SHELTER, a registered welfare organisation has been in existence since 1981 to help abused, abandoned, neglected or at-risk children.
SHELTER Home for Children began when seven friends stumbled upon three homeless boys sleeping at the corridors of a cinema in Petaling Jaya. They decided to rent a single storey bungalow in Section 12, Petaling Jaya. In the end, the boys ran away.
However, they were not disheartened. They decided to bring one of the families in the squatter settlements who had been evicted from their house, to stay. As the numbers of the homes increased, through ups and downs, SHELTER today has SHELTER 1, SHELTER 2 and SHELTER 3.
SHELTER 1 is housing 18 children, with ages 3 to 11 years old. When they reached 12 years old, the children will be divided to SHELTER 2 and SHELTER 3, which houses 13 teenage girls and 13 teenage boys respectively, with ages between 12 to 19 years old.
The children are usually referred by welfare governmental departments, hospitals and individuals. Only upon thorough investigation of a safe child environment by the court, a child can be returned to his or her family.
Jerry Foo, former General Manager of several electrical home appliances companies, found himself in an unlikely position when he was appointed General Manager of SHELTER.
Recommended by a mutual friend, Jerry never thought he would succeed Mr Cheok Hoong Poh, former General Manager of SHELTER who retired at 65 years old.
“I realised that I brought a lot of smiles back to the faces of people who have been working in SHELTER for many, many years,” said Jerry Foo. Rightly dubbed by his predecessor, Cheok, as Joker Jerry, his sense of humour had became the fuel to motivate the staffs of SHELTER.
“After a while, the relationship with the SHELTER just grow on you. Some of the children and teenagers do not have the privilege of real parental love and they are yearning for somebody to share their heart,” he added, recalling how he cherished a teenager sharing his pain to him in tears.
“God has opened up a new channel for me to reach out to these children. Now, I am experiencing the real thing as compared to when I first came to SHELTER. To me, it’s like wow, this is not for the weak-hearted.
“The children here have gone through a lot of pain. So, when we come into the picture at a certain age, it takes time to register the values we want to share with them. Most of the time, we meet resistance.
“So working here has to do with passion – there is not much financial gain – but this passion comes from God. It’s something that God gives us,” Jerry shared.
G. P. Joseph, Senior Manager of SHELTER agreed and added, “Being with these children, you need passion because these are difficult children. It is tough but rewarding to see lives changed,”
Having worked four years in the SHELTER and 15 years in children homes, Joseph was impressed with the organised structure of SHELTER. A Board of Directors and a Chairman are set in place to monitor and check the activities and funds in the SHELTER, tracing and correcting mistakes.
As for children, Joseph shared how success is not measured when the children are taken care in the SHELTER, but when they leave.
“When they leave, they don’t need to listen to us. But where ever they are – when they reach out to us in times of trouble and decision-making, when they call us for their wedding or special days – that is success,” Joseph said.
“That’s why I always tell the staffs, ‘Sow the seeds. These seeds can grow next year, after five years or ten years.’ But it will definitely grow and beart fruit that day. That’s what we do now,” he continued.
Joseph shared how a teenager inspired his work in the shelter homes. The teenager lost trust in the foster adults who left after six months to one year. He wanted someone to not just talk to him but walk with him. Because of that, Joseph decided to stay in the home for the next eight years and was invited to conduct his wedding.
“Children’s work is very rewarding. It’s tough work but it will definitely bear fruit one day and bring healing in their lives. Sow the seeds and it will grow in five to ten years, that is what I tell the staffs,” Jerry added.
Elaine Surin, Assistant Public Relations Manager of SHELTER shared how God placed the marginalised and neglected people in her heart.
“I have been going into homes with kids who are very poor, and also men, women and children living on the streets. With God’s grace, He takes you there to meet with them, grow with them, journey with them and love on them,” she shared.
A faith-filled woman who had been doing full-time ministry without pay for three years, Elaine shared how little acts of kindess is a part of every Christian’s DNA.
“All of us have a call of God in our lives! It’s whether we choose to hear it or not. God gives each of us different giftings and talents.
“If each of us as believers, can use one or two God-given talents to serve God, can you imagine how together we can touch lives, impact community, reach Malaysia and beyond for Jesus?” she shared enthusiastically.
Elaine continued, “It’s about catching the heartbeat of God. We say, ‘God, show me, I don’t know what to do.’ So, it starts from there. It’s little bits and pieces. He tells you to do one thing, you do it and that thing leads to another and another.”
Her most enjoyable moments include seeing the children smile, hearing their laughter and hearing them joke around.
“To see the children respond to Jesus, give their lives to Jesus, want more of Jesus, that’s joy unspeakable!” exclaimed Elaine.
Doris Catherine, Manager of SHELTER 3, also shared how two boys accepted Jesus Christ as their LORD in the home. Joining the youth ministry and serving in DUMC now, Doris was encouraged to see them rising to be prayer warriors for their friends.
“I am quite happy to see that they are coming to know the LORD more,” Doris shared, adding how the boys and the staffs are doing devotions daily.
Following the pillars of values for SHELTER, Doris is working to ground the boys of SHELTER 3. This include being worthy of God’s calling, being humble and gentle and living with one another with love and humility.
Indeed, the 29 people serving in SHELTER are a bunch of passionate people who are responding to the call of our Father, to father and mother the precious children, so that they have a better future.
There are many areas we can give to SHELTER, be it our time, money, talents or skills.
Besides the SHELTER, the funds will also provide food aids to five refugee schools with a total of 280 children and 38 families in great need. The needs are great! SHELTER needs RM150,000 per month to operate and commit to their givings.
The SHELTER family is truly thankful to God and one another, not forgetting the ones who laboured for the ministry before. They are also thankful for the volunteers and community’s support in the past and in the present. Without all these, the ministry cannot go on.
HELP BY VOLUNTEERING
Besides funds, you can also partner with SHELTER as co-labourers in transforming children’s lives.
Volunteer at the SHELTER through these ways:
- Read a book for a child
- Tell a story to a child through drama or skit
- Cook a meal for the children
- Help with their homework
- Play football, basketball or badminton with them
- Conduct arts and craft time with children
- Read the Bible, praise and worship and pray with them
Pass a skill or talent to the children by teaching them:
- Keyboard, piano, guitar, drums or ukulele
- Vocals, drama, dance
- Bake, cook, sew
- Art, craft, handiwork
- Computer skills
- Any skill or talent you have, that the children can develop to become a career for them
- Biblical principles and how to apply them
HELP BY WORKING
SHELTER welcomes volunteers and interns to serve in the areas of events, public relations, and administration.
They are also looking for people to serve in the ministry together as:
- People with pastoral background that would connect SHELTER well with churches
- Public Relation Officer, Public Relation Executive (Full time and Part time)
- Public Relation Officer, Public Relation Executive (Chinese Section)
- Home Manager
HELP BY GIVING
- Donations – Donate RM10 and get a 2017 calendar, drawn by the children expressing their stand on children’s rights
- Toys or Board Games
- Christian literature — Give comics, activity or coloring books, children’s Bible, teenager’s Bible, DVD’s and games.
HELP BY PRAYING
SHELTER believeS in prayer, and they need lots of prayer from you!
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