Gina Little, executive director of Pregnancy Options in Faribault, Little said it wasn’t on her agenda 20 years ago to become an advocate for families.

But “God had a greater plan,” she said, and she developed a desire to make sure parents received the support they needed. Understanding that everyone faces adversity at one time or another, she wanted to tear down barriers and walk with families without judgment.

“I hope I can just be an example of caring for families,” said Little, who recently received recognition for being just that.

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Gina Little, executive director of Pregnancy Options, has been an advocate for youth and families for over 20 years. On Monday, she received the Champion for Children award from Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)

On Monday afternoon, Barb Sorum, director of prevention initiatives for Minnesota Communities Caring for Children, presented Little with the Champion for Children award. Among four recipients this year, Little was recognized for her work in helping youth face adversity so they can grow into healthy and successful adults.

Typically, award recipients receive recognition at a large luncheon in the Twin Cities, at a country club. This year, due to COVID-19, recipients received their awards individually surrounded by invited guests.

“I truly adore this woman,” Sorum said in presenting Little her award at Pregnancy Options. Sorum said she’s known Little to “work tirelessly” throughout the 20-plus years they’ve known each other.

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Gina Little, right, received her Champion for Children award Monday afternoon. Barb Sorum of Minnesota Communities Caring for Children presented Little with the award. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)

Little thanked a roomful of guests for attending her award presentation — among them her husband, children, grandchildren, pastors, aunts, sister, nieces, co-workers and Pregnancy Options Board of Directors members — who all crowded together to celebrate her achievement.

“All of these years I felt like I was just doing what Jesus would do,” said Little, after accepting her award from Sorum. “… I didn’t do it to be acknowledged.”

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Family, co-workers and Pregnancy Options Board members gathered to recognized Gina Little, center standing, for receiving the Champion for Children award Monday. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)

Little, a longtime resident of Faribault, previously served as operations manager of Ruth’s House of Hope and became the executive director of Pregnancy Options in 2015. She also belongs to the organization Faribault for Kids, formerly known as the Kiwanis Club of Faribault. The organization passes out books at Christmastime, fundraises for Supply Our Children and advocates for youth.

Nearly 22 years ago, Little began attending Circle of Parents, a program of Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. The facilitated support group, where Little got to know Sorum, helps families work through a number of parenting struggles. But rather than learning how to parent, Little credits the group for helping her develop her leadership skills. It surprised her to realize how many people, and who, wanted to hear what she had to say as a parent. Sorum called Little “the mom voice in the room.”

Circle of Parents, said Little, “has definitely been a foundational piece of my life.” Before joining the group, she admitted, “I didn’t really think I had a voice.”

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Pregnancy Options board members and employees celebrated Gina Little’s achievement Monday. Pictured front from left: Board member Patt Germann, Receptionist Linda Lagnada, Little, Client Service Coordinator Anahi Cisneros and Board member Joe Miller. Back: Linn Nyhus and Board member Kris Nyhus. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)

Linda Lagnada, receptionist at Pregnancy Options, said she knew Little when she was a young girl. Years later, Little interviewed Lagnada for her position at Pregnancy Options. Lagnada said, “I was just amazed how far she’d come.”

Anahi Cisneros, client service coordinator for Pregnancy Options, said Little has “always been a great friend and a great boss.”

“It’s been great having her here,” said Cisneros of Little. “She’s a great director, and she deserves this award and more.”

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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