Lansdowne, VA - 19-year-old Lizzie Burton never really dared to hope she would receive a full tuition scholarship to Regent University. But that’s exactly what happened. Lizzie was nominated for the scholarship by Becky Deas, the executive director of the Care Net affiliated pregnancy center Options Now, in Valdosta, GA and selected by Care Net, in association with Regent University. This is the eighth full-ride scholarship Care Net and Regent have given to the client of a Care Net affiliated pregnancy center.
“My goal, even before I found out I was pregnant, was always to go to college,” Lizzie said in her scholarship application. Welcoming her daughter, Brooklyn, has only intensified her determination to fulfill this goal. “I want to be able to show her that no matter what falls in your path your dreams are always still within reach.”
Lizzie and her boyfriend had only been dating for four months when she found out she was pregnant. “Everything I had worked so hard for in the past four years seemed to be slipping away,” she said.
When they told their parents the news, Lizzie’s mom encouraged them to make an ultrasound appointment at Options Now.
The compassion, hope, and help Lizzie and her boyfriend received at their ultrasound appointment with Options Now made all the difference.
“It’s just overwhelming that at that point in life, where you feel so ashamed and so low, that you’re able to go to a place like that and they don’t judge you, they don’t look down on you, but they love you and they care for you and they make sure to show you that the whole time.”
The free ultrasound provided by Options Now staff had a big impact, according to Lizzie. “It’s one thing to say you’re pregnant, but it’s another to be able to go in there and actually see your baby on a screen and hear your baby’s heartbeat. That changes everything,” she explained.
After her first appointment, Lizzie and her boyfriend returned repeatedly for classes where they learned about pregnancy, birth, and parenting. “We were able to go together and grow as a couple, grow as parents.”
Brooklyn is now a year old and her family sees her as a gift from God.
“I feel like you have those moments in your life where you see that God answered a prayer or that you’re reminded that God’s in charge, but then life goes on and you can forget those moments. But with Brooklyn, we can’t forget it because she’s here to remind us,” Lizzie’s mom shared.
Options Now director Becky Deas chose to nominate Lizzie for the scholarship “because of her compelling story of choosing life for her daughter Brooklyn, her desire to obtain a college degree, and my belief that she can accomplish her education goal.”
Though Lizzie’s life is different than she expected, she’s still determined to achieve her goals of studying Healthcare Management and having a career she’s passionate about.
“Being a mom, working, and going to school can be hard but it is possible,” she said, “Regent University will make that even more possible for me by being able to get my bachelor’s degree completely online and still have time to spend with my family and work while going to school.”
At first, Lizzie was apprehensive about sharing her story. But she soon realized her story could be an encouragement to other women in her situation. “Just because something like this falls in your path doesn’t mean everything’s over!” Lizzie said, “You still can succeed, you still can go through with your dreams, you can still be the same person you were.”
Lizzie received the scholarship at Care Net’s 25th annual conference in Atlanta, GA on September 7, 2018. Lizzie was joined by her boyfriend and daughter Brooklyn. Care Net board member and Regent faculty member Dr. Kathleen Patterson was also present for the presentation.
Care Net and Regent University intend to award another full-ride scholarship at next year’s Care Net National Conference in St. Louis, MO on Sept. 3-6, 2019. The application process will begin next summer.
In a competitive process, clients are nominated by their local pregnancy center, submitting applications that are reviewed by a scholarship committee. The successful applicant demonstrates strong leadership potential, determination, academic aptitude, and the ability to thrive in Regent's rigorous program.
Founded in 1975, Care Net supports one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in North America and runs the nation's only real-time call center providing pregnancy decision coaching. Since 2008, Care Net centers have saved over 603,000 unborn lives from abortion. Acknowledging that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection, Care Net offers compassion, hope, and help to anyone considering abortion by presenting them with realistic alternatives and Christ-centered support through its life-affirming network of pregnancy centers, organizations, and individuals. Learn more at www.care-net.org.