Co-founder, speaker, men’s groups, and mentoring
Former MLB pitcher, Emmy award-winning broadcaster, and best-selling author, Paul Byrd has been married to Kymberlee for 25 years and is the father of two sons, Grayson and Colby. Kymberlee and Paul met at Louisiana State University where Paul was a two-time Academic-All SEC player, the team GPA leader, and an NCAA National Champion. Paul played for 19 years in Major League Baseball. After shoulder reconstruction in 2000, Paul thought he would never play again. Instead, he began to swing his arms and bring back the double pump wind-up, which eventually became his signature delivery and brand in baseball. On certain pitches, Paul also started stepping behind the pitching rubber to change the effective velocity of a pitch – something MLB had never seen in the history of the game, eventually requiring a new rule to be added to the handbook. It’s no wonder Bobby Cox calls Paul one of the most creative pitchers he’s ever seen at getting hitters out. Sought after by numerous teams for his leadership in the locker room Paul walked away from three large guaranteed contracts at the age of 38 to see his boys grow up. Voted “Nicest Guy in Baseball” by the players and the “Steve Olin Tim Crews Good Guy” by the Writers Association, Paul is now an Emmy-winning broadcaster for Fox Sports and most recently was awarded the 2018 Emmy for “Most Outstanding On Air Personality.” As a highly sought after professional speaker, Paul can be found at Ivy League schools debating and teaching faith in sports and winning principles in business. As the co-founder and Board President of Byrdhouse Ministries, Paul continues to be vigorously committed to a ministry that operates in personal freedom and helps others to live in that same freedom. Paul has long envisioned having a place where people can come to experience nature, rest, and connect with the heart of God. This year, God let that dream become his reality. In 2019, Paul hopes to continue mentoring young men and leading small men’s groups at Byrdhouse Ministries during his free time from broadcasting. Paul enjoys spending time with his family, biking, good pizza, movies about underdogs like Rocky, old school R&B music where they sing about love, portrait and landscape photography, fly fishing, and a really good book. At midnight he can often be seen sneaking a horse treat to Abel and Max. Paul dearly loves his mom, Lillie Byrd, who still lives back in Louisville. If you would like to know more about Paul click here.
Co-founder and Executive director
Kym has a bachelor degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University. She is certified in life coaching by both North Star Life Coaching and the Professional Christian Coaches and Counseling Association. Her passion to assist in growing healthy marriages led her to pilot the Strong Marriages in Sports Research Project, which studied marriages of 100 Major League Baseball players and their wives. She has appeared on numerous radio shows sharing her unique perspective on surviving the pro sports world and a career dominated marriage. Kym and her husband, Paul, also speak to college students all over the northeast about faith, true intimacy, and authenticity. From 2013-2017 Kym assisted in launching REEL Experiences at Art Within. She was the lead facilitator and trainer as well as a key creative team member. There she created film-based group experiences to strengthen relationships and deepen connection. Currently Kym oversees the day to day operations of Byrdhouse Ministries. She is in charge of events, coordinating with therapists and assisting clients in finding the best experience for them. Coming in 2019, Kym will facilitate small groups and once again offer individual spiritual experiential direction and coaching. She believes in using every day seemingly small things to point people to a greater understanding of themselves and God. Kym has been married to Paul for 25 years and is a mom to two college-aged sons, Grayson and Colby. When not at Byrdhouse Ministries, Kym can be seen cooking, watching a great film, or scooping horse poop often with her entourage of 38 chickens and her beloved dog Ella following closely behind. She will also never refuse a good chocolate donut with sprinkles.
MA, LPC, NLC-C, EP
Director of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Services and Equine Management
Lauren Startup is the Director of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Management at Byrdhouse Ministries where she is also on staff as a Licensed Professional Counselor, specializing in
trauma-focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAPD). Lauren is certified through Natural Lifemanship as a clinician and equine professional, as well as, a Natural Lifemanship trainer of fellow clinicians (NLC-C, EP). Lauren is fully trained in EMDR and utilizes this form of therapy for her clients who have experienced trauma. In addition to complex relational trauma, Lauren is experienced in the areas of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, mood disorders, women’s issues, and dual diagnoses. Lauren received her M.A. in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. While there, she interned at a residential facility for women rescued from human-trafficking. She received her Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia. While at the University of Georgia, Lauren was a member of the Varsity Equestrian team. This deepened her passion to work alongside horses in a therapeutic and relational manner. Lauren has a deep desire to see people enjoy a full and satisfying life. Based on her years of professional training and her own challenging personal life experiences, she believes healing and restoration are possible and that freedom is within reach. Lauren is invested in healing at the root level through implementing lasting change rather than quick fixes. By viewing situations and operating through the lens of a Biblical worldview, Lauren offers a refreshing perspective to support her clients as they sort through past experiences, influences, and current life situations. This creates a healing environment for the client to distinguish their true self from any baggage or coping mechanisms that leads to destruction. Lauren understands that life can be painful and difficult and finding a counselor that you feel safe and comfortable with is of the utmost importance. Lauren is committed to being that trusted person and would be honored to walk alongside you through your therapeutic journey. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys yoga classes, dressage, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Debbie Smith is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Clinical Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS) in private practice. Her practice is located at Byrdhouse Ministries, where she provides traditional counseling and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. Debbie completed her undergraduate work at the University of Florida in 1992, and obtained her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) in 1994. While in the Chicago area she worked in residential settings and with multi-agency involved families and teens. She served as Assistant Director of Counseling and North Central College in Naperville, IL, and as Director of Counseling at North Park University in Chicago. Following a move to Georgia, Debbie opened her private practice in Roswell in 1999. Debbie continues to enjoy working with adolescents and adults who are going through seasons of struggle. She is particularly experienced and interested in working with trauma, codependency, depression, anxiety, boundaries, shame, family conflicts and spiritual issues. Debbie has been married since 1994 and has three children. She enjoys hiking and biking, watching SEC football, hanging out with horses, and volunteering with the Special Needs Team at her church.