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Community nearly lost Hope
Donations keep afloat women's resource center
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Forsyth County News
For more information or to make a donation to Whispering Hope, contact (770) 889-9070 or go online at

The life-saving efforts at Whispering Hope were nearly silenced last month.

In December, the nonprofit women's resource and pregnancy center made a last-ditch effort to stay open by sending a plea to local churches and other donors.

"The churches that support us and the community are coming through," said Pat Shope, director of development. "We will be staying for the time being, and I will be here until they lock me out, along with the rest of my staff."

Shope has been with Whispering Hope for nearly eight of its 12-year existence.

In the last five years, the organization says it has helped prevent 238 abortions, provided emotional and material support to nearly 5,000 women and helped 35 women finish high school and receive work force training.

"In addition to taking care of pregnant women, we also take care of their education, make sure they get their GED or their high school diplomas, and we teach them how to use computers so they can take a decent job," Shope said. "We work with them on housing and whatever they need."

Budget shortfalls and a rise in need have plagued most local nonprofits, said Nicole McCoy, executive director of Community Connection.

"Unfortunately, it's not a unique challenge right now," McCoy said. "It's something everyone is encountering and we're ... having to be smarter about what we're doing."

Community Connection, an education, health and wellness resource for abused or neglected children and families, shares space in the Forsyth County Family Center with Whispering Hope and about a dozen other nonprofits.

"The good news is that people are much more aware of the need than they ever have been before, and people are learning more about the nonprofits," McCoy said.

In 2008, nearly 90 babies were born with help from Whispering Hope, which has a nurse on staff and is equipped with a new ultrasound machine. Because of the amenities, Shope said, monthly operating costs are about $11,000.

The recent assistance means the center can afford operating costs well into the spring. But beyond that, Shope said, it's a matter of donations and fundraising.

"We felt that the Lord was with us and that we would be able to stay open," she said. "It's just a matter of asking for help from the community."