It could be considered the end of an era for the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, and the beginning of a new one.
Kathy Koy, the last remaining member of the center’s staff who saw the doors open for the first time, retired from her post as executive director on Nov. 5 after more than 12 years working with the center.
“She’s an awesome leader and the Pregnancy Center wouldn’t be what it is today without her leadership,” said Lisa Locke, current executive director, who added, “Everybody at the Pregnancy Center loves her and she’s always a part of us.”
The center officially opened in January 1999 and has grown since, adding programs as recently as this year and, in 2007, moving into a new building.
And those expansions of services are the highlights of Koy’s time serving the center.
In 2003, the center and Koy began helping with and teaching some of the sexual education programs at Pagosa Springs High School.
More recently, the center began classes that then reward mothers and expectant mothers.
“I think the biggest thing was when we started the Earn While You Learn program,” Koy said.
The program, which offers prenatal and parenting classes in return for currency to be spent in the center’s “boutique,” helped bolster the center’s numbers beginning in 2009.
Koy said the center saw about 220 visits in 2008. The next year, with the start of the program, the center tallied over 660 visits. In 2010, the center predicted to top 1,300 visits.
Although the biggest change in terms of numbers, the program is not the largest advance in Koy’s book.
“To me personally, the biggest milestone was when we added ultrasound,” Koy said of the service that was added in May.
Despite all of the changes to the center, Koy does not have a single memory that stands out as the best, but, instead, fondly remembers helping many clients and their families over the years.
“That’s what makes it so great, is those relationships,” Koy said.
And those relationships will be what Koy is fondly remembered for by, at least, her coworkers.
“She always put people first and that’s what made the difference — is relationships,” Locke said, adding, “She just has a heart for women.”
Even Janet Maley, who only worked with Koy for a few months officially and volunteered beginning in February, pointed out Koy’s aptitude for relationships.
“She was definitely big on relationships, not only with the staff and the volunteers, but with the clients,” Maley said. “She loved on them.”
And in building those relationships and working with clients, Koy faced what she considered one of the biggest challenges to deal with — clients that feel hopeless or don’t believe in a brighter future for themselves, though she“sees more in” and hopes more for those clients.
Maley described Koy as having an “unconditional love and acceptance to not judge” people — both general society and center clients, unlike what is prevalent in today’s society.
“I so admire her spirit,” Maley said.
And that spirit to love, Maley said, has set a tone for the center, as well as for Maley personally.
“The tone that she set doesn’t allow for that and that’s a whole lot healthier,” Maley said.
The spirit and foundation Koy helped build will ensure her lasting impact at the center as she moves on into a new phase of life, and makes her comfortable with the decision to move on.
“It was in good hands — all the programs were established, the new executive director was just phenomenal,” Koy said of the decision to retire in order to move on to new adventures and what she described as a new calling as a Christian.
Koy said she hopes to pursue additional education to receive various certifications and hopes to continue working with women one-on-one and in small groups.
Koy’s husband, Ken, will continue his work with the center as the head of the new men’s program, which, according to Maley, builds relationships with fathers and teaches them steps for family and life success.
The center also looks to continue building its educational programs for women and continue serving with relationships as it moves into the new decade with a new director at the helm.
The future plans of the current staff seem on track to fulfill Koy’s desires for the future of the center: “... that they’ll just keep taking good care of families and our community.”