by Emily Armentrout
The LIFE Center has had a busy and exciting summer with fundraising events, kicking off with their second annual golf outing in July at the Honeywell Public Golf Course. This year, 18 teams participated. Don LeLand’s team won the church division and the McKee team won the individual division. The outing raised $8,575, and proceeds from the outing went to the ultrasound account, which allows the LIFE Center to continue providing free ultrasounds.
During the Wabash County 4-H fair, the LIFE Center once again held their Precious Child contest. The first place winner Danika Landis, daughter of Jeremy and Rachel Landis. There were 38 contestants this year, and the contest raised $900. The proceeds from this event went to allow the LIFE Center to continue to purchase items that the center may run low on such as diapers, wipes, prenatal vitamins and office supplies.
The LIFE Center was the recipient of the first annual Smokin’ for a Cause event, which was originally a backyard barbeque contest between friends but it grew to 14 teams and took place in the Wabash County Historical Museum’s parking lot in downtown Wabash. This event raised $6,000 in one afternoon. The proceeds donated to the LIFE Center go to continue free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests.
The LIFE Center also hosts their annual banquet, which took place on Oct. 1 this year at the Honeywell Center. Guest speaker, Melissa Ohden, a survivor of an abortion, gave a powerful testimony of how she learned of the abortion and forgiveness that she has been able to give her biological family. Also introduced was Penny, a mannequin, who is the newest member of the LIFE Center. She will be used to raise money for a new building. As each goal, $33,333 per trimester is met, Penny’s baby bump will grow and once the final goal of $100,000 is met, Penny will “deliver” the funds for a new building that the LIFE Center is desperately needed, as Jeni Friedersdorf, the client service manager at the LIFE Center, explained to the ladies at the Wabash Church of the Nazarene’s LIFE Center baby shower.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the Wabash Church of the Nazarene hosted a baby shower to benefit the LIFE Center. Jeni Friedersdorf came as a representative for the LIFE Center. Katie Johnson, wife of Pastor Kirk Johnson, was the hostess for the party. “The LIFE Center has such an important role in our community. So many young moms don’t know where to turn for support and education, and it’s wonderful to have an organization in Wabash that can help meet those needs. We are excited to be able to partner with them as they serve their clients and our community,” Johnson told The Paper of why the Wabash Nazarene Church wanted to host a baby shower for the center.
Like other baby showers, guests arrived with baby gifts such as clothes, diapers, wipes and other necessities for babies. They participated in baby shower games like baby babble, where they unscrambled different words relating to babies and name that nursery rhyme. They also enjoyed cupcakes and punch. After the normal baby shower festivities wrapped up, Friedersdorf talked to the attendees about the LIFE Center.
“The LIFE Center was established in 1984, by several nurses who saw a need in Wabash County due to the rising number of teen pregnancies,” explained Friedersdorf. She went on to talk about how the LIFE Center reaches girls not only in Wabash County but also in surrounding counties and how the center is even present in local schools. As the center reaches more girls, the building is starting to burst at the seams.
“We purchased our current building (located at 78 W. Hill Street) about six years ago and it is time to start looking again and see what God has in store for us,” explained Friedersdorf. The LIFE Center is not only looking to expand into a larger building but also into more testing. They are currently looking into the possibility of starting STD testing along with their pregnancy tests and ultrasounds they are already offering girls, free of charge.
The LIFE Center does not charge their clients for any service they offer. They currently have three paid staff members and multiple volunteers, but they are always looking for more volunteers. They have a board made up of volunteers, but they also look for volunteer consultants to meet with the girls that come in. “The center does train our volunteers. We don’t just throw you into situations,” added Friedersdorf. They are also looking for volunteers to help in the clothing room or to even help keep the building clean. They have volunteer positions for all different skill levels.
“It is a little uneasy when you are with a client who is abortion minded, but we do train you. It’s hard when you are trying to explain how it will affect them physically and emotionally. We try to share their options with them and discuss their goals for the future,” Friedersdorf explained to the ladies at the Nazarene Church. The LIFE Center also hosts a post-abortion Bible study because it is important that the clients understand the center is still there for them, because it is likely they will struggle later in life. “A lot of these girls come in because they are looking for someone to talk to, someone to listen to them.”
Being on the volunteer board entails attending the LIFE Center’s events like their annual banquet and their annual rally held in January, which almost always ends up being one of the coldest days. Friedersdorf doesn’t think that’s a coincidence though. “Jan. 23, 1973 was the day abortion became legal, so that’s why we have the rally in January. It marks for us to rally together and try to defeat Rowe vs. Wade.”
If you are in need of a pregnancy test or ultrasound or are a mother in need of clothes, wipes, diapers, etc., you can contact the LIFE Center at 260-563-7275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They are open on Mondays from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-4 p.m.
“Girls are allowed to come in once a month to receive diapers, wipes and clothing. If they are in severe need, they can come in up to two times for these things. If that isn’t enough, we ask that they do watch a video and do a worksheet to earn what they need. There is no charge to our clients,” explained Friedersdorf.
To host a Life Center baby shower, you can call the Center and talk to Jeni or Cheryl to set up a baby shower or if you are interested making a donation, it can be dropped off at the LIFE Center during business hours.