When Laurie Turnow received a call suggesting that she apply for the executive director position at the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) of Findlay, her life to that point had been preparation for the position. Indeed, her past, a social work degree from Taylor University in Indiana, working for a national Christian women’s club and nurturing five daughters (ages 9 to 19 at the time), had prepared her for the role. Today, she’s celebrating 20 years at the helm of the non-profit that supports women and babies.
Preparation meets opportunity
A senior in high school in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was enacted, Laurie recently planned the WRC’s annual banquet to celebrate the organization’s 25th year as a local life-affirming ministry. The Center fills a need locally that would otherwise go unmet. In the past year, the WRC distributed 26,000 diapers, baby formula and 150 baby blankets–all free-of-charge. WRC is also the only area source of free pregnancy testing, parenting videos and classes, and optional bible studies. The resources provided by the C.A.R.E. program (Character And Relationships Education), reach 3,500 students in grades 6-10 each year in all Findlay City and Hancock County Schools.
Favorite aspects of the job
In addition to her passion for leadership and protecting babies, Laurie enjoys working with people. “I’m not someone who would enjoy working by myself. I like working with companions and colleagues who can bounce ideas off of each other, all the while maintaining an environment of mutual respect,” she said.
Laurie describes her staff of seven, and the WRC’s 12 volunteers and eight board members, as “phenomenal.” Serving more than 1,200 clients every year provides a sense of purpose and joy. “We love journeying alongside women, helping them with practical supplies for the baby and emotional support from caring mentors,” she said. “We give them hope for tomorrow, showing them that God sees them, knows them, and cares about them.”
Awed by transformations
Laurie says it’s awe-inspiring to build client relationships and make a safe place for women to land. “When a young woman will change her heart and mind from thinking her only choice is to terminate a pregnancy, to feeling encouraged that she can parent and that there will be resources and people to help her, then she can do a courageous thing and carry a child that wasn’t expected.”
Laurie and her husband Mike, whom she met in college, have been married for 43 years. He is the CIO of Appraisal Research Corporation in Findlay, and is a computer consultant at the WRC. As the director’s husband, he’s a “cheerleader to a cheerleader,” supporting and understanding the extra hours Laurie often commits to her mission. This holiday season, Laurie and Mike are looking forward to spending time with their five daughters and sons-in-law and 13 grandchildren, who are all coming home to Findlay. It will be another miraculous moment in the life of an area woman who is great at spotting them!
Q & A with Laurie Turnow
What’s your favorite Christmas song? The Hallelujah Chorus. I always look forward to the Findlay Civic Choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah!
What is the yummiest thing in your office right now? A burning Woodwick Vanilla Bean Caramel Biscotti candle and a large stockpile (thanks to a recent birthday) of “Good and Plenty” candies.
Where in Findlay do you enjoy doing your holiday shopping? Pier 1. I admit to a personal weakness for buying their pillows.
To learn more, go to wrchancock.org, visit the Center’s confidential offices across from the University of Findlay at 1011 N. Main St., or call 419-424-9948.
The Center’s hours are Monday & Wednesday: 10am-5pm and Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10am-2pm.