Spring 2010 News
Touching Hearts & Souls
First of all, thank you for your support in 2009 and again in 2010. Our faithful supporters have wonderfully blessed Gateway Woods over the years in so many different ways. Because our God answers prayer, the single most effective way to help our ministry is to PRAY! Whether it is praying that the Lord will move in the hearts of fellow believers to work here (Career Opportunities), or that hearts and lives can be changed by the love and truth of Christ, or that we will have needed finances, prayer is essential.
Your gift of time is always appreciated. We are gearing up for our summer volunteer program. We are very thankful to have Joel Stickling as our summer Volunteer Coordinator. Please encourage the young adults in your church to talk with Joel or visit the Volunteer page.
You can also support Gateway Woods by donating to and attending our Annual Auction on Saturday, August 7th. Please consider helping us fill some of the open volunteer slots that keep our Auction running so smoothly.
“Including all of our services, the total number of clients we serve had increased from 214 in 2007 to 390 in 2009! This growth is exciting but also sobering as we are reminded again how much we need our supporters to help as we touch hearts and souls.”
Your financial support is critical to the growth and sustainability of our five programs, especially in these uncertain economic times. While we receive much of our operating funds from public agencies, looking forward it appears that the state will be a less reliable funding source, thus our dependence on our supporters will increase.
Over the years we have ministered to many privately placed children in our Residential Program, most of whom are from Apostolic families. We are humbled and honored to serve our churches. At this time we have seven residents from families who can only pay a portion of the total cost of care.
I ask you to please remember all of these needs as you consider your support for Gateway Woods. Again, thank you for partnering with us as we continue to minister to children and families in need.
- Jeff Schumacher, Administrator
Preventing The Problem
Last year, I transitioned from being a Houseparent to a Home-Based Services worker. I have found this new role to be one of the most practical ministries of Gateway Woods. During the time my wife Diann and I were Houseparents, residents were on our turf here on campus. By contrast, I now have the opportunity to meet families in their own homes. This provides a greater level of comfort for the family and makes the service feel less clinical. I am able to work with families on real life problems and we are able to observe the family dynamic in real time. Clients seem to be very willing to open up about some of their most private and sensitive challenges.
During this recession, financial problems seem to be priority number one for many of our families. We are able to help encourage families to get on a budget and to learn to use their financial resources in more effective ways.
Home-Based Services started in 1998 with one staff person. Today we have 4 staff who are committed to making a difference in the lives of troubled families. In 2008, our program served 53 clients and in 2009 we served 162 clients!
The heart of Home-Based Services is prevention. Last year Gateway Woods received a subcontract that allows us to provide private in-home services to troubled families who are not yet “in the system”. This is a very exciting and challenging tool to help families before the state must get involved. We are thankful for every opportunity we have to share Christ with others.
As a Home-Based Services worker, I have also been blessed to see several generous acts of giving by our supporters. One of our donors provided a car to a struggling family in desperate need of transportation for a job. This unexpected gift brought the family to tears and has produced a motivation that would not have been possible otherwise. They were able to see for the first time that there are people in this world whom they have never met that care deeply about them.
- Marc Grim, Home-Based Services worker
Answering The Call
"Do you have a home for two little boys," the County Caseworker asked? "The oldest is 22 months and the other is 10 days old. The 22 month old can't sit up without props and was tested positive for methamphetamine. The 10 day-old llittle boy is in the hospital. He also tested positive for methamphetamine and there could be other complications that we are not aware of at this time,” she said. “Both parents tested positive for methamphetamine and are not willing to change their ways. If they don’t change, we will terminate parental rights and these boys will be up for adoption.”
I replied, “Let me call one of our foster families to see if they would consider taking these two little boys.” I called a Christian foster family and explained the situation.
“We will pray about it and get back with you,” they said. They soon called back and said they would take both of the little boys! They know it is going to change the dynamics of their home. They know there will be nights when they will lose sleep because the boys will not settle down. They know this could be a long process. They also know they have been ‘called’ to this ministry.
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house?” Isaiah 58:6-7
The Foster Care department at Gateway Woods is one that is not very visible. A visitor to the campus would not see the foster children and yet there are seven employees working in this department in the administration building. Foster Care has grown rapidly in the past three years from 16 to 55 children in our care. Our Case Managers have frequent contact with the foster parents and children. Each child comes with a different heart-wrenching story. We are thankful for every child we can place in a safe Christian home where they will have not only their physical needs met, but also their spiritual needs.
Foster Care is a ministry where families can work together as missionaries in their own home. Some are in their fifties and are empty nesters but have an extra bedroom or two. Some are younger with children of their own. Each one has a testimony of how God called them. We are thankful there are those who are willing to listen to the call of God and step out of their comfort zone to share their lives, their hearts, and their homes.
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger...” Matthew 25:35
- John Stoller, Foster Care Manager
Stress & Stretch: Adjusting To A New Reality
In our last issue we shared some of the threats and challenges of our economy. We promised to share some of the ways Gateway Woods is adjusting. But before we do that, some thanksgiving is in order. While donations and our Annual Auction were down in 2009, we were delightfully surprised by your Christmas and end-of-year giving which were 3% higher than last year. We thank God for our faithful supporters who perhaps responded to the reality that we have more kids than ever in our care 24-7 while previous donations were down. (From 2007 to 2009 our client numbers for all programs combined have increased from 214 to 392 or 83%!) Or perhaps it was because the agriculture sector of our support base had bumper crops. These donations provided a counterbalance to the slow housing and construction sectors of our supporters. Whatever it was, we are very thankful.
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
Looking forward however, we remain quite concerned. Issues with public funding by the state of Indiana, which provides nearly 70% of our program operating revenues, are still unsettling now and unclear in the long term. In preparation for this uncertain future and for the sake of good stewardship, our programs are making cuts and being more resourceful.
- Gateway Woods School has found grants to use for staff training and to cover our Teacher’s Aide’s salary for half the year- a $15,000 savings. A Butter Braid fund-raiser by faculty and students provided funds to purchase new calculators and equipment. Our number of students has increased by 13% while maintaining the same faculty level.
- Our Home-Based Services staff who are on the road a lot are sharing offices, using less expensive computers, and making due with much older cars. They have submitted grants to fund portions of their services to troubled children and families.
- Our Foster Care Staff and parents held a buffalo burger dinner with meat supplied by one of our foster families that raised over $3000 and built community relations.
- A local church stepped up by providing the meal for a recent adoption training for new adoptive parents.
- Through volume purchasing, effective use of food banks, and raising our own beef and pork, our Residential Treatment Program has cut its food budget by 25% even as our census has grown.
We are aware that our donors have had to sacrifice and economize in order to maintain their level of support for our ministry. We are inspired, challenged, and then compelled to make the best use of dollars, facilities, and manpower while effectively turning lives around to Christ. May God grant the increase!
- Tim Sauder, Advancement Director
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