Posted by Jim Garrett

Marcie began her talk by noting her gratitude for the Rotary Scholarship granted last Spring to her daughter, Haley, now a freshman at Colorado State.  (Haley was known to this reporter while a student at Pagosa Springs High School as an ace soccer player and mainstay of the excellent Lady Pirates team.  She was also known for a variety of other impressive qualities including academic achievement and vocal ability.)

Marcie explained that Aspire is the only pre-natal care center in Pagosa.  Formerly known as Thrive (until another organization asserted ownership of the name), Aspire last year served 300 clients, she said.  Its clients received 3280 free services.

Whether under its new name or former name, Marcie explained the organization provides an array of services related to birth and parenthood: medical help, testing, transportation, nutritional support, supplies, clothing, education, encouragement, and support for parents both expecting and caring for new children.  Aspire is even the only supplier in Archuleta County for infant car seats. 

Generally, Aspire’s mission – to help parents be “the best Moms and Pops they can be” – is exemplary of its name, Marcie added.  The long term outcome it seeks, she said, is for healthy babies who “thrive physically, emotionally and socially.”

In 2017, she recounted, there were 112 births in Archuleta County, and Aspire administered tests to 94 of the mothers.  So, Marcie noted with a certain pride, through the ultrasound tests the organization administers at 20 weeks of pregnancy, “we get to see the newest Pagosans.”  

Of the new mothers helped by Aspire, she added, 40 percent are single.  And 40 percent of all of its clients have incomes of less than $15,000/year.  Nine percent are high school students.


In addition to family related services, Aspire also does testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STD).  Marcie reported that the national Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 20 million new cases of STD occur every year in the US, half among the 15-24 age group.  Such diseases are a tremendous burden, with a direct cost of $16 billion last year in the US.

Oftentimes, persons infected with STD are asymptomatic, Marcie said, so screening is essential for detection.  Untreated infections can cause serious difficulties in pregnancies, births and the physical condition of new-borns. 

Aspire is staffed with a single, highly experienced physician Dr. Carole Nasralla, MD, and a Physician’s Assistant, Fran Schreiber.  It provides pre-natal care up to 36 weeks.  Without pre-natal care, Marcie said, there is a 40 percent increase in the risk of neonatal death, and low birth weights increase by 300 percent. 

Demands for Aspire’s services are increasing, she reported: monthly client visits increased 25 percent in 2017, and appointments have increased 40 percent so far this year.

Statistics suggest Aspire’s effort is paying-off.  From 2015 to 2016 in Archuleta County, low birth weights decreased from 10 percent to seven percent, preterm births decreased from seven percent to five percent, and the infant mortality weight declined from nine percent to five percent.

Marcie said Aspire is pro-life, but non-political.  It does not refer clients for abortions.  It will refer clients to resources for adoption, if they choose.

All of Aspire’s services are free to clients.  It receives no government support, and funds itself by donations.  Interested persons may provide tax-deductible support on the Aspire website,, and may register or donate to Apire’s event set for the day before Mothers’ Day (May 12), Walk for Moms. (To register or donate to the event, use the same email address, but with the suffix upcoming-events, instead of donate.)