Unplanned movie star Ashley Bratcher awarded another education scholarship this week to a mom who chose life.
Deyana, a client of Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic in Fayetteville, Tenn., thought she would have to give up her dream of earning a social work degree and helping others with her education because her pregnancy was unplanned.
Bratcher starred in the movie chronicling the story of former Planned Parenthood manager turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson, and Heartbeat is the largest network of pregnancy help organizations in the U.S. and the world.
Bratcher, along with Heartbeat International Affiliate Services Specialist Sara Dominguez, made the award virtually on November 13.
Bratcher told Deyana she was really moved by her story.
“I think it's amazing that you're using your education to go out and put good in the world and to help other people,” Bratcher said.
“I was once in your position when I had my son,” she said. “When I read your story about your grandmother and her influence in your life, I just felt like a really special connection to you and everything that you've been through.”
“Heartbeat International and I want to award you a scholarship to help pay for school,” Bratcher continued. “We're so proud of you and the hard work you've been doing.”
Being a new mom and going to school is not an easy thing, she said.
“And so, it's always such a joy to be able to come alongside, because you’re doing the hard work,” Bratcher told Deyana. “So, this is really our way to support you and the hard work that you are doing to make those dreams come true.”
Deyana’s son Tyson was born in July.
“When she got pregnant, she was very scared that she was going to let her family down,” Amanda Curtis, director, for Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic, told Pregnancy Help News.
Crossroads is located on the Alabama-Tennessee state line, with Huntsville, Ala., about 45 minutes to the south. Deyana was a college student in Huntsville at Alabama A&M University. She and her boyfriend Jacarri are originally from Birmingham, and they were both first-year students at Alabama A&M. They had been dating for three years.
Deyana and Jacarri came to Crossroads in January and the pregnancy help medical clinic offered the couple its continuing services, which included parenting classes and a dad program.
Deyana and Jacarri went back home at the end of the spring semester, Curtis said, and the clinic stayed in close contact with them.
“They sent us pictures from the delivery room,” Curtis said, “which is so sweet that they would even let us in on something that private.”
Deyana and Jacarri dropped out of school to go to work and figure out what their next steps as parents would be, she said.
“So, when the scholarship opportunity came across, I knew that Deyana wanted to go back to school eventually, and she felt like the debt was overwhelming, so I wanted to help her in that way,” said Curtis.
Deyana is committed to getting her degree, she said, and “she has a heart for people.”
Deyana will resume classes in January.
Both Deyana and Jacarri have risen to the occasion, said Curtis.
“I'm thankful that we were able to be there to help her,” Curtis said. “She's just a solid person, just dedicated to her studies, definitely driven.”
In Deyana’s own words from her scholarship application earlier this year:
“Education is one way to the key to success, I want to get my bachelor’s degree in social work at the Alabama A&M university, and then eventually get my master’s degree. This is easier said than done. I’m currently expecting a baby boy. Everything I do is for him, for me and for my grandmother.
She helped me so much through my first year of school and when I got pregnant, she didn’t want me to give up on school, she wants me to keep going. I want to keep going.
Although my plans have altered because of my pregnancy I still want to keep going and finish what I started. I don't want an unfinished college education. My dreams still matter, and they can still be accomplished but I know it’s all up to me.”
Curtis arranged for Deyana and Jacarri to be to Crossroads for the surprise scholarship reveal with Bratcher this week by asking Deyana to come so that clinic supporters who would be bringing Thanksgiving dishes for moms in need and who had heard her story at the Crossroads banquet in January could meet her and Tyson in person. Deyana had no idea when she came to the pregnancy clinic that she would be awarded the Unplanned Movie Scholarship.
“You guys are such a beautiful example of what it looks like to overcome,” Bratcher told Deyana and Jacarri. “Kudos to you too, Dad. That's a big thing. To see you all together is such a beautiful thing. And your son someday is going to be so proud too.”
“Thank you so much,” Deyana responded.
Tweet This: “You guys are such a beautiful example of what it looks like to overcome-And your son someday is going to be so proud too”- Ashley Bratcher
Bratcher reiterated to Deyana how her story resonated with her.
“I get it,” Bratcher said. “And so, I always said when I was in a position, if there was any way that I could, I would turn around and bring up other women with me. So, it's really my heart's work.”
Heartbeat’s Dominguez said, “I love that this is just the beginning of the story with you, Deanna.”
“We'll be in touch and can't wait to hear about how school is going, how sweet baby Tyson is growing, and just to see you continue to flourish too as you pursue your dreams,” said Dominguez. “So, thank you for all that you're doing, and thank you Dad, for supporting and being here and seeing your family be supported in such a special way.”
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.