(posted on behalf of Elizabeth Walters, HiTOPS staff (retired)
In the beginning it was a vision, and honestly we learned as we went. But we always held fast to the belief that given compassionate, non-judgmental clinical care and education, teens could make informed and safe decisions about their health. And they did.
What we loved most about working at HiTOPS was that we were able to do many different things – provide clinical care to young women, provide birth control counseling, write curricula, teach classes, collaborate on the development of the HiTOPS Teen Council and Teen PEP, create First & Third support group for LGBT youth.
Perhaps most gratifying for me was working with sexual assault survivors who came week after week to share their stories and offer support to one another as they made their way towards healing.
With a deep bow to founders Anne Battle and Bonnie Parker for their creativity and courage and to Corrine O’Hara, my partner in crime for 28 years – thank you. Because of you, hundreds of teens have walked though our doors knowing they would be safe, and respected, and heard.
Now just 6 months into retirement, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work in a place that attracted so many kind and generous staff members; individuals who worked, and continue to work so hard to create a space for teenagers to truly be themselves without fear.
As 2017 dawns, it is my fervent hope that the work of Familyborn and HiTOPS on behalf of birth choices, reproductive freedom, sexual health education, the right to say “no” to unwanted sexual behavior, and respect for differences will not be lost.
Our voices need to be stronger, and louder, and more insistent than ever. Thank you HiTOPS for continuing to carry that banner.
Elizabeth Walters, retired, HiTOPS staff from 1988-2016
EDITORS NOTE: These are amazing people. True entrepreneurs who created social good from scratch. Please honor them by making a gift to HiTOPS today, so we may continue to build upon their legacy of caring and realize their vision for the next 30 years!