I love this time of year as we await cooler weather, another school year, and Friday night lights. I know some have grown tired of the social media back to school posts, but I actually enjoy seeing them. I enjoy seeing the difference a year makes and the excitement or lack thereof from each student.

This year I have started to notice that some of the pictures being posted are from former patients at HOPE. This realization brought about a feeling of great joy as I witnessed a young mom that chose her dreams and her baby now have the opportunity to see her baby follow his/her dreams.

I don’t want to over dramatize back to school pictures, but I do want us to understand that for some of these kids, their story started at HOPE. We saw them on a flat screen monitor in an exam room. We held their mom while she cried tears of joy and uncertainty. We mentored them as they anxiously awaited the arrival of their unplanned bundle of joy. We threw them a baby shower as we celebrated the day of delivery.

Our work is not done in a vacuum. We could not have offered a pregnancy test or an ultrasound without the help of our supporters. We would be unable to offer mentoring and parenting education without the support of volunteers. Not one baby shower could be provided without the generous donations of the local church.

Because of your support, we are able to tell these moms and their babies that they are not alone. They may face difficult circumstances and life may throw some obstacles their way, but they will never have to face those as a solo act. We will be there cheering them on as they step out into parenthood.

It is easy to take this work for granted. Just like any job, there are times where we want to put our head down and just go through the motions. I would caution against that. This work at HOPE and our partnerships with you is saving lives. Our doors being opened and lights being on is bringing lasting, might I say, eternal change to a broken world.

We consider it an honor to partner with so many for the cause of life. It has been said that the pregnancy center is truly the frontline of the life movement. I believe this to be the case, but these frontlines would be vacant without the support of so many that make our work possible.

Some of you have stood with us for twenty years, while others may have joined us last month. Regardless of when you locked arms with HOPE, we want you to know that your love and support is appreciated and making an impact.

This morning, a young mom dropped her child off at school. This may seem mundane, but we know the stories. We know that mom struggled in the beginning with the news of her pregnancy. We know she contemplated termination. We know that times were tough, but we also know that she found HOPE.

Celebrate the milestones today. Understand that those back to school pictures, however corny they may be, are glimpses of HOPE, determination, and a whole lot of love.

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center