Executive Director at the Age of 21
Elyssa Edwards (Economics & Business Analytics ‘16) never pictured herself as an Executive Director at the age of 21. But when it comes to running a pregnancy resource center, Edwards is short on neither experience nor passion.
“I have volunteered in pregnancy centers since I was born,” Edwards jokes, recalling how her mother would always bring her along while volunteering at a center near their home. Now Edwards is the one managing volunteers and other staff as Executive Director at LifeTalk Resource Center, a holistic pregnancy resource clinic for women in Frisco, Texas.
At LifeTalk, Edwards has the chance to come alongside women in need, offering material assistance, counselling, referrals, ultrasounds, and more.
“A significant part of being able to save lives is addressing every life stressor that these women face,” says Edwards. “By being able to confront things like no medical insurance, no housing, no job, and helping them solve those issues, we are better able to be advocates for life. We aren't just saying we believe in life and trying to save a baby. We are truly caring for the lives of all involved.”
While Edwards was interested in saving life from an early age, she remembers the moment when she wanted to become an active advocate for both the unborn and women in need.
“I was in 8th grade and gave a speech about abortion. I did really well, but I faced a lot of judges with negative feedback. They thought I was too young to be talking about abortion. I was indignant because girls my age were already starting to have abortions—so I wanted to do something about it.”
Edwards entered Patrick Henry College in 2013 with the intention of becoming a pro-life advocate in law, but changed course after she interned at a pregnancy clinic and noticed the company’s unsound business decisions.
“They had a noble goal,” she said, “but I didn’t see why a non-profit couldn’t make sound business decisions.” When PHC announced the new Economics & Business Analytics major, Edwards decided to change majors and bring business sense into pro-life work.
“I was nervous at first,” Edwards said, remembering when she found out that she had gotten the job. She remembers finding comfort in Jeremiah 1:5-7: “‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” The passage goes on to say, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.”
Edwards says she’s grateful to be in her current position and feels it’s what she’s meant to do. Her days are spent managing the office, overseeing the staff, and developing relationships with ministry partners and churches. She is also simultaneously completing her Masters of Business Administration.
“I might not know what God has in store for the rest of my life,” Edwards said, “but I know that I always want to be involved with pro-life work.”