A nonprofit since 2007, the organization has assisted about 2,000 families this year through its offerings, some of which include parenting classes, pregnancy education, pre- and post-abortion education, maternity and infant needs, support groups, Adoption Discovery classes and free pregnancy testing.
“Our mission is to serve families by fostering a Christ-like view of life, which empowers them to make life-affirming decisions to protect the unborn, establish healthy relationships and create lasting life skills,” she said. “We do this by offering free pregnancy tests and helping women with unplanned pregnancies, as well as offering an incentive-based program of distributing a full range of needed baby items.”
Name: Maryland Guthas
Occupation: Bartow Family Resources, executive director
City of residence: Cartersville
Family: Married to Greg for 36 years, mom to Brent Guthas, Leah Guthas, Lauren and Eddie Leon, and Mimi to Annabel Leon, 4 months.
Education: Cass High
How long have you been working at Bartow Family Resources and what led you to join this organization?
A. I began as a volunteer with the center the first two years after it opened in 1989, and have helped with various fundraisers since, but began as executive director in January of this year. Having had a teenage pregnancy myself, I felt a strong conviction to help others in the same situation.
Why was it necessary to change the name of the organization from Bartow County Women’s Resource Center to Bartow Family Resources?
A. Last year, when we began an incentive-based program we call “Baby Bucks” in which a parent can “earn” baby items by completing a number of positive objectives, such as taking parenting classes, working a job, attending school and so on, it attracted dads, as well as moms. With the increasing number of men coming to our center, we felt it was time to transition to a name which more accurately describes our service to the entire family.
What are the organization’s short-term and long-term goals?
A. Starting January 2013, we are expanding services to include free lay counseling, which we call “Advocate Counseling” because we will come alongside you in your time of need. Additionally, we will offer group classes to help those who grew up in dysfunctional families, as well as those who struggle with addictions of all kinds. Then in June 2013, we will offer classes in our community called “Daddy Boot Camp” and "How Not to Fall in Love with a Jerk,” in our efforts to be proactive and not just reactive to the negatives we see our clients and community coping with.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. Being able to make a positive difference in my community; watching the transformation that takes place in our clients by participating in our programs.
What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
A. I’ve been fortunate to be able to help grow a couple of small businesses and have a level of success in the sales world, but nothing supersedes seeing my grown children — who are incredible — giving people and the joy that comes from knowing you and God must have done something right.
If you were not in this line of work, what would you like to do?
A. I know that God’s plan is always Plan A, and his timing is perfect, but I really wish I would have discovered nonprofit work a long time ago, because I feel that I’m working within my giftings as never before.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A. Maybe that I never went to college.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A. Never make a decision based on money.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. Ride bikes — bicycles, not motorcycles. That’s most certainly my happy place. And for the last four months it’s been spending time with my new granddaughter.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A. After living on the Gulf for seven years, that’s been a little difficult. I would probably say the Etowah River.