About Our Chapter
Safe Families for Children Iowa City/Cedar Rapids is made up of dozens of volunteer families throughout the Corridor who have opened up their homes and lives to parents and children in crisis. Through biblical hospitality, our volunteer families have come alongside dozens of parents and families in crisis throughout the Corridor who had nowhere else to turn. As a result of these volunteers, families in crisis have been able to overcome challenging circumstances and remain intact.
Churches throughout our network play a significant role with Safe Families. It is through a partnership with local churches that we are able to recruit, train and mobilize volunteers to care for children and their families. Throughout our network we have over a dozen churches that are either a Partner, Lead or Community Lead Church. If your church would like to participate with Safe Families, please let us know!
Our churches range from urban to suburban to rural, and from small to large. Some churches have many host families, family coaches and family friends. While other churches have just a few but also provide much needed support and resources to our volunteers. We are excited to see more and more churches see the need for helping families in crisis, and how simple acts of compassion and hospitality can truly impact lives, offer hope and provide a tangible expression of the Gospel.
Safe Families for Children Iowa City/Cedar Rapids would not exist without our volunteers and churches. Below are some of our key team members, who are both staff and volunteers in our region.
Brett is an Iowan by birth who, after graduating from the University of Iowa, worked as a teacher and analyst in New York City, Chicago suburbs, and Bowling Green, OH before returning home to pursue his PhD at the University of Iowa. After a year of his program Brett was offered the opportunity to be a part of Safe Families for Children, which he gladly accepted. He and his wife, Leigh Ann, and sons, Abraham and Lazarus, live in Coralville, IA.
Family Coach & Ministry Lead at Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church
Sheila Raim is an Iowa farm wife, homeschool mother of two, musician, and teacher. She holds a Bachelor's degree in music education from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA, and a Master's in Spanish: Teaching from the University of Northern Iowa. Her teaching experience includes 9 years as instrumental music director and 3 years as a Spanish instructor at Iowa Mennonite School; 28 years as a private music instructor; and 8 years as a supervising teacher with the Mid-Prairie Home School Assistance Program, where she currently serves as director of choirs. Her passion is being a conduit of God's transformational hope, healing and love as she mentors and teaches parents and children.
Ryan and Natasha Miller
Ministry Leads at Grace Community Church
Ryan and Natasha have been married for 17 years, have three children aged 11, 10 and 7. They live in Iowa City where they've attended Grace Community Church since 2002. As a family, they enjoy spending time outside as well as watching sports, especially the Hawkeyes. God has blessed them with many things that they are eager to share with those in need. They love serving others and having them in their home. Their children love little ones and are a great help in serving others.
Kent and Joy Short
Ministry Leads at Parkview Church
Kent and Joy Short are parents of 3 children. Their son, Shaun, and his wife Rachel, live in Portland, Oregon. Daniel and Senead live at home while working on their degrees at the University of Iowa. And Kent and Joy moved their family from South Africa to Iowa City in 2002. Joy grew up in South Africa and met Kent during the time he worked in southern Africa. Kent and Joy live on a small farm outside Iowa City where they enjoy the activity and opportunities of a rural lifestyle. Their family has attended Parkview church since 2002.
Ajay and Lindsey Eshcol
Ministry Leads at Genesis Church
Ministry Lead at HighPoint City Church