Donor & Volunteer Stories
On June 30, as part of Seven Hills Church’s Heart the City Week, Michelle Doherty showed up enthusiastic and ready to work at Care Net’s McKinley Family Center in Florence. Her face aglow, she told us why she chose Care Net as her project for Heart the City.
“I wanted to help a nearby pregnancy center because I know exactly what you do and I love you for it!” she said. “Twenty years ago, I had a front-row seat to one of the greatest miracles, if not the greatest miracle, that God has performed in my life. I was only 16, and I found out that I was pregnant. I felt like a disappointment, and I was scared, alone, and ashamed. I told my long-term boyfriend, and he wanted no part of being a father and said I should get an abortion.
“Not knowing who else to turn to, I turned to my family for support. My mom was embarrassed and in shock, and my dad’s only solution was to have an abortion. My mom told me it was my choice, but my dad and grandmother insisted I undergo the abortion. They told me, ‘IT isn’t a baby yet. IT is just a clump of cells,’ and horror stories of women dying in childbirth. They thought it would be a quick fix.
“I told my mom to schedule an appointment to have the abortion. I still remember that day, driving to the downtown Louisville abortion clinic on Main Street like it was yesterday. The emotions are still so raw and so vivid. My anxiety was high, and the words of my dad and grandmother repeated in my head the whole drive. I knew it would all be over in a few hours, and I could get back to my everyday teenage life.
“We parked the car in a parking lot off the main road because my mom didn’t want to risk the chance of being seen by someone she knew. When we got to the door, she was mortified because it was locked, and they had to buzz us in. Those minutes standing outside that door felt like hours. When the door opened, we were greeted by several amazing, kind, and comforting women. This wasn’t the type of abortion clinic environment I envisioned. That’s because it wasn’t an abortion clinic at all. We were at the wrong address; God led us to the pregnancy resource center across the street.
“We apologized for being at the incorrect location, and as we turned to walk out the door, the director of the center asked if I would like to get an exam and ultrasound while I was there. I hesitated but agreed and followed them to the exam room. As I lay on the exam table staring at the blank screen of the ultrasound monitor, nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened next.
“The ultrasound wand was placed, and I could hear the fast whoosh whoosh whoosh of my baby’s heartbeat. As the ultrasound wand was adjusted, I could see my tiny eight-week-old baby girl growing inside me. She was small, but she was not a clump of cells. She was a baby with a heartbeat, DNA, arms, legs and—I didn’t know it yet—the most beautiful brown eyes you’ve ever seen. I knew at that moment that I would choose life for my baby.
“The women I first met at that Louisville pregnancy resource center are still in our lives today. They were with us every step of the way through my pregnancy and after. They prayed with me, supported me, counseled me, gave me maternity clothes and baby supplies, and were there to remind me I was never alone. They were my angels in disguise. And that’s when the seed was planted. I knew I wanted to give back and help others.
“The past 20 years have not been without trial or heartbreak or a few wrong turns along the way, but they have been glorious years. A miraculous gift from God was given to our family on Main Street that morning in June and set the stage for something way bigger than I could have ever imagined. Every trial and triumph, every person the Lord has put in my path, every moment, and every blessing has led me to where I am today. I have felt the Holy Spirit guiding me and leading me to fulfill God’s purpose for my life with such an intense passion I have never experienced before.
“Now I feel it’s time for me to give back. I want to start helping at Care Net. I’m interested in helping my church start pregnancy help ministries like Embrace Grace and Bible studies geared to that woman who, just like me 20 years ago, are scared, alone and confused. I want God to use all I’ve been through and all I have learned since for His glory.”
Photos: top, Michelle Doherty; bottom, Michelle with her daughters
The Hands of God
Members of the Needles and Thread Club of Calvary Baptist Church in Latonia literally use their hands for God. On WKRC-TV’s “What’s Happening in Health” show that aired June 20, 2022, Harriet Thompson and her sewing group presented several quilts to Care Net to share with our clients.
Whenever the Needles and Thread Club sees a need they can meet, they get busy sewing, quilting and crocheting. They’ve donated such handmade items as quilts, shawls, hats, and clothing for a variety of needs, including missionaries in Togo, a local hospice and recently humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The group also teaches sewing and crocheting to homeschooled kids and others. Nearly all the materials they use are donated by local retailers and individuals.
“We just offered our talents and God has provided,” Harriet said. “It’s becoming a lost art and we love to pass along our love and skill to others!” The Needles and Thread Club welcomes new members.
Photo: Denise Melton, Tiffany Gabbert and Lyndi Zembrodt of Care Net (left, second from left, and back) with members of the Needle and Thread Club.
Hebrews 10:24 encourages us to “Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Talking with Emma does exactly that. Emma, her older brother and younger sister, with help from their mom, make a little spending money from running a Boone County Recorder paper route in a few neighborhoods. Most 12 year olds would happily take their cut of the money and either go on a spending spree each month or squirrel it all away for a big item they’ve been longing for. Emma’s parents, however, encourage tithing to worthy organizations from each “paycheck” and Emma decided she wanted her tithe to go to Care Net.
When asked why, Emma said, “I like children and babies. My mom used to be on the Care Net board of directors so I got to see what Care Net did to help the community. They helped the women who are pregnant see different options. I believe many who can’t take care of their babies ought to choose adoption.”
Emma also said she had helped Care Net Pregnancy Services of Northern Kentucky in other ways. She participated in their Walk for Life, has been to their annual banquet, attended the Right to Life Cross the Bridge event, stuffed envelopes for fundraising, cleaned their buildings, and helped with landscaping. She and her classmates at Classical Conversations even helped raise money through Boone County’s “Trash to Cash” road cleanup program. They picked up trash from 10 miles of road and were able to donate $1,000 to Care Net Pregnancy Services of Northern Kentucky.
As compassionate and giving as Emma is, she is also a 12-year-old girl. She speaks up but has a soft voice and a sweet but shy smile. She enjoys many things a girl of her age would–drawing, painting, soccer, hiking, board games with the family, having fun with friends at American Heritage Girls club and playing the piano. She loves reading stories from Anne of Green Gables, the Elsie Dinsmore series, Nancy Drew Mysteries. She’s not the person who would come to mind when you hear the words “donor” or “volunteer.”
So many people think you must have lots of extra money to donate to causes you think important. “When I become rich, I’m gonna to give money to . . .” is heard way too frequently. But Emma has a different philosophy: “If you like something and you think it should keep going, it’s always a good idea to help keep it going yourself. Give what you can. If you tithe to a good cause then I believe God will give you back more than what you gave in the first place.”
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people followed “Emma’s philosophy”?