FirstLook, a sexual health and pregnancy center in Waxahachie, celebrated with an official groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for its new facility under construction at 213 YMCA Drive.

FirstLook staff and board members, friends of the nonprofit, interested residents and several dignitaries gathered for the event, which was themed “Celebrating the Foundation of Our Future.”

FirstLook board president Vernon Witherspoon welcomed everyone with Ellis County Judge Todd Little giving the invocation. Donna Young, FirstLook CEO, and Bridgette Hawks, architect with Solutions Design Group, gave acknowledgements and remarks followed by Cassie Fulton, FirstLook board member, giving the closing remarks.

Then it was time for the official groundbreaking. Wearing blue hard hats and with shovel in hand, the participants made things official.

Pastor Demetrius McClendon Sr. of One Church and FirstLook board member read scripture followed by a closing prayer by Mark Miller, missions pastor at The Avenue Church.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment,” McClendon said. “It is the answer to our prayers.”

A box lunch, donated by the Cotton Patch, was served and tours were held to provide everyone a look at the site’s progress.

“We are so happy to have more space,” Young told the Sun. “We are busting at the seams at our old location and this will give us double the amount of space and will allow us to serve double the number of clients.”

The journey to the new facility becoming a reality began in 2005 when talks with donors began, she said.

FirstLook, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of serving young women in Ellis County, has as its mission statement that it will lead Ellis County to embrace life by promoting best sexual health practices and providing family support in the name of Jesus Christ. Its services focus on providing positive, life-affirming alternatives to abortion for women and families facing an unplanned pregnancy. Clients are offered a variety of clinical services, educational programs, counseling and support. All services are confidential and delivered at no cost.

Midlothian resident and FirstLook board member Wayne Shuffield said, “This has been a long time coming. It took lots of prayer and encouragement to get here.”

“This means a lot for the pro-life movement,” said Andy Nguyen, deputy chief of staff for Congressman Ron Wright. “It is great to be engaged, loving and supporting this cause and a way to support life.”

Little also spoke with the Sun and said, “The bible says that without a vision, people will perish. This is a great vision for the future of protecting life in Ellis County.”

In addition to Witherspoon, Young, Shuffield, McClendon and Fulton, FirstLook board members include vice president Pam Peterson, treasurer John Hamaker, secretary Tabitha Smith and Peter Piñon.

FirstLook Center is currently located at 1204 Ferris Ave., Suite E, in Waxahachie. Its hours are from 10 a.m. 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays. For more information, call 972 923-7900, find on Facebook @friendsoffirstlook or visit the website

There will be an open house in the spring when the new facility opens.

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