Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:21 07 November 2013
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Pictured: Jeannie Wray, executive director of Room at the Inn,
announced the organization’s new name during their annual fundraising banquet in Charlotte. (Photo provided by Ruben Tamayo)
CHARLOTTE — With the birth of their first baby at the new college-based home in Belmont, Room at the Inn decided to give “birth” to a new identity for the organization as well. At their annual fundraising banquet on Oct. 24 in Charlotte, they announced a new name: MiraVia.
“Room at the Inn is a name we love, but that we could never own,” explained executive director Jeannie Wray to the 1,000-plus supporters in attendance.
For example, Wray recounted, one night a man and all his belongings showed up at their doorstep and said, “I’m here to spend the night!”
“Not with me!” Wray exclaimed to the man who was obviously looking for Room In the Inn, a homeless shelter for men in Charlotte.
The organization had also lost donors who confused them with other like-named organizations, including Room at the Inn of the Triad. Rebranding was an obvious need, Wray said.
After several years of consideration, they set out to rebrand. Initially emailing clients and friends for inspiration, a team – led by board member Clayton Tolley, president and CEO of brandsymbol – had 300 ideas. They narrowed it to 19, then three, and finally voted unanimously on MiraVia. It had emerged as the obvious choice.
With its sharp health care look, the new name and accompanying compass logo were initially tailored to their prime audience: modern, single, pregnant women, especially those with a Hispanic background. Derived from Latin for “miraculous way” and meaning “Look, let us point out the way” in Spanish, the new name also has a spiritual element.
“It’s a logo that appears so secular, but at closer look reveals a deeper meaning,” Wray explained.
“Mira” is a star in the part of the sky called “The Sea” whom historians believe was the Star of Bethlehem. From here comes one of the Blessed Mother’s titles, “Mary Star of the Sea.”
“There is no way we could not blossom under the Blessed Mother’s protection,” Wray explained to the audience.
“We hope to inspire our community to see the journey of pregnant women as a miraculous way, while promising that we will walk next to them and provide the long term support they need,” she continued.
In honor of the big news, guest speaker Teresa Tomeo gave a new talk on “The Three Rs of Faith.” Tomeo, a Catholic writer and radio host, and her husband have also been involved in pro-life work including the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants in Michigan for many years.
“We’re obviously supporting the baby – we’re pro-life from conception to natural death – but I think it’s really important to be Christ to the woman in as many ways as we can. Many of these women are in a situation where they don’t want an abortion, but have nowhere to go,” Tomeo said.
During the banquet, Monsignor Mauricio West, vicar general and chancellor of the Diocese of Charlotte, read a letter announcing an apostolic blessing for the newly-named organization.
Also, the annual “Hero for Life” award was given to teen Hannah Mixer for her school fundraising efforts to buy ultrasound machines.
“Every organization needs to modify and adjust for society. It (the new name) will help it to grow,” said John Nobers, a member of St. Ann Church in Charlotte.
“I love the new name,” added Iris Newton, MiraVia program assistant and member of St. Matthew Church in Charlotte. “Especially because I’m Hispanic and see the meaning behind it, too.”
Learn more on the organization’s new website: www.mira-via.org.
— Mary B. Richardson, correspondent