We’re welcoming in September here at All-Options and along with saying goodbye to our good friend, Summer, we’re also bidding farewell to our longtime All-Options Talkline Radvocate, Gina. For the past four years, Gina has answered countless calls from people in need of compassionate, open-hearted support – and she’s gracefully risen to the challenge over and over again. Described by our Talkline Manager, Rachel, as a “cornerstone” of the Indiana Talkline community, Gina has been a true leader, spreading the word about All-Options at every turn. While Gina will be so missed, we’re excited to be among the first to call her Dr. Gina as she completes her PhD in the coming months. Read on for more details on this incredible rising radvocate!
Reflecting on her time volunteering for All-Options and working on the Talkline, Gina writes:
I loved being part of the community at All Options and surrounding myself with so many passionate, amazing people that I consider dear friends. I have nothing but admiration for the work that we did together and I feel so confident that we provided vital support for people in some of their hardest moments. I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of that.
Of all the calls I took, I really enjoyed talking to parents considering abortion, because oftentimes their decision-making came from a place of being a really dedicated parent and wondering how another pregnancy would affect their ability to care for the children they already had. It struck me that their choices often came from a place of deep love and concern for their children.
And of how volunteering with All-Options has inspired her personally and professionally, she notes:
Being a Talkline advocate has absolutely encouraged me to be a more outspoken advocate for reproductive justice. Even as I move on from All-Options, I see myself continuing to fight this fight for as long as it continues. If Mike Pence has his way, my home state of Indiana is all set to become part of the abortion rights underground railroad. And even though I decided to pursue my degree before starting to volunteer with All-Options, I feel confident that it has made me a better counselor and a better human being.
So what’s next for Gina?
I just started my residency in pediatric psychology at the Cleveland Clinic. Along with the second half of my dissertation, this in the final step in completing my PhD. My husband and I recently purchased a house in Cleveland, so there’s also a lot of furniture assembly in our near future!
No Rising Radvocate profile is complete without a few words from our National Talkline Manager Rachel and this one is no exception! Of their time together, Rachel writes:
Gina was one of our first Indiana-based Talkline advocates. When I first met her, I was a fresh-faced newbie and in training to be a part of the second Indiana-based Talkline advocate cohort. What I remember vividly about my first encounter with her was her ability to gently challenge a new advocate (me) and provide constructive feedback with kindness and wisdom. Since then, Gina has continued to be a source of wisdom and care for new advocates. She is an endlessly compassionate advocate for our callers, and a tireless ambassador for All-Options. In addition to the hard work she does for the Talkline and in her regular life, she is a seasoned board gamer (with a podcast to match!), nail art enthusiast, and once got teary-eyed during an advocate meeting while talking about her love of hedgehogs. Her sense of whimsy and play kept us grounded and light-hearted through heavy discussions at meetings, and her varied supply of sunscreens kept us all safe from the sun during our summer retreats.
This is the first year in quite awhile that Gina won’t be at the Farmer’s Market Volunteer Fair, giving out handfuls of All-Options cards and approaching anyone and everyone to tell them about the Talkline. Saying goodbye to Gina has been bittersweet — she is a cornerstone of the Indiana-based Talkline advocate community and has given so much to each one of us, whether she realized it or not. We miss her dearly, but are so excited for what she will go on to do in the world. We love you, Gina!