Community Highlight: The Lovelady Center
A few days before Christmas last year, Bindu and I met at a local coffee shop to catch up. We shared our plans for the holiday, and plans for the upcoming year. With a gleam in her eyes, Bindu excitedly shared with me her heart for a little project she felt the Lord was drawing her to. That morning she told me all about her newest newborn photography dream project: taking photos of mamas from the Lovelady Center
If you are unfamiliar, the Lovelady Center is a local Birmingham ministry founded by Brenda Spahn and her daughter Melinda MeGahee to help women released from prison to get back on their feet. Over the years, the Lovelady Center has helped women coming out of prison, struggling with addiction, or other life challenges, who are seeking to transform their lives. The Lovelady Center’s mission statement is as follows:
According to their website, Spahn received a call from Steve Watson, the warden of the Alabama Department of Corrections, in 2016; he let her know that The Lovelady Center was an integral factor in the decrease of women returning to prison in the state of Alabama. The fact that this wonderful ministry is based here in Birmingham is certainly a blessing to our community!
You may be wondering: What makes the Lovelady Center so different from other recidivism/recovery programs? Here are a few key features:
· Keep women out of prison and helps prevent women from re-entering prison.
· Provide tools for women to enter society as productive and esteemed individuals
· Enable women to go forward in life by teaching them to properly support themselves and their children.
· Why is this program successful?
Meet physical needs while giving women spiritual instruction, lasting educational, job readiness training and emotional support, so that they can learn to take responsibility for their lives. (adapted from The Lovelady Center FAQ)
Numerous women come through the center every year, many of which are pregnant or new mothers. During our coffee meet up, Bindu noted that many of these women don’t have the opportunity to take part in a newborn photo shoot with their precious little ones. She told me about her deep desire to share her gift of photography with these women, to help them see themselves as beautiful, loving, and confident mothers.
Recently, she photographed her first mother-son duo. It doesn’t take staging, lots of props or even a lot of space for Bindu to work her newborn photography magic. She captured the love and tenderness in the mother’s eyes, and the delicate innocence of her son’s sweet face. It was an experience to remember, for sure! Here is a video of portraits from the session.
Want to know how you can be a part of the Lovelady Center story? Volunteer! Click here to learn more about opportunities to serve and support this impactful ministry.
And stay posted for any future newborn photoshoots from Bindu with these strong and courageous women.
Written by Tanisha Garner