At Darling, we are passionate about cultural, environmental and social issues impacting women and girls. “Nonprofit Spotlight” shines a light on nonprofits that are doing impactful work on the ground level. Each month, we will spotlight a charitable organization in order to educate and encourage advocacy and action.
The word “claris” means clarity or brightness and that is exactly what people receive with Claris Health. In the last decade, Claris has provided services to more than 13,000 women and their families as they make pertinent decisions surrounding pregnancy.
Claris Health is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit Community Care Clinic focused on providing free and affordable medical, mental health and support services to women at-risk of or facing an unintended pregnancy, as well as families with children under the age of 5. Started by a group of women more than 40 years ago, the heart of Claris is to offer care before, during and after pregnancy and sexual-health choices.
Darling got to chat with Claris Health CEO, Talitha Phillips, who was originally introduced to Claris Health as a client. Today, she has served as the CEO for 19 years and is in charge of vision casting, leadership, organizational development and fundraising. Talitha shared about the mission of Claris Health and why she is passionate about the work they do.
Some say that a passion is either something you love or something that breaks your heart enough that you are compelled to change it. What was the passion behind joining Claris?
I think my heart was actually already broken when I first heard about Claris, and they were a big part of my “mending” story. As a young adult, I faced an unintended pregnancy. I felt extremely trapped by my situation and chose an abortion to try to hide and escape. The experience led to quite a few painful years with many more regrettable decisions.
Learning about Claris was the first time I realized that I wasn’t alone. I joined one of their support groups and met many other women with unique but similar stories. We processed and, in many ways, we healed together. It changed my life in the most unexpected way, and my heart continued to break for all the other women who had already experienced something similar or who might one day face an unintended pregnancy.
Learning about Claris was the first time I realized that I wasn’t alone.
My passion continued to grow as I better understood the complexities of these situations. I got to know and to care for the lives behind the stories. I saw how these circumstances affect not only the women but often her extended family. I witnessed how great the need is for holistic, wrap-around services before, during and after a pregnancy or sexual-health choice. Perhaps the greatest passion that grew in me was to create a place and a model of care that helps people believe that they do not have to be trapped by their circumstances, that their life has incredible value and that they are not alone.
How does Claris uniquely speak to the issue of women’s sexual health and provide services for pregnancy and sexual health decisions?
Claris offers services before, during and after pregnancy and sexual health choices. Our West and South LA clinics and mobile medical unit provide pregnancy and STD testing, female health screenings and group-based prenatal care, as well as on-going case management and support through the decision-making process.
In the months and years that follow a pregnancy decision, we provide on-going support through therapy, pregnancy loss and adoption support groups and our parenting program that offers classes, mentorship and material support to pregnant women and families with children under the age of 5. Claris specializes in providing a safe, non-judgmental space for people to explore their options and feel supported regardless of the choices or choice made.
Claris specializes in providing a safe, non-judgmental space for women and their families to explore their options and feel supported regardless of the choices or choice made.
Is there anything exciting coming up with the organization that Darling readers should know about?
On Saturday, Oct. 17, Claris will be offering a unique gala fundraising experience blending at-home parties with a live-streamed gala program and a 24-hour crowdfunding opportunity. Anyone can tune in that night to learn more and all funds raised that day will be quadrupled thanks to generous sponsors. You can learn more at our events page.
What are some practical ways Darling readers can support Claris?
Darling readers can help spread the word and tune into our live gala event. Readers who are local to the Los Angeles area can volunteer with us for food distribution events with our mobile clinic or sponsor a family for our end of year Adopt-A-Family event. For more information on ways to get involved visit our volunteer page.
What is your favorite part of the work that Claris does for women and families?
I personally love journeying with people through the highs and the lows. As a doula, I’m privileged to be a part of so many birth stories. There’s nothing more incredible than holding the hand or the leg of a new mom as she hears her baby take its first breath. I love being invited into the moments that change someone’s life!
I personally love journeying with people through the highs and the lows.
We’ve helped plan baby showers and watched weddings. We’ve celebrated new jobs, new homes and many small and large victories. We’ve also helped plan funerals, grieved with birth moms who’ve placed babies up for adoption and come alongside families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. It’s an incredible gift to be a part of such intimate moments of celebration and loss.
What are three words you would use to describe the work you do at Claris?
Care. Community. Value.
To learn more about Claris Health, follow them on Instagram. Also, to donate to the RISE event and help provide resources to women and families, click here for details about the Oct. 17 virtual event.
Is there a nonprofit that is doing important work to support and empower women and girls? Leave a comment below to let us know who to feature next!
Images via Claris Health