After a two-year discernment process, the Session of Elders and Board of Trustees voted to approve St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development as the on-site, direct service mission partner in the new wing of Westminster.
The new wing is part of Westminster’s multi-pronged Open Doors Open Futures campaign that is increasing support for local and global needs as well as expanding the church’s historic building. Open Doors Open Futures specifically calls for 25% of the new wing to be dedicated to a direct service provider that aligns with Westminster’s mission of service to the community.
St. David’s Center serves 3,000 children, teens, and young adults annually through its early community- and center-based programs. The Center’s innovative, multidisciplinary approach integrates expertise in early childhood education, pediatric therapies, parent-child attachment, children’s mental health, and autism treatment. As a result of their involvement with St. David’s Center, preschool children of all abilities are ready for kindergarten; outcomes significantly improve for children who have faced trauma and adversity; children with developmental needs develop the skills they need; and individuals with lifelong special needs lead increasingly independent lives.
With a new presence in downtown Minneapolis, St. David’s Center will focus on the developmental outcomes of children who have faced significant adversity and trauma, who are in and at risk of out-of-home placement, and who need easier access to services. This center at Westminster (named the Harman Center for Child and Family Wellbeing) will primarily serve children birth to age five who have experienced relational trauma. Services will include an infant team to assess and treat families with children in out-of-home placement, children’s mental health services and pediatric rehabilitative therapies, a clinical training site for graduate students in mental health, and a new home for the Center’s day treatment program for young East African children diagnosed with autism.
“St. David’s Center is exactly the kind of partner we want in our expanded building,” said senior pastor Tim Hart-Andersen. “The organization’s creative and innovative approaches to mental health issues affecting high-risk young children and their families is critically needed in our community. Our Community Partner team, led by Rocky Rockenstein, clearly sees a match between St. David’s mission and work and Westminster’s mission and hope for the world.”
“It is incredibly exciting for St. David’s Center to be entering into a partnership with Westminster Presbyterian Church to create an innovative center for child and family wellbeing in downtown Minneapolis,” said Julie Sjordal, Executive Director of St. David’s Center. “Through the process, we’ve come to learn about Westminster’s vision for a just, loving, joyful, sustainable, peaceful world, the actions they take to create change, and their hope for this partnership. There’s no question that—together—we will improve the lives of many of our community’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens through access to critically needed early intervention.”