The first and only fully-staffed 24-7 pregnancy helpline in the U.S., Option Line, has named long-time consultant Nafisa Shamsher as its new director, with former director Bri Laycock receiving a promotion to head Heartbeat International’s new Ministry Solutions department. The change was effective Feb. 1.
Shamsher takes Option Line’s reins on the heels of the second-busiest month in the helpline’s history, where consultants—including Shamsher—answered 16,999 calls and over 5,700 chats as part of 23,660 total contacts. The number was just short of a record month in 2008, where Option Line consultants answered 24,000 contacts.
Started as joint venture with Care Net in 2003, Option Line became the sole project of Heartbeat International in 2012 and celebrated its 2.6 millionth direct contact in early February. Since joining Option Line as a consultant in 2006, Shamsher has personally answered over 237,000 contacts.
“To say it would be impossible to find a person more qualified to lead Option Line would be a vast understatement,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Nafisa’s experience and heart for this life-affirming mission made her the obvious choice for her new role, and we couldn’t be more confident going forward into our next season of life-affirming work.”
Laycock was hired on shortly after Option Line began in 2003, and was named to the top leadership position in 2012. In her new role, Laycock now oversees Option Line, as well as Heartbeat International’s website and local search arm, Extend Web Services.
A certified expert in Google advertising, Laycock has trained pregnancy help leaders on five continents, including in Italy, where Heartbeat International’s joint affiliation partner, Movimento per la Vita, operates a 24-7 contact center—“SOS Vita”—similar to Option Line.
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One of six key goals of Heartbeat International’s founders, the 24-7 helpline answers an average of 650 contacts per day and up to 250,000 each year. Serving a network of 2,100 pregnancy locations in the U.S. and Canada, Option Line serves as a vital connection point between callers and nearby help. Option Line staff can directly schedule appointments for callers at 600 locations throughout North America.
“The very best alternative to abortion is another person,” Godsey said. “Every caller who connects with Option Line is talking with a real person in real time, and we’re able to direct many of these to help near them.”