Skip links

Meet Life Network of Southern Illinois!


In the fall of 2011, I happened upon “Life Network of Southern Illinois” at the top of a Google search results’ list for “pregnancy resource centers belleville, il”. By then, I’d been participating in and leading Biking for Babies spring or summer bicycle rides for two years and yearned to represent and honor the efforts of a pregnancy resource center near my parish of St. Joseph’s in southwestern Illinois. I meandered to Life Network’s clean website and observed their caring and careful language used to describe their special mission and vision. Not long after, I had my first conversation over the phone with their then and current director—Mrs. Debbie Geist. I learned how long they’d been at work there, what breadth of services they offered, and how many women came to their center annually. So, on 2011’s ride between Covington, Louisiana and Champaign, Illinois, I proudly bicycled 876 miles (plus or minus) with their name and mission articulated into my heart and mind. That year, and every year since, church-goers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, and central and northern Illinois, have heard their name and been instilled with the confidence of a sincere and hard-working pro-life presence in southern Illinois.

Debbie recently described Life Network and her staff as providing a “holistic” spectrum of services to women and families across southern Illinois and the Little Egypt region. Through the several hundred clients her staff serves, they have access to two ultrasound machines, provide decision counseling and no-cost materials for newborns and toddlers, test for STIs, and teach classes for new and preparing parents. Further, the professionalism and quality of their efforts have resulted in on-going partnerships with nearby vocational schools and other government agencies.

The success of their ministry literally expanded beyond their center’s doors when, last spring, they had to move beyond the modest space of their center within a quiet residential area in Waterloo, Illinois to a more expansive and eye-catching space along one of southwestern Illinois’ major highways. Bright walls, private counseling offices, rooms spilling with baby bottles and toddler gear, and even a room whose name plate bears “The Biking for Babies room” now welcomes visitors.

PRC gift 2Debbie beams when she describes the future of Life Network (while donning her Biking for Babies t-shirt!). Their 4th annual Biking for Babies’ ride for Life Network brought in cyclists covering 5, 15, 30, or 50 miles. Former Cardinals’ pitcher Rick Horton came to speak in the spring to a two nights’ of a packed house with local donors eager to sustain and grow Life Network’s presence which can satisfy physical and spiritual needs of men and women between Carbondale and St. Louis.

Life Network of Southern Illinois is more than the trying effort of a single group of people. It is a community effort coordinated and led by Debbie Geist and her hard-working teammates of paid staff and volunteers. The community and myself are proud to stand (and pedal!) behind them—churches and pastors of various denominations, the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, many proud residents of Waterloo and the nearby towns, and of course Biking for Babies. I will continue to pray and work for the best for Life Network for many years to come; we, at Biking for Babies, hope you do too!