WRITTEN BY Jon Dammeyer
HCD Mission Statement: to meet the individual needs of each child in a safe and adaptive learning atmosphere where they can grow and learn about Christ.
I am excited to introduce to you a new ministry at Wallen! Over the past year we have been taking baby steps trying to develop a way to minister to our special needs children and families. Wallen has always been involved in trying to meet every need of all children in our church family. However, we have realized that there is not only an obvious growing need in our community but an incredible opportunity to give kids with unique needs the opportunity to experience the love of Jesus and understand who He is no matter what their cognitive abilities are.
Our goals as the ministry continues to grow are to assist in educating and developing awareness within our church family about the uniqueness of our HCD families and how we can better serve and assist them. We want to facilitate an inclusive, informed, compassionate culture or community within our church, which grows with these families as their special needs loved ones grow—a community that is keenly aware of the siblings and caregivers/parents of our HCD individuals and the extraordinary lives they live as well as the limitations and obstacles they face. Most importantly we plan to spread the contagious love of Christ to these families who experience far too much hardship and teach these children about their incredible Savior.
In the Spring of 2017 we dedicated a specific room to HCD kids. This room offers a safe environment, designed to meet many different unique needs. It is a place where volunteers will be trained to specifically interact with these amazing kids. Where the volunteer has the freedom to gauge the situation of each child and decide how to adapt the bible lesson of the day to a child’s needs and abilities. This room is primarily designed for children who are not able to be integrated in a classroom with their aged peers. However, it is also often used by children with unique needs that struggle being in a classroom environment for both services. It is also a great place for high functioning HCD kids to take a break if their classroom activities become too overwhelming or if there is a behavior problem.
On October 24th we had our first HCD volunteer and parent meeting! We had eight families attend and 14 volunteers. This event was a very encouraging evening for all who attended. We talked about their current needs, their desires for their children as they become adults, their wildest dreams of an HCD ministry, and many more topics. We all ate dinner together and had other amazing volunteers provide childcare while we talked, shared, cried, and got to know each other better. This meeting gave all of us an excitement for what is next for this ministry. It was such a blessing to see truly how thankful these families are for being “seen” and “heard” and for being asked what they need and how we can help!
We have come a long way in the last year in caring for our HCD families but we have hardly scratched the surface of the potential of how we can care for these families. We still hope to be able to provide care for our families within their homes, running errands, helping clean, baby sitting, counseling, etc. Also within our church by providing on-call medical assistance, help getting in and out of their car with wheel chairs, and eventually we hope to provide one-on-one assistance to all HCD children every week during church services.
In order to meet these needs though, we need your help! If you have a desire to begin to volunteer for this ministry please do not hesitate to come forward. We are looking for scheduled volunteers as well as optional subs. If you would just like to be a part of the conversation and learn more about this growing ministry, please do not hesitate to ask because one of our biggest goals is to inform and train our church to care for every family that walks through our doors. If you are an HCD family or have an HCD child please check out our website www.wallen.org and fill out our intake form so that we can get to know your child better! As this ministry continues to grow we are excited to be accomplishing our goal to meet every need for all children in our church family and communicating to all children the love of Christ.
Jon is the Children’s Ministry Director at Wallen Baptist Church