Executive director of ABHMS partnering organization receives recognition

Loren Friend Farmer was featured in a news segment on WOWK TV Channel 13, Charleston, W.Va., as a nominee in the station’s “Remarkable Women” contest. Farmer is executive director of the Bob Burdette Center, a partner of American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Rizpah’s Children ministry.

“A number of very accomplished women were included as finalists, such as the director of our local health department and the first female fire chief in a nearby city. I was very humbled to be included among them,” Farmer says. “I am also thankful for the nomination because of the platform it gave us to let people in our area become familiar with the work of the Bob Burdette Center.”

As part of a high school community service class, Farmer had volunteered at the nonprofit center, which offers after-school programs, academic enrichment, physical activity and nutritious meals to at-risk children and youth in kindergarten through 12th grade and has three locations on Charleston’s under-resourced West Side.

“Some of these children come from unstable situations that include parental drug abuse, mental illness and neglect. They do not receive the support at home necessary for positive social-emotional development,” she says. “The [center] is able to help all students that it serves to develop positive coping and problem solving skills. It is truly the positive relationships that develop between staff, volunteers and students that are able to make the biggest impact in helping children that the [center] serves to thrive and reach their full potential.”

From a young age, Farmer knew that she wanted to serve at-risk children. That idea was solidified when she participated in a “Mission Year” in Camden, N.J., while earning a Sociology degree at West Virginia University.

“God was molding my heart from youth to be sensitive to his command to love our neighbors and to care for the poor. I grew up in a loving family that had a leaning toward service to others,” she says. “In addition to my parents, there were a number of people in the church who also modeled God’s love through service.”

Farmer and her husband, Michael Farmer—pastor at Risen City Church—live in the community they serve. They have a baby daughter, Naomi Louise.