Avondale United Methodist Church (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:


Josh Arthur, the new pastor of Avondale United Methodist Church in Muncie, Indiana, understood the church needed a regular social media presence. The small congregation had launched a number of programs from children’s ministry to small group study and a weekly community meal. He hired me to create a content strategy that would increase visibility to aid in developing community support.



The church did not have a website, and it had no budget to create one. My first step was to put together a starter Wix site (http://avondalemuncie.wixsite.com/website) to be assigned the church’s own domain at a later date. This met the basic requirement of the site: a place to publish content.


The core of the content strategy was Josh’s Sunday morning messages, which contained the church’s ethos and biblical basis for its programming. Every Monday morning, I would write and publish a sermon recap. Sometimes I would use stock photography, other times I would use my own photos of Josh or whoever was speaking at the pulpit that Sunday. I would then promote that content on Facebook.


The rest of the week, I promoted church programming via posts and as Facebook events. I would also draw relevant content from local media and resources provided by the United Methodist Church (umc.org) to maintain a routine of daily posting Monday through Friday.


Because of our efforts, we were able to increase average monthly impressions for the Avondale UMC Facebook page by 107% over 6 months (from November 2018 to April 2019). Anecdotally, the church received several compliments on its Facebook activity, and Facebook became a common way for people to interact with the church via direct message.

When my contract was up, I prepped a small team of volunteers to divide, continue and expand the work of keeping Avondale UMC and its vital programs visible to the local community.

Link to site:

Antioch College (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:


Antioch College needed a complete redesign of their website. Caylor Solutions had conducted a discovery session with the client to discuss the school’s existing brand and how they wanted it to evolve. They had an experienced team in place that could lay out, design and organize the new site. The only piece they were missing was an experienced content writer.


Owner Bart Caylor and his team engaged me at the right time – before any design work had been done. They understood that powerful words must drive design. I studied the existing site, notes from discovery sessions Bart had facilitated with key faculty and marketing staff, and watched a recorded video of one of those sessions. From those materials, I worked with the Caylor team to develop a branding guide.


Once Antioch approved the guide, I got to work writing and organizing copy for the primary pages – Home, Admission, Academics, Campus Life, and some secondary page material. The effect was a branding message that drove home the themes of self-empowerment, collaborative learning, real-world experience and making a positive impact on the world.


The idea was to provide compelling copy for the highest-traffic areas of the site that would link to pages for which staff and faculty would write their own content. To help ensure the success of client-produced content, Caylor Solutions engaged me to record a custom webinar for Antioch on best practices for writing for the Web.

Link to site:

Ross Center Judo

Ross Community Center Newsletter May 2018 (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:

The executive director of Ross Community Center, Jackie Hanoman, needed an economical way to both inform the low-income neighborhood where the center is located about what Ross has to offer as well as keep in touch with donors. The solution was a monthly newsletter.

For this ongoing project, I serve as both managing editor and feature story writer. The feature story this month was about not just what the free Judo program is, but the peace of mind it brings to one mother. She knows her daughter has the tools now to keep herself safe.

LINK TO PDF: Ross Community Center Newsletter May 2018

Living on the Edge Ministry Update (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:

Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram hired me to write a series of stories about individuals who have utilized their ministry resources. For the April ministry update, I interviewed a widow who fondly remembers listening to the Living on the Edge podcast with her late husband as they fell asleep at night.

The goal for stories like this is to connect the storyteller with that reader who has had a similar experience or shares similar values. The client is presented as the glue that brings them together. The voice of the storyteller sharing the brand’s impact, rather than the voice of the brand itself, is what compels the reader to want to learn more.

Follow this link to read “Finding Jesus on the Radio”.

Facing Teaching (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:

The Facing Project tackled education in Delaware County, Indiana during the 2017/2018 academic year. The project organizers needed writers to interview educators and write their stories in the storyteller’s voice. I had the privilege of bringing the plight of underpaid, overworked teachers to light through the story of my close friend, Pat McCrory in “It’s Hard to Teach When You Can’t Pay Your Bills”.

LINK TO PDF: Facing Teaching

Hillcroft Services Annual Report 2017 (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:

The client needed two stories for its annual report, one to illustrate its life-changing residential programming for people with mental and physical disabilities, and one to demonstrate the value of its sheltered work program both for business customers and Hillcroft clients/residents.

LINK TO PDF: Hillcroft Annual Report 2017

Shafer Leadership Academy Annual Report 2014 (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:

I interviewed graduates of SLA’s Emergence program who are now in positions of leadership in the Muncie area. Their stories are of overcoming obstacles, responding to vocational calling and exemplifying leadership and leader-making.

LINK TO PDF: Shafer Leadership Academy Annual Report 2014

Youth Opportunity Center Newsletter Fall 2015 (Not-for-Profit)

About the project:

For this publication I interviewed several staff members and a former client with a success story to give donors and the public at large a strong impression of the YOC’s recent accomplishments.

LINK TO PDF: YOC Newsletter Fall 2015

Hope is Never Lost – The Beiers Family Story (Not-for-Profit)

Source: www.adoption-connections.com/stories/the-beiers-family

“We were just going through the motions, like this is just something we do now. We had lost all hope. This is how our life is, but there will be no baby in the end.”

This was how Jen Beiers and her husband Bob felt about their adoption journey in the spring of 2014. They had every reason to feel this way. Years of disappointment, hurt and what seemed like rejection had brought them here.

And yet, this is a story with a happy ending.

Jen and Bob always wanted to adopt after having children biologically. They talked about it when they were dating.

When they were unable to get pregnant, their infertility treatments brought then to the point of having to decide.

Would they pursue in vitro fertilization?

No. They had always thought they would adopt, so for them it felt okay to move right into pursuing adoption. They had a friend who adopted internationally and thought that’s what they would do. About two years into saving money, however, they decided the cost was too high for them. Instead, they became foster parents.

They told DCS (the Indiana Department of Child Services) they were interested in a young child, under age four. What they discovered was that it was far more common for there to be placement opportunities with older children through the foster care system.

“We got a call in the middle of the night,” Jen says. “They said, ‘We have a four-year-old, but they have a 16-year-old brother.’ Maybe in the future, we thought, but right now to build our family it didn’t feel like that was the path we wanted to go through.”

That was when Jen and Bob connected with a friend from college who had adopted a child through Adoption Connections. They met with Executive Director Rebecca Bruce and felt like the agency was the right fit for them.

“If we were going to adopt, we didn’t want to put ourselves into a financial situation where we couldn’t provide the life we wanted to for that child. Adoption Connections was a godsend,” Jen says.

Jen and Bob entered into a new chapter on their journey toward parenthood when they became a waiting family with Adoption Connections. They had come from infertility to international adoption, to foster care, and now domestic adoption. For the first time, they felt they had a chance to be matched with a baby they could call their own.

That is just what happened. Jen and Bob were soon chosen by a birth mother. It was thrilling for Jen as she began to connect with this woman. Jen would go to all her doctor appointments, where the birth mom would introduce Jen as the baby’s mother. They planned a baby shower at the birth mom’s encouragement.

“The day we had the baby shower – that night – she sent me a Facebook message saying she had changed her mind,” Jen said. “I just stopped breathing.”

Jen struggled with thoughts that, looking back on it now, she knows were not rooted in truth. She thought the birth mother had changed her mind because Jen wasn’t good enough. A teacher, she was thankful this happened over the summer so she could grieve during the break.

“Bob was amazing through the whole thing,” Jen says. “He was my rock.”

A year later, the same birth mother contacted Adoption Connections to indicate that she had changed her mind and would like to consider Jen and Bob again to adopt her now one-year-old child. The agency dutifully contacted Jen and Bob, with cautious optimism.

They tried to go into the situation with eyes open. Jen was apprehensive, but Bob couldn’t help but be hopeful. He took it harder than Jen when the birth mother changed her mind three days later, on the day they were to pick up the child.

“The first time, my heart was open. The second time, his heart was open,” Jen says. “He was a mess.”

They joined Facebook groups about adoption struggles and found a community there of others who understood what they were going through. They understood that the decision to place a child for adoption belonged to the birth mother alone, but that didn’t stop them from having feelings of anger they didn’t know what to do with.

“The support groups could only go so far,” Bob says. “The experiences other people had were never quite the same. Some were suggesting that we should accept that it wasn’t going to happen. That was frustrating.”

Jen is thankful for the support she received from Adoption Connections in this difficult time. She recalls receiving waiting family emails just when she was feeling the most depressed.

“It seemed like it came at the perfect time. It was so uplifting – ‘We’re thinking of you.’ With some larger agencies you’re just a number. No one knows who you are.”

Jen and Bob tried to not to think or talk about adoption too much throughout the following fall and winter. When spring came around it was time to renew their home study – their eligibility to adopt – and that’s when it really felt like just going through the motions.

On July 4th, 2014, Adoption Connections contacted Jen about a new situation. The message she got acknowledged that it was a holiday, but did she want to talk?

“I called first thing in the morning!” Jen says.

Two weeks later, with guarded hearts, Jen and Bob met a new birth mother. It felt right. It felt like it was going to happen … but it was their third summer believing they were about to become parents. To protect the hearts of their friends and family along with their own, they told no one but Jen’s parents, her sister and her boss. None of Bob’s family had any idea what was happening, right up to the night the birth mom was to be induced.

Jen recalls that being at the hospital waiting for the baby to be born was a very odd feeling. She wanted to be happy but when she looked at the birth mom, she understood that there was sadness in the decision this young woman was making, a trial shared by her mother and cousin, there at the birth mother’s side.

“She gave me a big hug and said, ‘It’s okay to be happy,’” Jen says. “She was so thankful to us. That was something we never saw coming. Her mother just held onto me and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

Jen and Bob brought Tytus home in August of 2014 and finalized the adoption in November. At that moment, their journey to adopting their son ended. The journey of parenthood has finally begun.

The couple does not want their story to be a cautionary tale. Rather, they want it to be a source of hope for those who are waiting for their child.

“Everything is worthwhile,” Bob says. “The pain evaporates, like it never happened. I’m glad we saw it through and didn’t give up.”

“Your story is going to be different from everyone else’s,” Jen says. “Don’t compare notes. Don’t obsess over your profile book. Don’t get discouraged.”

Bob urges those still waiting to try to keep the wait in perspective.

“We waited just a few years, but we’ve got Tytus for the rest of our lives. What’s a few years of pain to have that?”

All In God’s Plan – The Tader Family Story (Not-for-Profit)

Source: www.adoption-connections.com/stories/the-tader-family

Sherry had wanted to adopt a child since she was 11. Her mind was made up after she saw a documentary on Chinese orphanages. It touched her to see so many children in need who might not ever be connected with a loving adoptive parent. The looks on those children’s faces left an imprint on her heart that would never go away.

Matt says Sherry told him about her plans to adopt “about 25 seconds after we met.” It was actually about six months into their dating relationship when she spilled the beans, just about the first time they spoke seriously about their future together. Matt accepted that this plan came with the territory, and the couple was married in April of 2004.

The Taders had their first child biologically, a girl they named Camryn in 2006. When she was about two years old they began to pray and talk seriously about adopting a little brother or sister for Camryn. Their church, Grace Community Church in Noblesville had a program called Grace Hands of Hope for the purpose of helping people through the adoption process. Their friends in that group referred them to Rebecca Bruce, adoption attorney (now Executive Director of Adoption Connections).

Matt and Sherry were excited to be connected with a birth mother through a mutual friend of the birth mother’s attorney in late 2009. They got to know the birth mother and grew attached to the girl inside her, whom they already thought of as their second daughter. But while the Taders were adjusting to becoming the parents of two, the birth mother’s boyfriend was threatening to leave her if she gave up the baby. She ultimately cancelled the adoption process. Matt and Sherry had an up close and personal look at what can happen in any adoption: birth mothers can change their minds any time before the baby is born. In addition, as the birth mom they were working with chose not to pursue adoption counseling, they were front row witnesses to a birth mom trying to navigate the emotional waters of an adoption plan without emotional support from adoption professionals.

Matt and Sherry were devastated. The failed adoption caused them to reconsider everything. They researched foster-toadoption to get a better idea of their options, which all seemed full of major obstacles, especially cost. Rebecca told them that she was starting an adoption agency, to be licensed in March 2010. Rebecca shared her vision that the birth mothers working with Adoption Connections would have one-on-one emotional support from an experienced social worker. They thought about it and decided to become one of Adoption Connections’ waiting families, having no idea how long they would have to wait.

About six months passed. It was August and Matt was away on business. She called Matt on a Tuesday, frustrated and defeated. Matt said, “I’ll tell you what. We’ll spend time this weekend and talk about what we really want to do.” They were considering just giving up.

On Thursday that week, Adoption Connections called to notify the Taders that a Ball State University student had showed up in labor at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie and had decided that she was not ready to parent; she wanted to place the child for adoption with a loving husband and wife. Somehow she had kept her pregnancy secret from her parents and she didn’t want them to know even now, such that she did not want the hospital to issue a claim to her father’s health insurance carrier. That meant that by agreeing to adopt the child, the Taders would be responsible for all related medical bills, including the cost of labor and delivery.

Though the circumstances made them anxious, Matt and Sherry felt like this was an opportunity God was handing to them. They called the agency back to say they had decided to go for it!

There was still some doubt because the birth mother was considering another family. Sherry went to bed that night not knowing whether they would be chosen.

“Matt woke her up at 11 pm on Thursday night and told her, “We have a son.”

The Taders rushed to the hospital to meet Liam, who was now one day old. His new parents spent the day with him, and though Sherry was obligated to sing in a friend’s wedding on Saturday she rushed back to be with her new son for the remainder of the weekend. Once Liam was released from the ICU with a clean bill of health, the Taders were allowed to take their baby boy home.

As it turned out, Liam’s birth mother found out she was not covered on her father’s insurance plan after all such that she actually qualified for Medicaid. Between insurance and tax credits the adoption had actually cost them nothing, given the Medicaid qualification and given Adoption Connections’ very affordable fees which are set on a sliding scale based on income of adopting parents.

Sherry is a stay-at-home mom. She says she loves teaching her children to serve others, to “see them grow and develop and become awesome little people.”

Matt says he loves watching his children grow, seeing their little personalities develop. “I love coming home at night to hear the kids yell ‘Daddy!’ and they give you a big hug. It warms your heart.”

The Taders want people who are planning to adopt to be prepared for ups and downs. “It’s part of life,” Sherry says. “It will happen when it’s meant to happen, and when it does it is the most rewarding thing in your life. All your fears about loving the child as much as you would a biological child are not an issue. God is placing that child in your life.”

They wish they had known before adopting that you can get through a failed adoption. They believe it was not part of God’s plan for them to adopt that baby girl in 2009, but that it was His desire for Sherry to be a part of that birth mother’s life. She later reached out to Sherry and asked her about her faith. Sherry has since been a part of bringing the young woman to Christ, and they are good friends today.

Sherry wishes she could be more a part of Liam’s mother’s life. Liam has a picture of her so as he grows up he’ll at least know what she looks like. Sherry says that if Liam’s mother ever wants to meet him she would love that. Though it is difficult to accept, Sherry understands it is not in her control. It is up to the birth mother to decide how involved she wants to be.

Matt and Sherry say they felt that Adoption Connections had the knowledge and experience required to guide them confidently through the process, and that they would recommend the agency to anyone who wants to adopt.

“It’s not a transaction,” Matt says. “They do it for all the right reasons.”