The Santa Clarita Valley Pregnancy Center held its annual Walk for Life event Saturday morning, welcoming nearly 400 people to Crossroads Community Church in Valencia to walk in support of the local nonprofit.
Angela Bennett, president and CEO of the SCV Pregnancy Center, welcomed walkers to the event, thanking sponsors and supporters and sharing stories about the emotional journey surrounding pregnancy.
“The SCV Pregnancy Center is here to help women through their difficult decision-making process by providing medical services, information, education (and) practical assistance,” she told The Signal, noting that they provide free and confidential services. “We just want to stand ready. We provide pregnancy tests and ultrasounds and there’s other support services.”
Pastor Todd Smith, of Crossroads Community Church, told The Signal his church has hosted the walk for two years, as event volunteers handed walkers balloons for the walk.
“We love what they do (and) we love how they do it. They just have the most gracious volunteers and staff,” said Smith. “We support life and we value life. We’re thankful for our lives, and therefore thankful for the life of the babies inside the mom.”
Participants from several SCV churches participated in Saturday’s walk, including Christy Kischel, who attends Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in Santa Clarita.
Kischel was pregnant with her now-18-year-old son when she first participated in Walk for Life.
“The whole objective of this is to unify our community and making sure people in crisis pregnancies have the support they need,” she said. “Many feel like they’re left floundering and not everybody has a picture-perfect situation.”
Kischel said the center reminds women that they’re not alone.
“Our community’s here to support them through what’s difficult to make it beautiful,” she said.
Jami Hoslet, of Santa Clarita, has participated in all of the Walk for Life events, which started about 20 years ago.
“I love this event because all the Christian churches come together and it’s like one faith,” she said. “Every year, it’s grown and grown and grown and it’s just beautiful.”
Marie Zapata has volunteered at the SCV Pregnancy Center, answering phone calls and following up with the center’s clients.
The Santa Clarita resident said the center offers financial and spiritual help.
“(The center will) just bring them through all the way,” she said, noting that they provide counseling and help setting up MediCal health insurance.
Derrick and Elda Sawyer and their son were first-time participants of Walk for Life. The Canyon Country residents became involved through their son’s Christian-based trail group.
“We just thought it was a great organization and cause to support,” Elda Sawyer said.