WHEATFIELD — Crosswinds held its opening reception at the site of its Wheatfield residential facilities on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the site of the former Christian Haven.
Crosswinds is a faith-based organization that functions under its parent organization, Lifeline, which is a non-profit with operations in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and the Dominican Republic. Lifeline is a 501c3 organization that largely serves clients referred through the court system, but Crosswinds was founded with the intention of helping youth before they enter the system.
The CEO of Lifeline, Mark Terrell, spoke with the gathered business owners and community leaders that attended the reception about the impact he hoped the facility would make on their community.
“We want to be a good neighbor to this community,” he said. “This is a good, strong community, and we want to be a force for good here.”
He explained the changes that he and his team had planned for the land and facilities, which were purchased on Dec. 30 of 2019. The buildings, which had been vacant for nearly three years, have undergone renovations and now house bunks for residents.
Terrell discussed a staple part of the program’s teaching system, a five-point prayer on forgiveness, which was drafted by Reverend Harold Graham. He explained that while this prayer is rooted in faith, the ministry does not expect its residents to share their beliefs.
“We are a faith-based ministry, but we accept people of all walks of life. Believers, non-believers, atheists, satanists — we’ve had them all. We aren’t like a lot of those other faith-based places, because we don’t try to shove our beliefs down your throat. You can’t force somebody to be something they don’t want to be.”
Rev. Graham’s prayer became more than a lesson over the decades, and a trail was opened in his name at Lifeline’s Pierceton Woods Academy in Fort Wayne in 2020. Hikers are able to walk the Forgiveness Trail, accompanied by signs that feature key messages from Rev. Graham’s lessons, as well as videos.
At the opening reception, Terrell announced that funding had been acquired to build a Forgiveness Trail at the Wheatfield Residential facilities. The trail is intended to extend along the lake on the property and end at the center of the acreage, where the existing church is to be relocated.
Plans were revealed to relocate the church to the center of the property and install windows along the back of the sanctuary. Terrell shared that centering the chapel and making the rest of the facilities function around it was key to the messaging and intention of the operations.
The Crosswinds program will focus on providing counseling and life coaching to boys and young men from across the country in two different programs. One will focus on teens and pre-adolescents and their families before the child enters the legal system, and the other will focus on adult men ages 18-35 who have “failed to launch” from their childhood homes and need guidance.
When asked about how the program addresses these issues, Terrell said: “This really is all about family for us. We hear a lot of kids say, ‘Until my parents work on their issues, I’m not going to work on mine.’”
The facilities will offer K-12 education programs and residential services, as well as therapy from licensed psychologists that Lifeline employs. The program intends to make use of facilities that were already available prior to their arrival, which includes the horse center and arena.
There are a number of dormitories on the campus grounds, and the program intends to house 24 total teens in their youth program on the front half of the campus. A house is being renovated on the back half of the campus and will house 12 adults in individual rooms for the “Failure to Launch” program.
Construction and renovation is continuing on the campus, but strides are being made toward opening the facilities to reconnect with the Wheatfield community.