by Betty McDowell, LSW, LASVice President of Ministry Services, Heartbeat International
Saying Happy Birthday to an organization may seem a little odd to some of us since we usually save that sentiment for living human beings. However, organizations are very much living breathing organisms. You can see some of the similarities in the chart below.
Source: Olsen, J. (7/22/2017). Your business is a living, breathing, organism: Interesting patterns in business and in nature. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/ybq4tgrf.
So, let us look at our relationship to this living, breathing organization called Heartbeat International.
I was thinking back to something I read many years ago. I do not remember the secular author’s name, but I do remember what he said. As a PhD. relationship expert he was asked, “what is the most important question we should ask ourselves about a person we might want to have a lifelong relationship with?” The expert responded by saying, “is this person kind?”
This seemed so basic to me, I must admit I laughed at how simple his answer was.
The expert went on to say that while being kind demonstrates true consideration and respect for others, it is also evidence of good character. Is this person kind to all? Are they consistently and genuinely kind both in public and in private? He warned that even a narcissist is often publicly kind to lure others into unhealthy relationships. Observing the consistency of kindness is key to answering the question, is this person kind?
I have been blessed to be married to a kind man and can testify that my genuine, meaningful, and lasting relationships are marked by the common denominator of kindness. My dearest relationships are with kind people. Not perfect people, but genuinely kind people.
While being kind is a virtue we can attribute to people, I also think KIND can be attributed to the pregnancy help movement and more specifically to Heartbeat International. Heartbeat is consistently and genuinely kind. Being kind is part of Heartbeat’s past, present, and future.
Heartbeat and our affiliates consistently demonstrate acts of generosity, charity, compassion, and tenderness towards those in need, those who have no voice and who deserve love and respect.
To be kind also means being willing to confront and to speak the truth to a person, an organization, a system, and/or a government. Heartbeat has been and continues to be willing to be a truth-telling voice to leaders, pregnancy help organizations, the public and government. Confronting issues, even within the pregnancy help community, means disagreements, problems and conflicts get addressed and often resolved or at least clarified. Sometimes the kindest act one can do is to confront.
Dr. Hillabrand, one of the founders of Alternatives to Abortion International, now known as Heartbeat International, in his kind way, eloquently addressed Congress 50 years ago with the following words.
Human life, if it is at all important in our time, must be defended across the board. Any arbitrary exceptions, especially when they become legalized, are potentially dangerous to us all. The most terrible pages of history are those which tell of regimes founded on, or at least tolerant of, disregard of the intrinsic values of human life. The most glorious and courageous are those which recite the contrary. No society or civilization, in the better sense, has survived inhuman principles. Adding abortion through government policy or inadvertent permissiveness to the present state of national and international unrest would suggest little optimism for the survival of our society as we have known it.
The same year Dr. Hillabrand gave this speech, he along with Lore Maier and Sr. Paula Vandegaer founded AAI. An OB/GYN at retirement age, a refugee from Nazi Germany, and a young Catholic nun started something KIND. AAI, now Heartbeat International, a KIND - and one of kind - organization.
K – Knowledgeable. Services provided by Heartbeat and their affiliates are knowledge based. Having a growth mindset learning all things about and connected to pregnancy help is a high priority. From fetal development, pre-natal care, community resources, adoption, parenting, marriage, domestic violence, abortion, drug addiction, homelessness, human trafficking, ultrasound, and pregnancy loss – just to name a few. Creating an Academy providing training, in-person, in print or online. An Academy where we can continue to grow in knowledge and understanding, gleaning from professionals in the areas of medicine, mental health, education, and technology. We in turn offer knowledge and services to our clients helping them make life-giving choices for themselves and their children.
I – Innovative. Heartbeat International holds to our values (Commitment of Care and Competence) while developing and implementing new products and processes to better serve the pregnancy help community. Just look at OptionLine answering 1,000 or more contacts a day – continually improving in efficiency and effectiveness. APRN is a continually growing network ready to assist women with abortion pill reversal. Next Level software development allows us to see in real time the trends happening in pregnancy centers. We live in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous*) which requires innovative and creative thinking to carry out our mission.
*Bennis, W. & Nanus, B. (1987). Leadership skills & strategies: VUCA world. Retrieved from https://www.vucaworld.org/.
N – Nuanced. Our worldwide network celebrates the opportunity to nuance programs and services. We are Heartbeat International, and while we may understand what works in reaching clients in Houston, Texas, we also know it may not work in Johannesburg, South Africa. Subtle or perhaps not so subtle differences in how services are delivered is expected. Heartbeat encourages nuanced services to better reach people in need.
D – Determined. The founders set our course and we continue to be determined to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations. We are determined to change the world through LOVE. The LOVE Approach - We listen and learn, open options, give vision and value and extend and empower women to choose life. We are determined to bring hope to those who need it most.
As we gathered for the 2021 Heartbeat Conference to celebrate Heartbeat’s 50th birthday last week, I was reminded once again of our KIND heritage.
May we continue to thrive and grow as we pledge to be KIND - Knowledgeable, Innovative, Nuanced and Determined.
When we come together at gatherings like this, we see who we are, and we are reminded of the bond we share. We become more visible to ourselves and more visible to our world. Heartbeat does not look like we did 10-20-30-40-50 years ago, nor should we. Even months and years from now we will look different than we do today AND we will still be KIND – kind, a most important virtue for a lifelong relationship.
To this living breathing organization called Heartbeat International I say, Happy 50th Birthday.
by Julie Stepp, Affiliation CoordinatorHeartbeat International
There’s something about 50-year anniversaries that always intrigues me. For one thing, I always seem to be ending up at these half-century landmarks whenever they happen. Whether it’s at my university, in my country of choice for an extensive study abroad, or during the timing of my first full-time job, I find myself celebrating 50 years of something… over and over. I’m starting to wonder, “Does God have something to tell me through all this? Are 50-year anniversaries significant to Him, and if they are, why?”
I started studying where the number 50 shows up in the Bible to search for clues. The first factoid I found was that “Pentecost” means “50” and was a feast that happened 50 days after the Passover celebration of freedom from Egypt. This feast of Pentecost was also called the Feast of Firstfruits and celebrated the harvest God had provided for the people. So evidently “50” was related to freedom, celebration, and abundance in that case. The number “50” also came up in situations involving armies (like a group of 50 soldiers) or measurements (such as “make this area of the temple 50 by 50”). But what really caught my attention was the significance of the Year of Jubilee, which happened every 50 years for the children of Israel and was an entire year of releasing slaves to their families, forgiving debts owed to debtors, and restoring land to its rightful owners. I felt I’d hit the proverbial jackpot. Here was an example in the Bible of a year-long celebration of a 50-year anniversary that God Himself ordained. Maybe here was the answer to my questions about “the year of the 50.”
Let’s take a look together at what God had to say to the children of Israel about this “jubilee year” in Leviticus 25.
First, God told them that every 50th year would be a year of rest – rest for the farmland and the vineyards. This directly followed another year of no crop-planting, as every seven years God commanded a Sabbath rest too. With the 50th year coming right after the 49th, the Israelites were eating what they had planted over 2 years ago. God promised to take care of them through this time and provide for all their needs through their previous harvest. When I read this, I immediately thought about how 2020 was a similar year of rest in many ways. Businesses were closed for several weeks, social events were cancelled or moved “to the comfort of your home.” We didn’t have the option to “plant” our normal seeds in the hearts of our donors and supporters. The pregnancy help movement largely had to depend upon past interactions and strong current supporters to get through this season, and God provided. (Interestingly enough, while we’re celebrating Heartbeat’s 50th birthday in 2021, the fiftieth year of Heartbeat International was 2020. Remember that a child’s first year occurs before their first birthday, and so on and so forth, so 2020 really did match up with our 50th year!)
Then God told His people to “proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (v. 10). Slaves were freed and sent back to their hometowns, people who had sold their houses and land were welcome to return to their heritage (very important in those days), and many people got to experience freedom and release. It made me think of the fact that the pregnancy help community does exist to see an end to abortion in our lifetime, but in that existence, we encounter so much more than “the abortion problem.” We see broken families, wounded hearts, drug addiction, physical abuse, and sexual webs woven so tragically you wonder if their effects can ever be un-done. But Jesus came to give us “the year of the fifty.” He came to give not only us, but also our clients, a way out, a way to return to their homeland and repair the broken cities that have been devastated for generations. His power is real, and it works. What we do through pregnancy help inspires people to go back to their families – the places they learned their brokenness – and restore them back to healthy communities.
Last but not least, God promised the Israelites in verse 21, “I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years,” speaking of His abundant provision to sustain His people through their 2-year season of rest. Because the provision of the 48th year was so great, God’s people survived and thrived until they could reap the harvest of the 51st year. We’re in that season of rest and provision, friends. The seeds you have sown in previous years are still alive in the hearts God destined for them to be placed in. And not only are those seeds planted in the hearts of your donors, but also in the hearts of your clients. You are a two-sided ministry. Don’t doubt that God will bring to fruition what He planted through you in what seems like the distant past. His seeds have a purpose, and He will accomplish what He has set out to do. Don’t worry about “letting the fields rest.” God saw ahead, and He has commanded His blessing on you.
Just a few more thoughts. As a twenty-something celebrating all these 50-year marks, I’ve realized that it’s so sacred to witness a 50th anniversary. Think about when a couple celebrates their 50th anniversary. It’s such a special celebration because they likely won’t get to celebrate another 50-year mark – their 100th anniversary. Many times, different generations are looking at the same fifty mark and only get to see that fifty mark once. In the same way, a 50th birthday for an organization is a moment that all share together. I get to celebrate what others gone before me have prayed for, wept over, and offered their lives in service to. Heartbeat International, and the pregnancy help movement in general, takes skills, viewpoints, and experience levels from various generations to bring true healing and help to our communities. We are a cross-generational movement, and our 50th birthday is a moment in time that captures our passion together. May this “year of the fifty” be a year of rest, release from bondage, abundant provision, and multi-generational celebration.
In the last few years, Heartbeat has seen some amazing growth! Our affiliate network has been constantly expanding, and with the addition of the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, Next Level CMS, grant programs like Life Launch, and other exciting programs and resources introduced in the last few years, our staff have been working harder than ever to make sure you have all the tools you need to serve the women in your community.
With all of the excitement, Heartbeat’s team has had to adapt to new ways of working together, and that’s why we’re proud to announce that Betty McDowell, who has worked on the Ministry Services team for over 15 years, will be joining Cindi Boston as a Vice President at Heartbeat International.
Betty’s new title is Vice President of Ministry Services, and Cindi will continue to serve with the title, Vice President of Mission Advancement.
"Betty and I have worked together in pregnancy help ministry since 1983, and she has been a wise counselor to me (on matters both professional and personal!) for over 30 years,” says Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board of Heartbeat International, “So, I can confirm that she brings both a broad and deep level of knowledge, experience, creativity, passion, and wisdom to her position. Plus, her leadership is informed by her love of Christ and a focus on relationship. I can't think of a better combination! I am thrilled that Betty has accepted an even greater responsibility for Heartbeat's services to YOU, our affiliates, as Vice President of Ministry Services.”
Betty will continue to lead and serve the Ministry Services team, as members of the team take new titles as well. Dawn Lunsford, who will continue to make online learning available to the pregnancy help movement, takes the title of Director of Academy, and Christa Brown, who will continue to lead the Abortion Pill Rescue Network and work with those seeking to add medical services to their organizations, takes the title Director of Medical Impact.
Betty isn’t alone joining the Executive team. Director of Operations, Tony Gruber is also stepping into the executive team as Controller, and Danielle White, Esq. takes the title of Heartbeat General Counsel.
While not much changes for you, our affiliates (you’ll still be working with the same people for the same reasons!), we hope you’ll celebrate with us as we grow and adapt.
The 2017 Pregnancy Help Institute Ultrasound Track was a great success!
Heartbeat International was incredibly blessed to have Tammy Stearns, RDMS and Bryan Williams, RDMS facilitate the ultrasound training portion of PHI. Tammy and Bryan, along with several other volunteer sonographers, spent the week training ten participants, including nurses, an RDMS, a Nurse Practitioner and a physician, from Pregnancy Centers around the country. Trisonics and Preferred Medical Systems, in a joint collaboration, provided ultrasound machines for use during the week of training.
The ultrasound training not only contained a didactic portion and scan labs, but a spiritual component as well. Tammy opened each day reminding the class that this is a ministry, not just a skill, and that this ministry is something that can only come out of God’s overflowing presence in our lives, and not from within our own selves. Each day, Tammy’s devotions emphasized how the spiritual side of things was a big part of the ultrasound ministry.
“I appreciate that this training was tailored to working in a CPC. I learned not only technical training but the spiritual aspect of giving these babies a voice for the first time.”
Each morning there was a classroom-style teaching which covered topics from physics and QA in the ultrasound setting, to anatomy of mom and baby, and abnormal findings while performing ultrasounds. For many of the participants, this was the first time they had undergone such a training, and the curriculum was designed to be real and applicable.
The afternoon scan labs were a huge success. There were 7 instructors who were involved in the hands-on training, and about 40 “models” from the community who volunteered their time (and bellies) for the students to take turns scanning. In total, about 200 scans were performed by the class (about 20 per student) which went towards the recommended 50-75 training scans that is recommended for Limited OB Ultrasound training. The students learned the basics of scanning a typical client that may present in the PRC, as well as the unique instruction on how to dialogue with the abortion-minded client during a scan.
“This was a very informative training. Each sonographer had a helpful hint to give, each one gave critical information for getting good ultrasounds. The didactic information was explained fully and in a helpful way. I believe I got way more than my money’s worth.”
The overall success of this year's ultrasound training will prove to be a huge tool in the PRC tool-belt as more qualified medical professionals are learning the ultrasound skills they need to be successful in the collective quest for life.
CHICAGO – Headlining with syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, the 2017 Heartbeat International Annual Conference kicks off Wednesday and runs through Friday, and is expected to draw over 1,200 guests from 15 countries to Chicago’s Hyatt Regency near O’Hare Airport.
The conference is the 46th in Heartbeat International’s history, this year taking place in a state where pro-life medical professionals—including many who work and volunteer at nonprofit pregnancy clinics—are fighting a recent change to state law signed into effect by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Gov. Rauner signed a legislative change to Illinois’ Healthcare Right of Conscience Act midway through 2016 that would force doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to refer their patients for abortions against the deeply held religious conviction of those professionals. The law, which also applies to nonprofits that expressly exist to offer alternatives to abortion and receive no government funding, is being fought in state and federal courts, with one judge granting a temporary injunction against the law in late 2016.
The location of the conference—which varies each year—comes at the perfect time, says Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey, who has called upon affiliates in the state to defy the law.
“We plan these conferences several years ahead of time, so we feel particularly energized and encouraged to see all the pieces fall into place for Chicago in 2017,” Godsey said. “We’re looking forward to seeing great things happen with our speakers, ministry partners and special guests all week.”
A member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors, as well as a Fox News contributor, Cal Thomas is a past recipient of the William F. Buckley, Jr., Award for Media Excellence. He will be speaking Wednesday afternoon ahead of Ryan Bomberger, an Emmy® Award-winning creative professional who is an outspoken leader within the pro-life movement after having been conceived in rape and going onto become an adoptive father.
The keynote lineup also includes David and Jason Benham, former professional baseball players and successful realtors whose HGTV show was canceled in 2014 because of their candid Christian beliefs. Jill Stanek—a former RN in Oak Lawn, Ill., who resigned her position when hospital administrators would do nothing to stop infants born alive during abortions from being left to die—will also speak at the event, along with Dr. William Lile, an ob-gyn who bought out an abortion facility in South Florida and has spent the last two decades educating audiences on abortion procedures.
In addition to the keynotes, the conference includes 90 workshops and 15 full-day courses, including over 20 learning opportunities approved for nursing contact hours by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
“Pregnancy help centers and medical clinics are good for America,” Godsey said. “This is a primary opportunity for those of us within this vital community to link arms and better equip ourselves to save lives in a life-changing way.”
About Heartbeat International
Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,100 affiliated pregnancy help locations—including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies—Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.
by Dawn Lunsford, Associate Director of Academy
Heartbeat Academy is celebrating an important milestone, as more than 3,000 students from around the world attended and completed training online in May, 2016 alone.
Although this number of students is certainly cause to celebrate, what we celebrate goes beyond these 3,000 students as we look to the ripple effect ongoing training and continuing education has on the pregnancy help movement worldwide.
Heartbeat International originally launched our Academy in 2011 to make training on key manuals and dynamic speakers just a click away, empowering pregnancy help organizations right where you are, in whatever issue or situation you are facing, with on-demand training.
The software and technology that power Heartbeat Academy provide plenty of numbers to identify, study, and celebrate.
We celebrate as students rack up hundreds of training hours each month, thousands a year. We celebrate each hour of credit toward the Life Affirming Specialist designation earned. But what brings us true joy, true cause to rejoice, is when we hear about the effect ongoing training has had on our students themselves and the organizations with which they are involved.
The most important thing students learn in the Academy is not in a course, but is in realizing the profound effect ongoing training can have on staff—not to mention clients, organizations and communities.
I can’t help but smile at God’s planning when learning that a center with a successful Abortion Pill Reversal story first heard about the procedure and the APR network from their volunteer nurse who logged on because she needed the contact hour credit a year and a half ago.
Or, at the director who took a course on the Commitment of Care and Competence in case it would be good for a new staff member who had some downtime, only to find the content she needed for her next in-service.
Heartbeat Academy is positioned to equip you to have moments like these with the click of a mouse.
In addition to the pivotal information available in an on demand format, in 2013 Heartbeat Academy launched its first live hybrid course, ConCERT: Consultant Continuing Education Renewal and Training. ConCERT is an opportunity for staff and volunteers to train directly under Heartbeat staff.
The most common remark from students who have finished the course is, "This wasn't completely new information, but now I can see how it works in the big picture." Our students grow in confidence, skill, and understanding bringing all of that back to their organization and their community.
It’s not uncommon to speak to these students months or years later and hear how the course not only helped them grow professionally by earning the Life Affirming Specialist designation, but helped their organization as well. Our ConCERT training does so much to help leaders grow in essential areas like increasing their reach through media coverage, expanding services, and building partnerships with other organizations.
So, while we wait and see what ripple effects we’ll see from the 3,000 students working in the Academy this past month, we rejoice at the opportunity to serve and invest in you. Whether by helping affiliated centers train volunteers through a private course, offering credit for nurses, or tackling current events with a dynamic webinar, the Academy is just one way Heartbeat is committed to coming alongside and continuing to help equip and empower pregnancy help organizations around the world.
Join over 3,000 students by choosing a class from the Heartbeat Academy today!
by Jennifer Minor, Editor/Writer
If you’ve visited our job registry lately, you know that Heartbeat International is looking for an Office Assistant right now. (By the way, please share this link with anyone who might be interested in serving the administrative needs of Heartbeat.)
We hope you’ve had the pleasure of speaking with our soon-to-be former office assistant, Hannah Sapp. While we’re sad to see Hannah move on, we are thrilled to tell you that Hannah’s move will be no further than down the hall—to our 24-7 contact center, Option Line.
“It’s all an adventure,” Hannah says. “While I’m leaving a team I love, I’m also joining a team I love.”
Hannah has been a light at Heartbeat Central. Coming with a heart for teen girls and sexual integrity, she was excited to learn more about what serving young women looks like from a nonprofit perspective when she first joined our team in early 2014.
With an eventual hope of starting a transitional housing project for vulnerable young women, Hannah has had a front-row seat to Heartbeat International’s burgeoning partnership with the National Maternity Housing Coalition, which started in April of 2013.
Hannah certainly has learned a lot on the Ministry Services team. Besides being one of the first to answer phone calls, she never misses a chance to ask a question and find out more about what our affiliates face, from client issues to legal issues, offering prayer and passing along prayer requests to the rest of our team.
From day one, Hannah has shown a learner’s mentality, gaining a grasp on a wide variety of issues our affiliates face every day.
But something was missing.
Hannah’s heart for teen girls inspired her to pick up a few hours a week at Option Line to serve that community with a message of hope, love, and compassion. Very quickly, it became clear that Option Line is where Hannah is being called full-time for the next season in her life.
The job of an Option Line consultant is unique and challenging. The 650 women (and sometimes men!) who reach out to Option Line every day via phone, email, text and live chat are in desperate need of another person. That’s why Hannah and her fellow consultants direct each caller to your pregnancy help organization, where they can get the in-person help they don’t always know they need.
It’s Hannah’s position at Heartbeat International—passing on encouragement and feedback, equipping pregnancy help leaders, and praying with staff and affiliates—that has brought her to a place where she can serve women at Option Line well.
“I can send callers to our affiliates because I have seen the value of their centers,” Hannah says. “I have confidence that when they go there, they will receive hope.”
So as Hannah moves down the hall, take the chance the next time you call in to say hi and thank her for all the work she's done—and will do—for you and for the women we’re serving together.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Local pro-life pregnancy help organizations have a new way to grow the support of their community, with the launch of YouSaveBabies.com, a web platform that connects donors with the life-saving work of pregnancy centers, pregnancy medical clinics, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies.
Launched by Heartbeat International, the world’s largest network of pregnancy help, YouSaveBabies enables groups and individuals to promote and raise funds for the life-saving outreach of their choice.
Ideas for starting a fundraiser—which can be promoted via social media channels—include races and other personal goals, birthdays, in memory of loved ones, or as a way to coalesce the support of local church groups around a local pregnancy center. Starting a fundraiser is as simple as selecting an organization and filling out a brief fundraising form. All donations—less credit card transaction fees—go directly to the organization of choice.
“We’re confident YouSaveBabies will play a vital role in what Heartbeat International is most committed to doing—advancing life-affirming pregnancy help at the local level,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Pregnancy help organizations are rescuing lives and helping to build strong families every single day. Donors and other supporters are invigorated to see that, and YouSaveBabies is a great way for them to connect.”
The giving platform utilizes FundEasy, web software by Ministry Sync that has helped faith-based nonprofits raise over $35 million since its rollout in 2010. Individual pregnancy help organizations can choose to embed a YouSaveBabies giving badge on their donor websites to raise awareness for newly unveiled platform.
Heartbeat International affiliates in the U.S. and those available through Heartbeat International’s 24-7 contact center Option Line (1-800-712-HELP, OptionLine.org) are automatically listed in the YouSaveBabies network, which includes over 2,000 pregnancy help locations.
“This is a great step forward for our friends on the local level, and it’s another way we can work together to build a culture where no woman ever feels so alone or coerced that she feels abortion is her only choice,” Godsey said. “Pregnancy help provides compassionate support and real choice, and these life-saving organizations have a new friend in YouSaveBabies.”
About Heartbeat International Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations—including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies—Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.
COLUMBUS, OH - Less than two months into the calendar year, 2016 is shaping up to be a major marker in Heartbeat International’s history. The network is welcoming its 2,000th affiliated pregnancy help organization and celebrating the 13th anniversary of its 24-7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line.
Called into existence by local pregnancy centers in 1971 as the first-ever network of pregnancy help, Heartbeat International’s 2,000th affiliate is First Choice Pregnancy Center, a medical center offering free ultrasound scanning, STI testing, pregnancy testing and more in Weatherford, Oklahoma, home of Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
The center’s executive director, Kathy Gibson, whose journey to pro-life work began shortly after she experienced an abortion, attended Heartbeat International’s Pregnancy Help Institute in Dec. 2015, along with her executive assistant.
“In 20 years in this work, I have never experienced anything like it,” Gibson said of the Institute. “From there, joining Heartbeat International was a no-brainer. I feel like Heartbeat is in touch with who we are and where we are, and we love the personal touch that Heartbeat offers.”
Option Line (1-800-712-HELP; OptionLine.org) represents one of the central visions of Heartbeat International’s founding generation—comprised of pro-life ob-gyns and an unsung hero of the Holocaust—of a hotline connecting callers with help near them.
Since answering its first call in 2003, Option Line has responded to over 2.35 million contacts, including phone calls, live chats, texts and emails. The helpline answered over 243,000 contacts—650 every day—in 2015. Option Line also increased its web traffic in 2015 by launching a new iteration of OptionLine.org, and has expanded its capability of connecting contacts directly to local pregnancy help to over 500 locations.
Overall, Option Line refers to 2,250 pregnancy help organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“It’s incredible to think of the children who are becoming teenagers this year who may never have been if not for Option Line,” Bri Laycock, director of operations for Option Line, said. “We are convinced now more than ever that local pregnancy help is what makes the difference between life and abortion for so many mothers. That’s why our energies have always been—and will always remain—focused on connecting callers and website visitors to pregnancy help people near them.”
At 2,000 affiliate locations worldwide, including a presence on every inhabited continent, Heartbeat International continues to be the largest network of pregnancy help.
Hosting its 45th Annual Conference March 29-31 in Atlanta, Heartbeat International announced a leadership transition in early January, as Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., the organization’s president of 22 years, took on new responsibilities as Chairman of the Board, promoting longtime vice president Jor-El Godsey as only the second president in the 45-year history of the network.
COLUMBUS, OH - Cindi Boston, who helped start and has led successful pregnancy help center in Missouri as its CEO since 1999, has been named Heartbeat International’s Vice President, it was announced Tuesday.
The announcement comes just days after the organization named former President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., as Board Chair and promoted former Vice President Jor-El Godsey to President. Boston, whose involvement in the pregnancy help community dates back to 1989, had previously served on Heartbeat International’s Board of Directors starting in 2013.
“From the time we were started by pregnancy help people back in 1971, Heartbeat International has always believed in the strength and expertise of our network, and Cindi is a perfect example of this,” Godsey, who has been involved in life-affirming efforts since 1988, said. “We have admired Cindi’s strengths as a leader ever since we first met her, and it is truly amazing to think about what God has in store for Cindi and for Heartbeat International in coming years.”
Boston chaired the initial board of Springfield, Missouri’s Pregnancy Care Center in 1998, helping to turn $2,000 of seed money and a mailing list into an organization that has served more than 265,000 expectant moms, dads, and students over the past 15 years.
Boston has brought several of the parents who chose life—along with their children—to Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress annual event in Washington, D.C., and is leading one of the six teams preparing for the event Jan. 21.
A 2011 recipient of Heartbeat International’s Servant-Leader Award, Boston has developed relationships with local and state politicians as a member and Board Chair for Missouri’s Alliance for Life. Her efforts helped cultivate a positive environment in the state legislature that adopted its 2011 Resolution Honoring Pregnancy Care Centers and, more recently, increased its partnership with pregnancy help centers through its Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
With Boston on board as Vice President, Heartbeat International’s senior leadership team brings more than 60 years of direct involvement with local pregnancy centers between Boston, Godsey, and Senior Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell. All three hold designations as Life-Affirming Specialists through Heartbeat International's Academy.
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