What better way to beat the long winter doldrums and bring on a new spring than to roll up your sleeves, grab your favorite partner, and toss those washers! Come join the fun for the second annual Fund for Life washer box tournament, in support of the New Beginnings Pregnancy Center in Fond du Lac, at The Shack Sports Bar, W4786 Hwy. 23 in Fond du Lac on Saturday, April 6, beginning at 2 p.m. Along with the tournament, there will also be a raffle, bake sale, games with prizes, vendors, food, and live entertainment.
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 women and their babies, several people in the community have come together to plan this fun event, offering the chance to win prizes, enjoy delicious food, and raise money for a good cause.
"The people who organize this event are not members of the board or staff - they just really believe in what we are doing and decided to do something to help," shared Mary Ann Volz, president of the board of directors. "There are a number of volunteers who donate both their time and talent, as well as donations of prizes, food, and items used at the event. We are so grateful for their generosity."
Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. The cost per two-person team is $25 for preregistration, $30 on the day of the event. Registration forms are available at a variety of business locations in the area or by calling New Beginnings at 923-1484.
Along with hot turkey sandwiches, there will also be pulled pork, a wide variety of home-made baked goods, snacks, and beverages for purchase. In addition, a number of vendors will be exhibiting their products and services, including Arbonne, Thirty One Gifts, Scentsy, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Denim Vault, and Origami Owl, where participants can a build a locket using a beautiful and creative variety of charms.
Organizers of the event are Therese Cleland, Becky Kohlman, and Nikki Koepke, in collaboration with committee members and a number of volunteers from the community.
During the washer box tournament, there will be a number of raffles, including a 50/50 raffle and one for a set of hand-made washer boxes. In addition, there will be a variety of games with prizes throughout the day. All of the items have been donated. In addition, Catholic Financial has donated $750 in matching funds for this year's tournament.
Beginning at 8 p.m., Stoneship Eden, a tribute to classic rock from the 1970s, will provide live entertainment. With a concert style rock show, the group performs the biggest hits from the 70s, such as The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, and many more. The band features co-ed duo lead singers, with five additional members.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in a fun day of playing games and enjoying the camaraderie of others from the community while supporting the work that is done at New Beginnings," noted Mary Ann. "For women who are faced with an unexpected pregnancy, New Beginnings offers the chance to start a new life with the support and guidance that they need."
All of the services offered at New Beginnings are free and confidential for the women who stay there. Through the help of the director, Kelly Rust, the women learn to accept responsibility for their own and their babies' care and how to form healthy relationships, as well as receiving referral to a number of services and organizations in the community to help them to become self-sufficient.
"Many of these women have never known a true support system," shared Kelly, who has served as the director since 2006. "We offer them the guidance and support that they need in a very difficult time in their lives. They learn to be part of a family environment, taking responsibility for cleaning, cooking, and other household tasks, as well as recognizing the importance of education and training for a job."
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.
Throughout the year, there are a number of fund-raising events in support of New Beginnings, including the annual banquet this past March. Raffle winners from the 2013 banquet were Leila Masoudi, $500; Dave Overby, $200; and Cathy Roth, $100. All proceeds from these events help to keep New Beginnings open, offering women and their babies a safe and supportive environment.
"We welcome everyone in the community to come join the fun on Saturday," said Mary Ann. "With the generous support of the people in the community and those who volunteer their time and talent, we can continue to help women and their babies, giving them the chance for a new life."
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