I am so grateful for our many CareNet ministry partners. This year two families issued a Challenge Matching Grant for $300,000 which was announced in October at our 2012 banquet. These two families had also provided a challenge match at the 2011 banquet, but this year they increased it by 50% demonstrating their confidence in the work of CareNet. The dollar for dollar match applies to gifts that are made in 2012 that are greater than gifts given in 2011. CareNet is a ministry of excellence that is making a difference in the lives of women in DuPage, Cook, Will and Kane counties. Look for the graphs in the video of my banquet speech which is located on the side pages of our website, www.carenetdupage.com . You can help us meet the Challenge Grant by mailing in your gift or making one online in an amount greater that you gave in 2011. Your gifts really do make a difference; just take a look at the stories on our webpage.
Many women who come to CareNet will have an ultrasound. What do they see? At 5 or 6 weeks, the baby is not as well developed, but a mom can see the beating heart of her baby and what many women call, “their baby bean.” By 10 weeks, little hands and feet can be seen and that little baby can put on quite a show, jumping and bouncing around in his home in his mom’s uterus. CareNet’s nurse spends a lot of time pointing out to the mother the beating heart and feet and hands of her tiny baby; encouraging her to connect with what she is seeing on the ultrasound screen. Most women are very impacted by what they see on that ultrasound screen. In 2011, 72% of pregnant women in danger of choosing abortion who came to CareNet for help chose life following an ultrasound.
CareNet’s abstinence until marriage program, Amplify, influences 8500 middle and high school students every year. As any parent knows, that is a daunting task! How do they do it? Amplify educators do more than point their fingers at students, saying “No! Don’t do it.” First of all they place the entire lesson within the context of learning to have healthier relationships. They include facts about pregnancy and the benefits of choosing abstinence as a lifestyle. Then they equip them with skills to resist peer pressure and make good decisions. Each educator relates personally to students by relaying their own experiences and how a good or bad decision impacted their life. Sprinkled throughout the curriculum are fun activities that bring the message home. “Beanboozled“ has the students trying different flavors of jelly bellies, some good and some bad, to demonstrate the importance of making good decisions. And the message gets through. “After this program I am so much more informed. I learned that abstinence is best for me and I will stay abstinent until marriage.”
Many women in unplanned pregnancies believe they face insurmountable obstacles to carrying their pregnancy to term. Then they come to CareNet. Here they find acceptance, love and real help for the problems they face. “Do you need help with medical care, a place to live or furniture?” CareNet can refer you to agencies that can help you with that. “Do you need help in telling your parents about the pregnancy or help in other relationship issues? CareNet counselors are ready to help and work hard to overcome the obstacles women face in continuing their pregnancy. When the needs of women are met, decisions change. This is a quote from a satisfied CareNet client. “The information given was extremely helpful and now I no longer have to get an abortion.” What an opportunity we have to make a huge impact on the life of a mom and her baby!
Live Chat is a way that a woman can “chat” with a counselor over the internet without actually having to pick up a phone and make a call. Communication continues to change dramatically. Most of us can remember when the only option was to try and call someone at home on a telephone. Today, our communication consists of texting or e-mail. If CareNet is to remain competitive in reaching young women, we need to communicate using the newest methods. A woman visiting our client website, www.pregnanthelp.com, has the option of clicking and connecting to an online “conversation” with a CareNet counselor. After testing the waters, she may then feel comfortable enough to actually make an appointment which can be done electronically. In 2011, CareNet had “chats” with almost 400 young women. In 2012, that number continues to grow.
CareNet’s Wood Dale Center is currently the busiest of our four centers. Located in a shopping center on Irving Park Road in the north eastern part of DuPage County, this center attracts more of a younger group of women from diverse backgrounds than some of our other centers. One of the largest groups of young women is students from the nearby high school, Fenton. Our Wood Dale Center also sees the highest number of women coming in who have not made an appointment, but decide to “walk-in” for CareNet’s free services. Being able to walk-in and be welcomed without an appointment to a CareNet center is a feature that brings many women in. This is one of the contact options along with Live Chat offered on our client website, www.pregnanthelp.com. Check it out. More on Live Chat later.
Of CareNet’s four centers, Naperville is growing the fastest. Ultrasounds are up by 43%. This newest center, located on Rt. 59 and 83rd street is reaching women in need beyond the geographical area of DuPage County. Fully, 70% of the pregnant women in danger of choosing abortion who come to that center are from Kendall, Kane and Will counties. By establishing that center on the southwestern corner of DuPage County, CareNet is able to market to and offer women in other areas CareNet’s excellent services. Have you visited this center? CareNet’s Naperville Center is professionally designed; this new center emphasizes soft lighting, relaxing colors, and curved walls. The largest of CareNet’s centers, Naperville has both an exterior and interior waiting room, an ultrasound room and three counseling rooms. The largest counseling room is designed to accommodate larger groups such as families who may come in for extended counseling, a group of young moms who wish to share their mutual struggles and concerns with a CareNet counselor. Give me a call or send me an email to arrange for a tour of this cutting edge center.
No matter the political affiliation, most people agree that women in unplanned pregnancies need to be supported with love, understanding and real help. CareNet was founded 31 years ago to do just that. As we look at our culture today and the tremendous pressures women face to end their pregnancies, CareNet is needed more than ever! At a CareNet center she can meet with a counselor and discuss her fears and her needs. Her CareNet counselor can help her sort out her options and give her very practical help that will make a difference. Most of all, at a CareNet center she will be encouraged and find hope for her future as well as her baby. Real hope comes from CareNet being able to meet her short and long term needs. No one does that better! Being there for her when she needs us and with exactly what she needs – that’s what CareNet is all about!
Have you ever been to a CareNet center? One thing you will notice is the deliberate design of the center from the floor plan to the paint on the walls. Each center is designed to be warm and welcoming. We know that many women are very upset when they think they might be pregnant, and CareNet’s goal is to help them relax and feel safe. Thinking about the people you serve is part of being a ministry of excellence. Our premier Naperville office even has an interior waiting room designed to allow a pregnant young woman time to decompress about her situation without pressure. Would you like to see how the ministry works? Call us for a time to take a quick tour!
Did I tell you about CareNet’s Nurse Manager, Carla? She is a picture of commitment, one reason why CareNet is a ministry of excellence. Carla drives between CareNet’s four counseling centers, performing ultrasounds so that women in danger of choosing abortion can see the life within them. Sometimes the women respond emotionally with tears as they accept a picture of their baby to take home with them. But whatever their reaction, Carla always responds to them with love and compassion. Despite the many miles she travels every day (one day she performed 10 ultrasounds) she is always cheerful and happy to be in the Lord’s service. If you would like to send her a note of encouragement, I will forward it to her.