NRL News

Georgia pregnancy help center sees growth, change in nearly quarter century of giving women hope

by | Dec 22, 2020

By Gayle Irwin

A Center of Hope team members
Photo: Carol Fairman

The two women had not seen each other for about six months. When Carol Fairman met her friend Shannon for lunch, she discovered two significant events in the young woman’s life: Shannon was pregnant and in an abusive relationship. Fairman connected her friend with staff from a pregnancy help center she had recently met herself, and together, she and her team provided Shannon with hope.

“She was terrified and didn’t know what she was going to do,” Fairman said. “She found out she was pregnant after being thrown down a flight of stairs (by the boyfriend). She would have to quit her job until after the baby was born.”

Fairman had just started her job at A Center of Hope, preparing to become the new executive director for the center’s two pregnancy medical clinics. 

“I prayed with her … and I said, ‘I just started this job, and I think they can help you,’” Fairman said. “We got her connected with one of the lead patient advocates at our Loganville clinic, and they connected her with a counselor that helped her walk through the emotional abuse. We got her signed up for Earn While You Learn so that she had everything she needed when the baby was born.”

More help and surprises came Shannon’s way.  

“After the baby was born, she was able to go right back to work. She met a Godly man along the way, and … married (him),” Fairman said. “At the beginning of this year … she purchased a cabinetry company. She has gone from being in an abusive relationship and no work to getting back to work, getting married, is in a Godly home and thriving, and now she owns her own company! She was so broken and without hope, but God restored her.”

Providing hope for nearly 25 years

A Center of Hope CPC serves communities east of Atlanta, doing business as the Pregnancy Resource Center of Walton in Loganville and the Women’s Health and Wellness Clinic of Walton in Monroe. The organization began in Loganville, however, “the ministry almost didn’t survive,” Fairman said.

A “rebirth” took place in 2006 with stronger community backing, a new location, and the first paid staff position of a part-time client services director, she said. Five years later, the ministry expanded to Monroe and went medical. The organization’s first ultrasound came via a grant from the Knights of Columbus, a nurse was hired, and a grant from the Walton County Healthcare Foundation helped secure funding for “the medical side of the center,” which included ultrasounds, Fairman said.

More new programs and services were added as years passed, including a sexual health outreach to public schools in 2014 that lasted five years, and a fatherhood mentorship program in 2015 that continues and “is thriving,” according to Fairman. Testing and treatment for STIs began in 2017, the year Fairman was hired to serve alongside the retiring director. In 2018 the organization’s board voted to extend the directorship position to her. Last year, the group opened a medical clinic in Loganville in the same building as the organization’s medical director, creating a second spot for medical services, including ultrasounds. 

Offering hope in the year of COVID

The last few years saw clients and staff enveloped in hope. 

In 2019, Fairman and her team witnessed 31 of 42 abortion-minded women choose life for their unborn children, 137 babies born to patients, and 15 clients accept Christ. Through the end of November 2020, 172 “new clients,” came to the centers, 121 of which had positive pregnancy tests, and the two locations provided 112 ultrasounds, Fairman said. 

During the first wave of COVID from mid-March to mid-June 2020, 17 of 19 abortion-minded patients chose life, including one who was referred by Planned Parenthood.

There are two abortion clinics within a 30-mile drive of the Monroe center, Fairman said, one in Athens and another in Lawrenceville. 

Additionally this year, a man in the fatherhood program made an eternal choice.

“The very first night back into our fatherhood programs, we had our first salvation in our fatherhood program – that was incredibly exciting to have a dad come to the Lord!” Fairman said. 

In early 2020, the organization received a grant from the Walton County Healthcare Foundation to upgrade an ultrasound machine, allowing the purchase of equipment with 3D and 4D capabilities, and providing clients updated equipment by which to see their unborn children.

“It’s powerful watching the Lord work this year!” Fairman said. 

Hope for the future

As she enters her third year leading the organization, Fairman envisions helping women in the area even more. 

 “Our vision moving forward is to strengthen the programs we already have,” she said. “We’re very rural … and not everybody can get to us, so we’re praying about a mobile (medical) unit. We’d like to strategically place ourselves through that mobile unit and show up at health fairs and community events, offer pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, breastfeeding stations, etc.”

As she looks at cabinetry created by Shannon and donated by the woman’s former employer that hangs in one of the centers, Fairman is reminded of the faithfulness of God. 

“It’s kind of like a standing stone to me. I look at that and I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and the blessings of what happens in these (pregnancy help) clinics,” she said. “I cannot wait to continue seeing what God will do … as we get ready to move into 25 more years of ministry here.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.