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placeholder March 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic Organizations/Charities

Birthright: The story of life

She maneuvered through the frozen food section looking for the usual green beans and corn, while a mass of red hair darted between her shopping cart and the food case, missing both by inches.

He let out a powerful belly laugh with total abandonment — the type that can only come from a 5-year-old boy — and continued speeding to the end of the aisle as if he was about to cross the Grand Prix finish line.

Mom came running after him with an apologetic but joyful expression. As soon as they made eye contact, the two women realized they had met before. Memories took them back to very troubling times when they shared many tears during a brief but loving friendship.

This is the story of a caring, Birthright client mentor supporting a woman who was coping with the distress of an unplanned pregnancy. This is the story of Birthright, life.

Theresa Scharlemann recounted the grocery store experience noting the "utter joy" she experienced in support of God's creative process when a new life is brought into the world. In the middle of the frozen food section, she was thrilled to get reacquainted with the happy mom and adorable son, and to witness the transforming nature of love.

The key qualities of a mentor, Scharlemann said, are "the importance of being a good listener and the need for Birthright's mantra — acceptance." The Birthright way is loving, acceptance of women and girls who are overwhelmed by an unplanned pregnancy.

"We deal with the physical, mental and spiritual" when a client comes in for support, she said. Getting to know the client and asking questions about her needs is vital. We welcome the wanted and the unwanted.

Scharlemann notes being a Birthright volunteer is "an opportunity to connect and have a stranger become a friend through trust and personal growth.

"God and I start the client on the journey," she said. The friendship is beneficial for both client and mentor; in the end "we give but receive more back."

Scharlemann encourages anyone interested in volunteering to consider this important and rewarding ministry. Current needs: client mentors, administrative skills, graphic design skills and young energetic students for social media interns (can earn hours for community service).

Join Birthright of Livermore in our life-giving ministry; dial 925-449-5887 or email: birthrightlvr@gmail.com.

(Mair Moran is executive director and Theresa Scharlemann a client mentor at Birthright.)

 
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