Amare Ribbon Cutting

It All Started With A Vision 

I can only give credit to God because he gave me the strength

Wood River, IL – On Friday, March 23rd Riverbend Family Ministries opened their doors to welcome their new partner, Amare and hosted a ribbon cutting in their honor.  Executive Director of RFM, Tammy Iskarous said she met Ty Bechel, Executive Director of Amare at a Madison County meeting and knew she wanted to reach out and help them grow.

“I told him afterwards, ‘If you’re serious about Amare, we will talk,’ I could feel the passion he had for families of addiction,” said Iskarous. “It’s a blessing for us to showcase what Amare has grown into over the last 3 years and the change that Ty is making in the lives of the families with addiction.”

“When I fell to my knees on August 19 2012, I was lost, my mother didn’t know what to do and asked me to leave,” said Bechel.  “I was part of the Madison County Drug Court, which helped me out a lot with my addiction.  And I didn’t know what to do…I was sitting in  my mom’s house all alone, I looked out the window at the blue sky and I fell to my knees and starting balling.”

Bechel said he as he reflects on this day, he remembers asking out loud, “I don’t know what else to do, either help me or take me out of this world because I cannot continue like this.”

“Something changed that day when I fell to my knees, the obsession to use left and I went to detox,” said Bechel.  “When I came home I started walking a lot in the morning and prayed talking with God, that’s when the idea of Amare came into my head.”

Bechel started Amare three years ago with the same vision it has today; help people full circle with addiction.  They help people get treatment and help guide them on how to get their life back on track.  He’s currently working on getting a scholarship started to help those recovering who want to go back to school get the opportunity to do so.

Amare’s mission is to achieve the highest standard in the involvement of the community to promote personal and public wellness. Amare will advocate, communicate and encourage change for those suffering from drug/alcohol addiction, depression, and/or suicidal tendencies along with the families and community. All of this is to happen with the most obtainable success through charitable campaigns and dedicated work so we may preserve the most precious gift – life.

For more information, contact Amare Founder, Ty Bechel at  


2018 Trivia with a Twist

10th Annual Trivia with a Twist

Reflecting on what was another successful and FUN “Trivia with a Twist.”  We hosted our 10th annual trivia fundraiser night with hundreds of participants.

We love seeing everyone’s competitive side at this event and how it brings everyone together! THANK YOU to everyone who participated & congrats to our winners!


Amare Ribbon Cutting

Riverbend Family Ministries hosts Ribbon Cutting for Amare


WOOD RIVER, IL –  Riverbend Family Ministries is hosting a ribbon cutting for AMARE on Friday, March 23rd at 10:00a.m.  AMARE, a non-profit support group for individuals in drug recovery has a new office space inside the RFM building. The AMARE Founder, Ty Bechel and RFM Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous have partnered up recently to collaborate and give AMARE the resources it needs to grow in the Madison County community.


AMARE, meaning love in Italian, focuses on just that, loving and helping those in active addiction or early recovery and becoming their resource.  Director and Founder of AMARE, Ty Bechel, is a recovered addict himself and is excited about the new partnership and newly formed alliance. He plans on mitigating addiction that is ravishing throughout Madison County.

“Please join us as we welcome Amare into our home and shine a light on something that has become such struggle in our community,” said Iskarous. “Our building will be open, so everyone is welcome to come inside and take a tour as well.”

The ribbon cutting will start at 10:00 a.m. and will be at the Riverbend Family Ministries building located at 131 East Ferguson Ave, Wood River.

For more information on AMARE, visit their website:  or visit Riverbend Family Ministries website:


Amare is the Answer


Riverbend Family Ministries collaborates with Drug Addiction Program

Riverbend Family Ministries is collaborating with Amare, a non-profit support group for individuals in recovery. Amare, meaning love in Italian, focuses on just that, loving and helping those in active drug recovery, or addiction and becoming a safe place for them to get support and have as a resource.

Director and Founder of Amare, Ty Bechel, is a recovering addict himself and is excited about the new partnership and newly formed alliance and plans on mitigating addiction that is ravishing throughout Madison County.

“By offering recovery support to those in need and linking them to treatment services and additional recovery support in the area, we will be able to be with them every step of the way until they are ready to walk on their own,” said Bechel.

According to the Madison County Coroner’s Office, 87 people lost their lives last year in Madison County due to drug abuse, which sets 2017 as one of the highest years with record breaking deaths from drug overdoses. They say, this does not even include the hundreds of calls our first responders have received to revive or treat individuals in a life threatening circumstance.

Riverbend Family Ministries Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous is very hopeful for this collaboration and says it comes at a good time when the drug epidemic is becoming an overwhelming problem in our community.

“Since our focus is all about serving individuals and their families that are in crisis due to violence, addiction, homelessness or poverty, it only seems natural to partner with Amare,” said Iskarous. To be able to walk this journey with our families is a privilege and together we will see generations changed.”

Wood River Fire Chief, Brendan McKee and his team are trained and prepared to use Naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan to treat an overdose in an emergency situation.

“No one wants the call in the middle of the night that their loved one has overdosed, it breaks our hearts every time we get the call to an overdose emergency,” said McKee. “I think it’s wonderful that Riverbend Family Ministries is collaborating their resources with Ty and his program, not only will this enhance everyone’s awareness, but bring more solutions to an ever-growing program in our community.”

The partnership and newly forged alliance between Amare and Riverbend Family Ministries aim to mitigate addiction that is ravishing throughout Madison County by reinstating the final piece of the puzzle, love.

The combined resources that both programs have will offer something unique and be the first stepping stone to the individual’s (or their family’s) overall wellness.

For more information, go to or


Sharing Our Mission

The United Way of Greater St. Louis’ annual campaign kicked off and we were the first stop for Alton Memorial employees.  The employees were able to come and see firsthand what ou

Alton Memorial Hospital Employees with RFM 

r building looks like and learn more about what services we provide.

Riverbend Family Ministries Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous said, “I’m so thankful for the partnership we have with United Way, to allow us to do what we love to do.”

“We are seeing generations change in this building, by giving families their power back. The power to feel safe and supported.”

RFM has been a member of the Southwest Illinois Division of United Way, which is under the big umbrella of United Way of Greater St. Louis since 2012.

RFM Anniversary Dinner

Riverbend Family Ministries is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year. In honor of their anniversary, they’re hosting their first annual dinner on Thursday, November 2 at 6:00pm. The dinner will be at the Best Western Premier Alton-St. Louis Area Hotel in Alton. Admission is free. Click here to register.



RFM is on a Mission

Riverbend Family Ministries Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous and Refuge’s Executive Director, Erin Bickle are visiting an orphanage in Egypt called, The Littlest Lamb. They provide a safe environment for children who’ve lost either one parent or both and give them the necessary tools to be leading members of the Egyptian society.

Iskarous says this will not be her first trip there, she went there a few years back with her husband, “We walked the halls of this orphanage and have seen just how loved these children are by the staff and care givers,” Iskarous said. “The Littlest Lamb caregivers are all intentional about the safekeeping and emotional stability of these kiddos that otherwise would be left to fend for themselves on the streets of Egypt.”

Iskarous said her and her husband had planned on going back for another personal mission trip ever since they left, but this time they wanted to share the experience with friends. She thought, who better to share it with than, Refuge’s Executive Director, Erin Bickle and her husband?  They’re using this trip as a personal mission trip with intentions to share their knowledge and also take away knowledge that they learn from the amazing the team at The Littlest Lamb.

“I am not only excited to be able to take friends there to witness The Littlest Lamb’s great work, I am blessed to be able to share with them the people and culture I love,” said Iskarous. “We’re honored to be able to go over and train their team to be more trauma informed and focused, which they’re already doing so well.”

“I’m so honored to take part in this experience, I feel like our values align with their cause and we’ll learn a lot from each other,” said Bickle. “Children are our future and protecting them is everyone’s job.”

According to their website, there are an estimated 1 million orphans in Egypt and an additional 3 million street children. In Egypt, adoption is not recognized, therefore these children do not have many options. But this non-profit provides these children with shelter, food, clothing, education, attention and love. Their building can house up to 150 children and caretakers. It also has a library, computer room, dining room and kitchen.

Similar to Refuge’s holistic strategies, The Littlest Lamb believes in the following: home, education, health and well-being, instill values and social skills. Their number one goal is to lead the children to become leading members of the Egypt society and end the stigma that goes with being an orphan.

If you’d like to learn more about The Littlest Lamb, visit their website:


Record Breaking Sales

Riverbend Family Ministries (RFM) received a check from Restore Decor for $5,000.  This check is from their fundraiser on July 22 at their store locations in downtown Edwardsville. The volunteer store manager (and brains behind the idea), Dana Adams said RFM’s fundraiser helped them break a sales record since opening their stores a few years ago.

“We’re beaming with joy and feel honored to receive this check,” said RFM Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous. “Restore Decor is such a gem in our community, not only do they restore some amazing furniture pieces, they give back to the community, touching so many lives.”

Like RFM, Restore Decor relies heavily on their volunteers, especially since they need to paint and restore dozens of new furniture pieces each week. “Anyone can walk in and help us paint,” said Adams. “We’re in our main store on Main Street every Tuesday and Thursday evening painting and can use all the help we can get, even if you don’t like to paint, we have something for you to do.”

Restore Decor hosts a fundraiser for different non profits and organizations in the community once a month. If you would like to volunteer, or have furniture you’d like to donate, call 618-980-2018 or email them at

  • Where: 223 N Main Street & 111 N 2nd Street
  • Painting parties: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Retail hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays