Jessica Baxter considers herself “a helper,” a description that, along with her experience in education and management, brings strength to her new role as incoming president/CEO of True Care Women’s Resource Center, a life-affirming pregnancy medical resource clinic in Casper, Wyoming.
“It’s a gifting from God, it’s an attribute, it’s a calling I have,” Baxter said regarding her passion to help others. “Every arena of my life has been focused on being the hands and feet of Christ in service, in helping.”
True Care’s board of directors began searching for a new leader last year, part of a five-year succession plan put into place for the retirement of Terry Winship, who has led the ministry for more than two decades and will stay on through June to guide Baxter for a smooth transition.
Supporting and learning
Baxter and her family began supporting True Care more than 10 years ago. Yet, as she talked with Winship and the board and since she has come on staff, she said she has gained even greater knowledge about the ministry’s work.
“I thought I knew what True Care did,” Baxter said, remarking on the holistic process, supporting women through education, follow-up calls, the entire pregnancy, and afterward.
That ‘afterward’ took her by surprise, she said.
“We have a resource coordinator who helps these women find Medicaid if they need to, helps them sign up for local resources, and puts them in touch with WIC or SNAP or any of those things that would help them,” she said. “We know for many women that financial barrier is what causes them to feel like abortion is their only option, and so just learning the incredible variety of things that we have available to help women has just impressed me even more.”
Preparation for a new role
Baxter has education and management in her background, including having been vice president of operations for the Central Wyoming Boys and Girls Club when it launched a new branch in another Wyoming community.
“That was quite a wonderful experience,” Baxter said.
She finds the prospect of her new role with True Care exciting.
“Being able to help these women and children and families choose life (excites me),” Baxter said. “Not only that, but I’m also so proud of all the resources True Care has available for women…it’s about equipping them and empowering them, turning those fears into confidence. That whole process is so exciting to me, and I just can’t wait to see where God leads us.”
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Baxter plans to attend Heartbeat International’s New Directors training this year at Heartbeat’s Pregnancy Help Institute.
“I want to learn all I can,” Baxter said. “My brain is just a sponge right now, trying to learn everything I can.”
In addition to ‘helper,’ Baxter describes herself as a visionary thinker, wanting to look ahead to see how something can expand or improve.
“My personal and professional motto is ‘always better,” Baxter said.
She plans to take this year to become ingrained in the culture and to learn. “What True Care is doing now is fantastic,” she said. “There’s just so much great work and impact that’s being done. I want for all that to continue.”
Baxter is especially excited for a new opportunity on the horizon: partnership with two pro-life health care providers, as a certified nurse-midwife and a family nurse practitioner plan to open a joint practice later in 2022 next door to True Care.
“The partnership there, of being able to refer our patients to a clinic right here and being able to help them find the resources to go to that clinic, is exciting,” Baxter said. “And we know the women running that clinic are pro-life; they’ve been connected to True Care for years. We know their hearts, we know their intent, and we know their mission, so that partnership with Divine Family Care will be a new, wonderful thing for True Care and our patients.”
Family and faith devoted to life
True care is engrained in the Baxter family, with the involvement and support extending to the children.
The Baxters also serve as a foster family, taking in children who need extra care while their parents work through life challenges.
Baxter sees the Lord showing her how the helper within her fits into the pro-life ministry. Engaging with the staff and learning more about the organization creates a tapestry of enthusiasm and deeper dedication.
“I’m excited to be part of saving the lives of babies and helping moms to be empowered and to be blessed through that,” she said. “Helping others for me is just that piece that weaves through everything I do.”
She added, “We start our days of appointments with prayer – we’re constantly seeking God’s guidance. We’re all here for the same purpose, and that’s just a beautiful thing to be part of. I’m really excited to see what God has in store, to see where He is leading.”