In America today, 1 in 4 youth - 14.3 million children in America today, 1 in 4 youth - 14.3 million children are alone and unsupervised after school.
The peak hours of 3 to 6 PM on school days are the prime times for juveniles to commit crimes, use tobacco, drink alcohol or use drugs.
Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers. About 40 percent of children who do not live with their biological father have not seen him during the past 12 months; more than half of them have never been in his home and 26 percent of those fathers live in a different state than their children.
The Door functions as the consistent place to be at home. We believe that God's heart is for every kid to belong to a family where the can feel loved, accepted, and protected, but that is only part of the equation.
The National Center for Addictions and Substance Abuse at Columbia University determined that the kids who turn out best have two things in common.
1) They belong to a faith group like a church or youth ministry, and
2) They have dinner with their family 3 or more nights a week.
We step in to provide support in both of these areas in tangible ways. Being located in a residential home helps us maintain a strong family culture, while an upgraded commercial kitchen frees us to be able to safely and efficiently provide daily meals to an average of 40 teens in each of our locations. Our programs have always been able to be offered free of charge to any teen who needs them thanks to the sacrificial support by many individuals, churches, and local businesses!
Like many communities Bellwood had a problem with groups of teenagers hanging out after school with little positive to do, and many destructive influences after them. These youth were viewed as a community problem as they congregated on corners, alleys or park areas getting into trouble. These teens were not involved in school sports or arts programs and were often abandoned to the streets after school because of difficult home situations.
The Door was opened in 1998 by FrontLine Ministries under the vision and leadership of George Palmer. George secured a house through the Bellwood-Antis Community Trust and hundreds of volunteer renovation hours to provide a safe, home-like environment for at-risk teenagers after school. In 2002 David Taylor joined FrontLine Ministries as the new Director of the Door.
In 2005 FrontLine Ministries granted independence to the ministry under David’s leadership. Under this direction The Door joined hands with Hillside Community Church and under their umbrella of spiritual and fiscal oversight the ministry has continued to grow dynamically. In 2012 the ministry incorporated separately as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to become: The Door Student Services, Inc. This incorporation will allow for greater flexibility and growth in the future programs.
We serve a free family style dinner Monday - Friday year round!
OVER 140,000 MEALS SERVED!
Any teenager who desires may join our “family” for dinner. Some kids have genuine needs to be fed, others have a need to not eat alone and to feel part of a family.
There is so much joy and fulfillment seeing a teen lower their guard and let you in to the wonderful person they have often been taught to hide. The small investment of time that we are able to give to each teen pays off in numerous ways as we watch them grow through the years at The Door.
As a non-profit charity, we rely on the contributions from individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to enable us to be able to do what we were made to do.
Since 2002 we have served over 140,000 meals at no cost to
90% of our meals come from donated supplies.
God sets the lonely in families…
We provide a family-like experience for kids everyday. A place where caring adults role model what it means to be a “Dad” and “Mom”. A place run like a home and not like a program.
50% of Teens live in a broken family
43% of Fathers abandon their kids within 2 years of a divorce
40% of U.S. children are left alone daily
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
90% of runaway children are from fatherless homes
85% of kids with behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
75% of all teens in addiction treatment come from fatherless homes
85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes
For kids from a good home, we are one more positive support for their lives.
For kids who have it rougher,
we can be the lifeline, a family.
For one weekend each winter and one week each summer we take this family on vacation. Camp is a place of rest and joy for the teens. It's a brief moment for many of them to get away from the chaos at home and enjoy God's creation with people they have built a relationship with all year. We also are intentional about connecting with local churches who catch our heart and are willing to risk their resources to invest in our teens. Teens do not just have physical needs, they all come with a different story and it takes a community of people around them to take care of their whole being.
We believe all kids need:
1. To Meet Jesus
We hold no Bible Studies or Religious Services at our program but we walk out our faith and talk out our faith as we relate to them. Jesus is not a side part of what we do He is essential. Salvation, forgiveness and God’s gift of Eternal Life is our hope for every child.
2. To be Mended by Jesus
We believe that Jesus came to heal the brokenness in our hearts. There is a lot of brokenness inflicted on kids by others decisions and actions. There is also brokenness they have brought upon themselves in their own decisions and actions. By earning trust in relationships we offer the healing of Jesus to each place of brokenness as we are entrusted with it.
3. To be Mentored by Jesus
Discipleship of kids who embrace faith in Jesus is vital. We share as a natural part of our interactions how God can grow us into maturity. We also seek to connect every teenager to a local church for long-term connections.
*We will love and serve all children in our program regardless of their embrace or rejection of our faith. We do not discriminate on any basis whatsoever in providing services.