A pregnancy help medical clinic in Appleton, Wisconsin, recently purchased a new space, more than doubling the organization’s square footage and enabling staff to serve clients with greater efficiency and confidentiality.
“We received a (financial) gift, and raised additional revenue to renovate,” said Anne Tretinyak, executive director of Vida Medical Clinic and Support Services. “It’s a beautiful building – we believe God’s hand was on this.”
The building which the center previously occupied was a leased space of about 6,000 square feet, she explained. The new, purchased location is approximately 15,000 square feet, is located along a major highway, and had belonged to a private college, Tretinyak said.
Two levels divide the medical clinic from the support services area, Tretinyak said. The medical clinic occupies the main floor, with two rooms for ultrasounds and a connecting bathroom. Two additional rooms are used for educational purposes, such as discussing STDs with patients. A lab with an additional restroom also occupies this area as do the administrative offices.
The support services component of the center is found on the lower level. That section, approximately 7,400 square feet, has a childcare area, five rooms for mentors to meet with clients, and a space for Vida’s materials boutique.
“We are so abundantly blessed,” Tretinyak said. “We were so tight before – we’re excited to be here!”
Patients and clients have provided positive feedback about the building since the re-location in early May.
“This facility is beautiful,” one woman wrote. “I’m so thankful that Vida is here in Appleton, from the care to the staff, everything has been a blessing to me.” “I’ve never felt so comfortable in a medical setting,” another said.
Medical services for women and men
In addition to pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and STD testing and treatment, Vida provides well-woman care. The center became a medical clinic in 2007, Tretinyak said. A volunteer nurse practitioner, Ellen Beltz, and others on the nursing staff assist nearly 125 people each month. Beltz once caught signs of cancer in a patient, Tretinyak said.
“We truly are a women’s health care clinic,” she stated.
Vida also serves men. On the medical side, staff test and treat men for STDs. All testing and treatment services, for men and women, are free. In June of this year 77 different medical services were provided to 57 patients, Tretinyak said, comparable with statistics from June 2020.
Support services for women and men
The Support Services component of Vida includes pregnancy education, childbirth and parenting education, breastfeeding education, materials assistance, post-abortion support, and spiritual guidance.
Education for men comprise these services, too. Eight to t10 men are being trained as male mentors, Tretinyak said.
“They’re fired up and ready to go!” she said.
These mentors provide one-on-one lessons on various aspects of parenting, including child development, co-parenting, and balancing work and fatherhood.
Supporting men as well as women is critical, and some clients stay connected to Vida’s programs for two years or longer, Tretinyak added.
“They don’t always have a support system,” she said. “We’re their family, and we continue to love them (after the baby is born).”
History and growth of Vida
Vida began in 1983 with a gathering of three people, Tretinyak said.
“It was primarily for materials support, and was known as Mother and Unborn Baby Care,” she said. “Pregnancy tests were harder to find and more expensive then. Slowly, we added more to our menu.”
Today, community support is at an all-time high, especially among churches. Vida has about 50 different church partners, and because of that support, the organization’s growth, including the recent move to a larger space, soared.
Last year, about $36,000 was given to Vida directly from area churches. That financial support is already up by about $10,000 in the first six months of 2021, Tretinyak said.
“Because they claim Vida as their own, the commitment to giving has increased,” she said.
Church partners are asked to pray for Vida and host fundraising events for the organization, and members are encouraged to volunteer their time and donate items for the boutique.
Tretinyak began serving as Vida’s executive director about 18 months ago.
“Just in time for the pandemic,” she said.
She previously worked as a criminal prosecutor in Minnesota, as well as a law professor. She also served women and children in domestic violence situations. She and her husband have five biological children and two adopted children. After moving to Appleton because of her husband’s work, a friend introduced her to Vida, and she applied for the executive director job opening.
“I spent a lot of my time working with families in crisis,” Tretinyak said. “This is a lot of what I love.”
During the grand re-opening, she told the nearly 300 people gathered, “The Vida family is ready for this moment! We are intensely aware of how abundantly God has blessed us through the kindness and generosity of businesses, churches and individuals who support us. We hear and are ready to respond to the call to serve more individuals, with great joy and enthusiasm.”
As she, the staff, and the board look toward the future, they envision developing more medical and support services, helping more women and men in Appleton’s community of 74,000. They plan to add more types of STD testing, implement supervised childcare, and conduct more outreach to men.
“It’s all about loving people well,” Tretinyak said.
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“We’ve all been challenged to really to put some new tools in our toolbox,” Tretinyak said. “I’m just really impressed that people are stepping up their game. It’s mission-critical that we that we step up our game. I’m really excited to be part of this movement at this particular time. It truly is about loving people well – that is what we do.”