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Pregnancy Center's new leader named PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Saturday, 16 November 2013 09:52
Shelly Burkhart is the new director at the BG Pregnancy Center. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Bowling Green Pregnancy Center Board of Directors has hired a new executive director.
Shelly Burkhart, who replaces Lynette Worthy as center director, comes to Bowling Green from the Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo. There she served as the client services director for the past two and a half years.
A native of Bedford, Mich., Burkhart currently resides in Waterville and has a background in both ministry and banking.
"I worked for Cedar Creek Church (in Perrysburg) for seven years" and for St. Timothy Episcopal Church, also in Perrysburg, for two years before that.
She started her career with 19 years in the banking business. "I started with Toledo Trust and went through five mergers" with the bank.
"Shelly is thrilled to be our new executive director and has an incredible passion for women, the unborn and to help post-abortive women heal," notes center board member Veronica Urban.
Her current career in crisis pregnancy services is one that Burkhart has fully embraced, coming to it with unusually personal motivation.
"I myself am a post-abortion survivor," she explained, "so I do have a huge passion for women in that situation."
She quotes U.S. Guttmacher Institute statistics showing that "one of three women of childbearing years will have an abortion," so clearly the population of affected women is huge.
"When I was 16, I was date-raped. I did not have a choice" about whether or not to have an abortion at that time. "I was not taken to a pregnancy center."
Burkhart and her husband, Bruce, have been married for 24 years. Bruce works at the Toledo Zoo. They have two children. One is a Bowling Green State University graduate and the other is currently attending the university.
In her spare time, Burkhart is an avid seamstress. This past summer she made over 100 dresses that she took to Kenya, Africa, for a mission trip. In Kenya, the team reached out to street children in Kawangware, a slum outside the capital city of Nairobi.
The main purpose of the trip, she said, was to visit churches and increase awareness among pastors about the best way to serve women who have had abortions or are facing crisis pregnancies.
"Abortion is now legal over there," Burkhart explained, so the aim was to encourage pastors that if they find someone who is pregnant to educate them that abortion is not the only option they have. Within the church communities in Kenya, women who are pregnant outside of marriage are generally shunned, she added. The members of her team worked to replace that attitude with a message of support for women who are pregnant and scared.  
That same kind of support is offered locally, Burkhart said.
The BG Pregnancy Center, which opened its doors in 1985, is currently located at 441 Frazee Ave. It offers free pregnancy testing and free ultrasounds, among other services. For more information call 419-354-4673.

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