Heartbeat of Fremont has slated its 15th annual Walk for Life for May 11 at 1209 Oak Harbor Road in Fremont - and its first walk at Calvert High School, 152 Madison St., Tiffin. The 2-mile benefit walk is to start at 9 a.m. in both locations.
Monica Church, assistant director of Heartbeat, described the nonprofit agency's services.
"We're a full medical clinic. We do pregnancy testing and ultrasound. We also offer different counseling programs," she said.
First-time mothers can enroll in Bridges, a support group that includes education about pregnancy, fetal development and lifestyle issues. Its counterpart, Father Factor, is for first-time fathers. The groups meet the first and third Tuesdays of each month for dinner and discussion at the Heartbeat office. In 2012 Heartbeat of Fremont served 1,305 clients in the Pregnancy Support Center and Bridges programs for first-time mothers.
Heartbeat also maintains a "Blessing Room" for new and gently used baby clothing and supplies. Program participants and to those needing emergency assistance can request items from Heartbeat.
Another program available to middle and high school students is called iKeep. An instructor from Heartbeat goes into the schools to educate pupils about topics such as: sexually transmitted diseases and infections; emotional, social, mental and legal consequences of sex outside of marriage; qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships; decision-making skills regarding relationships; character development; and overall abstinence education. In 2012, Heartbeat gave 50 iKeep presentations with a total attendance of 915.
"We also have the sexual integrity program with 15 last year. That's a one-on-one counseling for those who have been victims of different types of abuse," Church said.
All Heartbeat volunteers and staff are screened and properly trained to interact with clients and to provide a safe environment. Those seeking services at Heartbeat can expect confidentiality, honesty and no discrimination. The organization does not advocate abortions, but it does give clients accurate information about abortion procedures and risks. Heartbeat also has Healing the Effects of Abortion-Related Trauma or HEART for those who need counseling following an abortion.
The pro-life agency can refer expectant mothers to residential facilities, if needed, or to the Diocese of Toledo and other agencies that offer adoptions. Church said she has counseled women at Fremont's Liberty Center, a temporary housing facility for the homeless.
"We work pretty well within the community. ... We have a lot of good relationships. We all kind of help each other," Church said.
She added that Heartbeat expects to open a satellite office in Tiffin in the near future. To learn more about Heartbeat of Fremont, visit www.friendsofheartbeat or call (419) 334-9079. Walk participants can register online or the day of the walk.