Northeast Indiana Chapter

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About Our Chapter

Our Families

We currently have over 50 volunteer host families who graciously open their homes temporarily to children whose parents are going through a difficult time. While the children are in the host home, family coaches help parents get back on their feet by providing mentorship and accountability. Host families and placing families are supported by a team of volunteers who provide help such as transportation, meals, resource donations, mentoring, and employment assistance.

Counties

We currently serve 14 counties in our area:

  • Adams
  • Allen
  • Blackford
  • DeKalb
  • Huntington
  • Jay
  • Kosciusko
  • LaGrange
  • Miami
  • Noble
  • Steuben
  • Wabash
  • Whitley
  • Wells

Our Team

Although our amazing volunteers are the ones who take the movement of Safe Families for Children into the community, they are supported by our Fort Wayne staff. Our staff passionately invest their lives in engaging churches, building the base of volunteers, transitioning children, supervising family coaches, vetting and training volunteers, and so much more.

Bonnie Doolittle, Regional Director

Bonnie Doolittle and her husband, Scott, live in Fort Wayne and have two children and 6 grandchildren. They have served in the site's lead church, Headwaters Church, since 1995 and have been Christ followers most of their lives.

Bonnie has been involved in Safe Families for Children since its launch in the area in February 2013. She is currently serving as Regional Director for Northeast Indiana since 2017 but has also served as Family Coach Supervisor, Family Coach, and Host Family among other volunteer roles.

Bonnie has a business degree from Western Michigan University and has experience in nonprofit and volunteer management, fundraising, banking, accounting, auditing, information technology, and human resources.

Jen Bergdall, Safe Families Connect Coordinator

Jen and her husband, Mark, have been married for 12 years. They have two children, Abby and Bailey. Jen and her family reside in Fort Wayne and attend County Line Church of God where Jen serves on the hospitality team.

Jen has a physical therapy degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. She worked as a physical therapist in an outpatient clinic for several years, specializing in lymphedema management, and then as a pediatric therapist with First Steps. She is now a stay-at-home mom for her two children.

Jen serves as our Safe Families Connect Coordinator and Ministry Lead for County Line Church of God. She has been involved with Safe Families for Children since the fall of 2014.

Ranetta Wiley, Family Coach Supervisor

Ranetta began her position as Family Coach Supervisor in Spring of 2019. She and her husband, Michael, have two children, Piper and Elias. Ranetta has a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling and has worked for over 18 years in various ministry and social work settings.

The Wiley Family attends Northeast Christian Church and is active in the children’s department as well as on the worship team.

Katharine Wurst, Volunteer Coordinator

Katharine plays many different roles in Safe Families and started with the ministry in August of 2017.
Along with her role of Volunteer Coordinator, Katharine enjoys serving our host families and parents as a Family Coach.

Katharine graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in business. She and her husband Chuck have four daughters: Casey, Elizabeth, Anna, and Haley.

Ashley Grimes, Operations Manager

Ashley joined the Safe Families for Children movement in February of 2018. She holds an Associate of Science in Business as well as a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration, both from Indiana Wesleyan University. She and her husband Travis have 3 sons and are members of Headwaters Church in Fort Wayne.

Gwen Leininger, Funding Specialist

Gwen Leininger has volunteered along with her family in the past as a host family and now joins Safe Families part-time as a grant writer. With a degree in English, she enjoys using her writing skills to advance the work of Safe Families and make Christ's perfect love tangible to families in the Fort Wayne area.

Gwen and her husband, Derek, have one daughter and are members of Headwaters Church.

Dana Clark, Church Engagement Coordinator

Dana recently joined Safe Families as our new Church Engagement Coordinator. She holds a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Indiana Wesleyan University, and has previously worked as Worship Ministry Partner at a church.

Dana and her husband, Trevor, have two children. She and her family attend Northeast Christian Church and are involved in small group ministry and greeting.