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“Choose Life: A Day of Hope Retreat” to Feature National and Local Speakers in Falmouth on June 24

FALMOUTH---All are welcome to gather for a special event entitled “Choose Life: A Day of Hope Retreat” at the hall of Holy Martyrs Church, located on 266 Foreside Road in Falmouth, on Thursday, June 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pro-life speakers, professionals, and advocates will share information and prayer with participants during the retreat, which is being organized by Adoption Solutions of Maine. Adoption Solutions of Maine provides free adoption and support services to both pregnant women and to those who want to adopt. The organization’s caring staff is professionally trained, and several have personal experiences to share as adoptive parents or adopted children. For more information or to receive help, call or text (207) 400-6803 at any time. The organization also encourages anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or considering their options regarding an adoption plan for a child they are parenting to reach out. On June 24, participants will learn more about the services and how to help others choose life. Featured speakers include:

Heather Burner
Executive Director of National Safe Haven Alliance

As the executive director for the National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA), Heather leads an extraordinary team of leaders from across the country. After working with Arizona Safe Baby Haven for seven years and as the executive director for over four years, she was hired to provide leadership and direction for the NSHA in 2017. She is a wife, mother of three children, and grandmother. She has experienced the tragedy through the unnecessary death of a newborn firsthand, and this life-changing event propelled her motivation to save the lives of precious newborns and help parents in desperation. Her passion to provide safety and hope shines a light in a time of darkness. Heather has developed partnerships across the country and is also the administrator of a comprehensive training program for healthcare systems to provide best practices to ensure mother and infant safety and prevention. She is now a national speaker and a voice for the voiceless, changing the tide of fear by presenting the knowledge, answers, and resources to make an impact.

Maria Szemplinski
Founder, St. Gianna’s Place

Maria is married to her husband Jack and is the mother of two lovely children. She has a degree in biological science and in 2011, she started the Gianna Family Care Center, a nonprofit organization. This organization was created to promote the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and the new science of Natural Procreative Technology which helps monitor a woman’s health while teaching the gift of being a virtuous woman and mother. This new science offers the best treatment for infertility and is the best natural alternative to IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) while protecting the dignity of human life from the moment of fertilization. Maria is also the co-founder of St. Gianna’s Place in New Hampshire, which provides shelter for homeless pregnant women and their babies.

Dawn Degenhardt
Founder and Executive Director of Aid for Kids

Dawn has been dedicated to bringing children and families together through adoption for more than 30 years. While living in Cleveland, Ohio, she co-founded the Ohio chapter of COAC (Council on Adoptable Children) and was a pioneer in changing the foster care/adoption system. Dawn also co-founded Spaulding of Beechbrook, which places children with special needs. After moving back to her home state of Maine, she founded an internationally recognized adoption agency, which has placed more than 4,000 children. Wanting to devote her energy to this issue after retirement, Dawn, with family and friends, created The Degenhardt Foundation, now known as Aid for Kids. Based in Houlton, Aid for Kids develops humanitarian aid projects such as nutrition and feeding programs and meeting emergency needs for children and families. Dawn and her husband, Ed, are the parents of nine adopted children, now grown with their own families.

In addition, Mary Goolsby, a clinical social worker specialist in Lincoln with over 20 years of clinical social work experience will be in attendance. To register for the free event or for more information, visit