News & Events

Calvary Rescue Mission: A Safe Haven for Men Experiencing Homelessness

Cover photo credit to Don Perry, Photographer, Calvary Rescue Mission.

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Previously featured in The Bridge, the below article is a follow up to Elizabeth Dinneny’s original introduction through ‘Bridging the Gap: The Power of the Street Paper’ and the impact the paper is having in Memphis, Tennessee. Thanks to Hannah Hornsey for permission to republish and to Calvary Rescue Mission for the photos!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Hannah Hornsey, Editor-in-Chief, The Bridge

Convention typically dictates that women and children should be given priority over men in crisis situations. Whether this comes from the notion that men are the dominant sex and can therefore better handle any kind of emergency or the idea that women and children must carry on the human race, it’s an idea that is prevalent in our culture. Even in cases such as homeless shelters, women and children are often given precedence over men.

If there is a shortage of food or space, men will usually have to find alternative options. Is this fair? It seems like there must be some merit since it is such a ubiquitous custom, but it seems that it’d be beneficial to instead separate shelters by gender and therefore allow both sexes to have a chance of salvation.

The Calvary Rescue Mission in Memphis encapsulates this approach, but its core values do not center on gender issues. This shelter is a non-profit organization with a focus on religious salvation. Many of the men inhabiting this establishment have come from a background of drugs, broken families, and poor decisions. The Calvary Rescue Mission picks them up and allows them to change their own lives for the better.

Milton Hatcher and his family. Photo courtesy of Calvary Rescue Mission.

The mission welcomed its first patrons on April 1st 1967, thanks to Milton Hatcher. An alcoholic for many years, Milton found salvation in religion on April 7th, 1963.  According to the story, he told his wife that he knew God had something in store for him, but he was not sure what. He locked himself in a building behind his house for two and a half days until he finally came out and said that God was leading him to his own rescue mission.

His original method bringing aid to the homeless was in a hearse that he bought soon after his revelation. People said that this had a sobering effect and led many more to salvation. For those who choose to stay at the mission, they will be able to attend nightly chapel meetings, luncheons, and many more events that will help strengthen their resolve in starting fresh.

A myriad of men who have chosen to stay there have provided testimonials about their splintered past and the saving grace that the mission provided. David tells a tale of absent parents, foster homes and prison. His parents dropped him off at a police station when he was 13 and said that they just didn’t want him anymore. After this, David was shuttled from home to home and began smoking weed which put him in prison for the next 10 years. For years, he was either in jail or a drug addict and alcoholic living unsheltered. It was during this time that he met the woman who would eventually become the mother of his two children, only to take them away in May of 2013. He hit his lowest point and it was then that he was led to Memphis and the Calvary Rescue Mission. He completed the mission’s discipleship program and is currently working at the mission. There are hundreds of men with stories just like David’s that too have been given a second chance by the Calvary Rescue Mission.

So, is this Mission’s abundant success due to the faith-based curriculum, the single gender population, or a combination of both? It seems that by not taking in women or children, the mission might be missing an opportunity to change so many lives.

The population of people without homes in Memphis consists of both men and women, and they are equally in need of care. However, perhaps by taking in a fewer percentage of people, the Calvary Rescue Mission is providing these individuals with their best chance at personal success. The men who stay with the mission can dedicate their time to personal reflection.

The issue of single gender shelters has been a long-debated issue. But either way, the Calvary Rescue mission provides a fantastic service to those in need in the Memphis area. Their dedication to the individual and their spirituality has provided so many with a clean slate and a bright future. This mission has been a success for 48 years, and we hope it will continue to thrive for many more.

Student volunteers. The mission relies strictly from donations. Calvary Rescue Mission is a not for profit charitable organization that accepts no government money. 

These two young women, Hannah Hornsey, Student Writer, pictured on the right, visited Calvary Rescue Mission today to talk to the men about becoming vendors for the paper.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Calvary Rescue Mission: A Safe Haven for Men Experiencing Homelessness
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Combat LGBT Youth Homelessness This Pride Month

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Ken W. Kiser for the cover photo.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Elizabeth Dinneny, Summer Intern BSB Design, Inc.

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) individuals experience homelessness at a significantly higher percentage than non-LGBT individuals. They are often rejected by their families, discriminated against, and sometimes even prevented from entering shelters.

The Center for American Progress notes that, while the population of LGBT youth in the U.S. is between 5% and 7%, LGBT youth make up between 9% and 45% of youth experiencing homelessness, depending on the region. And these statistics reflect just those willing to identify themselves as LGBT.

LGBT youth experiencing homelessness typically have worse physical and mental health than non-LGBT youth, experience more violence, and are twice as likely to commit suicide. LGBT youth are also more likely to experience violence and discrimination on the street and in shelters. LGBT youth deserve safe environments that recognize their feelings and identities—we need to do better.

Above graph posted from the True Colors Fund.

So, as we reach the end of this year’s Pride Month, what can we do to help LBGT kids experiencing homelessness in our own communities?

Above graphs posted from the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Know what your community is doing to combat LGBT homelessness. Shelters are too often a dangerous place for LGBT people, especially LGBT people of color, who frequently face homophobia and transphobia from others staying in shelters and even from the shelters themselves. Discouraged and sometimes barred from or kicked out of shelters, LGBT individuals are much more likely to live on the streets than non-LGBT individuals. We need shelters that are accepting of all people experiencing homelessness, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Protect LGBT students. 1 in 5 LGBT students report being harassed in school, and are two times less likely to finish high school than non-LGBT students. Bullying has been shown to be detrimental to mental health, negatively affect performance in the classroom, and discourage school attendance. Teachers, administrators, and parents have a responsibility to be students’ allies, and should respond to bullying quickly and effectively. As conflict at home can be the norm for LGBT youth, school can be a safe place for youth to be themselves. Additionally, school is often a source of food and mental health services for youth experiencing poverty.

Above graph posted from the True Colors Fund.

All students have the right to go to school in a positive atmosphere, and an affirming school environment can be invaluable to LGBT youth experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Develop an environment that is safe for LGBT youth. Shelter is a human right. Without shelter, children’s psychological and emotional development suffer, and they are left more vulnerable to violence, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health problems, and suicide. We cannot improve the lives of LGBT youth experiencing homelessness without facing the fact that, despite being a minority, LGBT youth experience homelessness so unbelievably more than non-LGBT youth. It is our responsibility to LGBT youth to fix this problem. We must make the United States a place that is not complicit in discrimination against children to the point of homelessness. We must make the United States a place that believes children deserve real, affirming shelter.

Above graph posted from the True Colors Fund.

Above graph posted from the True Colors Fund.

Above graph posted from the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Advocate for non-discriminatory housing for LGBT people experiencing homelessness. Even in foster homes, LGBT youth are often treated differently and are sometimes abused by adults and kids in their foster homes. Transgender youth can and are often placed in homes according to a gender with which they do not identify, and are denied clothing and health care that is in line with their gender identities. Denying an LGBT child’s identity puts them at a higher risk of mental health issues, suicide, and running away—more homelessness.

There are no laws protecting LGBT youth from discrimination in foster care, and, like shelters, many foster care systems don’t provide sufficient LGBT education that would help adults be allies to LGBT youth. We need to do better.

Ultimately, we need to cultivate a society in which LGBT children do not feel threatened, and in which the systems that are meant to protect and house the homeless do not achieve the opposite.

We at Abōd Shelters® affirm that shelter is more than a roof over one’s head. A safe home leads to better mental and physical health, better performance in school, privacy, increased likelihood of employment, safety from abuse, and being happier in a room of one’s own. There is a variety of organizations dedicating to ending LGBT youth homelessness, and they have made strides toward that goal. Still, there is work to be done. Whether it’s donating to non-discriminatory shelters, starting this conversation within our own communities, or helping Abōd Shelters® become a part of the solution to LGBT homelessness in the U.S., we all have a responsibility to fight this inequality in our own country.

For more information regarding LGBT youth homelessness and its solutions, you can visit “At the Intersections,” an online resource created by the National LGBTW Task Force and the True Colors Fund. You can also view the resources provided by the National Coalition for the Homeless on their LGBT Homelessness page.

Read more about the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) on the Library of Congress site.

Elizabeth Dinneny is a junior at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and the Summer Intern at BSB Design’s D.C. office. She is a section editor and the summer layout editor for The Bridge, a street newspaper in Memphis, TN. We are very grateful for Elizabeth stepping up to support Abōd Shelters® in making a difference and to bring awareness to important topics such as this one through our weekly blog.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Combat LGBT Youth Homelessness This Pride Month
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Reaching Out to Universities for Interns: It’s a Win / Win

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

It takes a lot of hard work and effort running a non-profit. For those of you experienced in this sector, you will understand the importance of having an amazing team of committee members and volunteers to support your project. Still, there are many responsibilities and items to be completed that drop to the wayside because there is just not enough time or there is not someone available with that skill set to complete it at a top-notch level it deserves.

One of those items for Abōd® Shelters was updating our online shop. A few years ago, we had a t-shirt design contest that resulted in some really cool designs from students that supported our mission. At the time, we made them available online and when individuals purchased one, $5 from the purchase was automatically donated to Abōd® Shelters Foundation to support a family in need. Having merchandise available supports our overall mission by providing a small funding source and getting the word out about Abōd® Shelters and the impact we can make on an individual, family, community, etc.

A few years have passed and while our designs are still really cool, our online store has become outdated. Yet with the daily ongoing responsibilities, the online store kept getting pushed further down the ‘to do’ list.

Original Winning T-Shirt Designs provided by Deanna Sargent, Brittany Hardin, Julia Rothfus and Shawna Snyder in the 2012 Design Contest for Abōd® Shelters

Reaching out to a local University in this circumstance was the answer. Why? We desperately needed a motivated, full of fresh ideas and skilled person to come in and give our store a face-lift. Did I mention we are a non-profit? We don’t have highly paid consultant fees in our budget.

Utilizing an intern just makes sense. It allows us to take advantage of skilled, yet short-term support. The extra set of hands are able to tackle projects that no one else had time for. It’s not just the extra set of hands that make interns advantageous. Especially in an organization when there is only 1 other employee that handles the philanthropic project. New people bring with them novel perspectives, ‘outside the box’ fresh ideas, and specialized strengths and skill sets.

I am excited to introduce you to…

Kira Mann, a Junior at Iowa State University, Majoring in Graphic Design. She is coming in to our West Des Moines, IA BSB Design, Inc. office this summer a couple days per week to tackle some Abod projects; Projects that I haven’t had a chance to keep up with, and to tell you the truth… I don’t have the skill set for!

Kira focuses her time on;

  • updating our shirt designs and revamping our online store
  • designing graphics for social media
  • designing pages for online giving

You will be able to view her work in the very near future.

Kira Mann, Summer Intern for Abōd Shelters®

Some of Kira’s favorite things; Spending time with her mom, eating sushi, and art museums!

You may have noticed that our store is empty at this time, but if you could see her graphics of what she has come up with so far, you would be as excited as I am!  And don’t worry, our original designs will still be available!

Kira hopes to end up in a city either working for a graphic design firm or running a successful freelance career. Based on what I’ve witnessed so far, Kira is very professional and going to greatly benefit who ever her future client is. She has already inspired us with her ideas, suggestions and insight into changing things up a bit to reach out to our broader audience. Did I mention she is very professional? She’s a great communicator and is a fun addition to our group!


Top Reasons for Reaching Out to Universities for Interns:


Motivated: while their wage requirements are modest, they’re among the most highly motivated members of the workforce.

Free Recruiting: Many, if not all Universities, allows companies to post employer profiles completely free. This means you get extensive exposure to the top colleges and candidates without putting a dent in your recruiting budget.

Give Back: Abōd® Shelters is a giving nonprofit so we rely on others, especially our community, for support. Providing an internship is an excellent way to give back! Hiring college interns not only helps students in our community get started; it enhances the local workforce as a whole.

Win / Win – Internships provide students numerous perks. They gain experience, develop skills, make connections, strengthen their resumes, learn about a field, and assess their interest and abilities. Abōd® Shelters is the beneficiary of their ideas and skills.


In Abōd® Shelters situation, hiring Kira resulted in an absolute win / win. She benefits from the experience of overseeing an entire real-life design project from the beginning stages and presenting her ideas, communicating throughout the project and gaining feedback from our BSB Design, Inc. Marketing Department until the end of posting the designs and finalizing the visual look of the store. Abōd® Shelters benefits because several large, overdue projects will be completed at a top-notch level in a very short amount of time.

We provide shirts to our volunteers who help us on our projects. One of the most popular of the original designs we provided to our volunteers who helped us on our most recent build in Tanzania, where we built ’10 Homes in 10 Days’ with Ty Pennington.

Our family photo showing off my daughter’s winning Abōd shirt design. Yes… a proud parent moment.

Look forward to choosing one or several of our new cool designs on new merchandise and combine the good feeling of gift giving and supporting a worthy cause! Stay tuned for a midsummer reveal!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Reaching Out to Universities for Interns: It’s a Win / Win
read more

Bridging The Gap: The Power of the Street Paper

 Cover Photo courtesy of Mark Voitik with The Bridge!

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Meet…  Elizabeth Dinneny, a rising junior at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and the Summer Intern at BSB Design’s D.C. office. She is a section editor and the summer layout editor for The Bridge, a street newspaper in Memphis, TN. We, at Abōd Shelters® Foundation, are excited to have her share how she and other college students are volunteering to make a difference in the lives of the homeless in Memphis, TN. We are very grateful for Elizabeth stepping up to share her experience with our weekly blog effort.

Elizabeth Dinneny, Summer Intern BSB Design, Inc.

When I started working at BSB and heard about Abod Shelters, I was drawn to the scope of its vision—I saw the understanding that having shelter means more than just having a place to sleep. The stability that permanent housing provides is invaluable. It improves learning, employment opportunity, and mental and physical health.

It seems obvious, but too many people live without a place to sleep at night, and too many of us don’t think about the struggles that can result from that insecurity. It’s something I started learning a few years ago when I began volunteering with The Bridge.

Street papers are an invention of the past few decades, and since their genesis they have proven to be invaluable resources to cities all over the world. Each paper has a slightly different model, but the purpose is the same: by producing a newspaper that can be sold by homeless vendors, street papers raise awareness of homelessness and poverty and provide economic opportunity to people who are experiencing those very things.

The Bridge is a 16-page, monthly non-profit street paper that features articles and artwork relating to or produced by people who have experienced or are actively experiencing homelessness and poverty. We sell the paper to trained vendors for 25 cents each, then they sell papers on the street for one dollar and keep 100% of the profit.

Photo credit of The Bridge!

We celebrated the fourth anniversary of the paper in March, and right now we have over 6,000 readers. Vendors have made over $19,000 selling the paper.

Unlike other street papers, like The Contributor in Nashville and Street Sense in D.C., The Bridge is the only street newspaper in the world that is completely run by volunteer college students. We write articles that appear alongside vendor articles, take the photos, design the pages, run weekly distribution, man the delivery hotline, do the accounting, and send the paper to print.

Photo credit of The Bridge!

I started out as part of the distribution team, so every Thursday afternoon some volunteers and I would meet up at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church to interview new vendors, make their badges, sell papers, collect their articles and artwork, and talk with them about their experiences. Most people who haven’t faced poverty don’t know much about it, and meeting vendors opened my eyes to the complexities of being homeless. A lot of people don’t know, for example, that most shelters are not free and not overnight, or that there are fewer beds for men than women. In Memphis, an overnight shelter can cost from $5 to $15 per night—and there’s a general shortage of beds, regardless of one’s gender.

It seems obvious, but too many people live without a place to sleep at night, and too many of us don’t think about the struggles that can result from that insecurity. “

Elizabeth Dinneny

The cost of shelter makes it difficult for the homeless to focus on anything but making enough money to sleep under a roof, so their living is very day-to-day. Street papers can alleviate some of that stress by providing vendors with an opportunity for daily income, which helps pay for vendors’ shelter, food, and transportation. We also give bus passes to vendors who purchase a certain number of papers at Distribution.

With less pressure to find the money for shelter every night, vendors can invest their time and energy into finding a job or stable living place. I’ve seen vendors buy cars, find more permanent places to live, and get stable jobs so that they don’t need The Bridge anymore. That’s the goal. Street papers are not a solution, but a means to the end of homelessness.

Photo credit of The Bridge!

The Bridge doesn’t pause when most of our volunteers are home for the summer—it’s a 365-days-a-year operation that can’t afford to take a break. During the last week of every month, my phone blows up with texts from department heads confirming that, even though we’re scattered across the country, we’ve all done our jobs so that the paper is ready to be printed for Distribution in a few days. We have weekly meetings over the phone to make sure everyone’s on the same page, and no matter where we are, we always produce something that vendors and volunteers are really proud of.

Photo credit of Mark Voitik.

The Bridge is run on passion for combating homelessness in the Memphis community. Our volunteers are full-time college students who still put an enormous amount of energy into the paper every month. Sometimes we are required to stay up late before final papers and exams to copy-edit or design pages, because there are hundreds of vendors relying on the paper’s production. If there’s a sickness going around and we’re low on Distribution volunteers, there’s always someone willing to step in. The Bridge is a priority because housing for all is a priority. It’s a human right. And then, of course, there’s the hundreds of vendors who sell the paper and write articles that bring attention to poverty with a personal voice and extensive knowledge, because this is their story.

The Bridge has soul. It’s not about politics or furthering some self-serving agenda—it’s about doing the right thing.

The name The Bridge references the Hernando de Soto Bridge, a defining feature of the Memphis skyline, but it also references our mission: to bridge the gap between the homeless and the sheltered by spreading awareness, facilitating conversation, and providing economic opportunity to those in need.

The International Network of Street Papers (INSP) has created an interactive map of street papers around the world. I strongly encourage you to check if there’s a street paper in your city, and to support the homeless community by purchasing street papers locally and when you travel. When you purchase a street paper, you’re joining the conversation and becoming a part of the solution.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Bridging The Gap: The Power of the Street Paper
read more

Basic Human Rights: Abod Shelters Has Shown What’s Possible

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

The cover photo was taken during our project of building 10 Abōd® Shelters in 10 days in Tanzania. Photo credit to Will Johnston, Tiny Homes Atlanta, who helped with the build.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family. From dormitory housing in a remote area in Zambia to emergency housing to a family in South Africa to life saving birthing centers in Tanzania, Abod Shelters have made a difference for many in Africa. We started as an idea for those in need and now have a proven model that can be built anywhere in Africa. Check out some of what we have accomplished below and reach out to get involved!

Blessman International, South Africa


Many children are orphaned as a result of the Aids Epidemic. Blessman International and Abōd® Shelters collaborated to create an orphan community project using Abōd® Shelters. Since then several other projects have been completed;

Five Abōd® Shelters were built as a community on Del Cramer Campus in 2013. One single mother, Annah, and her two-year old son, Danita, were the first to move in. Grandmothers, which they are referred to as “Grannies” in this village, moved into the homes next with children they were already caring for in addition to a few homeless children.

Five Abōd® Shelters were built for the Children’s Village located in Zebediela, South Africa in 2009. This is a small successful school system where 120 children attend daily to get educated and are able to play together safely.

Five Abōd® Shelters were built at Shikwaru Lodge in 2013 to house lodging staff and students from Iowa State University completing internships through Blessman International.

One home was provided to Talent and his family in 2015 after their home was destroyed by a tree falling on it.

Blessman International conducts numerous sustainable outreach programs in Africa to aid those in need. Housing is one of our programs and using Abōd® Shelters has allowed us to provide a low cost housing solution to support our brothers and sisters in South Africa build a sustainable future.”

Dr. Jim Blessman, Blessman International

Abōd® Shelters values Blessman International’s long-time presence in South Africa and values its understanding of the areas environment and culture. Learn more about Blessman International and how they are serving in South Africa.

Hoops of Hope


The Johnathan Sim Chikanta Secondary School was built and started in 2007. It is the only secondary school in a 70-mile area. The dormitories were soon overcrowded and teacher housing was desperately needed. The school’s challenge was the time that it took to build housing as well as the expense.

Working with Hoops of Hope and World Vision, Abōd® Shelters were chosen because they were simple and quick to build and very affordable. The Abōd® Shelters manufacturers traveled from South Africa to the remote area of Twachiyanda, Zambia. The Abōd® Shelters are being used as girl’s dormitories and several were built to be homes for teachers.

Abod did an amazing job with these structures and the girls love them. Each structure will house approximately 10 girls.”

Dan Gutwein, Hoops of Hope

Acts2Collective


Childbirth is the number one cause of death in the village of Asikuma located in Ghana, Africa. This is one of the reasons Acts 2 Collective, a non-profit organization with work in Ghana, Chad, Central African Republic, Zambia, Africa and Des Moines, Iowa, has focused their outreach in this location. They have improved the lives of many in this village by providing health care, education, orphan care and athletics.

In March of 2015 Abōd® Shelters were built in this small village to create birthing and maternity centers with the goal of decreasing mother and baby mortality rates. Additional Abōd® Shelters were built to support the local fish farm. The purpose of these are to house workers and consultants of this project as well as create mobile storage for fish food and equipment.

Doug Vander Weide, CEO and President of VW Advisors is a key player in everything they have accomplished. He traveled from Des Moines, IA USA to Ghana to be part of the Abōd® Shelters build.

“Building the Abod Shelters birthing center and providing a home for the maternity nurse has caused quite a stir. The nurse said all of her senior colleagues have requested to be transferred to this area to use these nicer facilities. In addition, providing a new home for our manager at the fish farm will make a huge impact on growing that business. People traveled from all over the area to see the Abod Shelters and how they were being used. I believe we’ve made quite an impact on Ghana with these new additions.

Doug Vander Weide, Abōd® Shelters Chairman

Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM)


STEMM was organized in 1997 to develop a relational bridge between Siouxland and Tanzania by addressing the priorities of spiritual growth, medical care, and educational opportunities. Over the past several years they have supported many Tanzanians in through education and medical programs. They’ve also branched out into health education and support for orphans.

Abōd Shelters® were built to provide homes for teachers, local workers and a birthing center for mothers to be.

Everyone has the right to a home, food, clothing, medical care, necessary social services and the right to security. While the NGO’s that we partner with have specific target areas they work in along with established relationships and local resources in the area, there is typically a housing need of some sort where the traditional building structure is cost prohibited. Abōd Shelters® collaborates with NGO’s on housing needs and provides the solution.

Abōd® Shelters Foundation can’t succeed alone, which is why we work with Partners to provide a choice, not charity. We’ve shown what’s possible but we have a long way to go. Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.

If you know of an organization that we could work together with to make an even bigger difference, I’d be very grateful if you’d forward it and share it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com You may also donate to build an Abōd®.


Basic Human Rights: Abod Shelters Has Shown What’s Possible
read more

Everyone Has The Power To Influence And Can Make A Difference In Just One Day

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thanks so much to our Dallas Team Walkers who submitted the cover photo as they were getting started walking early last Friday morning.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

When you think of influential people, who comes to mind? George Washington, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and others from our history? Or are they current pioneers, artists, leaders? Are they the top 10 most powerful women? Or do you think of the most influential leaders in technology? When you see a quote or recommendation from these individuals, you tend to listen because of who they are. The people in these positions have a lot of power to influence others, for good or for bad. But that isn’t what this article is about. It’s about you.

I know what you’re thinking, influential people are extreme, once-in-a-lifetime individuals who have had a significant impact on the world. The truth is that, to make an impact on the world, you don’t have to be a Thomas Edison or a Steve Jobs. You don’t even have to directly influence thousands of people. Just a handful can make a huge difference.

Take our BSB Design, Inc. Dallas office team…

On Friday, March 24th 7 BSB employees were out at different hours: one started walking at midnight and the others started at 6 am; some together and one on their own, for a combined total of 120 miles!

Why? Because they believe…

  • that when there is a solution to saving lives, it should be accessible.
  • that every mother in a developing country has the right to the same skilled care before, during and after childbirth as a mother in a developed country.
  • they can make a bigger impact together than separately.

No, this is not the look of being grumpy… It’s the look of determination! Meet Oscar Chavez, Senior Draftsperson (left) and Nick Blount, Job Captain (right). Both continued on even after being rained on.

Healthcare for mothers in Africa especially in remote areas is insufficient. Pre-birth care for pregnant women is largely not available. The natal care itself, which is delivery, is usually handled by a family member, neighbor or friend who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

Over a million African babies are estimated to die in the first 4 weeks of life – but most die at home, uncounted, and invisible to national and regional policies and programmes.” World Health Organization

View the initial story of this group’s dedication from ‘When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen’ and learn more about these influential individuals.

For the past 4 weeks, these seven individuals shared information with as many people as they could about Abōd Shelters® Birthing Centers and the impact they are already having in undeveloped countries such as Ghana and Tanzania. Because of their power to influence, they reached out to their friends, family and clients to support their campaign to build another one in Tanzania.  This group committed to walking as far as they could that Friday to raise money for the Birthing Center. In just one day of walking, this small group ended up with donations and pledges from 70 different people and raised just under $4500!

“Despite dodging lightning storms, I believe the walk was very successful. I hope we do it again next year. Twenty miles doesn’t sound like much, but when you sit and draw all day you definitely feel it! It was a great way to have a positive financial impact, one much greater than individually donating to the cause.” Mike Penrose, Senior Designer 

You never know what to expect with the weather in Texas this time of year. Being prepared was helpful! 

All smiles… before walking over 20 miles. Far left: Andy Penrose, Designer, back middle: Kevin Bauer, Senior Draftsperson, Right: Mike Penrose, Senior Designer, front center: Dave Copenhaver, Partner.

“Getting up at midnight was something I have not done in a long time, but it was well worth it.  The night was very windy but it made for a refreshing walk.  I welcomed the morning rains so I could get a couple hours of shut eye before I was back at it.  I look forward to doing this again next year and hopefully I can double my mileage.” Chad Riney, Director of Production

Meet Chad Riney, Director of Production and from now on known as, ‘The Midnight Walker!’

They made a difference and you can to! Not only can you make a difference, you’ve probably had a far greater impact on many more people than you realize.

Think about it. When one person influences a few others, over time, these individuals in turn are like a ripple in the water and end up impacting thousands of people over generations.

Superman and Batman are not real. Ok… maybe they are for a couple of you. My point is, we’re human and most of us are social by nature. You have no idea how many people you can influence just by sharing your own experiences and insights. It’s a far more generous thing than any material gift you can ever give. Each of us can do great things even if it’s for a short time like this group did in 4 weeks. It’s the impact of those actions and what we say and do that reach far beyond our circle of people.

A selfie from Andy Penrose, stopping briefly from walking around a local lake near Dallas, TX.

“When we initially talked in our office about creating an event around the Abod, we had several ideas.  But we all seemed to like the concept of a walk-a-thon best.  I think we agreed it would work well in generating donations without being so strenuous that we all couldn’t participate. Needless to say, I definitely should have trained for it!  In my mind, I was still back in Boy Scouts hiking 20 miles with a 50-pound pack, but my body quickly told me otherwise!  Next year, I think we’ll all be in better shape, walk more miles and try to generate even more money for this great cause.  I guess in a way, this event will benefit us as well!”  Andy Penrose, Designer

A huge ‘thank you’ goes to our BSB Design, Inc. Dallas team for making such a big impact! You can still donate to help fund this Birthing Center at Abōd Shelters®

It takes just one person to make a difference. Interested in doing something similar with your friends, coworkers, club, church group? Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together!  michelle@abodshelters.com

Please help us build more Birthing Centers in remote areas to save lives. How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Everyone Has The Power To Influence And Can Make A Difference In Just One Day
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Donate Your Time and Have Fun During Spring Break

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thanks to Teresa Choi for providing the cover photo. Our Abōd Shelters® volunteers celebrating with the community on building 10 Abōd’s in 10 days in Tanzania. These volunteers came from all over to help and in addition to providing homes for the community, they’ve made new friends for life.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

With Spring break upon us, especially students, who doesn’t daydream about a warm tropical vacation and lounging on the beach, skiing in the mountains and shopping in the unique villages or just staying home and taking a staycation? Did you ever consider doing something different instead and donating your time and energy while having fun? There are many options to get involved as an individual, family or group. There are also many options to get involved with something that you already love to do or want to learn. To help inspire you we’ve come up with a list of ideas.

  1. Check out opportunities through your local college or university

Many colleges and universities provide opportunities for their students to spend Spring break volunteering in the local community, across the country, or abroad. Contact your school’s student affairs office.

2. Contact charitable organizations and choose a local community or location you are interested in

Many large charitable organizations for example, Habitat for Humanity, enthusiastically will take individual, family or group volunteers for short stints. Participant fees typically cover food, lodging, and ground transportation once you arrive. Participants are responsible for travel to and from their selected location.

3. Check into opportunities abroad

If you are interested in a longer trip, perhaps abroad, make sure you take the time to research and raise funds to finance it. For an overview of the types of opportunities available and the places you might go, look at the below options:

Go Abroad is a one-stop information center for those wishing to travel and volunteer abroad. It links prospective travelers with organizations providing international opportunities.

Go Overseas is a small company, with a staff of enthusiastic travelers, that goes to the source to get information about international volunteer and education programs and shares inspiring stories.

Cross-Cultural Solutions (CSS) A cross cultural service that improves the health, education and economic opportunities for vulnerable women, children and elderly. They are an international social enterprise with no political or religious affiliations.

If you’re not up to traveling but still are interested in making a difference, clean out your closet or garage and donate items you will no longer use to a local thrift shop, send care packages or write a letter for different groups for troops serving or for additional ideas read my previous blog on ‘How Can One Person Make A Difference?’ and learn how ONE person can make a significant impact on just doing the simplest of things.

Packing for a humanitarian trip is much different than packing to go on a vacation. Be sure to read ‘How To Prepare For A Humanitarian Trip Abroad: Five (Not So Easy) Lessons I Learned’ for some great advice on what to pack and how to prepare.

If you find that you need something to do on the way to your destination or if you decide on that staycation, be sure to grab a book that is worth reading. If you’re traveling, find a book about the local community, project you’ll be working on or more about the local culture and language. Here are some additional recommendations:

  1. Making a Difference: A Matter of Purpose, Passion & Pride by Steve Gilliland
  2. Dude Making a Difference by Rob Greenfield
  3. Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado
  4. I Can Make A Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children by Marian Wright Edelman

There are many ways to have a meaningful and unique spring break while still having fun. If you have a passion for helping others, learning new things and making new friends, be sure to check into these options and get involved.

Thanks and Safe Travels!

Our Abōd Shelters® Tanzania build with our volunteers, including Ty Pennington. Photo credit to Teresa Choi.

Several families that were friends volunteered on this Abōd Shelters® build in South Africa. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.

Working together, these families built 5 Abōd Shelters®. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Donate Your Time and Have Fun During Spring Break
read more

When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Rob Marish at Keystone for the Cover Photo. 

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

When an Abod was built to be used as a Birthing Center in rural Tanzania in January, we really had no idea how it would be received. But when 30 pregnant women from the nearby villages showed up for a tour during the ribbon cutting ceremony, we knew we provided the right solution that was long overdue. Building one Birthing Center and providing education to the local midwives will make an ongoing and lasting impact in this community. But many more Birthing Centers are desperately needed throughout the country.

Many expectant mothers in Tanzania prefer to deliver in their own homes which in most cases is a mud hut. The reason they choose their own home is that the medical facilities are too far away, are unsanitary or are not private. When expectant mom’s deliver in their own homes they usually have a family member, neighbor or friend assist who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

The prevalence of Cerebral Palsy is higher in Africa and neurological damage occurs much more frequently during home births because of complications such as birth asphyxia and neonatal infections which a trained medical person could prevent.

While the infant mortality rate has decreased in recent years in Tanzania, maternal deaths related to childbirth have not. The fact that more than half of all births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to the elevated maternal mortality rate.

Local village homes where the Maasai live. Many women give birth in their own home. Picture credit to Doug Vander Weide, Abōd Shelters® Chairman and volunteer on the project build.

Dave Copenhaver and his wife, Beth, who passed away in late 2016.

When Dave Copenhaver, Partner and Architect at BSB Design, Inc. in Dallas, TX, learned about the impact one Abōd Shelter® Birthing Center could make on the mortality rate of women giving birth he volunteered to have a fundraiser so that more Birthing Centers could be provided. Dave committed to raising money in memory of his wife, Beth, who passed away in late 2016. View Dave’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Chad Riney, Production Director with BSB Design, Inc. in Dallas, TX with Dave, suggested having an office Walk-a-Thon in Support of Abōd Shelters®. There are many benefits to walking from improving circulation, weight loss to strengthening muscles and improving sleep. So choosing this campaign activity is a win-win for everyone involved. View Chad’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Dave and Chad worked with the Marketing Department at BSB Design, Inc. and shared what they had in mind for the fundraiser. While there were many platforms available, they decided to go with Rallyup.com because of its:

  • low cost
  • simplicity
  • supporters could either make one general pledge or could pledge a per mile amount
  • walkers could easily share in real time how many miles they completed and post updates.

Chad Riney, an outdoor enthusiast, suggested having an office Walk-a-Thon in Support of Abōd Shelters®.

Utilizing technology allows us to really optimize the online donation experience, which ultimately creates an efficient, user-friendly way of processing donations that makes fundraising a far more manageable experience.

Five additional employees from the BSB Design, Inc. Dallas office have joined in the walking campaign and will walk as many miles as they can on Friday, March 24th with the goal of raising funds to build a Birthing Center.

Mike Penrose, Senior Designer / View Mike’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Kevin Bauer, Senior Draftsperson / View Kevin’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

The group is really excited about being able to fund an entire Birthing Center and make an impact on the mortality rate of women when giving birth. As of this post, approximately $2800 has been pledged. There seems to be some competition with the top two rankings and pledges, which is good and they still have 3 weeks to accept pledges. Take an opportunity to look further into the details of the campaign, who the walkers are and then pledge your support to your favorite team member!

When companies allow employees the opportunity to get involved and support them in charitable giving to great causes, such as we did in building the RallyUp site for this Walk-a-Thon, and allowing them the time to participate… not only does the non-profit benefit, but the employee feels good about their company as well.

It takes just one person to make a difference. Interested in doing something similar with your friends, coworkers, club, church group? Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together!  michelle@abodshelters.com

Inside the Abōd Birthing Center recently built. Additional medical equipment has been added along with partitions to separate the beds and provide privacy. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Inside the community clinic where a large room of beds are located. It is used by anyone that is ill and there is no privacy. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Local pregnant women waiting in line to tour the new Birthing Center. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen
read more

Getting Involved… Is It Worth It?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

A special ‘thank you’ to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing the cover photo!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

I hope you can identify with me when I say, when trying to balance work and life it can be very difficult to find time to take anything additional on… let alone volunteer! I have been involved with Abod Shelters for about 11 years. Eleven years ago, I would have predicted that we would have had manufacturing in place in countries all over the world and there would be thousands of Abod’s built for people in need. I would have also predicted based on the positive communications we were receiving that we would have hundreds in storage all over ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice when a catastrophe hit.

We do have manufacturing set up in South Africa and have built approximately 50 Abod’s in different parts of Africa. We do not have extra in storage ready to be deployed. So… Is It Worth It?

I think of myself as a ‘people person’ and enjoy the communication I have with individuals and presenting Abōd Shelters® to groups. I respond to many email inquiries about what we do, organize and post all social media, coordinate project information, oversee financials, provide presentation materials and am Secretary on the Board. Oh yes, I also work full time and have a family!

It would be super easy to only focus on myself and family but when you understand what is going on outside your world, so to speak, how can you NOT get involved in some way?

After helping build dormitory housing all day in a remote area of Zambia, I spent the evening watching the local kids play soccer in an open field. Needless to say, they loved having their pictures taken.



While 11 years seems like a long time, it really has been a blink of an eye. For a few years, approximately 2008 – 2012, the project was on hold because of the US housing crisis. Since then we have worked hard to establish long term relationships with individuals and groups that have the same values and vision as Abōd Shelters®. As a result, we have made strong partnerships with organizations that target different areas but each has a need for housing that Abōd Shelters® was able to provide a solution for. For example;

Hoops of Hope focuses on raising money to reduce the AIDS epidemic. They were able to provide a machine in a remote area in Zambia that identifies how much medication an AIDS patient needs. Since installing this machine, hundreds of lives have been saved. They also focused their efforts on building a school in the same area. This school is the only secondary school in a 70-mile radius. It has over 500 students attending. Abōd Shelters® were built as dormitories to house the students and homes for teachers because they were much less costly and quicker to build than traditional housing.

Blessman International focus on the practical needs of people in order to open the door to spiritual needs in South Africa. They not only provide wells for clean drinking water and meals to those in need but educate locals in many different areas and trades to help them build their own businesses or earn a living. Abōd Shelters® were built for several different projects; day schools for orphans, homes for grannies and the homeless children they care for, lodging for interns when doing rotations and a home for a family whose home was destroyed by a falling tree.

Acts 2 Collective work with locals in the communities they work in to identify what is needed. The areas typically identified are;

  1. Farming and agriculture training so locals can grow their own food,
  2. Orphan care for children without parents and providing the children a place to call home and helping with the adoption process,
  3. Providing healthcare programs for pregnant women, safe child birthing and infant care, teaching smart health practices, providing HIV testing and treatment plans,
  4. Providing basketball academies to engage young people and build relationships,
  5. Building private schools and creating curriculums for existing schools and
  6. Building water wells to provide access to safe drinking water.

Abōd Shelters® were built through Acts 2 Collective to be used as birthing and maternity centers and to provide homes to a local farm to house workers.

Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) was organized in 1997 to develop a relational bridge between Siouxland and Tanzania by addressing the priorities of spiritual growth, medical care, and educational opportunities. Over the past several years they have supported many Tanzanians in through education and medical programs. They’ve also branched out into health education and support for orphans.

Abōd Shelters® were built to provide homes for teachers, local workers and a birthing center for mothers to be.

While the NGO’s that we partner with have specific target areas they work in along with established relationships and local resources in the area there is typically a housing need of some sort where the traditional building structure is cost prohibited. Abōd Shelters® collaborates with NGO’s on housing needs and provides the solution.

Ty Pennington has also been working with Abōd Shelters® since November 2014 as our Celebrity Ambassador. He not only helped raise funds for 5 Abōd homes which were recently built in Tanzania but he also traveled with our group to help with the build.

“As I travel the world, I see a huge unmet need for sustainable, low cost housing for families living in poverty here in America and in places like Africa and India. The ‘Abōd Shelters® Village of the Future’ is a forward looking idea that provides not only secure homes but an emotionally healthier community environment for children to grow up.”

Ty Pennington

In every country all over the world there are housing needs. Many people believe that there are just too many issues or too much is needed to accomplish anything worthwhile. It takes one person to make a difference.

Is It Worth It? Definitely! I personally invite you to get involved today.

2017 brings lofty goals of building additional Micro Villages that consist of homes, classrooms and medical clinics. We’ve recently learned that Birthing Centers are desperately needed especially in remote areas. With your support, Abōd Shelters® can be a solution to those in need.

If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”

Malcom Bane

We look forward to working with individuals and NGO’s to collaborate on their housing needs and providing a solution. Be sure to join us on our next build! Partner with us at www.abodshelters.com or simply connect with ginny@abodshelters.com. You may also donate to build an Abōd.

Blessman International Project build in South Africa. These homes were built for Grannies, their grandchildren and other children they had taken in because of the Aids Epidemic. Thank you to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing pictures.

Blessman International Project build in South Africa. The individuals that provided the financial support to make the build happen built the homes too!  Thank you to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing pictures.


One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Getting Involved… Is It Worth It?
read more

Abod’s Flexible Design: Allows for Greater Impact

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Rob Marish at Keystone Pictures for the cover photo!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

The original Designers of Abod Shelters® knew that the flexibility of the layout would provide many options to those in need but didn’t realize the extent of the impact the design would make on others.

Abod homes are high concept design, often lower in cost than standard construction and can easily be personalized while the natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide helpful comforts. Abōd Shelters® are structures that were intended to address the social need for organized community design including secure homes, schools, safe play areas, community buildings and more.

Every Abōd Shelters® project has been a learning experience for the Abod team.

Learning Experience Examples:

  • There are children that are unable to go to school in South Africa because there are either no schools within walking distance and / or they cannot afford a uniform. Several Abod’s were built in Zebediela, South Africa as classrooms through Blessman International in 2009. Blessman International provides the uniforms for this small successful school system where more than 120 children attend daily to get educated and can play together safely.
  • It’s very common especially in remote areas for families to have their kitchen area outdoors. For those living near each other many combine their resources and cook and eat together while keeping a close watch on the young children. Five Abod’s were built on Del Cramer Campus through Blessman International in 2013 in a circular fashion to meet the Granny’s and their grandchildren needs. They cook and do laundry together in the center while keeping a close eye on the children.
  • Most schools in Africa provide housing for their teachers. When a growing school in Twachiyanda, Zambia needed homes fast for their teachers, Abōd Shelters® worked with Hoops of Hope to provide several extended Abod’s to meet the teachers and their larger family needs. Additional regular sized Abod homes were also built quickly for their growing population of students. Each home / dormitory can sleep 8 students with plenty of room for their personal belongings.
  • Childbirth is the number one cause of death in the village of Asikuma located in Ghana, Africa. In March of 2015 Abōd Shelters® worked with Kingdom Hoops to build birthing and maternity centers with the goal of decreasing mother and baby mortality rates. Additional Abōd Shelters® were also built near the village to support a fish farm and house workers and consultants.

“Building the Abōd Shelters® birthing center and providing a home for the maternity nurse has caused quite a stir.  The nurse said all of her senior colleagues have requested to be transferred to this area to use these nicer facilities.  I believe we’ve made quite an impact on Ghana with these new additions.”      – Doug Vander Weide, CEO and President of Valiant Wealth

Many people in 3rd world countries do not have access to a doctor or medical care. They would need to travel or walk several hours, sometimes days, to reach a doctor. This results in people only going to the doctor in an extreme emergency or in many cases, not at all. While working with Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) on a project just a couple of weeks ago, Abōd Shelters® learned that many expectant mothers prefer to deliver their babies in their own homes, which in most cases is a mud hut. The reason they choose their own home is that the medical facilities are too far away, are unsanitary and are not private. When expectant mom’s deliver in their own homes they usually have a family member, neighbor or friend assist who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

It was communicated to us that the prevalence of Cerebral Palsy is higher in Africa and neurological damage occurs more frequently during home births because of complications such as birth asphyxia and neonatal infections which a trained medical person could prevent.

While the infant mortality rate has decreased in recent years in Tanzania maternal deaths related to childbirth have not. The fact that more than half of births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to the elevated maternal mortality rate. Of all pregnant women, only 46 percent are assisted during childbirth by a doctor, clinical officer, nurse, midwife or maternal and child health aide.

“In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 68 deaths per 1000, a vast improvement from the 1999 figure of 99 deaths per 1000. The under-five mortality rate also decreased from 147 deaths per thousand in 1999 to 112 deaths per 1000 in 2005.”

When Abōd Shelters® learned of the mortality rate and that it could be prevented, we worked with STEMM to get an Abōd dedicated to be used as a Birthing Center and built as soon as possible in a remote area of Tanzania. On January 11th, an Open House Celebration for the Birthing Center was held. The first in line to tour the inside… were 30 pregnant women!

I am certain that the original Designers of the Abōd had no idea that this low cost, safe structure would positively impact the lives of so many women and their newborns.

Abōd Shelters® isn’t just a home. They are a place of comfort and safety. They are emergency disaster relief that provide shelter and security. They are classrooms and libraries that nurture learning. They are technical centers and offices that provide an optimal working environment. They are medical clinics that save lives. They are dormitories and hostels for students to feel at home while attending school. They are sanitation facilities that provide privacy. They are churches and meeting rooms that bring people together.

Please help us build more Birthing Centers in remote areas to save lives. How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Abod’s Flexible Design: Allows for Greater Impact
read more