Summer Newsletter 2015
Spring Fundraising banquet 2015
You help make this ministry great. LifeChoice’s Spring Fundraising Banquet in May was a success.
We are thrilled to announce that we met three vital goals.
1. To educate and showcase LifeChoice’s impressive statistics of 2014.
2. To share our upcoming goals and strategies.
3. To encourage your investment in this mission.
A special thank you to Saint Matthew Catholic Church for hosting, to their youth who served dinner, and our donors who participated in the evening. We have added to our LifeGivers Campaign (partners who give monthly for one year), reached new families, and re-centered our vision and mission.
Your contributions that night came to a total of $21,000.00! And thanks to the Knights of Columbus, we have now closed our UltraSound Suite campaign that began in April 2014. We are so grateful to those of you throughout the Winter Haven community who also contributed to this UltraSound Suite campaign the past 13 months. It couldn’t have happened without all of you! We praise the Lord for sending us a community of investors who believe in the gift of Life and who serve by equipping us to spread that message.
Invitation to a Healing Journey
Vicky Portlock reported at our May fundraiser that 96% of LifeChoice’s abortion-minded or abortion-vulnerable clients chose life in 2014. That’s an incredible statistic! But that still means that 4% chose abortion. Many women who come to LifeChoice have abortion in their past, just as many women in our wider community and churches have as well. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that by age 45, 3 out of 10 women will have experienced abortion.
Women are life-givers and nurturers by God’s design and abortion strikes at our very nature. Anytime we go against God’s design, there is fall out. Many women are walking around wounded; captive to grief and lies because of abortion. We want to walk alongside these women through their pain and arm them with Truth, Love, and Beauty.
That’s why LifeChoice is hosting a post-abortive Bible Study in the fall called An Invitation to Healing. Small, loving, grace-filled, and completely confidential, Vicky Portlock will lead participants through a 9 week study looking at Jesus; applying the truth of the gospel to abortion experiences, that the blood of Jesus is enough to forgive the sin of abortion, and that God not only forgives, but by faith, wraps His arms around us and claims us as His own daughters and sons.
This study is open to clients, but also to women in the wider community and churches. We anticipate women of different ages and backgrounds to be involved. Dates for this study will be Tuesday evenings in September & October.
For more information or to reserve a spot in this completely confidential bible study, please contact LifeChoice at 863.293.0955.
Online giving & why it’s easy
We are thrilled to announce that donors now have the option of giving online. Simply go to lifechoicepregnancycenter.com and click on the “Donate Online” tab. After filling out the online form, donors will then have an “account” that they can manage from anywhere! Gifts can be customized and will always make for easy, secure transactions. You’ll receive an immediate email receipt, so please make sure to include your email address when you fill out your information.
Website Re-launch & Newsletter
Please explore our new website redesign. We have new information available and even a LifeChoice promotional video. Feel free to share our website and/or promotional video on your personal social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. Follow us at LifeChoiceWH (twitter) and LifeChoice Pregnancy Center (Facebook).
Mission Dinners; A Fresh Take on Fundraising
Last Fall, The Church on the Hill (Dundee) hosted our very first mini-banquet. The congregation decided that, as a whole church, they wanted to do something significant for LifeChoice Pregnancy Center. Cindy Bullington, who headed up the event, said “It occurred to me if we couldn’t get (the congregation) to LifeChoice’s banquet, we could bring LifeChoice to them.”
That’s when they decided to host a mini-banquet on their church campus. TCOTH congregation pulled together to organize and sell tickets for a bbq dinner complete with a dessert table and silent auction. LifeChoice staff prepared an hour presentation which included all the major highlights of a large fundraising banquet. It was a great success! So much so that another church in the area, Church of the Redeemer, decided to host a mini-banquet at their facility.
“It brings the members of a congregation together for a common goal,” said Bullington. “Often people will get more involved because they are familiar with the other people they are working with, as well as the physical surroundings. They see it not only as an opportunity to minister to the need of a ministry outside of their church, but also as an opportunity to fellowship with others in their church.”
LifeChoice staff began to realize the value of a church body coming together to organize a fundraiser for the ministry. When a body of people donate their time, money, and effort to host a fundraising event by decorating, food prep, service (and extras like silent auctions and music) that is a great gift! It saves LifeChoice time and money by providing a hospitable platform for presenting the mission of our work. The Church on the Hill gave us an incredible gift not only in their service, but also the fresh idea of a church hosting their own mini-banquet. After two successful mini-events, we have decided to call them “LifeChoice Mission Dinners.”
If you are interested to hear more about Mission Dinners and how your church can host one, please contact us today! We’d love to have a conversation about how we can serve alongside one another, encouraging each other toward good stewardship of our ministries’ missions and visions.
Adoption can be a misunderstood process. There is a stigma to it; a hazy process with fear of little to no control over outcomes. But that’s just not true.
The basics of adoption are fairly easy to understand. And there are more options now than ever before. While each case is unique, the basics are the same.
In order to make an adoption plan in Florida, you must contact an adoption agency or adoption lawyer. They will facilitate all details of a child’s adoption plan between biological parents and adoptive parents.
Biological parents must choose an adoption agency or lawyer with whom they feel comfortable working. Biological parents have much control in making an adoption plan. Potential adoptive parents undergo a process of background checks and Home Studies that must take place before they are declared “approved.”
Different Styles of Adoption
There are three different types (or styles) of adoption. Adoptive parents’ chosen style and biological parents’ chosen style must be the same in order to make a match. The three styles are as follows:
Open Adoption: Biological parents may choose their child’s family. They may also have contact with their child through pictures, letters, phone calls, and possibly even visits. This style of adoption allows a child to know his/her biological parent(s) even though legally declared children of his/her adoptive parents.
Semi-Open Adoption: Biological parents may choose their child’s family. They may also learn how their child is doing through letters or pictures that the adoption agency shares. Usually, the child’s full name or location is not disclosed to the biological parents.
Closed or Confidential Adoption: The adoption agency or lawyer chooses the child’s family from a list of approved families. The biological parents and adoptive parents won’t know any information about each other, but the agency may share medical information to help a family care for the child.
Each adoption process is unique, for both adoptive and biological parents. Sometimes, the process can feel long but that’s because most agencies want to make sure all parties feel comfortable with the adoption agreement. Biological mothers have 48 hours post-delivery to change her mind, but once she signs consent (no sooner than 48 hours post-delivery or hospital discharge), the consent is irrevocable.
LifeChoice works with adoption agencies in the Central Florida area. We are committed to sharing the loving choice of Adoption with all clients and connecting people to caring adoption representatives. Call us today and we can put you in touch with excellent help regarding adoption plans.
Fall Newsletter Happenings 2014
New Partnerships in Winter Haven
We are thrilled to announce two new community partnerships that will bolster our vision of serving clients.
Dr. Erin Best, OBGYN, is the newest staff member at Central Florida Health Care Inc. on First street in Winter Haven. She stopped by LifeChoice the other day to exchange brochures and seek a partnership to help clients.
Central Florida Health Care Inc on First Street will see pregnant women seeking prenatal care with or without insurance who will then deliver at the Regency. Welcome to Winter Haven, Dr. Best!
Also, New Beginnings High School and LifeChoice are brainstorming an educational program collaboration. This partnership will help students meet specific parenting class requirements and also provide exposure to our Earn While You Learn program.
We are thrilled for this opportunity and can’t wait for the details to be worked out between the school and center.
During the summer lull, we’ve been able to do some sprucing up around LifeChoice- inside and out! This update has included fresh, serene-colored paint in our counseling rooms and medical suite. CareNet strongly encourages its affiliates to make sure our lobbies and centers are aesthetically pleasing and geared to catch the eyes of the next generation.
Special thanks to White’s Ace Hardware in Haines City for donating painting supplies and the Winfree/Sirrine Community Group at Redeemer for committing to landscaping outside of the center. It’s looking better all the time. (See pics at the very bottom of this post).
Come stop in and see how we are improving our facility! If you are interested in donating to this specific effort, contact Lauren; 293-0955 or laurenN@lifechoicepregnancycenter.com
LifeChoice Community Happenings
It Takes A Village
Our city needs people engaged in conversation regarding issues of life, personhood, and healthy families.
LifeChoice staff and volunteers feel it’s important to come alongside our partners in this endeavor. Let us help you initiate that conversation! Lauren is available to come talk about who we are, what we do, why we do it, and how you play a role in all of the above.
Check out our blog to see the latest issues that we’re talking about at the center. Join our newsletter list for email blasts to keep you updated on the latest happenings and needs. (lifechoicepregnanycenter.com) In the next month, keep an eye out for a new LifeChoice promotional video on our website. Share it with friends and family!
If it takes a village to raise children, it certainly takes a village to affirm the value of mamas and babies before they’re born!
Our Community needs your voice. Your family needs your voice. Let’s begin a conversation.
Give Well Foundation Helps LifeChoice
We are still reaping benefits of the GiveWell Community Foundation’s grant for our Earn While You Learn Program. This non profit organization is fantastic and we can’t wait to see all the benefits our city will reap through their endeavors. And they’ve just opened up an office in downtown Winter Haven this year. LifeChoice is thankful for GiveWell!
Are you an Amazon shopper? Do you know your Amazon shopping can actually help LifeChoice earn money? By shopping on smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. LifeChoice Pregnancy Center is under our corporate name A Community Pregnancy Center. Make sure you have the correct charitable organization!
Girl Scout Troop 449 Stocks LC Shelves
We had quite a surprise this summer. Karen Sarasin, leader of Girl Scout troop 449, called to see if her girls could bring some donations and tour the center.
When they arrived, they toured the facility, watched a video from Life in the Womb, and had a discussion with Vicki and Lauren. They were quiet, soaking in their surroundings with shy smiles during the tour.
Little did we know they were keeping a huge secret behind those quiet demeanors. Troop 449 had been fundraising for LifeChoice! They took the money they earned selling cookies, over $1000, and went shopping together for baby supplies. The girls pulled into our parking lot with two carloads full! They were packed with diapers, wipes, washcloths, clothes, brand new car seats and diaper bags, baby shampoo, and any other baby item you could imagine. As we brought in items, their smiles widened and their faces beamed as they saw the shelves packed full.
We were in disbelief and thoroughly thrilled at the hardworking, humble, and generous hearts of these girls and their parents who helped them reach their goal in helping us. We are so grateful for Troop 449. Way to go, girls! Your project has benefited dozens of families in our Earn While You Learn program.
Are you a LifeGiver?
We’re raising an army of LifeGivers who commit to give financially each month for one year. It doesn’t matter the amount you commit. Here’s why:
- Monthly giving, no matter the amount, is a commitment to caring for our neighbors.
- Monthly giving, no matter the amount, is an encouragement to expand our vision.
- Monthly giving, no matter the amount, helps save lives.
Thank you for your heart for this ministry and investing babies and families of our community. May you continue to see the fruit of your good work! Join the effort today. You can make a difference right now.
Pro-life Friends, Let’s Begin a Conversation.
That’s the title of a new “abortion-themed rom com” (see an official movie poster here) that already has critics fanning the flame of adoration.
Timing couldn’t be more perfect in the middle of this war on women, babies, and contraception. Progressive media’s battle cry is something like ‘Personhood’ for everyone, including corporations, but not the actual woman herself. Poor you, ladies.
(Okay, tongue out of cheek now. I promise.)
We know they’re grasping for straws, here. But straws catch fire quickly. They have already caught and flamed so fully that the iron got real hot real quick, and movie director and co-writer Gillian Robespierre struck hard.
IMDB gives a brief summary of Obvious Child as “A twenty-something comedienne’s unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.” Basically, Donna Stern is a girl in her twenties still figuring out life and has a one night stand. She gets pregnant. The unplanned pregnancy further complicates her existential crisis as she navigates day to day (or not) decisions with the support of her family and friends.
Rotten Tomatoes gives a longer summary that you can read here. The review goes on to say “Writer/Director Gillian Robespierre handles the topic of Donna’s unwanted pregnancy with a refreshing matter-of-factness rarely seen on screen. And with Donna, Slate and Robespierre have crafted a character for the ages – a female audiences will recognize, cheer for, and love. “
I hate to say it; the trailer for “Obvious Child” is delightful. It’s cute, quirky, makes you laugh, has attractive, great actors, and has the potential to really play on your emotions. In this generation, who doesn’t resonate with “I have no idea what I’m doing in this game of life”? And that is why it’s so dangerous: “A character for the ages…female audiences will recognize, cheer for, and love.” Friends, we’ve got to be ready to lovingly sacrifice and fight for our young girls and “female” audiences so they’re not so easily swayed.
Obvious Child. The title is beyond bizarre and confusing. Donna’s pregnant. And she’s obviously pregnant with a child. But the title seems to imply that the 27 year old main character is still obviously a child because life is messy and she’s not completely in control. Even David Edelstein who clearly praises and supports the film in an NPR FreshAir Segment says of the fictional character Donna, “She really is a child.” Which then implicates the thought process she uses to justify her abortion: An obvious child can’t raise an obvious child.
What kind of reason and logic are we looking at here? If we truly care about our girl-children, we won’t be advocates of their choice for abortion. But even before that, we WILL be advocates of their common sense, their beauty, their worth, their life trajectory of something meaningful and good and God-honoring, including self-control. We will point them to their need of Jesus. Just like we need people to point us to our need of Jesus.
Twitter and the Internet have been buzzing hot with Planned Parenthood’s support of this abortion-themed rom com. Before agreeing to run ads for the movie, NBC allegedly asked that the word “abortion” be removed. Insulted, Planned Parenthood decided to launch a petition of NBC (#stopthestigma). It received so much attention that NBC issued a statement to the press and decided to run the ads. Read here for a quick summary of that situation. Twitter-ers were all over hashtag #stopthestigma with pictures like this. (<—You really need to click on this picture that Planned Parenthood tweeted).
In reference to the movie and the “stop the stigma” hashtag, PP quoted Hazel W. from New York saying “Women have the right to control our own bodies and this film is an authentic voice about young women and their sexuality. You show trailers about sexual violence and rape, but not about women making their own decisions?”
But, friends, this film hinges on a woman who can’t (or won’t) control her desire for immediate sexual gratification which results in an unintended pregnancy. Let’s be intellectually honest.
And therein lies an opportunity for a discussion- in- progress. A call to Truth.
We certainly need to engage with conversation about it (like I said before, a discussion in progress). Loving, honest, Christ-strengthened conversation about abortion and the repercussions of films like Obvious Child. And the repercussions of abortion. We’ve got to start with each other. We must begin to talk about this film (and the themes around it) within our own, life affirming perspective as a pro-life community.
And then, how do we engage people who disagree with our opinions? (If you’re like me- awkwardly.) Ask questions. Be kind. Be pointed. Be kind. Think through before speaking. Be kind. Challenge thoughts. Be kind. Hear others’ thought processes. Be kind. Respect their right to a differing opinion but willfully and fully speak Truth and reason. Engage with people. Have discussions- in- progress.
Some people will feel the need to see this movie in order to appropriately talk about it and engage in conversation. Others might not wish to contribute to the movie’s success by giving their money to watch it. Whichever you decide, staff and volunteers at LifeChoice feel it is important to have conversations about this film. We are advocates for women in the issue of Life; life for the mother, life in the womb, and life giving decisions during pregnancy.
I know, it’s scary.
We will start by praying. And then opening our mouths.
This blog post is the view of Lauren Nederveld. Any jokes, modes of writing, or opinions should be credited to her as a guest blogger on the LifeChoice website and not to LifeChoice Pregnancy Center as an organization.
Resources for researching Obvious Child and beginning conversations.
Summer Newsletter Happenings 2014
Fundraising Banquet Success
Our Annual Fundraising Banquet was a tremendous success, thanks to YOU! Because we “did things a little differently this year,” we saw an increase in giving and were able to reach our goal to outfit a new Ultrasound suite. Our first suite purchase was the Ultrasound machine, itself.
Our gross income for the event was $80,055.00. Our board, staff, and volunteers are thrilled to expand our efforts to reach more teenage girls, women, and families who need our help during unplanned pregnancy.
We are so grateful to our Fundraising Banquet Sponsors and Underwriters. We could not have had such a successful night without you.
To our church, organization, club, business, and individual partners: may the Lord bless your stewardship of time, energy, and resources invested in the mission of serving women and saving babies.
Housekeeping Update on LifeChoice Pregnancy Center
Because of your gracious response at the Fundraising Banquet this year, LifeChoice board and staff were able to take immediate action on some previously set goals. To begin, we have extended our work day until 5 o’clock in order to see more clients each week. Our extended hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10a.m. to 5p.m.
We have purchased a brand new (lightweight AND portable) Ultrasound machine. Ruth, our Nurse Manager, has seen an increase in Abortion Minded and Abortion Vulnerable clients within the past two months. From March to April, we served an increase of 9 clients above the norm and the month of May looks extremely likely to follow.
The Lord is bringing more and more girls and women to our center who need Him. We are grateful that they come to us before they head to Planned Parenthood; They can experience love and truth as we walk them through their options in order to be well informed. Please be praying for these girls and that they would make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their babies.
We also are in the exploratory stages of initiating a Post-Abortion Recovery Program. Staff and volunteers are collaborating in research, training, and prayer to see what the Lord has in store for this kind of ministry. Please be in prayer with us as we seek to come alongside churches and bring another option of healing to post-abortive women (and men) in our community.
GiveWell Foundation for “Earn While You Learn”
We have our very first private grant, y’all! LifeChoice is the recipient of a $2000.00 grant from the GiveWell Foundation for our education-based resource program “Earn While You Learn.” We are thrilled to partner with this great organization that is right here in Winter Haven and Lakeland.
Implemented in March 2012, Earn While You Learn is the only education-based resource program in East Polk County that offers baby items, parenting classes and other education that will impact future generations. In 2013, 48% of client appointments were for EWYL classes, totaling over 350 classes for the year.
Rather than simply giving away tangible goods, staff felt that a stronger option was to equip clients with skills that could empower them to positively influence their current circumstance and decision-making. LifeChoice wanted to offer a parenting and safety-education program that allowed clients to earn goods and gain a sense of independence in their parenting and ability to provide for their family. The EWYL program was customized to accommodate young, first-time, expectant parents. Clients graduate from the program when their baby turns one year old.
Joey and Khadijah came to LifeChoice as a teenage couple pregnant with twin baby girls. After confirming twins through UltraSound, they decided to make a parenting plan and enrolled in Earn While You Learn. Khadijah delivered baby Kyla and Janiya last fall and came to LifeChoice for classes once a week.
“…All of their diapers and wipes were (earned) during these classes,” stated Joey. “I mean, they helped us in that way, financially… support-wise in raising them… how to raise them, what to do to keep them happy, and it’s been a big help.”
You won’t meet sweeter, more incredible parents! They have said that classes have especially helped them get their girls to sleep through the night.
“It’s like, we can have our little problems but when we come here, it would relieve our problems and make us feel happier. We grew together, stronger, because we know we need each other for both of them.”
This couple has learned to work together and set goals for their family. They are making positive choices, gaining more independence and acquiring more skills to help them meet their family goals. Staff at LC couldn’t be more thrilled with their progress and how happy they are.
Thank you, GiveWell Foundation, for your assistance in this wonderful program that LifeChoice offers!
Be A LifeGiver! Campaign for $100 monthly partners.
Part of an ongoing campaign to cover our operating budget is to raise an army of 120 LifeGivers who give $100 each month. So far, we have 31 LifeGiver units. LifeGivers are supporters that invest their time, prayer, and financial efforts to further our ministry and are privileged to some information and stories of LifeChoice’s day-to-day operation. We are greatly encouraged by all of our LifeGivers! Thank you for your heart for this ministry and investing in the abortion vulnerable families of our community.