This year marks the 50th anniversary of Lifeline Youth & Family Services, a nonprofit organization created to bring hope to families and youth involved in the legal system. For the last half century, the organization has been providing home-based services, court-ordered in-home family case work and therapy – in other words, Lifeline has been supporting families and providing hope to thousands in seemingly hopeless situations.
Since Lifeline and Crosswinds CEO Mark Terrell took the reins in 1994, the organization has grown exponentially. After years of discussion, Crosswinds, Inc. was founded in 2012 when the company recognized the need for more hands-on, proactive family counseling services. Lifeline works with children and families already in the court system. The sister organization, Crosswinds, allows staff to intervene and make an impact on youth and families before it gets to that point.
Mark spoke about why he believes the organization is so unique, and positioned for future success. This is what he shared:
“We are celebrating our 50th anniversary, and as such, we needed to decide how we wanted to share this milestone. We could take you down memory lane, we could allow you to walk in the footsteps of one of our clients or we could be bold and tell you what makes us uniquely different and uniquely better.
“For more years than I can count, people would hear about our organization and say, ‘why don’t we know about you?’ Or, my favorite, ‘you are the best kept secret in town.’ My answer was always the same ‘We were never interested in people knowing who we were, we were just interested in doing good work.’
“About five years ago, I hired Brenda Gerber Vincent who wasn’t impressed with my answer, and on more than one occasion reminded me that if people didn’t know who we were, we were never going to be able to help those who desperately needed us. In other words, she said it was time to take our place, be bold and let people know who we are, what we do and that we could change their lives.
“What makes us uniquely different – and uniquely better – is our overriding commitment to the family. We exist to help individuals succeed, families thrive and communities prosper. Everything we do is with the idea of how we can make the family unit stronger. We believe when individuals and families are healthy, communities will prosper and that the health of individuals and families has more to do with the success of our economics, health education and behavior of the community than anything else.
“While visiting the second largest nonprofit in the world last year, the darling of Bill and Melinda Gates, they told us it was their goal to bring in the best and brightest people to end the most pressing global health issues. I asked why none of their dollars were allocated toward investing in strengthening families, because I believe families have the largest impact on health. After a brief hesitation, they agreed and asked us to help them create their first domestic program.
“I also believe what makes us unique is our goal of removing barriers for people to get the help they need. I understand the last thing many people want to do is to sit in a waiting room for a counselor who could help them deal with marriage issues, addiction, depression, anxiety – or whatever their struggle may be. I am often called when it is too late to make a difference because the individual could not overcome the barrier of embarrassment, ego or pride.
“What would happen if we could eliminate that barrier? How many people could we reach who would normally wait until it was too late? Our first action in eliminating barriers was offering in-home counseling for individuals and families. Today, we are in almost 4,000 homes per week and on target to be in more than 6,000 homes per week in 2019.
“When we realized how powerful it was to be able to remove barriers for people, we began looking at new ways to offer counseling that would eliminate embarrassment or the hesitation to seek help. Today, we offer counseling online or via a text-based service accessible through a smartphone, tablet or computer.
“Another element of our organization that sets us apart is when a client calls for services, our goal is to find a solution for them, even if we are not the right place. We often use the phrase, ‘it is always right to do the right thing.’
“Finally, we are uniquely different, and uniquely better, because of how we handle our faith. Yes, we are an organization of faith, but we provide services to individuals and families of all faiths, no faith or who are anti-faith. We believe we are called to love everyone, no matter where they are or what they believe.”
It is abundantly clear that Lifeline and Crosswinds are energized to reach even more individuals and families in 2018 as they celebrate their half-century birthday, and the organizations look forward to the next 50 years of sparking lasting change in the lives they will have the privilege to serve.
Today, Crosswinds brings the experience of 50 years of service from Lifeline to its work, offering a full range of counseling and support services that can be customized to meet families’ unique situations and changing needs. Whether a family is struggling with addiction, mental health issues, marriage issues, child behavior problems, conflict or communication issues, Crosswinds can help.
Address: 4150 Illinois Road Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
Phone: (877) 867-2481