298 Emmental Drive, Berne, Indiana Fund Est. 2006 In early 1980s, Roberta (Bertie) Lehman organized a group of mothers who had young children with disabilities. They met monthly in the First Mennonite Church in Berne to offer support to one another. It became obvious to these mothers that the challenges they faced in raising their children were more demanding and stressful than those of the typical parent.
The group identified a need for qualified, caring individuals, who understood disabilities and who could take care of their children so they could have a break.
In 1992, with the help of the First Mennonite Church, Agape Respite Care was established to provide temporary intermittent care for families who had a child with physical and/or mental disabilities. The mission of Agape today is: to provide care and support services across the lifespan for individuals with physical and mental disabilities to enable them to remain in their chosen community. The program has helped children remain with their families rather than being placed in foster care, group homes or institutions. Respite care deters abuse and neglect, supports siblings and parents, offers time for everyone in the family to pursue opportunities for social, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
Whether the care is provided at the Agape House or in the individual’s home, the caregivers engage the children in activities to meet their individual needs, interests, and abilities. Meals and snacks are prepared according to the child’s dietary needs. Medications are administered according to the child’s prescription from their doctor with the signed consent from the parent.
Agape Respite Care has become a lifespan respite model. Presentations about the Agape have been offered at national and international conferences respite and care-giving conferences. Agape has assisted in the development and start of the Easter Seals Arc Respite Home on Broadway St. in Fort Wayne and with the beginning of Family Options in Celina, Ohio. Materials developed by Agape are being used across the nation and in other countries.
If you are interested in learning more about the Agape Respite or have questions, please call: 260.589-3351. If you are interested in adding to the Agape Respite Fund, checks can be sent to: ACCF - Agape Respite Fund.