Forgotten Children Honored as Member of the Month
The Wells County Chamber of Commerce staff and Ambassadors congratulated Forgotten Children Worldwide as the June Member of the Month. Forgotten Children is located at 650 N Main Street in Bluffton.
It all started back in 1999 when Matt Hartsell and his wife, Barb, adopted a child from Russia. The Hartsell’s saw a need of children being warehoused and decided to start a program shipping clothing overseas. The first couple of years it was an organized effort through Hope Church, where Hartsell was currently a Pastor.
Gradually the programs started to expand for Hartsell & Forgotten Children Worldwide: building orphan homes, child sponsorship, self-sustainability programs, education and discipleship, and water and wellness. With these expanded programs, Forgotten Children Worldwide became incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 in 2007. Members of the community purchased their current location and donated their new home in 2012.
The mission of Forgotten Children Worldwide safeguards orphans and vulnerable children from poverty, abandonment, and the evils of human trafficking and introduces the fatherless to their Heavenly Father who is crazy about them. “Those core principles are how we got started,” explained Hartsell.
Forgotten Children has over 700 volunteers in northeast Indiana and over 15 staff members working in Uganda. “Our volunteers are the backbone of what we do, and we appreciate them all because everyone has a role they play,” said Hartsell. “When people walk through our doors, we hope they see Jesus in our staff, the building, our volunteers and the mission.”
A new Forgotten Children Flagship Ministry in Uganda has recently been implemented called Kipindi Mpito, translated in Swahili means, transition period. “Girls that are currently in our programs are taking the next step to transition out of orphan care. The girls at Kipindi Mpito learn key life skills, receive mental health and trauma counseling, agricultural training, daily discipleship in the ways of Jesus, job skills training, and internships and job opportunities to then launch these ladies into adulthood successfully,” explained Hartsell. “This will be our flagship for the next 20 years.”
“We have to provide justice for the women and children in Africa & Asia,” said Jeff Patterson, Development Director. “They literally have no voice, no opinion, and have been taught they have no value. Programs such as these are giving young women justice for the voice they are not allowed to speak. They are out of options and they need people like us to give them life and hope.”
Patterson said that is great to see a nonprofit receive this award because many organizations do so much behind the scenes, many times very silently. Patterson appreciates that they are respected in what they do. “We can offer community service or team building experiences for businesses and when everyone comes together to serve in all walks of life, backgrounds, and nationalities; it is powerful and a privilege to experience.”
Pictured in the photo left to right:
Stacey Duncan, WEG Commercial Motors, Chamber Ambassador
Kody Kumfer, First Bank of Berne, Chamber Ambassador
Janee Nussbaum, Forgotten Children Worldwide
Kathy McGill, Woodforest National Bank, Chamber Ambassador
Keri Baker, Forgotten Children Worldwide
Kevin Pritchard, RUOFF Mortgage, Chamber Ambassador
Jeff Patterson, Forgotten Children Worldwide
Matt Hartsell, Forgotten Children Worldwide
Jean Bordner, News-Banner, Chamber Ambassador
Doug Fear, Edward Jones, Chamber Ambassador
Kelsey Salle, Forgotten Children Worldwide
Doug Brown, News-Banner, Chamber Ambassador
Mike Lampton, Farm Bureau Insurance, Chamber Ambassador
Erin Prible, Wells County Chamber of Commerce
Alyssa Sponseller, Archbold & Lewis Insurance, Chamber Ambassador