A variety of beautiful baskets will be available for the silent auction held at the annual March 9 New Beginnings banquet.
Since opening its doors in 2000, the New Beginnings Pregnancy Center in Fond du Lac has helped 67 women and their babies by providing a safe and nurturing environment during a crisis pregnancy. Many women, when faced with an unexpected pregnancy find themselves alone with no where to go and little or no support system. Through the help of New Beginnings, these women and their babies are provided with a home, support system, connections to resources in the community, and new hope for the future.
In support of this vital service to the community, the New Beginnings annual banquet will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 795 Fond du Lac Ave., on Saturday, March 9, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. There will be a silent auction at 5:30 p.m.; followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.; and a live auction at 7:30 p.m.
The event includes a presentation by Father Mike Bertram, a well-known pro-life spokesperson from Milwaukee, as well as a tribute to Gloria Possehl, Joyce Nelson and Dorothy Klumpyan for their invaluable commitment and service to New Beginnings. In addition, there will be testimonials from several women who have been helped by New Beginnings. Tickets are $30 per person; or $240 for a table of eight - and are available through March 6 by contacting New Beginnings at 920-923-1484.
Auction items include an autographed Packer football, a diamond necklace from the Goldsmith, a pizza party at the Shack Sports Bar, two bedroom condo stay for one week in Texas, a variety of gift cards, and many beautiful baskets with a range of fun, interesting, and artistic items, all of which have been donated by individuals, organizations, and businesses in the Fond du Lac community.
"The people who support New Beginnings are helping women to change their lives in a very positive way," shared Mary Ann Volz, president of the board of directors. "Without this safety net, many of these women would be left homeless and abandoned, or forced to stay in unhealthy or even violent relationships. We offer them hope and the chance to start a new life, to become self-sufficient, and to learn to make choices that will help them to create a loving home and future for themselves and their babies - whether that be with themselves or with an adoptive family."
According to Mary Ann, the women who come to New Beginnings are provided with not only a place to live, but also a Christian environment, guidance, connections to other resources in the community, assistance in attaining an education, and training in homemaking skills.
"We guide the women to set attainable goals," explained Kelly Rust, director at New Beginnings since 2006. "We enroll them in self-improvement classes and encourage them to complete or begin an education. For some of them, this is the first time that they have ever experienced a healthy home environment. They learn to take responsibility and develop a willingness to make the necessary lifestyle changes to obtain a future of self-sufficiency."
With an average stay of nine months, the women enter residency at various stages of pregnancy and are allowed to stay up to three months after the birth of their child. By serving as their link to various community programs, agencies, and resources, New Beginnings helps the women to obtain housing, education, and employment. Many of the women maintain contact long after their stay at New Beginnings, coming back to visit with the director and staff, as well as serving as mentors for other residents.
"During their stay, the women learn about many things, including how to build positive and healthy relationships, as well as about parenting," noted Kelly. "That support system continues long after they have walked out of these doors, because they know we are always here. That wouldn't be possible without the wonderful support from the community, the generous donors who recognize the importance of what we do, and the other organizations with which we partner."
According to Kelly, New Beginnings also assists women and their children in the community by providing clothing, diapers, baby items, layettes, and other items in their time of need. These items are donated and then distributed throughout the community.
"All of our services and assistance are provided at no cost to the mothers," she explained. "The women who come here for help are assured of proper nutrition, prenatal care, and support during their pregnancy and delivery. New Beginnings is not just a home, it's an opportunity to learn about healthy choices and to start a new life."
Throughout the year, there are a variety of fund-raising events that support the nonprofit center, including a washer box tournament on April 6, 2013, at the Shack Sports Bar beginning at 2 p.m. and including cash prizes, live music, food, and a raffle. In addition, the annual golf fundraiser is planned for September 13, 2013. These events are fun activities and allow members of the community to become actively involved in supporting the important work at New Beginnings.
"Each of us can have a powerful impact, even through the little things that we do," shared Mary Ann. "Thanks to the generosity of many volunteers and supporters, 67 beautiful, healthy babies were born into loving families. This doesn't just help the mothers and their babies, it helps to build a stronger, healthier community."
"It's much like the ripple effect - everything that we do, somehow, touches the lives of others," added Kamala McCormick, board vice president and banquet chairperson. "This year's theme reflects that as well. Each time that we help another, we are sowing the seeds of greatness and giving hope for a brighter future for everyone."
Monetary donations, gifts-in-kind, or other items are always welcome by calling New Beginnings. For more information about the center, its policies, volunteer opportunities, and current needs, visit the website at www.newbeginningspregcare.org