Hoping you all are enjoying the start of summer.
Our school closed out the year with a mini “Strengths Luncheon” to honor our kids with a STRENGTH that the staff sees most in them. We enjoyed a Mexican themed lunch and fellowship as we encouraged and honored our kids.
During this past month, we also celebrated one of our “Zero” birthdays. Don Jones was honored with a fun luncheon and cake for his 60th. Don is one of our housedads, maintenance supervisor, and commodity driver. Don is also one of our “Masters of Puns”. I frequently throw him out of my office after a string of bad puns. We appreciate all of the hard work Don does for this agency as well as being a spiritual leader for our kids.
For the kids,
It is so exciting to be able to have time to do the job I was hired on to do and finally send out a campus update. The last 4 months have been the most difficult that I have had in a long time. Since the Smiths had to step out of relief houseparenting, some of the staff have had to step in and do relief for the other houseparents on top of their normal jobs until we could find their replacements. Usually, finding new houseparents can take several months up to a few years. But, about a week before the Smiths stepped down, I received a random phone call from Jimmie Banks (from Alsip, IL) who was interested in houseparenting. The rest, as they say, is history. Jimmie and Jessie Banks officially joined our team on April 11, 2022 (THAT’S MY BIRTHDAY AND GOD GAVE ME THE BEST PRESENT!!) The Banks stepped in to this ministry, they have been trained, and are now doing the relief houseparenting. Those of us staff who have been doing the relief since February are SO GRATEFUL! I had a lot of fun getting to know the Banks as they went through the training process. They are a good fit with positive attitudes and leading with Christ.
We have also been able to find someone to do counseling for our kids, which means once we get them on board, we can take more kids. YAY! We still need an English teacher and a Math teacher so that we can take even more kids. We are still looking for an Executive Director and a Program Director so that our Interim Executive Director, Irene, can move back to Texas. We need a Principal so that Vickie Terhune can go back in to retirement. We are also still looking for a Director of Operations to relieve our contracted accountant, Stephanie, who comes in 2 days a week, after her full time job, to help pay bills and do payroll. Jenn Swartz, who was hired on to be our Social Services Secretary, made a lateral move to be our Administrative Assistant again so that she could take some of the tasks off of my plate. Hannah Baldwin was kind enough to move to Social Services permanently to fill that void. But as soon as we can hire another Social Services Secretary, Development can have Hannah back. YAY!
All of this to say, some of our burden has been lifted but we are still in need of many positions, the most important being the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and PROGRAM DIRECTOR. Keep spreading the word and keep praying for us. We love you all and thank you for all you do in keeping Shults-Lewis a safehaven for our kids.
For the kids,
Lissa Baldwin, Development Director
The staff and kids had an absolute blast this last month, especially during our fall festivities during Spirit Week. Our Principal, Vickie Terhune, had a week of fun ready for everyone which included hat day, bad hair day, nerd day, hoodie day, and costumes. Most of the staff joined in and we had a lot of laughs as we all sat together in morning devo. Mrs. Terhune and Zip made great NERDS. The kids wore their favorite hoodies but Stephen got crafty and wore 5 while Erik used his to be invisible. And if you thought these kids had bad hair when they wake up each day, they looked WORSE on bad hair day. Really, TJ? A mask? J
Mr. Zandstra showed us all up with his mountain of hats for hat day. Jim Haferkamp, our Maintenance Assistant, even let me have a chance to run forensics by pretending to be the victim. (What a ham!) Mrs. Terhune changed up the rules for the pumpkin decorating contest. Instead of having each Home compete, she had each KID compete. It was a hard choice but Stephen won! The kids all earned prizes before trick or treating for candy through the school and the Admin building. Until next month, have a great holiday!!
Beth Frump always liked to cheer from the mountaintops (or should I say sand dunes?) when summer came around. I, on the other hand, LOVE THE COLD WEATHER!! But, I want to make it very clear that when I pray for snow, I pray that the snow doesn’t land on your driveways. 🙂 (I feel that’s a fair trade.) Anyway, the weather out here in Valparaiso, Indiana is getting a little cooler as we are already into October and preparing for our Fall festivities.
This last month, we had a celebration honoring Glenn Robertson, our Maintenance Supervisor and gym teacher, since he decided to retire. We had a nice meal and cake for him while we read fake work orders that he had to get done before we allowed him to leave. We had many laughs before Glenn passed the wrench down to Don Jones, our housedad and maintenance assistant. The staff and kids shared fun stories about what they remembered most about Glenn. The kids mostly remember his tough gym classes. But even though all the stories were funny, there was a reverberating theme. Glenn was a positive asset to our ministry, a great male role model, and shared all he had with everyone. But, before he left, he promised to come back and cook the hams for Annual Day. 🙂
New residents Stephen, TJ, and a young lady we will call “Barbara” joined us over the past few weeks and are doing ok. They are slowly transitioning but need your prayers while they do so. All the kids have been focusing on their studies and are excited to go on a field trip that Principal Vickie Terhune is in the process of planning.
Even though we didn’t have Annual Day this year, the Bristol Road congregation in Michigan delivered a bag of new clothes for each of our residents and houseparent children. Nine-year-old houseparent child, Kyah Zandstra, tried on all of her new clothes, looked at her mom and said, “We are so blessed.”
We are blessed. And we thank all of you for continuing to pray for our kids, our staff, and this ministry. We hope you all have a beautiful month and we will keep you updated in the November Update.
Happy Fall, The Staff at Shults-Lewis
Well, it finally happened. Our campus was breached by COVID. Being understaffed, it made it that much harder when staff started getting COVID. But, with God’s help, we pulled together as we usually do and made everything work. We used some of our office workers and a teacher, to take turns watching one of our boys for a few days in one of our closed Homes until houseparents were in the clear from COVID.
During all of that, our Board of Trustees and our Administrators made the decision to cancel Annual Day again this year. It was a hard decision but with the lack of staff and some of them getting COVID, we just couldn’t put an event this big together with so few people. We also had to consider our sojourners. Our sojourners consist of retired folks connected with the churches of Christ that travel the country in their RVs and volunteer their time to helping places like ours prepare for events or just help with general upkeep needs. We did not want to put them, our amazing vendors, or YOU in harm’s way.
During this trying time, we closed campus for 10 days for quarantine to ensure the safety of the staff and kids. Today is our first day back and, even though we are all wearing masks, it was so good to see our previously sick staff being able to attend meetings and just saying hello.
On a good note, we are placing another female resident today. We ask that you keep her and her family in your prayers as they make this transition.
Stay safe, stay healthy,
Lissa Baldwin, Development Director
JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAITHFUL MEMBERS OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST
-School Secretary -Administrative Assistant -School Principal
-Director of Operations -Teacher -Social Services Staff
-Counselor/Therapist -Houseparents -Executive Director