Life’s twists and turns can be hard enough for the able-bodied, but overcoming obstacles can be even more difficult for persons with disabilities.
All Faith Ministry for disABILITIES is a nonprofit organization aimed at aiding and providing support for persons and families of persons with disabilities.
Started about a year ago, All Faith Ministry stemmed from the need for additional help. Executive Director, Stefanie Craft, spoke about the early days of the nonprofit.
“It came from the need of having support and not really having anything in the area that emotionally and spiritually supported people with special needs their families and loved ones that we knew, in this area,” Craft said.
The ministry serves persons with birth or life-incurred disabilities and their families. Located in DeWitt, Mich., the faith-based ministry believes all people, regardless of abilities, are precious gifts from God. According to the mission statement, the nonprofit believes all people are on this earth to have meaningful lives, and teaches the lessons of faith, hope, humor and love.
Although the organization is faith-based, Craft said it is not tied to any particular religion, but rather, focuses on the faith of humanity.
A topic that’s particularly close to the founding members of All Faith Ministry, is that special needs lifestyle accommodations and support are vital.
“I have a son with special needs, and I could tell you right now that without having faith in your future and hope, there is nothing that helps you,” Craft said. “I wanted to give people faith.”
“It’s not related to any religion, it’s totally related to the faith in people today and giving them hope in their situation or their needs and supporting them.”
Plenty of individuals and their families have found hope through the organization’s outings, masses, prayers and kind words of encouragement over the last year.
Aside from prayer, worship and masses, the group puts on fun special events such as bowling, CPR classes and support groups, all while providing resources and transportation.
These special events often bring smiles and sometimes even tears of joy to the families and ministry staff.
The smiles and togetherness are Craft’s favorite part about her job. She enjoys when others realize that there’s plenty of beauty in otherwise flawed circumstances. “We all have imperfections in our lives, but what makes us perfect is all of us working together to help somebody out; that is perfection to me.”
Special needs persons, families, friends, mentors, volunteers and staff all come together and embrace differences at the ministry. The warm embrace is something Craft says isn’t everywhere though.
“Life is tough, and sometimes you don’t always get a warm response from people,” Craft said. “But at these services, the smiles and the kindness and involvement, the love that these kids feel — you see it all over their faces. Just knowing that they are involved in something; it matters to them and it matters to us.”
Whether it’s physical resources, worship events or just a friendly phone call, the organization is aimed at creating community.
It’s a community the group’s founders are all too familiar with, each affected with disabilities in their immediate families.
“We’ve all lived the life; we’ve experienced these things and we want to be the forerunners to help in this desperate need that we see in this area and in neighboring areas,” Craft said. “There are certain things that you can go to for help but really there is no emotional connection, and that’s what we want to be. We want to be there to help people if they need something.”
For more information on events and resources offered, visit disabilitiesministries.org.