Lots of love shared at the Children’s Ministry Center of Shepherd’s Door

Staff member Erin Fowler hangs out with a couple of kids from the Children's Ministry Center.

Staff member Erin Fowler hangs out with a couple of kids from the Children’s Ministry Center.

At Shepherd’s Door, recovery affects more than just the women in our New Life Ministry, recovery is also about their children. For the kids who enter the Children’s Ministry Center (CMC), their past comes with them. And, though it is difficult to overcome the past trauma many of the kids have experienced, Portland Rescue Mission staff and volunteers find unique ways to serve the Mission’s littlest residents.

“These kids need as much one-on-one time as they can get,’ said CMC Manager Dina Fitts. “They have such big hearts, and when these kids get that one-on-one time, their hearts are just overflowing and they become little sponges for any love or affection you can give them.”

The CMC currently has five faithful volunteers, all of whom play a vital role in helping the ministry thrive. With the help from volunteers, staff is freed up to spend more individual time with the kids as well as make progress on other projects around the CMC. Volunteers also liven up the spirits of the kids themselves.

“The kids get super excited when people come to visit us,” said Copywriter and Children’s Ministry Assistant Erin Fowler. “Getting a fresh visitor, or a fresh face in the CMC brings in new energy and enthusiasm, especially if those volunteers bring something creative with them that they’re passionate about and want to share with the kids.

“We don’t get a lot of visitors, so anytime a business, organization or individuals wants to partner with us, it’s very exciting for everyone!’

Tanya Eckroth, Children’s Treatment Coordinator for Medical Teams International and an integral part of MTI’s mobile dental program, recently spent a morning with the kids in the CMC at Shepherd’s Door.

She spends her time helping MTI provide dental care access to kids and others in need throughout Oregon and Washington. As part of her role, she also provides oral health presentations to children around the Portland metro area.

“Anywhere there is a group of children who may need some dental care or dental education, that’s where I want to be,” Tanya emphasized. “So I thought Shepherd’s Door would be a natural place to go.”

Tanya Eckroth, of Medical Teams International, teaches one of the kids about dental hygiene in the Children's Ministry Center at Shepherd's Door.

Tanya Eckroth, of Medical Teams International, teaches one of the kids about dental hygiene in the Children’s Ministry Center at Shepherd’s Door.

With a giant dinosaur at her disposal, Tanya gave a fun presentation complete with a giant toothbrush, and the kids received a vital education about dental hygiene and a show. The kids were absolutely thrilled as a result.

But it doesn’t end there. The opportunities to show love and care to the kids at Portland Rescue Mission are many. Regardless of whether you are more project-oriented, or task-driven, or just want to pray with the kids that come through the CMC at Shepherd’s Door, you’re invited to apply as a volunteer. Each and every person who contributes to the ministry at Portland Rescue Mission provides value and significance to the lives of our kids.

“These are some of the most beautiful kids I’ve encountered,” Erin said. “They have a lot of life and a lot of energy, and they need a lot of love.

“So if you have love to give, come hang out and give it to these kids. They’ll change your life.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities, or to donate, specifically, to our women and children’s ministry, please visit PortlandRescueMission.org/Give.

Shepherd’s Door is our New Life Ministry that can house close to 40 women and 20 children. It is located in northeast Portland.