Meet Our Volunteer: Marlene Iseli, RN

The Pregnancy Help Center would not be able to provide life-saving services without the help of a dedicated team of volunteers. This Volunteer Appreciation Week, we are shining the spotlight on these amazing people who work behind the scenes to provide abortion-vulnerable women the help they need to choose life. Get to know one of our volunteer registered nurses, Marlene, and read all about her experience at the Center:

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your role and why did you choose to volunteer with the Center?

I’m a registered nurse. In 2014, I had the opportunity to serve in an orphanage, Village of Hope, in Guatemala. I met an 11-year-old girl, Michelle, who was nine months pregnant. She was half my size. This rocked my world! I had so many questions. Why did anyone let her carry this pregnancy? Why not have an abortion and give Michelle her childhood back? What future will Michelle have?

By searching God’s word, I came to recognize that each person is made in God’s image. The mother and the baby are two distinct humans with different heartbeats, and both have the right to live. God is the giver of life, and I am not to question God’s sovereignty. 

Michelle will have struggles in this world, but Jesus has overcome them on the cross. Both lives have been made to be redeemed through trust in Jesus and in His forgiveness. Both have been created for eternal life with Him.

Michelle touched my life and I learned so much about God’s love for each person. I felt called to speak up for those who have no voice, so in 2019 I started volunteering at the Pregnancy Help Center since 2019.

What has your experience been like as a volunteer? What does a shift look like for you?

My shift usually starts at 9:30am and ends at 3pm. I perform pregnancy tests and give STI screenings. I also accurately document medical results and maintain confidentiality of all client records. Most days I see about five clients. I start by reviewing the client’s history, then discuss with them healthy lifestyle choices for healthy pregnancies. I talk to them about smoking, over-the-counter and recreational drug use, prenatal vitamin supplements, exercise, and nutrition. 

The clinic offers BrightCourse videos which are free educational courses clients can watch comfortably at home. I recommend courses to clients based on their specific needs and encourage them to watch the videos.  The courses cover pregnancy, birth, first year and toddler parenting, coparenting, life skills, love lessons, special circumstances, positive partnerships, fatherhood, and Bible studies. 

What is it like being on the ground and interacting with clients?

When I started volunteering at the Center, my whole focus was saving babies. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” Proverbs 31:8. However, I quickly realized that in order to save babies, I needed to love their mothers first. As I’ve learned to do that, my greatest joy has become interacting with each client and hearing their stories. I listen to their needs and give them advice on making healthy choices from a medical perspective. Each client’s story is different and unique. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking, but all are beautiful in their own way.

Do you have any memorable stories to share?

A young woman once came to the clinic, heavy-hearted because of her lifestyle. She was pregnant outside of a long-term relationship. She could not see a future with the man she had trusted to give herself to, and she did not know if she wanted to keep the baby. As I listened to her and asked questions, she opened up to me and cried. She was overcome with regret of the wrong choices she had made in her life.

Her tears flowed as she shared her heartache. I asked her if I could give her a hug and she agreed. I could feel her faltering in my arms. I spoke words of encouragement to her, telling her how I admired her for bravely sharing her story. After a while, she took a deep breath and said, “I will keep the baby”. We talked about the “mountains” she was facing and how she would be able to overcome them. She left the clinic that day filled with new hope and strength.

What is one thing you would tell someone who is considering volunteering at the Center?

Each volunteer blesses the clinic with his/her own unique gifts. For example, every nurse brings his/her own unique experience and nursing knowledge. What I love about the team is that they are all responsible, respectful, willing to learn, and show so much grace to each other. This truly is a beautiful place to serve!


We are so grateful to Marlene and all our volunteers who work tirelessly to provide life-affirming support to our clients and their babies. Thank you for all that you do! We’re always happy to welcome new volunteers. If Marlene’s story has inspired you, find out about all the different opportunities we have and apply to be a volunteer today.