January Campus Update

We are excited to share that we have added a new calming room at the school for the children we serve.  The calming room is a place for our residents to decompress.   Children can de-stress in our tent or bean bag chairs.  The room is equipped with stress balls, large Jenga game, puzzles, Legos, mp3 players and headphones.  This room provides residents with the ability to channel their anger and frustrations into a more positive way.  This is an added therapeutic element to meet kids where they are.  Anger and sadness are sides to trauma that need attention.  This room helps with that.

A room with a group of chairs and a tent

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On January 27th, the girls attended the VU men’s basketball game against Missouri State.  The girls enjoyed hot dogs, popcorn and rooting for the VU Beacon’s.  The half time show starred two dogs that fetched a frisbee in the air.  Boy could the dogs jump!  The girls had fun and laughed a lot!  We love seeing smiles on their faces.

A person and person sitting in a stadium

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February kicks off the beginning of the 2024 Phone Campaign.  Donors will receive a Phone Campaign postcard and newsletter.  During this month, we will be accepting pre-pledges.  Donors may contact us at 219-462-0513 to make a pledge.  Donations may be made by check and mailed or by credit card on our website at www.shultslewis.org.

In February, we will be visiting Clay City Church of Christ and Naperville Church of Christ Maplewood to share information about what the kids of today are facing, how we are impacting the lives of kids, and to connect with our donors face-to-face.   If you are interested in having us come out to your church to give a presentation on the work we are doing at Shults-Lewis, please contact me at 219-462-0513 ext. 103.  Thanks again for taking this journey with us.

December Campus Update

On December 8, we celebrated Vickie’s Terhune’s second retirement from Shults-Lewis with a party.  Vickie served as school principal for 32 years.  Over the years, Vickie has touched and impacted so many residents’ lives; especially in the area of Math, where she has tutored many students.  This is not goodbye as Vickie will be volunteering with us in the new year.

On December 22, we had our staff and resident Christmas party with our Board of Trustees.  Everyone enjoyed the pizza, games and presents during the celebration.  Thank you to our wonderful donors who purchased items for both our residents, houseparents and our homes.  We were so blessed with your kindness!  We are so thankful to God for the impact of your support for the children we serve.

In January, we will be visiting Maplewood Church of Christ, Memorial Parkway Church of Christ and Springbrook Hills Church of Christ to share information about what the kids of today are facing, how we are impacting the lives of kids, and to connect with our donors face-to-face.  In February, our travels will take us to Clay City Church of Christ and Naperville Church of Christ.  If you are interested in having us come out to your church to give a presentation on the work we are doing at Shults-Lewis, please contact me at 219-462-0513 ext. 103.  Thanks again for taking this journey with us.

November Campus Update

An aerial view of a circus arena with an elephant and a crowd of people

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In November, we enjoyed a Fall Festival Luncheon with staff and residents.  It was a great time of fellowship with one another.  A special thanks to Peter Bumpass for his donation of tickets to our houseparents and residents to attend the circus and enjoy some food.  Cheers and laughter could be seen and heard by the kids during the event.

On November 5th, we had the pleasure to visit Grandville Church of Christ in Michigan.  We enjoyed Bible study, worship, a presentation to the elders and lunch with the Young family.  It was great to meet with members of the congregation as we shared our work at the children’s home.

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On November 11th, we were invited to attend the 75th anniversary of Sunnyside Church of Christ in Decatur, Illinois.  This was a great opportunity for us to meet current and past members as well as neighboring individuals from sister churches.  Did you know that Sunnyside Church of Christ has been supporting Shults-Lewis since 1948? What an awesome testimony to their partnership with Shults-Lewis and the residents we serve who face trauma.

In January, we will be visiting Maplewood Church of Christ, Memorial Parkway Church of Christ, Clay City Church of Christ and Springbrook Hills Church of Christ to share information about what the kids of today are facing, how we are impacting the lives of kids, and to connect with our donors face-to-face.  If you are interested in having us come out to your church to give a presentation on the work we are doing at Shults-Lewis, please contact Stephanie at 219-462-0513 ext. 103.  Thanks again for taking this journey with us.

October Campus Update

In October, Johnnie and Tammy visited New York Avenue Church of Christ in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was great meeting Tim Harty and members of the congregation.  His message on Sunday was a true blessing.  Church visits provide us with the opportunity to share God’s work at Shults-Lewis. 

This month, the residents had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Fair Oaks Farms.  This farm is the largest dairy producer in Indiana and one of the largest in the county.  The kids learned about the animals, farming practices and nutrition.  They also were able to experience the rope course.  This type of course helps individuals attain personal achievements and overcome fears and anxieties.  Despite the cold weather, the kids had a wonderful time. Our kids LOVE school field trips!

In November, we will be visiting Grandville Church of Christ and Sunnyside Road Church of Christ to share information about what the kids of today are facing, how we are impacting the lives of kids, and to connect with our donors face-to-face.  If you are interested in having us come out to your church to give a presentation on the work we are doing at Shults-Lewis, please contact me at 219-462-0513 ext. 103.  Thanks again for taking this journey with us.

September Campus Update

September was a busy month with back to back fundraising events.  On September 9th, we kicked off with Popcorn Festival.  We sold out of hot dogs and bratwursts.  That was a good problem to have.  The highlight of the day was when we met a former resident, Mia, who shared her story with us.  Without Shults-Lewis, she said “I would never have completed high school and finished college.”  We cried and hugged her and our hearts were full!  This is why we do what we do!  We help kids overcome trauma and change their life forever!

One week later, we celebrated Annual Day.  It was wonderful for our staff and residents to finally put names to faces.  Thank you for all your positive feedback.  It truly takes a village to run this event.  I am excited to announce that with your help we raised $20,333.23 in revenue and after expenses earned a net profit of $13,585.43.  We also raised an additional $1,000 for our Emergency Medical Responder Services Dinner slated for Spring 2024 in order to honor our police in our community.

In October, we will begin visiting churches.  If you are interested in having us come out to your church to give a presentation on the work we are doing at Shults-Lewis, please contact me at 219-462-0513 ext. 103.  Thanks again for taking this journey with us.

August Campus Update

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David, Kim and Fred

In August, we said goodbye to the Zandstra family and welcomed Fred & Kim Lucas as houseparents for our boys’ home.  The Lucas’s returned back to Shults-Lewis after a 2 year stint away.  Fred is teaching Science and Math at the school. Kim brings her creativity to campus, which the kids enjoy.  David Warren, our program director’s husband, joined our team and serves as a teacher assistant.  He brings his experience with kids from Tennessee Children’s Home.  We are excited to have three new staff aboard.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 9th for the Annual Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Festival in downtown Valparaiso.  We will be selling food and distributing brochures at this event.  Be sure to stop by and see us on the corner of Lincolnway and Lafayette Street.  What a great opportunity for us to share our mission of serving kids who face trauma!  Hope to see you there!

We are excited to welcome all our donors and visitors to campus on the 16th of September for Annual Day.  Breakfast starts at 8 am and includes the following festivities:  rummage sale, tour of campus, food and crafts, silent auction and a live auction with our very own, board member, Rick Root.

July Campus Update

In July, our staff and residents attended Brynne (age 12) & Brighton (age 9) Vermillion’s birthday party in Genoa, Illinois. Brynne and Brighton requested that donations be made to Shults-Lewis in lieu of presents. They sacrificed presents from their friends in order to support the kids at Shults-Lewis. What an awesome act of kindness and selflessness! During the party, I made a bet with Phillip Vermillion. If he donated $1000 to Shults-Lewis, I would go down the Toilet Bowl slide with my clothes on. To my amazement, a $1000 check was in the envelope with other donations. Phillip and I both accepted the challenge and rode down the Toilet Bowl Slide! Thank you to the Vermillion family for inviting us and helping to support the kids at our children’s home. It was a lot of fun!

Stephanie with Phillip and Cassie Vermillion

Day of Prayer and Giving results are in! We raised $42,719 in money to help fund capital improvements here on campus. These funds will be used to purchase the following: a zero turn mower, new computers, new floors in the bedrooms of Home 5 and 7 and seal coating the parking lots. Thank you for your generosity as we continue to serve kids and spread God’s word in their lives!

May/June Update

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In May, our staff and residents attended an end of the school year celebration with box tickets to the Railcats game courtesy of Mike and Jenn Zandstra.  For some of the residents, it was the first time to a baseball game.  Everyone enjoyed hamburgers and hotdogs at the game. Lots of screams and laughter were heard as we cheered on the Railcats.

In June, we were blessed with a visit from the Youth Group from Naperville Church of Christ.   Rusty his wife Heather brought the youth group to help do some much needed work on our campus. They did an amazing job boxing ink cartridges, weeding and mulching around the homes, cleaning out rooms, painting sheds, and much more!  Our residents enjoyed lunch with the teens from the Naperville Youth Group and interacting with them in a volleyball, basketball and foosball game. We all shared devotional time each morning as well.

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In addition, we started taking DCS (Department of Child & Family Services) public placements this month.  We are so excited to see God’s plans unfold at Shults-Lewis.

March Campus Update

The first two months of the year have been busy at Shults-Lewis! In the months of January and February we welcomed lots of new staff members!

Stephanie Balcerak stepped up to the task of balancing the work load of Director of Development and Finance! We are so grateful for her endless supply of energy and frugality.

Staci Kociara has taken on the role of case worker with ease and excitement. It has been a joy to watch the kids spending group time under her leadership and direction!

Sarah Turnmire has gladly joined the team as Executive Assistant and loves that she never knows what tasks she may have to tackle that day! A real jack of all trades!

Sadly in February we said goodbye to Kiana Baldwin as she moved on to a job more specific to her career desires. We are overjoyed for her and this opportunity, but her presence will be missed!

Jasmine Lindley has stepped into the role as Development Assistant with grace and vitality. We are so blessed to have her on staff to strengthen our admirative team!

The residents have been enjoying opportunities that the winter weather has provided them with to get outside! They are also looking to new hobbies to explore indoors!

Snowball fights
Kids building a snowman
Carlina at the library

December Campus Update

We ask you to pray for Hannah Baldwin, Joy Smith, and Jenn Swartz as they have all moved on to different chapters in their lives.  We welcome Tammy Warren, Director of Operations, to the team!

I know I keep asking you all to pray, but that’s what this ministry is all about.  Not only do we ask you to pray for our new kids for their transition, but we ask you to pray for them during the holiday season.  It is very hard for our kids during the holidays, no matter what their situation is.  As we prepare for Christmas, we thank you all for the prayers and for your donations to help make this holiday special for our kids.

I just wanted you all to know how much I have appreciated working with you. I stepped into the role as Development Director after Beth Frump passed away to help fill a void. However, it is time for me to step out. Thank you for your patience, love, and support. -Lissa Baldwin

                               Happy Holidays from the Staff and Kids at Shults-Lewis!