton said, “We will help them; in the Steubenville area there are so many organizations that will help someone get a job, help somebody with transportation, help somebody who is being abused, help somebody who is suffering from addiction. We will help to triage a woman into those areas so she can help get herself healthy and be the best mom she can possibly be.”

Additionally, Aim provides essential baby items such as diapers, baby formula and grocery store gift cards, as well as gas cards so women farther away can travel to the center.

Barton said, “Our whole goal is to help turn a women’s fear in that pregnancy into confidence. I like to say that I want her to live like the daughter of the king, she and her child!”

Barton said that in her work at Aim she tries to imitate Jesus when he meets the Samaritan woman at the well.

“The water that she is coming for would have quenched her thirst for a moment; the water that he was giving her would have quenched her thirst for a lifetime,” said Barton. “So, the beautiful part about this story to me is that Jesus goes right to where she is.”

Barton continued, “She leaves without ever getting the water that she came for, but she leaves with so much more. That is what I like to think we are.”

Barton would like the Franciscan University of Steubenville community to know how grateful she is for its support.

“Thank you from the bottom of our heart,” she said.

In addition to frequently holding fundraisers for Aim, Franciscan students recently assisted Aim by setting up a Venmo account and QR code for the organization. They have also helped clean and disinfect the center.

Barton appreciates the students’ creative, out-of-the-box fundraising endeavors.

“If students think of a fundraising event, we are definitely open to thinking out-of-the-box and helping in any way that we can.”

One upcoming fundraiser is Christian Students for Free Enterprise’s 5K run/walk color run Saturday, April 24, at 10:00 a.m. All proceeds will go to Aim, and students can register at www.steubiecolorrun.com.

Barton also said that she hoped to create internship opportunities for Franciscan students at Aim in the future. Interested students are encouraged to reach out to Barton.

Students may contact Barton by calling 304-231-7930 or emailing her at [email protected]

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