By Lisa Bourne
Another mom who chose life while facing an unexpected pregnancy will be empowered to pursue her educational dream through the scholarship inspired by the pro-life movie Unplanned.
The latest Unplanned Movie Scholarship was awarded at the See Life 2021 pro-life gathering in Dallas August 28.
Focus on the Family’s See Life event is an opportunity to showcase pro-life ministries, including pregnancy help centers, and gather life-minded people together. A series of videos centering on pro-life issues concluded at the live Dallas event which featured speakers, pro-life stories, interactive exhibits and experiences, and a worship concert.
Heartbeat International partnered with Focus on the Family for the event along with other national pro-life groups including Care Net and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly and Embrace Grace President and co-founder Amy Ford were joined by Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey and actress Ashley Bratcher to present the scholarship award from the See Life stage.
The Unplanned Movie scholarship was inspired by Bratcher’s role in the movie Unplanned based upon the story of pro-life activist Abby Johnson. The scholarship, a partnership with Bratcher and Heartbeat International, was established in 2019 to honor women who choose life while facing an unplanned pregnancy and supported through donations.
This Unplanned Movie Scholarship award, the fourth of its kind, was directly funded by Focus on the Family. The latest recipient was a young lady named Dominique from Living Alternatives pregnancy help medical clinic in Tyler, TX.
Ford remarked to Bratcher that it was a genius idea to found the scholarship.
“After doing Unplanned I was getting tons of messages from young girls who were scared to have their babies because they didn’t think they could achieve their dreams or continue with school,” Bratcher responded, saying it seemed like such an easy problem to find a solution to.
“Here’s the thing,” she said, “you can walk on any college campus and say, ‘Where’s Planned Parenthood?’ and they’ll say, ‘It’s down the street to the right.’” You ask where the local pregnancy help center is, and they don’t know.”
“So, part of the reason this scholarship exists is to highlight these pregnancy help centers,” said Bratcher. “And that is why I’ve partnered with Heartbeat International, because they are the hands and the feet all over the world. We want to show women that they can be successful, and they can achieve their dreams being a mother.”
Daly commended the idea behind the scholarship.
“When we heard about this at Focus on the Family, we said, “We’ve got to jump into this,’” he said.
Dominique entered the stage with her five-month-old son Dominic.
Bratcher told her, “Dominique, we are so proud of you. You have been working full-time, you have aspirations to work in physical therapy, and you chose life.”
“And we want to support you and walk alongside of you,” Bratcher said. “And so tonight because of the generosity of Focus on the Family and the support of Heartbeat International we’re awarding you a $15,000 scholarship.”
“You can have a baby and your dreams too,” Ford told her.
Godsey commented on how conferring the award during the See Life event magnified the joy of a young mother choosing life.
“Normally, the scholarships are given in small, surprise celebrations that bring smiles, often tears of joy, and hope for the education that is often only a dream,” Godsey said. “Focus on the Family not only partnered with Heartbeat to make this scholarship possible, but then they share the special See Life 2021 spotlight in front of an arena crowd in person and many times that online.”
“It was quite a celebratory collaboration that continues to fulfill Ashley Bratcher’s vision to help young moms fulfill their education dreams,” he said.
Heartbeat International Grant Program Specialist Sara Littlefield echoed the idea of joy for Dominique receiving the scholarship.
“To see another mom supported as she continues her education is truly inspiring,” she said. “The Unplanned Movie Scholarship offers moms facing unplanned pregnancies educational scholarships so that they can continue pursuing their dreams while raising their babies, impacting not only their lives, but the lives of their little ones.”
“By encouraging positive choices, we can see families and communities transformed,” Littlefield added. “Thank you to Focus on the Family and Ashley Bratcher for their continued efforts supporting moms who are choosing life while chasing their dreams!”