We have been on a 30-year journey of hope and healing.
Fred and Karleen Dewey founded Mercy Ministries in 1986 with a vision of hope for vulnerable and at-risk children. The Deweys had a profound sense of calling and dynamic passion for “assisting needy children and families in Christ's name.” They opened their hearts, home, and the course of their lives for this work. On a volunteer basis they adopted and fostered numerous children, established child development centers in Asia, and created a parent education program for teen mothers in Colorado.
With a growing team of staff and volunteers, Mercy Ministries developed programs helping Denver inner-city youth serve their own communities, as well as a Colorado horse ranch with equine therapy for traumatized children.
Our work in Romania began in the early 1990s when Fred and Karleen watched a TV documentary about abandoned children in Romania. They located Romania on a world map and asked everyone they knew for contacts in Eastern Europe. With little more than a name on a piece of paper, they set off to this country just recently opened to foreigners after the execution of brutal communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
After some harrowing travel adventures along routes not equipped for foreigners – including that dark railway station – Fred and Karleen arrived in Romania with their travel documents and information missing! They eventually found several other people working in Marghita, a small town in northwestern Romania. After viewing first-hand the extreme distress of so many abandoned babies and children, they arranged to bring professionals and specialists to train local caregivers. Their teams introduced therapies and caregiving techniques – based on the latest research in attachment and trauma – that could promote the well-being of these children.
In partnership with a local foundation, Mercy Ministries has assisted hundreds of orphans in Romania. When, in 1996 our partner organization established an alternative orphanage, Casa Alba, Mercy Ministries provided staff training and support to ensure optimal care for children histories of trauma and attachment disruption. Because of Casa Alba, over 100 abandoned babies were rescued from a local hospital and over 75 overseas adoptions and 20 foster placements within Romania were facilitated. In 2000 Mercy Ministries began a summer camp program for school-aged children residing in dismal and abusive government-run institutions. The program grew in scope to include year-round support and extended-family relationships through the Loving Arms Team. This Denver-based team of long-term volunteers travels throughout the year to Marghita to support the growth of our youth.
Diane Pulvermiller and Melanie Dewey became co-directors of Mercy Ministries in 2013, and established the Leadership Development Center in Marghita. Building on decades of experience empowering at-risk youth, we now provide training in trauma-informed life skills, long-term family relationships, mentoring, and spiritual formation for abandoned teens and young adults who have “aged out” of the government system. We also support and train caregivers in best practices for helping youth with Complex Developmental Trauma thrive in every facet of life.