Celebrating Pregnancy Help Institute and Online Learning for Such a Time as This

by Jennifer Wright, Editor/WriterDistanceLearning
Heartbeat International

Throughout the month of August, one hundred seventy-four individuals experienced Pregnancy Help Institute. That’s right, 174 unique experiences of pregnancy help people working to make their organizations more effective. Usually, Pregnancy Help Institute is held in Columbus, Ohio at Heartbeat International headquarters, but this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we had to find a way to make it virtual. And we did!

Every summer, Heartbeat holds Pregnancy Help Institute as an in-depth training opportunity for individuals working in a variety of roles at a pregnancy help organization. Divided into four intensive tracks (New Director, Development, Leadership, and Ultrasound), there's something for everyone. While a Conference may offer more topics or people to connect with, nothing compares to the small-group environment and specialization at Pregnancy Help Institute.

What an experience it was this year! If ever there was a time for online learning, it is now. We were able to reach more individuals than any past Institute experience, and in all of it, we found new ways to engage with our regular online learning opportunities.

“We were able to be highly interactive, which we were worried about because the personal connections are such an important part of Pregnancy Help Institute,” said Beth Diemert, Heartbeat Ministry Services Specialist. “We had such a positive experience that we will be introducing some additional live interaction to ConCERT.”

ConCERT, an advanced distance learning course created by Heartbeat for anyone who works with clients in a pregnancy help organization, takes place twice a year. (The next session begins September 14, 2020.) While Pregnancy Help Institute is all about live interaction and training together, ConCERT is much more self-paced.

Sara Littlefield, Grant Program Specialist for Heartbeat, said it’s important to have both. “It’s vital for a long-term course like ConCERT to be self-paced. There are still ways to engage with each other and Heartbeat staff of course, but it looks different and happens at your convenience.”

“I love ConCERT every year!” said Sara, “It’s a great way to engage with affiliates, and it’s great for our affiliates to invest in their staff and volunteers.”

There will be a similar transition from the Leadership Track of Pregnancy Help Institute and the brand new WiLD Leader Development Program. Created specifically for leaders of pregnancy help organizations, this 10-week program will focus on 10 sequential developmental tools and personalized feedback reports to make attendees stronger, more effective leaders. While there will be weekly live meetings, plenty of the work is self-led in between, which makes it easier for individuals to connect from any time zone and continue running an organization amid the training.

We are grateful for the learning experiences we’ve had hosting both the 2020 Heartbeat International Annual Conference and Pregnancy Help Institute online this year. It can only help to improve the other virtual learning opportunities we host year-round, from webinars to advanced learning courses like ConCERT and WiLD. Most of all, we’re grateful that we were able to offer the same high-level training as always. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to continue serving the pregnancy help movement!

And thank you for your kind words to us as the 2020 Virtual Pregnancy Help Institute comes to a close. We know that for such a time as this, we must continue to embrace our mission, so you can continue yours, and when we hear reviews like these, we know we're on the right track.

“Thank you for the tireless efforts you all make to ensure that PRCs across the country can operate with excellence in accomplishing the work to which God has called us. Knowing you are there with such thoughtful, practical, and essential information is a true comfort! Thank you.”

 - Pregnancy Help Institute New Director Track Attendee

“I probably would not have been able to attend if it was in person… Thank you so much for this learning experience. It will help our center without a doubt!”

 - Pregnancy Help Institute Development Track Attendee

“This was truly the very best leadership class I have ever taken. I will highly recommend it to all those I come in contact with who would benefit from the superior, faith based content.”

 - Pregnancy Help Institute Leadership Track Attendee

“Fantastic job! I feel so blessed to have been through this training. I also have an added level of confidence knowing I can come to you all with questions along the way and in the future.”

 - Pregnancy Help Institute Ultrasound Track Attendee