About Our Chapter
Who We Are
To learn more about how SFFC Fort Wayne is ministering in our community, listen as chapter founder, Kim Plattner, is interviewed by radio host, Mark Mellinger, of 1090 Today:
We currently have over 50 volunteer host families serving in Allen, Whitley, Noble, Huntington, Adams, and Dekalb counties 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.
Fort Wayne and surrounding area churches play a significant role in recruiting and supporting their congregations to serve and reach out to parents who are in a crisis situation. Churches of all sizes and various denominational or non-denominational backgrounds are active partners with Fort Wayne Safe Families for Children. Our volunteers come from the smallest to largest congregations, as followers of Jesus are awakening to the urgent need to minister to struggling families in our own cities. See our Church Partners page for more information on area churches involved in the Fort Wayne SFFC.
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, Director
Bonnie Doolittle and her husband, Scott, live in Fort Wayne and have two married children and 5 grandchildren. Scott and Bonnie have been married for over 33 years. They have been members of Wallen Baptist Church since 1995 and are currently serving on the church plant team for Hope Community Church in downtown Fort Wayne.
Bonnie has been involved in Safe Families for Children Fort Wayne since its launch in February 2013. She currently serves on the Leadership Team as the Director but continues to actively serve when needed as a Family Coach Supervisor, Family Coach, and Host Family. Bonnie and Scott are also the Ministry Leads of Hope Community Church in downtown Fort Wayne.
Bonnie has a business degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She is currently studying for certification in Biblical Counseling through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
Jen Bergdall, Ministry Lead Coordinator
Jen Bergdall and her husband, Mark, have been married for 8 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 and is a nursery volunteer.
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, Abby and Bailey.
Jen is the Intake Supervisor for SFFC Fort Wayne as well as the Ministry Lead for County Line Church of God. She has been involved with Safe Families for Children since the fall of 2014.
Shanna Conner, Family Coach Supervisor
Shanna and her husband Nate have been married for 15 years and have three boys, Levi (9), Machiah (8), and Seth (6). After volunteering with Safe Families in various capacities since its inception in 2013, Shanna took a year off to focus on her family. Feeling called back to the ministry, Shanna was hired in April. She has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy received in 2009 from Indiana Wesleyan University. Shanna and Nate are members of Wallen Baptist Church and have attended since 2006.
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 and also serves in the capacity of Ministry Lead at Blackhawk Ministries.
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, Intake Supervisor
Ashley began her role with Safe Families in February of 2018. She and her husband Travis have been married for 15 years and have 3 boys, Dylan (9), Caleb (7), and Jake (2). Ashley 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 family have attended Wallen Baptist Church for the past 14 years.
Angie Study, Transportation and Child Care Coordinator
Angie volunteers as our Transportation and Child Care Coordinator. The Study family also hosts children in their home so Angie knows firsthand how this supporting role impacts our host families.
Navy Schrock, Communications Coordinator
Navy began her role with Safe Families in June of 2018. She holds an Associate of Science in Business Administration and is currently taking classes toward a degree in marketing at Purdue Fort Wayne. Along with her role in Safe Families, Navy works for a few family-owned businesses. She and her family have attended Wallen Baptist Church for the past 7 years.
Gwen Leininger, Grant Writer
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 is excited to use her writing skills to advance the work of Safe Families and make Christ's perfect love tangible to families in the Fort Wayne area.
She and her husband Derek have one daughter and are members of Wallen Baptist Church.