An open letter to our supporters....

We’d like to share a story from one of the almost 200 clients who visit us each month:

Margie, a pregnant high school junior, came in referred by her school.  She told us that her boyfriend was insisting she have an abortion.  Her parents told her if she continued to be with him she had to move out of their home.  She came to us for support.   Margie listened as we talked to her about abortion, adoption, and parenting.  She chose to move out of her parent’s home but also chose to keep her baby.  Now eight months later we continue to see Margie regularly, she is living back at home, working part time, finishing school, and her baby’s dad is enjoying spending time with his son.  She tells us how grateful she is for the love and support she receives at The Crossing, and says “I really don’t know what I would have done without you, my baby wouldn’t even be here.”

If you have supported The Crossing in the past....

Thank you! We are so grateful! Your participation in our ministry makes our life changing work with Margie and many others possible.

We’ve been blessed with significant changes, growth and expansion in the past two years. Our Medical clinic impacts the life choices of many young moms. Our HOME opens its doors to women who long to turn their lives around. Our Pregnancy Services Earn While You Learn Program nurtures stronger families.

If you would like to find out more about us....

We’d like to talk with you or meet you. We’ve set Tuesdays and Wednesdays through August as “Come and Visit” our Pregnancy Center location, 814 Washington. Please call to make an appointment 920.973.4357.

There's a lot that's happened in our ministries lately...

Our Medical Clinic welcomes patients at a new, more accessible location at 205 N. 8th St. Our free ultrasound exam provides pregnancy verification, but also gives moms a glimpse of their new baby; 80% of women who see their baby like this choose to continue their pregnancy.  A new program offers free STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing, addressing a serious disease increase in our county. Countless volunteer hours have made this new space welcoming and comfortable as well as financially efficient.

Our important Earn While You Learn Program helps prepare current and expecting parents with educational videos about prenatal development, infant health, parenting techniques and life skills. Participation earns “dollars” that can be redeemed for baby supplies and clothing from our Boutique and Pantry. Each month 200 clients pass through our doors, all with unique situations and needs that our staff seeks to meet, humbly and lovingly.

The Crossing HOME, A Place of New Beginnings, has been gifted for our use. Renovations and furnishings are complete – almost entirely due to volunteer work and donations. We have a director on staff and programs in place. Our purpose is to help dedicated, committed women break the cycle of generational poverty. 

Gifts of any size are always welcome....

A commitment to a monthly giving plan is especially encouraging to the children we see for it demonstrates ongoing support. We are a non-profit, 501c3 organization and gifts are tax deductible. This is what our client’s children say about the impact you can make:

                $50/month (covers 1 client visit) – “I love coming to The Crossing! I get to play with awesome toys, I get hugs and candy. My mom receives parenting education and resources, clothing and pantry supplies and sometimes counseling.”

                $250 gift (covers 1 ultrasound)– “I get to wave hello to my mommy when she sees my ultrasound pictures.”

                $2500 gift (covers 1 family a month)– “I can live with my mom in a beautiful home. We receive good food to eat and a safe place to stay. My mom takes part in education and programming to be the best mommy she can be to help us live in our own home someday”

To make a gift or increase your monthly gift, go to our "GIVE" page.

Volunteering and in-kind giving are helpful, too....

Our Clinic relocation and HOME renovations and furnishings were accomplished almost completely through volunteer help and donations. Our Earn While You Learn and Boutique programs are staffed almost entirely by volunteer client advocates.

Your group or organization could engineer a diaper drive or baby bottle/spare change collection for our programs. We prayerfully ask you to consider: “How can I make a difference?” Please “Come and Visit” us to find out more.

 

 

Belinda's Blog....

I recently read Judah Smith's book, How's Your Soul? In his devotional by the same title, Judah shares an instance when he bought an ATV and he initially thought there was something wrong with it. "The engine ran too loud and rough." The gears felt jerky." After talking about it with some friends, he simply learned that an ATV is not a golf cart made for riding on smooth terrain, but rather All-Terrains. "This was made for off-road use, not for streets."

Judah goes on to say. "Sometimes I think we want the same thing from our faith and our relationship with Jesus that I wanted from my ATV. We want safe, quiet and controlled lives. We want to stay on the road. Risk? Forget it! Adventure? Thank you, but no. Unpredictability? Too scary. And yet, our faith was made for off-road use. Our souls were designed to follow God around hairpin turns and along breathtaking cliffs. "

This devotional resonated with me and I began to think what living "off-road" has meant to me. Here are some thoughts.

Off-road is moving to a different continent and learning a new language, customs.

Off-road is working at a pregnancy support center when I can't have my own children.

Off-road is being fired from a ministry job that I was giving my whole heart to.

Off-road is missing birthdays, weddings, funerals of loved ones, because my journey off-road is too far from home.

Off-road is holding a sister-in-Christ's hand as she's dying.

Off-road is staying on the phone in silence, prayer and tears with a friend whose life is breaking to pieces.

Off-road is having strangers in my home and opening my heart to welcome them as friends.

Off-road is finding a home and a family far from my original one.

My journey has taken me to painful and somber places, but it has also brought me joy and fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams. People have not always felt safe but I have experienced love and friendship in deep ways. I trust God has the best plan. I trust His goodness and heart. Even in disappointments and hurt, His hope abounds. In days where darkness seems to take over, the light of his purpose shines through.

After thinking about it, I don't believe there is an other kind of faith than the one that takes you off-road! I want to grow in self-forgetfulness and self-abandonment in the arms of the Father.

How about you? Do you trust God in the off-road life situations? How are you practicing this faith in your life?

Judah adds, "Life with Jesus is an adventure, and we'll be frustrated if we think he will always keep us on the road."

We are moving....

...Here's why and how....

We feel blessed to have found a location, 205 N. 8th -- previous home of the Red Cross -- that accommodates both our Pregnancy Center and Medical Clinic.

.... The Clinic will move in May – access through the east side entrance off the parking lot.

.... The Center will move in the fall.

Combining both services under one roof provides greater opportunity to serve families in need.

.... Expand space to offer additional educational services

.... Increase Medical Clinic services with a direct, more immediate referral pattern

.... Extend client services through greater efficiency of facility maintenance, utilities, overhead

The new location offers greater convenience for our clients.

.... Improve access through clearer identification of our facility, improved street signage, traffic patterns, parking.

.... Provide separate, confidential Clinic entrance off the east side parking area

Our Clinic lease expires this spring with no opportunity for renewal.  Our search for a new location led us to this wonderful space. We are in the process of carefully planning the transition to capitalize on signage and publicity while minimizing expenses associated with the move and facility management.

We will develop a “wish list” of transition needs and will be asking our supporters for help as we move ahead. Please check social media or call/email us at 920.973.4357/ office@crossingmanitowoc.org for more information. We will be looking for help with:

Ongoing prayer support – for guidance in serving our community, for discernment in making choices, for bravery in asking for help where needed and for sincerity in our communications

Signage – for clear identification of our new office space

Office/equipment needs

Change a Life! Join the Baby Bottle Campaign

Here’s how to help....

....Pick up a baby bottle on Mother’s Day May 14

....Fill it with donations

....Return it on Father’s Day June 18

You can get a bottle at participating local churches or call us at The Crossing 973.4357.

We Love….

At The Crossing, our ministry is all about loving our community. We work to build stronger families through parenting classes, resource referrals, pregnancy tests, loving guidance and unconditional acceptance.

Because of you….

All our services are free. Families facing unplanned pregnancy have someplace to turn to for information. Your donations fill our supply pantry, provide a safe environment for peer counseling, offer free pregnancy verification at our Medical Clinic. Every bit helps.

Check out our “Get Involved” pages (Link) for more ways to participate in our ministry.

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday January 15

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday January 15

How you can help – get involved:

Diaper Drives - our pantry disseminates over 1600 diaper each month through our Earn While You Learn Program.

Donate -- $100 provides a free ultrasound which is likely to influence a mother to choose life.

Volunteer -– be the face of our ministry to the community as a peer counselor or office staff.

Join us for a remembrance service:

Sunday, Jan. 22, 6:30pm at  Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1712 Menasha Ave.  Speakers at the service will include: Attorney Patrick A. Dewane Jr., Bev Searl, Chapter Coordinator for Wisconsin Right to Life and Sue Tomasik, Executive Director of The Crossing.

Here's why...

...we’re observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

This is an uncomfortable topic. Most of us would rather not talk about it. But, our local churches need to begin the discussion – and education, for the sake of our children.

 Forty two years of legalized abortions has taken the lives of over 57 million.  In Manitowoc County abortion takes the lives of 76-80 children per year.  In comparison to other states that doesn’t sound too bad, but consider four kindergarten classes each year that are missing in our county because of abortion.  

 Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary relates…

 “I hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I'm reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn't have to say. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness.

 But I also love Sanctity of Human Life Sunday when I think about the fact that I serve a congregation with ex-orphans all around, adopted into loving families. I love to reflect on the men and women who serve every week in pregnancy centers for women in crisis. And I love to see men and women who have aborted babies find their sins forgiven, even this sin, and their consciences cleansed by Christ.

 We'll always need Christmas. We'll always need Easter. But I hope, please Lord, someday soon, that Sanctity of Human Life Day is unnecessary.”

 Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009). Visit his website at RussellMoore.com.

 

Annual Fundraiser and Banquet

Thursday, November 3, 2016, 7pm

Holiday Inn, Manitowoc

For ten years
we have loved and served our community
Will you join our ministry?

Please come to our primary fundraising event. 
The program includes a panel discussion with several clients
and a presentation of our new
HOME -- a place for new beginnings.
We pray you feel called to participate. Our ministry has great urgency.

Dinner is provided by our sponsors.

Please RSVP: 920.973.4357 or office@crossingmanitowoc.org

Or, make a gift now at our GIVE page.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body....”   Psalm 139:16a

Thanks Rising Stars!

Thanks to Lakeshore's Rising Stars!

The Crossing is pleased to be selected by Lakeshore's Rising Stars presented by Bank First National as one of nine local charitable organizations to share in the publicity and proceeds of this great event recognizing talented local performers.

We wish to thank Producers Brennan Seehafer, Terry Stevenson and Riley Haupt for vision and leadership in presenting this event, capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of the community for the performing arts -- and their generous "give back" to local non-profits working in the community. 

Crossing Executive Director Sue Tomasik comments, “This donation will enable us to expand services and outreach to our community -- so that our own client 'stars' can rise above hardships to successful lives.” 

The Crossing of Manitowoc County is a non-profit, Christian- based organization. Their mission is to offer life-affirming help to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies, to provide services that will strengthen families – teen parents as well as other families in need of support.

Want to help? Check out our website of make a donation on our “GIVE” page.

 

I need to know about STIs.

I need to know about STIs.

I know: it’s an epidemic.

And it’s affecting lots of teens. Just in the U.S. there are 20 million new cases each year, half among people aged 15-24. Compared to the total population, the incidence of chlamydia is five times higher, the incidence of gonorrhea is four times higher and the incidence of syphilis is three times higher. One in four new cases happens in teenagers.

I know: how STIs are transmitted.

STIs are communicated through sex. An STI is a sexually transmitted infections (or STD, sexually transmitted disease).  They can be spread through any contact between penis, vagina, mouth or anus, even if there is no penetration.

I know: most STIs don’t cause noticeable symptoms.

I probably can’t tell if I have an STI unless I get tested.

I know: how to protect myself from an STI.

The only truly effective way is to not have sex. If I’m sexually active, the best protection is to use condoms. Every time. For vaginal, oral or anal sex.

But I don’t know: how can I be sure I’m not infected?

Get tested. Contact us at nurse@crossingmanitowoc.org  or call 920.973.4346.

 

Are YOU at risk?

STI infections are common.

 

Could I have an STI (Sexually transmitted infection)?

You might think you’d know if you had an infection. But, many STIs have no noticeable symptoms.

Should I be tested?

Anyone who’s sexually active and has had an incident of unprotected sex (without the use of a condom) is at risk. You are also at risk if you or the person you are having sex with have had more than one sexual partner. You and your partner should both be tested.

What is the test like?

It’s a simple urinalysis – you’ll be asked to urinate in a cup.

How does this work?

Testing at our clinic is free and confidential. Call for an appointment. Come in for the test. We can test women for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. We’ll call you back in a few days and give you the results. If you have an STI, we can refer you to places for treatment.

How do I protect myself from getting an STI?

The best way is not to have sex. If you are already sexually active, condoms are the best protection – but are not 100% effective -- if they are used correctly and consistently every time you have oral, vaginal or anal sex.

Want to find out more?

Contact our Medical Clinic at 920.973.4346 or nurse@crossingmanitowoc.org 

Baby Bottles were bursting!

CHANGE A LIFE Baby Bottle Fundraiser was a great success!

Thanks to our local churches, their congregations and everyone else who participated in our fun and fruitful CHANGE A LIFE Baby Bottle Fundraiser. After collection on Father’s Day, we counted pennies, quarters, carefully folded bills and checks from hundreds of bottles – and totaled over $11,000!

Director Sue comments, “Even small donations make a big difference in enabling our services. 87% of donations go directly to our programs. $25 buys a can of formula. $110 funds supplies for a pregnancy test with early prenatal education.”

Special thanks to our participating churches: The Gathering, Trinity Alliance, Salem Ebenezer, Faith Church, St. Joe's, St. Michael's, St. Mary's, Connection Church, Hope Church, Redeemer Lutheran, Good Shepherd Two Rivers, St. Thomas the Apostle. 

If there are stray bottles out there needing collection, please let our office know at 920.973.4357.

Lakeshore's Rising Stars

Lakeshore's Rising Stars supports The Crossing!

The Crossing is pleased and honored to be one of the organizations that Lakeshore’s Rising Stars is supporting.  The production team has promised to donate 10 percent of net ticket sales to 9 local organizations along with advertising exposure and recognition at the final performance.

We encourage our clients, donors and supporters to participate in this fun local production. Lakeshore’s Rising Stars is presented by Bank First National, co-hosted and co-produced by Terry Stevenson.

For further information, how to get tickets or how to vote for your favorite, visit http://lakeshoresrisingstars.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/lakeshoresrisingstars

 

Endearing client stories....

Nicole tells us….

Manitowoc -- a small town I never imagined myself (a city girl) living in. But I’m so glad I’m here!

 After leaving an abusive relationship behind in Chicago, I was at a dead end. I knew I’d need help and resources to get by – for my daughter and myself – until I was able to get back on my feet. After leaving everything behind and coming here with only the clothes on our backs, I was desperately hoping for someone, a place, an organization or anything that could help us.

 In 2014 my sister introduced me to The Crossing. Ever since, my life has been improving. I needed a shoulder to lean on, to cry on, a place where I could work through the issues I was struggling with. And The Crossing came to my rescue. The caring, loving, genuine women at this safe place were there for me emotionally, spiritually and physically. They guided me toward the right path, helped me stay on track and stay strong – both for my daughter and myself.

 Finally, eventually, I did get back on my feet! I’m better than I have ever imagined. I found two jobs, got my first apartment, a car and am back in school.

 The Crossing is an uplifting service for families. They steer you in a positive direction that makes you want to strive for more. I’m sure they have touched so many hearts – especially mine. I’ve built many connections and relationships with wonderful staff members and other clients. There are so many interesting programs and activities not only for women but for families, too.  The Crossing is a happy, positive place of hope – I strongly encourage single parents or families who are struggling to look for help here.

Do you have a story to share? Post it here. Or call us at 920.973.4357.

Kelly’s birthday benefits The Crossing

We are blessed to have such wonderful friends!

Kelly’s friends threw her a birthday party. Instead of gifts for herself, she asked for diapers for The Crossing.

And her friends were very generous. We received over $440 of diapers and supplies.

We know Kelly is loved because of the thoughtfulness and generosity of her friends. Thanks for participating in our ministry!

Can you turn a party into a donation? Call or email us to find out what we need in our pantry.

Kindermusik makes a joyful noise

Kindermusik makes a joyful noise

What fun this program brings to our offices. Babies rock out and moms, siblings and staff join in. Call us or watch for Facebook and Twitter updates about upcoming classes.

Local Kindermusik teacher Jessica Hanson brings her bag full of bells, rattles, clinkers and other instruments and noisemakers for a series of weekly sessions. Here’s a chance for our clients to share a happy time with their kids, learn how “play-music” can enrich family relationships and practice parenting skills with other moms.

Check out these fun videos and our Instagram photos.

Would you like to bring your toddler or pre-schooler? Call or email us to register.

We serve dads, too

We serve dads, too!

When an unexpected pregnancy occurs, the support network generally puts the mom center stage. But, dads have their own special needs during this process of navigating through family issues and plans. Families will be blessed and enriched with their involvement.

Our Hector came to parenting class recently. He said he was a strict parent and had difficulty showing affection to his kids. Class sessions helped him understand the purpose of family, how to cope with typical parenting issues and the process of raising healthy kids. Now, he says, it’s becoming easier to be affectionate and loving with his family.

Are you a dad? Do you feel you’d like some help with the many challenges of being a dad?

Contact us for more information.

Check out our web page for dads: just for dads.

Are you and your partner struggling with pregnancy and abortion choices? Here’s one man’s story: click here.

 

Change a life! Bring back the bottles!

Are you participating in our Baby Bottle Campaign?

It’s time to return the bottles filled with donations to your church or to our office.

On Mother’s Day, we distributed over 1000 baby bottles through participating local churches. We asked you to fill them with donations and to return them on Father’s Day, June 19.

We have loved the tweets and Facebook posts you’ve sent us with photos of your bottle collection! Thanks so much!

Questions about returning you bottle? Call us at The Crossing 973.4357.

We Love….

At The Crossing, our ministry is all about loving our community. We work to build stronger families through parenting classes, resource referrals, pregnancy tests, loving guidance and unconditional acceptance.

Because of you….

All our services are free. Families facing unplanned pregnancy have someplace to turn to for information. Your donations fill our supply pantry, provide a safe environment for peer counseling, offer free pregnancy verification at our Medical Clinic. Every bit helps.

Check out our “Get Involved” pages for more ways to participate in our ministry.

 

Sewing skills -- sowing skills

Think you have nothing to offer as a Crossing volunteer? Please think again.

Those real life skills and accomplishments you take for granted or simply consider fun could offer our young new mothers a lot: a little away time, a sense of accomplishment and a practical skill.

For example, here’s one special opportunity. On the second floor of our old Church school building there is a tiny room filled with fabric, cloth tape measures, scissors and batting. A couple of times a month it is also filled with accomplished women who have raised a family, navigated life and are skilled with a needle and thread. Think how valuable it is for a young mother to hear the casual conversation revealing value laden stories of day to day life, of hard but good choices, dreams deferred and family success along with the memories associated with each scrap of cloth.

All of that is part and parcel of the chatter that accompanies a group of people gathered to “quilt.” In addition, they'd learn to produce a family heirloom. In technical language, those women are practicing and celebrating the resilience learned in a loving family.

Yes, time was families did that. But times change and families right along with the times have changed; not always for the better. We know that their adverse childhood experiences have consequences for young people in their later lives. There are young women starting families, some of them alone, who would benefit from the lessons you learned from your family as they build theirs.

Teaching sewing skills might just mean you aresowing skills valuable to a young family working hard to build successful lives.

Have you got a hobby to share? Can you volunteer to work with our clients?

Call 973.4357 or email us now.

 

Is what I’m feeling normal new baby blues?

Is what I’m feeling normal new baby blues? Or is it depression? 

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month at The Crossing

Childbirth can be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life, but for some women, as many as 1 in 7, the transition into motherhood brings sadness, anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping.

We want you to know “you are not alone.” We have information and support that can help you. Don’t wonder and suffer silently.

Call 920-973- 4357 to schedule to come see us. We can help.

How can you tell if what you’re feeling is serious – Are you at risk?

Here are some questions that might help you assess what you’re feeling. How many of these apply to you?

It’s hard for me to ask for help. I usually take care of myself.

Before my periods, I usually get sad, angry or cranky.

I’ve been depressed or anxious in the past.

I have been depressed or anxious when I’m pregnant.

My mother, sister or aunt was depressed or very nervous after her baby was born.

Sometimes I can’t sleep, have lots of ideas and it’s hard to slow down.

My family is far away and I feel lonely.

I don’t have many friends nearby that I can rely on.

I am pregnant now and don’t feel happy about it.

I don’t have the money, food or housing that I need.

If you identify with two or more of these statements, you might be at risk for depression or anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum. With help, all of these symptoms are temporary and treatable. Call us.

Clients make our day!

Wrapped in the Word!

The Crossing’s staff is a close knit group. And we have to be. Through our doors every day we greet brave families, struggling with and overcoming great challenges. It’s our sorrow and our joy. We start every day with prayer and scripture, for we know we’ll need this guidance to do our best service.

One of our dear, caring, thoughtful clients, Michelle, found a unique way to knit us together and wrap us up in the Word of God: she made scarves for us emblazoned with our favorite scripture!

Here we are, left to right: Annie Philippians 4.4-8, Belinda Proverbs 18.10, Sue 1 Peter 3.15, Laura Psalm 27.1.

Would you like to be part of our organization? Check out our get involved page. Or contact us now.