August 12, 2005

St. Elizabeth and Coleman to celebrate
200 years of service

Elizabella Ball fundraiser to be held on Aug. 26

By Mary Ann Wyand

St. Elizabeth and Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services in Indianapolis will celebrate 200 years of combined community service in central Indiana during the 19th annual Elizabella Ball on Aug. 26 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St., in downtown Indianapolis.

The fundraising dinner and dance begins at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and new silent auction that includes an Indy Racing League helmet signed by many Indianapolis 500 winners as well as Rahal Letterman Racing driver Danica Patrick, the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. The dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. followed by the awards program and dancing.

Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer of St. Francis Hospitals and Health Centers in Beech Grove, Indianapolis and Mooresville, and Dr. Patricia Maryland, president of St. Vincent Hospitals and Health Centers in Indianapolis, Carmel, Ind., and several other central and southern Indiana communities, are the co-chairs of the fundraiser.

WISH-TV Channel 8 news anchor Debby Knox will serve as emcee for the program, which includes the presentation of a Courageous Heart Award to the Daughters of Isabella, a women’s charitable organization dating back to 1915 that founded St. Elizabeth’s Home at 2500 Churchman Avenue in 1922 to offer adoption services and residential prenatal medical care to unwed mothers.

Courageous Heart Awards also will be presented to a recent graduate of the residential maternity and parenting program as well as a birth mother, adoptive parents and their daughter, who is now an adult.

Michelle Meer, director of St. Elizabeth and Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services, said the fundraiser celebrates 90 years of service for St. Elizabeth’s and 110 years of service for Coleman as pro-life agencies dedicated to helping unwed mothers choose life for their babies.

St. Elizabeth and Coleman is a licensed adoption agency that provides professional guidance, counseling and residential services to young women experiencing crisis pregnancies and their families from all faiths and backgrounds as well as programs for parent and child development and adoption services to families.

St. Elizabeth’s Pregnancy and Adoption Services, an archdiocesan Catholic Charities agency, assumed the assets of Coleman Adoption Services on Aug. 1, 2004.

Meer said it is the only agency in central Indiana that provides young girls with the opportunity to complete their education while learning practical parenting and independent living skills.

She said St. Elizabeth and Coleman also helps married couples adopt children in the U.S. or several foreign countries as well as adults who would like to meet biological family members.

“St. Elizabeth and Coleman has grown so much, especially with the merger, on the adoption end of the program,” Meer said. “This is a way for the community to continue to support us for another 200 years. … There have been many families in the community, the state and the country who have been formed through St. Elizabeth and Coleman.”

Meer said the agency also helps break the cycle of abuse and neglect affecting some of the young mothers referred through the court system.

“Our Parent and Child Together ( PACT) program is very crucial to young women who are parenting,” she said. “Many of the young women are referred to us through the court system and have been abused and neglected so … the ministry also focuses on breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect.”

With prayer, support for the Elizabella Ball and other financial assistance, Meer said, the agency can continue to provide these services to the community.

“Through the time of the tornado, rebuilding, renovations and merger in 2004, there were many, many people who stepped up to the plate to help us,” she said. “Fis-cally, we still need help because there were many expenses incurred that were not covered by insurance. We had to dig very deep into the coffers and … we very much need help this year more than ever before … to continue our services.”

(Elizabella Ball tickets are $175 per person, $300 per couple or $1,500 for a table of eight persons. For more information, call the agency at 317-787-3412.)


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