What would Iowa farmers do if the world believed corn causes cancer? At first, farmers would protest, reminding people that corn is great for feeding cattle, pigs and poultry. But if consumers stopped buying corn, would Iowa farmers keep growing corn? NO! Corn production would stop FAST!
The shocker statement about corn is a metaphor for what Quakerdale is going through today, one that could also be applied to churches as well.
Would cancerous corn mean farmers were no longer farmers?
Farmers would still be farmers, but I believe farming would change radically and almost instantly. For a few years, it would be tough. Farmers would go through some really hard times and some would quit. But farmers would still be farmers with the goal of feeding the world and our rich black Iowa farm land would still be here. The idea of growing crops would still be the mission of farmers and another crop or two or three would replace corn, and eventually Iowa farmers would be busy again through adaptation and planning.
Today, “best practices” taught in universities and among social service professionals claim that out-of-home group homes and shelters are universally bad for families. This movement started back in the 1990’s. This summer, responding to diminishing placements and these “best practices,” Quakerdale closed the last of our group homes and shelter programs. We closed our Waterloo and Manning campuses because enrollment had dropped (again) 20% from the previous 12 months in our remaining shelter programs. The state (our customer for those services ) rarely requires kids to be helped in out-of-home services anymore.
Since June people have asked, “Does Quakerdale help any kids anymore?”
Quakerdale has a mission, just like Iowa farmers, and a cultural change will not stop our efforts. Quakerdale exists to teach children about God and teach them discipline and work skills, a mission begun by our founder Josiah White in 1851.
Thankfully, Quakerdale has many other ministry programs which help thousands of children and their families each year! Even though we are renting and willing to sell the Manning and Waterloo facilities, we continue to have a clear mission to teach people about God and life skills, just as we have been doing for over 165 years.
Just like the farmer with a mission to grow crops, Quakerdale is still a ministry with a mission. While the approach was primarily group homes and shelters in the 70’s – 80’s, other programs and ministries have been developed. Last year, Quakerdale served 3464 children and their families (some were served in more than one program). 167 of those children were served in our group homes and shelters. That means that in 2015, 3297 were touched to by Quakerdale through home and community based programs!
Yes, folks, Quakerdale is still #makingadifference for kids and their families in Iowa and the midwest. Our methods might be forced to change, and the means may change, but our mission remains the same! That mission is what makes Quakerdale so special…
Please come to our web site www.quakerdale.org to learn of all the different things going on at Quakerdale. Or, if you are a facebook friend, like us there to see regular updates on what is happening at Quakerdale. We are excited to see what God has for us in the future as we make room for his guidance and change at Quakerdale.
And PLEASE NOTE that Quakerdale ministries are made possible by the donations of volunteers and gifts of donations or assets of those from the past and present! Keep us in your annual or monthly charitable giving. Remember us in your estate planning so you can leave a legacy with Quakerdale!
Rob Talbot, Quakerdale Executive Director
PS. I mentioned the church in my opening “shocker” metaphor. Have any of you noticed church attendance changing? I believe that the church, like Quakerdale, and like the farmer, has the same important mission it has always had, but how it does it needs to change, and as soon as churches figure out what the change needs to be we will see church participation rise. Watch this interesting video spoken to college students about the revival of our selves and of the church into the future. It takes pruning and faith to go to the next place God has for us! We have to stop doing old things in order to start new things for Christ!
Please share you comments on this blog and give us feedback on the impact Quakerdale has had on you or someone you know!