Diane is a tireless advocate for youth with difficult life circumstances. She has been intensely involved with orphaned youth since her first trip to Romania in 2001. She and her husband Tom have one son who is adopted from Romania, and two daughters. Diane has a Masters degree in developmental psychology, holds a certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies from the JRI Trauma Center in Boston and is a TBRI Practitioner (The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University). She has a background in public preschool education and non-profit administration. She once stayed awake during an all-night youth meeting with Romanian youth, only to fall asleep the next day mid-sentence in a room full of people.
Melanie and her husband Scott have four children, one of whom is adopted from Romania. Being adopted herself has created unique opportunities for connection with abandoned youth. She has a Masters degree in education, holds a certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies from the JRI Trauma Center in Boston and is a TBRI Practitioner (The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University). She has a background in inner-city elementary education and community development among the poor. She has been an advocate for trauma-informed care in the schools, families, and institutions. She once spent an entire summer camping in a friend’s front yard to facilitate bonding with her adopted son . . . and has never taken electricity or flush toilets for granted since!
Growing up, Leann spent her summers in Romania. Like many of the youth on our camp teams, she formed long-lasting, healing bonds with the orphans who were her peers. In addition to working for Mercy Ministries, Leann is the Education Director with Evergreen Players, a local non-profit theater company, and the owner of a local speciality bakery, Ty’s Treats. She is the mother of one very active toddler. Leann has used her theater background to perform years of sketchy skits (involving disgusting food, body noises, and other things that delight campers). Not sure if any of the incriminating video tapes survive!
Our Board of Directors
Wes is a software engineer/manager and has enjoyed bringing leadership skills from the corporate world to our youth in the Leadership Development Center. Wes has been a frequent volunteer in our summer camps, despite night after night of changing diapers in his teepee’s week-long diarrhea epidemic (without electricity or running water, of course). His wife Kelli, and their four children, have all shared in our Romania ministry.
Kelsey lived in Romania for eight years until 2012 – to work in orphanages, and to establish the residency which would allow her to adopt her Romanian son (who is now a teenager). She is an expert in everything from sensory processing, to the finer distinctions of Romanian swear words used by teenagers, to late-night talks about faith and life. She is currently the Development Director for Joshua Station in Denver. She appreciates the honesty of our young adult orphans, despite once being told, “Your teeth are TOO white!
Rafa began his work with Mercy Ministries on the leadership team of our summer camps. After years of investment in our youth he new serves on our board. Rafa is a leader in orphan care in Marghita, after years of serving with one of our partner organizations, FCE, as a foster parent and youth leader. He and his wife Ani currently live in Scotland, and have three birth children and dozens of former foster children who consider them dad and mom. Rafa has a passion for connecting with youth through day-to-day life, especially soccer and music, and helping them cultivate a relationship with God.
After seeing horrific news footage in 1990, Fred and his wife Karleen made improving the level of caregiving for Romanian orphans one of the main projects of Mercy Ministries. They have become grandma and grandpa to dozens of abandoned youth. Fred’s pancakes are legendary in Marghita; even teenagers will wake up early for breakfast at the Deweys. (No one gets his secret recipe except his grandchildren.) Through their experiences of raising ten children, four of whom were adopted, the Deweys continue to support other families in their journeys toward healing.
Drew has spent a decade of summers with young adult orphans - playing soccer, going on nature walks, and sharing dreams about life and the future. Once Drew led an ill-fated bike tour with camp youth. Few could ride bikes. Most could not follow group directions. And everyone was determined to get to a different village in search of candy bars and soda. To the best of our knowledge all of the kids – and most of the bikes – made it back to camp eventually. Drew is a business analyst at a snack company.
Scott Dewey enjoys the many celebrations in Romania, large and small, that he has shared with our young people since 1996. Birthday songs, Christmas lights, Women's Day flowers, Sunday bells, Easter eggs - all with common elements of laughter and tasty food. Together with the many shared tears and heartaches, these markers in our story continue to forge unbreakable family bonds. Scott is director of Centering Way - an organization that helps people thrive in challenging settings through a deeply formed spiritual life - and Creative Content Writer for Mile High Ministries in Denver, Colorado.
Steve has been a frequent volunteer with Mercy Ministries going back to his first trip to Romania in 1998. His favorite thing about western Romania is the beautiful sunsets, especially after a long day of advocating and fighting for orphans. He and his wife Liz have three children, a Romanian son-in-law, and one granddaughter. Steve has a passion for seeking justice for the marginalized. He is an attorney and the director of JAMLAC, a legal aid clinic which he founded in Denver. Steve's superpower with young orphans is popping out his four front teeth, giving a goofy smile, then popping them back in again.
Fred and Karleen founded Mercy Ministries in 1986 with the purpose of “assisting children and families in Christ’s name.” They have tirelessly welcomed and fought for children from hard places—in their family, in their Denver community, and around the world. The Deweys have 10 children (four of whom are adopted), seven foster children, and over 20 grandchildren. Through Mercy Ministries they have started many programs to empower youth and families – from providing preschool education, to training teen mothers, to bringing hope and quality care to Romanian orphans. Karleen says she has a God-given love for children. Even as a girl she had tea parties for the younger children in her neighborhood. Karleen was one of the first people to teach attachment theory to caregivers in western Romania, radically changing the understanding of caregivers about the damage done by early institutionalization. For decades Karleen and Fred have used their own life-experiences and specific training to support adoptive and foster parents. In 2007 Karleen authored The Place of the Mourning Doves, detailing their work in Romania.
Volunteers are the core of so much of our work. Mercy volunteers teach in our Leadership Development Center, walk alongside adoptive and foster parents, mentor young adults transitioning out of State care, help raise awareness about complex developmental trauma, and assist us with special events. If you have a heart for kids from hard places, we have a place for you!