This year Birthright International is celebrating 50 years of ministry. Birthright was the first pregnancy center in existence, back in 1968, years before abortion was even legal. Our founder, Louise Summerhill wanted to offer a positive alternative to women in a crisis pregnancy. She began with a small office in Toronto Canada, and now there are hundreds of Birthright chapters all over the world.
Our local Birthright of Bel Air opened its doors in 1973 and is celebrating 45 years serving Harford and the surrounding counties.
I am pleased to announce that I became a volunteer 30 year ago, and this summer I celebrate 27 years as the Executive Director of Birthright of Bel Air. It’s hard to believe I was only 26 years old when I became Director. Looking back, I can see that God called me to this work and gave me a passion for people we serve. With the help of the Holy Spirit, and many wonderful volunteers, Birthright has come far. During the early years the biggest problem our clients faced was the pregnancy, and that’s what we focused on. Today, the pregnancy is only one of many issues we need to address. We regularly meet people who are struggling with unemployment, addiction, abuse, isolation, poverty, and homelessness. Our services have expanded to include Pregnancy Education, Pregnancy and Addiction, Early Parenting, Post Abortion Support, and Men’s Ministry. We continue to provide material support in the form of maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, formula, baby food, and layette items. We serve pregnant women, men, grandparents, and foster parents. People from all walks of life.
I am so proud to be a part of this ministry, and it is with confidence that I hand the reigns of Executive Director to another. It is time for new energy and ideas to take Birthright of Bel Air to the next level. Over the last two years God has prepared me and the ministry to take this important step. It is my honor to introduce Stephanie Atha as the new Executive Director, and Gina Gibson as Assistant Director, effective September first. Both Steph and Gina are long time Birthright volunteers and understand how unique and special we are.
I could not have had a better team of volunteers over the years. Each person brought their gifts and experience to Birthright and we are stronger because of it. It does not matter how long ago they volunteered – they are always a sister or brother to Birthright. I thank them for the privilege to work with them.
I am also thankful to our many donors. When I think of the Birthright family I think of you as well. Some have been giving for all the 30 years I’ve been here, and no gift was too small to make an impact on the ministry. You have walked with me through the years and I am grateful. The financial and material gifts given, together with the kindness and care of the volunteers, make Birthright strong and successful. These things will not change after I’m gone.
Birthright will always be in my heart and in my prayers. I won’t ever be very far away. I ask you to keep the ministry in your prayers as we make this transition. Thank you for always being a support to me and to Birthright. God Bless You.