Chat & Appointment Request Now Up

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Our desire is to make our services as accessible as possible to our clients. Today we're expanding some communication options. We added chat and appointment requests to our website.

As you can see in the photo above, there is a chat box that appears on the website no matter what page you're on. Just click the Chat Now text to begin a conversation or click the X or the blue circle to dismiss it. It's powered by Facebook Messenger, so you can start a conversation with RETA on your computer and take it to your phone.

Here's how a conversation looks on a computer:

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As you're browsing, you can speak with someone from RETA. Here's what it looks like on mobile:

Going back to computers, did you notice the big blue Request Appointment button? It's also featured on all of our applicable service pages:

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When you click the button it will take you to this page:

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Clients can fill out the type of appointment they'd like, a preferred date and time and send their request in. Our receptionist or administrative assistant will follow up with them to get them scheduled. Pretty cool!

Speaking of cool. Google recently updated their mobile search. If someone types in RETA on a mobile browser, they'll see an option to message. When they click that, they'll speak directly with someone from RETA, right from the search result! Here's what it looks like:

If you have any questions, give us a shout on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, our website, through a Google search on a mobile phone, email or call us. Talk to you soon!

5K For Life

On the bright, beautiful Saturday morning of May 5, Moriah and Jenny Randolph organized a group of volunteers from People's Bible Church in Benton to run a 5K to benefit RETA. After months of finding sponsors, collecting prizes and getting medals, the run began through county roads in a green, forested loop. Walkers brought children in strollers and dogs ran with their owners. Winners of the timed run received gift cards to local restaurants. It was a fantastic event and we're very grateful for all the hard work the Randloph's and People's Bible Church put into the event to support RETA. Thank you!

Nancy The Encourager

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Nancy Leatherman, RETA board member of three years, recently stepped down from her position due to health reasons.

"Nancy has been the type of board member that goes out of her way to be an encouragement to our staff and to me personally.  Besides much needed encouragement, she has brought wisdom and insight to our board meetings.  Her dedication and support has been shown in her desire to share about RETA to everyone she knows.  It is an honor to call her friend!"
- Roxana Konopinski, RETA's Executive Director

Nancy accepted the invitation to join RETA's board after her experience of taking a pregnant granddaughter through RETA's services. She was impressed with the curriculum and staff as she sat through her granddaughter's coaching sessions. Nancy's desire to tell others about RETA, combined with her innate ability to encourage others fuels her desire to see RETA's reach expand to more young mothers and their babies.

Originally from a small town 80 miles south of Chicago, Nancy moved to the Elkhart area where she studied to become a dental assistant. After graduating and taking a job at a dentist's office, she met Max and the pair married shortly thereafter. Today they attend First United Methodist Church's downtown campus. Nancy and Max have two children, one of whom they adopted as an infant, several grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They are grateful for the young woman who chose life for her child, giving them a sweet gift.

Nancy, thank you for your amazing love and support for our staff and your heart for the clients we serve. You are awesome!

Divine Design Women's Conference

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The women’s leadership at Grace Community Church created a wonderful weekend retreat for ladies at their Divine Design Women’s Conference.  RETA was invited, along with several other local non-profit organizations, to set up a table focusing on the service opportunities available for women to be a part of through volunteering.  As the ladies had breaks between sessions, they visited the different groups represented.  It was great to hear that so many of the ladies in attendance knew who RETA was and the services that we have available.  Thank you so much to the leadership team for the worshipful music and helpful teaching during the Divine Design Conference.

Tree of Life

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"So small, but such a huge impact."

"Faithful servant."

"Praying grandparent."

"Until we meet in heaven. Love Mom and Dad."

Each phrase tells a short story, commemorating the life or volunteerism of a loved one on RETA's Tree of Life.

In 2005, RETA's Tree of Life was created as a visual way for donors to honor and remember loved ones. The tree, which was originally painted in RETA's stairway, now resides on the second floor of the building. Created by RETA's Administrative Assistant, Angie Tackett, the tree is cut from plywood, with leaves made out of maple, cherry, walnut or gold.

Some special donors purchased a leaf for the Tackett's, both on staff, after they lost their daughter in March of 2017.

"It was so neat to know our daughter's short life was honored in this way - giving to provide life-affirming services and to see her name toward the top of the tree as a reminder that she made a difference," said Rod Tackett, RETA's Advancement Director.

If you would like honor a loved one by purchasing a leaf, click here. You can fill out the form and submit it online or you can print it and mail it in. Payment can be made through our website by clicking Donate Now (make sure to write Tree of Life in the note section) or sending a check made out to RETA (300 W. High St., Elkhart, IN 46516) with Tree of Life in the memo line.

Restroom Renovation Finished!

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RETA's medical restroom, located on the first floor of our building, was in the process of being renovated. It was finally completed this month and it looks great. It will be more functional for our nurses and clients alike, especially for pregnancy testing.

Thank you to Tom and Janice Metzler and their grandson Kylor, Shawn Blosser, Jeremy Neverman and Bailey Kessler for all your work on the renovation!

FUN FACT - When the building was purchased by RETA, the medical restroom was originally a food pantry built off of a kitchen.

Our True Colors

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You might be thinking that color theory is something artists and marketing folks ponder about, but not pregnancy centers. And, well, you're absolutely right.

When Rod Tackett, RETA's Advancement Director came on board last July, he wanted to bring unity to RETA's programs, materials, naming systems and colors. So you can blame him for adding pregnancy centers to the list of places that ponder color theory.

Here's Rod's explanation on RETA's colors and what they mean.

Blue is the color that invokes trust and is used by most local hospitals. Naturally, blue had to go with RETA's Medical Services - pregnancy testing and ultrasound.

Green is the color of renewal and new life. We tied this color with our Pregnancy Loss Support program as a reminder for those who have lost a child through abortion or through miscarriage, stillbirth or premature infant loss, there is hope, support and new life just around the corner.

Orange is the color of fun. (Just look at Nickelodean.) It best represents kids, so naturally we tied this color to our Parent Coaching and Resources.

Finally, yellow is the color of caution. Look out for the icy bridge, pedestrians crossing or that church around the corner. This very easily tied to our Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education, helping students make the positive choice of abstinence before marriage by creating and holding to boundaries.

Meet the Board | Richard

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Meet RETA board member, Richard Armington. He began serving on the board in January of 2018. Richard grew up in New Paris and graduated from Fairfield, where he participated in football, basketball and baseball.  He attended Bethel College, where he played basketball and met his Middlebury-raised wife, Deb. They have been married for 38 years and have four children, three of which are married and have children.  Richard and Deb have six grandchildren under the age of 7, with another due this July.

While at Bethel, Richard’s major was in education and he spent four years teaching and coaching locally.  He has been in the food distribution industry for 29 years and is currently employed by Troyer Foods in Goshen.  He previously spent 4.5 years in development with Compassion International.

Richard first learned of RETA through longtime friends, Wendell and Peggy Norwood, who helped start RETA. His wife taught him even more when she began volunteering. Richard believes in the sanctity of life and how RETA lovingly embraces those who need help and doing so in the way Christ modeled for us.  He has been involved with RETA for over ten years.  He prays that he is found faithful in his service and helpful in any way and area where God might lead and RETA might find need.

Feeling fortunate to have traveled extensively through his mission's work, Richard has been to Africa, India, Ecuador, Peru, Honduras, Mexico, Dominican and Haiti.  He has also enjoyed recreational trips to England, France and Italy, as well as many locations in the Caribbean and the United States. If he could travel anywhere in the world he would go to Israel - the Holy Land.

If Richard could choose only one food item to eat for the rest of his life - and if nutrition wasn't an issue - he would dine on nothing but chocolate.  His realistic choice would be pizza because he could periodically make sure it had a good mix of vegetables to create a somewhat balanced diet along with pepperoni and sausage.

We're glad to have you on board, Richard!

Verse of the Year

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"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of
our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." - Psalm 90:17

At the beginning of each year, RETA's staff prayerfully selects a Bible verse as a theme for the year. Psalm 90:17 was chosen for 2018 because we hope the Lord will impact others through our work in big ways.

In 2017, RETA served clients through more than 2,480 appointments. RETA’s nurses performed more than 300 pregnancy tests and more than 375 ultrasounds. Our coaches met with clients more than 1,030 times, serving mothers, fathers and couples to give them tools to help them be even better parents.

We pray that God would use us in even greater ways in 2018, building off of what he did through us last year. Psalm 90:17 goes hand-in-hand with our mission of providing life-affirming services and building Christ-centered families. With the Lord's favor, our work is established to help make Elkhart County an even more vibrant place for moms, dads and their kids to live.

Baby Bottle Boomerang

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For fifteen years, RETA has run the Baby Bottle Boomerang. Baby Bottle Boomerang is a fundraising campaign that churches, service/student groups and businesses can participate in to help support the services RETA provides for our clients. Organizations can fill the bottles with cash, coins or checks.

On average these bottles have raised $5,000 to $11,000 a year for RETA. Just ten bottles can raise $200! RETA's Executive Director, Roxana, has a goal for 2018 to raise $6,000 from the Baby Bottle Boomerang.

 

GET INVOLVED

If your organization would like to support RETA through a Baby Bottle Boomerang campaign, here's how it works:

1. Contact us at reta@retaforlife.com or call us at 574-522-3888 and let us know you'd like to start a Baby Bottle Boomerang Campaign.

2. RETA will provide you with baby bottles that contain instructions.

3. You'll have one month to collect donations.

4. At the end of your month, return the bottles to RETA and we'll tell you how much you raised. 

The Importance of Fathers

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Thank you so much to those of you who came out to RETA's Celebrating Life Benefit Dinner presented by Newmar! With your help, the evening raised more than $180,000 for RETA to continue journeying alongside moms, dads and their children, from first trimester to their kids' teen years and beyond.


The following article was featured in the Goshen News from local correspondent Denise Fedorow.

“Dads, stay in.”

That was a central message in the talk delivered by Davey Blackburn, keynote speaker for RETA’s (Reason Enough to Act) annual banquet Thursday evening at the Northern Indiana Event Center.

Blackburn is founder and lead pastor of Resonate Church in Indianapolis. His former wife, Amanda Byars Blackburn — an Elkhart native — and their unborn child were killed in a home invasion on Nov. 11, 2015. Blackburn shared how he got through that devastating time — four years to the day they moved into their Indianapolis home.

He said both he and Amanda felt like God was preparing them for a season of pain, so when he walked in and found her lying in a pool of blood, he thought something had happened to the baby. Then he found out she had three bullet wounds — one to the back of the head — and it didn’t look good. He said their entire world was turned upside down.

Blackburn said he prayed for a miracle and with faith that providing that miracle would resonate with those in the hospital and bring many people to Jesus. But that wasn’t God’s plan. Instead, he said, their story is being shared all over the country.

“Sometimes you don’t appreciate life until you experience death,” he said.

Blackburn said he struggled to try to be mom to the couple’s toddler son and said he had an internal conversation with God who told him, “You don’t have to be a mom. Moms are good at telling children about God, but what you have to do is be a dad because only a dad can show a kid who God is.”

That caused a revelation that fatherhood is under attack in our society. “Because the enemy doesn’t want us to know God as Father,” he said.

Blackburn said we tend to project our feelings and thoughts about our earthly fathers onto our heavenly Father. He said most of the famous atheists are fatherless. He discovered that the men who broke into his home were in gangs and the one that is responsible for taking the life of his wife and child was abandoned by his parents.

Blackburn was led to research the detriment of a fatherless country — due to death, divorce or imprisonment. Some of the statistics he shared included: 63 percent of youth suicides, 90 percent of homeless or runaway teens, 70 percent of juveniles in state facilities, 80 percent of rapists, 71 percent of high school dropouts, 85 percent of youth in prisons and 71 percent of pregnant teens are from fatherless homes.

“That’s what I love about RETA," Blackburn said. "They take a holistic approach on this."

Blackburn said these statistics show “the institution of fatherhood is vital in our society. I believe God’s plan all along was family. The best form of evangelization is the family unit. Don’t neglect sharing Jesus with your kids.”

“And Dads — stay in.”

Blackburn also shared that he remarried in December and his wife was present, sitting with his former in-laws. He shared for the first time a little of her story. She was a single mom with a child born out of wedlock. She was ashamed to go to her doctor or to her parents. And she knew other Christian girls like herself who chose abortion to avoid that embarrassment.

“As a pastor, hearing that hurt me because it told me we’re creating a culture in church where sins have to be hidden,” Blackburn said.

He challenged attendees to be fathers for the fatherless and to support single moms and dads. The message Blackburn strives to spread — aside from the importance of fatherhood — is one of hope in the midst of tragedy.

“When we choose life, hope and forgiveness, he (God) will restore,” Blackburn said.

After the event, he was asked why he wanted to speak at this event. He replied, “I think it’s important subject matter. It’s always important to talk about life and hope, especially when there is so much death and war. Anything I can do to provide that message of hope and healing, I want to.”

CELEBRATING LIFE BENEFIT

The annual banquet is a benefit for the organization that started in 1985. This year there were 1,100 attendees — up from the record-breaking 860 in attendance last year — creating the need for an overflow in another hall.

The evening began with a couple of clients sharing their stories about how RETA has helped them.

The first ever Advancement Director Rod Tackett was the master of ceremonies for the event. He shared that the budget for this year was $460,000 and last year they had 2,500 appointments. They have a staff of nine, including two nurses and 70 volunteers. RETA is not government funded and the donor base is made up of 60 percent individuals, 25 percent businesses and 15 percent churches.

They offer pregnancy testing and ultrasounds in-office or in the mobile unit. RETA also offers abortion recovery support and a new pregnancy loss support program for those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth. They meet the second Monday of each month at the RETA offices.

Healthy sexual boundaries education through abstinence before marriage is offered through presentations and individual discussion.

Parent Education is also offered with Mom’s Coaching, Men’s Coaching, Couple Coaching, a Mother’s Club and Family Store where clients can earn points to shop for free for clothing, baby items, diapers and more.

All of RETA’s resources are provided free of charge. Newmar Industries was the major sponsor of the event with gold and silver sponsors Norris Estate, Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Premium Concrete, Main Street Roasters and Redeemer Radio (95.7 fm) the media sponsor.

To donate, volunteer or receive assistance from RETA contact them at 574-522-3888 or www.retaforlife.com. A current need is for heated, indoor storage space for the mobile ultrasound unit.

RETA is for YOU

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The following is a special post from Roxana, RETA's Executive Director.

I often wonder if everyone knows that RETA’s services are for everyone. If you are a donor, a supporter and believe wholeheartedly in our mission you already know we help women and men who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or parents who need extra support. You may even understand that we have people of all ages coming to our programs.

But do you ever think that we are also here for you or those close to you?

I love the fact that because we don’t receive government funding, we are not limited to serving only those of a particular income bracket or have children of certain ages. RETA’s programs are for anyone who has a need. Do you know of someone in your family, a neighbor or someone in your church who could use our Mom’s Coaching or Men’s Coaching? Have you or someone you love experienced the painful loss of a pregnancy or stillbirth? Do you know someone who has regret and hurt from an abortion decision? Regardless of how long ago or how recent these events, many struggle to find a safe place to share their hurt and sometimes there is hesitation to share even amongst their Christian community. 

Please keep in mind that RETA isn’t just here for other people. RETA is here for everyone and everyone includes you and those you love. 

Restroom Renovation Begins

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RETA is currently in the process of renovating our medical restroom. The renovation, which started last month by a wonderful volunteer, will make the restroom more accommodating for our clients.

RETA's Executive Director, Roxana, said of the project, 

"Renovating [the restroom] will give it a more professional and medical look." 

When the project is finished, the restroom will have a new paint job, new countertops, flooring, sink, cabinets, an opaque film covering the window and a pass-through window. The restroom will be more functional for our nurses by including more storage for medical equipment and more efficient for our clients taking a pregnancy test, providing them a better experience.

FUN FACT - When the building was purchased by RETA, the medical restroom was originally a food pantry built off of a kitchen.

Healthy Sexual Boundaries Ed.

 The BB's represent the number of people an individual has been exposed to based on the number of sexual partners they've had and the number of sexual partners their partner has had. The containers above, from left to right, include 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12 partners.

The BB's represent the number of people an individual has been exposed to based on the number of sexual partners they've had and the number of sexual partners their partner has had. The containers above, from left to right, include 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12 partners.

This week, RETA staff Jeff and Joni headed to Elkhart Memorial High School to talk about Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education.  RETA has the awesome opportunity to partner with area schools to present the positive choice of abstinence, as abstinence education is required by the state of Indiana to be taught. 

Jeff and Joni's purpose in speaking with teenage students was to educate them on what having healthy sexual boundaries means and what risks there are from being sexually active outside of marriage. They presented the information to provide students examples of how their lives can be affected by their choices.

On the first day of presenting, Joni and Jeff explained what healthy sexual boundaries are and what it looks like for the students to practically set up boundaries in their lives.

“These are choices they need to make for themselves, it’s not silly or dumb to say no”
- Teacher, Elkhart Memorial High School

Jeff and Joni wanted the students to know that it is okay to say no to sexual activity and explained the risks that come with deciding to be sexually active. One activity that stood out during their presentation included Starburst candies. The Starburst activity had the students take a single Starburst, put it in their mouths without chewing, then putting the un-chewed candy into a bag with the rest of the class's. Making a point from the activity, Joni would ask a student to take a Starburst out of the bag and eat it. Joni was not actually going to make students eat the candy, of course. When the student denied eating a Starburst because of germs from others, it helped prove her point that if you did not want to share a piece of candy someone had in their mouth because of bodily fluids, it's no different from sharing bodily fluids during sexual activity.

Continuing with the interactive demonstration, Joni and Jeff moved from Starbursts to BB's. The activity showed the students the number of people they could be exposed to if they decided to be sexually active before marriage and if their partner was sexually active with others. The BB activity gave a visual aid to students about what they are exposed to when having multiple sexual partners. Wrapping up the first day of presenting, Joni and Jeff gave more information regarding statistics about the amount of teens having sex, adoption and abortion. These statistics helped students understand what was really happening with others their age.

To begin the second day of presenting, Jeff started out with an activity where students could understand how their choices affect their path in life. For the purpose of the class, they focused on how sexual activities could affect their future marriage and future plans. One example Jeff gave was helping students think through having a sexual relationship with a person who was not their spouse. He had the students explain how they thought it would affect their life path and their future marriage. The activity helped students think through real-life situations, enabling them to understand how their choices can affect the rest of their lives.

Jeff and Joni wrapped up the two days by having students write on a note card what their personal boundaries would be. Jeff read the anonymous boundaries to the class some to help the students understand they are not alone in having boundaries.  Jeff said,

“One example that we have had in the past was that someone’s boundary was abstinence.”

When students know their boundaries and have them in place, they're more likely to follow them if they didn't have any going into a potentially bad situation.

When asked why RETA is invited to speak, the teacher said,

“Kids need to hear about all of this. It’s not made up, it is real life”.

It absolutely is real life. We're so glad to be able to partner with local schools and churches to help teens think through the choices they're making and how they can affect the rest of their lives.

Click here to learn more about our Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education program.

Christmas Store Spreads Joy

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Thanks to our donors, RETA’s Christmas Store was a huge success! Joni Bradberry, RETA’s Client Services Manager said, 

“We were able to serve a wide variety of people from all walks of life and bless them with the Christmas Store this year.”

In fact, 111 children from 41 families were able to open presents on Christmas thanks to the generosity of our donors.

Here are some of the many thank-you’s from our clients to our donors:

“Thank you for showing the love of God this Christmas season.”
“Thank you for giving my children
Christmas. God bless.”
“Thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity to give so much joy to my
children this year.”
“All of you here at RETA are a blessing to our family. God bless you.”
“Thank you for everything. It means the world to me and I know my son will love the gifts. Bless you all and Merry Christmas.”
“Thank you so much for thinking of us this Christmas! Our boys will appreciate it so much. God bless!”
“Thank you so much for helping me make Christmas possible.”
“Thank you so much. I don’t know what I would’ve done without RETA. I love all of you.”
“You have no idea how grateful we are for you! You made it possible to have two very blessed, joyful children Christmas morning!”

All we can say is thank you. Your generosity shows the love of Jesus to those we serve.

Pregnancy Loss Support Begins

JOIN PREGNANCY LOSS SUPPORT GROUP  |  This free and open group meets 2nd Monday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m. at RETA.

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In 2017, RETA performed more than 375 ultrasounds. Our nurses have the joy of showing eager young moms and dads their baby’s heartbeat, as they get to see their baby moving, kicking and jumping in utero.

Sometimes we don’t have good news to share as parents watch the ultrasound. Sometimes their baby has no heartbeat. As some of our dear clients and several RETA staff have experienced, finding out that you’ll miscarry is a hard and traumatic experience. We have hopes and dreams for our children and that starts early on in a pregnancy. Those hopes and dreams die when you find out that your child has died.

We wanted to have a direct point of support for those who experience miscarriage, stillbirth and premature infant loss, so we expanded our services to include Pregnancy Loss Support. 

Under the Pregnancy Loss Support umbrella, we will provide a support group and resources to moms and dads who experience the devastating loss of a baby. We will also continue to provide our life-changing Abortion Recovery Support under the same umbrella.

Tonya Harwood, RETA’s Pregnancy Loss Support Coordinator, oversees both areas. Tonya says of Pregnancy Loss Support,

“I’m looking forward to walking through the healing process together and coming alongside parents as they grieve.”

No one should feel like they have to walk through the loss of a baby alone.