Staff & Board Members

The Forsaken Children Staff

US Director: Britainy Sholl

Britainy first had her heart broken for the street children of Ethiopia during a short term mission trip to Addis Ababa in June of 2011.  Since then she has become passionate about doing her part as an obedient Christ follower in making a difference in the lives of these children.  Britainy served as Vice Chair of our board for two years before coming on staff.  Britainy and her husband, Kevin, reside in Collierville, TN. They have two kids, Grant and Claire, and also foster infants  for Life Choices.  As a member of Central Church, Britainy has been active in inner city ministry work, mentors with One By One Ministries, and has served African refugees in Memphis.   

 

 

Whole Family2Field Director and Co-Founder: Joe Bridges

Joe and his wife, Karyn, are really just ordinary people who have fallen in love with the people of Ethiopia, especially the children. After experiencing  the site of thousands of children living on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia firsthand in 2006, they helped start The Forsaken Children, Inc. (TFC), which exists to bring lasting hope to Ethiopia through these, Ethiopia’s street children. Joe and Karyn have a passion for partnering with Ethiopian ministries to carry out this task and have loved doing so! Most importantly, Joe and Karyn fully recognize that The Forsaken Children and their Ethiopian partners are not these children’s savior, but they know who is and aim to direct those whom God puts in TFC’s care to Jesus. The loves of their lives are their three kiddos – Jack, McLaine, and Silas!

 

jon famSustainability Coordinator: Jonathan Bridges

Jonathan and his lovely bride, Jess Bridges felt God’s call to join the work of The Forsaken Children in 2006. Prior to this call they never really thought that they would do international missions, but Jonathan made the leap first and traveled to Ethiopia in January 2008 to make preparations for the family’s visit in May. That summer while the family was surrounded by the culture and life so far away from the United States, they were exposed to the beauty and despair that is Ethiopia. Throughout the three month trip, Jon and Jess could see God’s hands at work and became connected with this ministry in a way that would later lead them to join the staff as the Sustainability Coordinator in 2011. In late 2010 the Lord led them to make a major move and go to Ethiopia long term and fully invest in the people there beginning in the fall of 2011. Jonathan uses his experience in agriculture to aid The Forsaken Children with their agriculture project, Kota Ganate. In addition, he works to teach Ethiopians in the rural countryside to drill low cost, low tech wells through his training with Water for All International. Jonathan is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a BS in Biology and Jessica received her BA in English from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. In addition to staying busy with their son Dawit and daughter Carter, Jessica works to teach English to both children and adults in the Ethiopian countryside.

 

 

moses fam

Bookeeper/Treasurer: Kara Moses

Kara is a founding board member for The Forsaken Children. She came to love the ministry of TFC and gained a passion for their vision through her relationship with Karyn Bridges. As her best friend, Karyn would share all the stories from her time in Ethiopia that broke Kara’s heart. In response to her brokenness, Kara desired to find a way to help Joe and Karyn with their ministry and was ultimately invited to be on the board. Having previously worked for a non-profit, Kara immediately took on trying to help with bookkeeping and anything she had former experience with. That helpfulness eventually turned into Kara officially taking on an administrative role with TFC in 2009. Kara lives in Memphis, TN and lives with her awesome husband, Johnpaul and their two daughters. Alyssa is their oldest and is quite the artist.  Kelsey is their young entertainer, singing and dancing all the time. Kara is a home schooling mom and part time administrator for TFC. The Moses family attends Central Church.

 

 

 

fam Communications Assistant: Lisa Conley

With a vision and calling for reaching, loving and serving the nations toward Christ, Lisa served as a member of a local Memphis-area church staff for over 10 years, advocating for and supporting missionaries and  missional causes.    Through her time in that capacity, she came to know and love The Bridges family, and the work of TFC.  She and her husband Joel have been blessed with four beautiful children.  As a mom, and follower of Christ, Lisa’s heart has been stirred and broken for those children who are alone and vulnerable on the streets of Ethiopia.   Lisa and her family are active in local inner-city ministry, and are members of Harvest Church.  Lisa is grateful to be a small part of  the work at The Forsaken Children.    

 

 

 

 

The Forsaken Children Board

heatherChairman: Heather McGugan

In June 2010, Heather and her husband, Kelly traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on a short term mission trip with their church. For just over a week, they were able to invest in The Forsaken Children’s partner ministry, Onesimus, and therefore fall in love with the children and community it serves. Since their first experience in Ethiopia, Heather and Kelly have jumped in with both feet to serve The Forsaken Children. Heather served as a board member for 2 years prior to taking a 2 year leave of absence to pursue additional schooling. She has returned to the board and now serves as Chairman. Kelly spent several years serving as the TFC Volunteer Sports Ministry Coordinator, board member, and has led multiple trips back to Ethiopia – both of the McGoos work hard to advocate “lasting hope for Ethiopia”. Heather and Kelly live in Collierville, TN with their son, Kyler and two dogs and attend Central Church. Kelly is a project manager for a marketing and communications company. Heather is a nurse.

VrbasSecretary: Suzanne Vrbas

Suzanne first met Karyn Bridges on a mission trip to the Czech Republic.  It was a friendship/kinship from the start.  There was an immediate connection for missions and a love for people.  When Joe and Karyn were married and began the work of The Forsaken Children, Suzanne and her husband were among the first supporters of the work in Ethiopia.  In 2013, Suzanne and her husband, Daryl traveled with Downline Ministries to work with TFC’s Ethiopian team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Daryl & Suzanne are native Texans. They moved to Memphis 26+ years ago and have 2 grown children and 4 amazing grandchildren. Suzanne is retired from school counseling. She is blessed to be a part of The Forsaken Children Board and desires to see God work through this powerful hands-on ministry to change the lives of street children in Ethiopia now & forever.

 

 

Meme AllemanMeme Alleman 

After sponsoring short-term missionaries to Ethiopia over the years and listening to their stories, Meme decided it was her turn to go.  Her first mission trip was an incredible experience and truly opened her eyes to see the world differently. She was able to see how important it was to let street children know that they are loved, and that followers of Christ from other countries cared for them as well.  A long-term impact of this experience was coming home and seeing more intensely the needs of her own city.  Meme is a schoolteacher in the public school system in Memphis. She is very involved in her school and sponsors many of the extracurricular activities at Southwind Elementary. She is able to share Christ’s love with children both in Memphis and Ethiopia. She is married to Woody Alleman and between them they have 6 adult children and 3 grandchildren. Meme has been a member of Central Church for 31 years. She has been involved in the children’s ministry all of those years and served on the children’s ministry staff for 10 years.

 

 

Shad BerryShad Berry

Shad Berry serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Alumni for Downline Ministries. He is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in Business Management as a member of the university’s Emerging Leader program. Shad spent the first 11 years of his professional career in his family’s 40-year old communications firm, Memphis Communications Corporation. Shad served as a Vice President after spending several years as a Sales Professional and Sales Manager with the company before being led to Downline. Shad has been able to participate in two Downline mission trips to Ethiopia where he and his teams have worked directly with The Forsaken Children’s Ethiopian team as they trained church leaders in biblical discipleship. Shad and his wife Veronica are members of First Evangelical Church where Shad serves as an elder and co-leads a Sunday School class.  The Berry’s have four children, Ainslee, Abbie, Jack, and Ann Claire.

 

 

 

David Drees

David and his wife Diane met while living overseas and have had a heart for people of other lands ever since. They have had the privilege of leading numerous mission trips and seeing people deepen in their passion for missions as a result. As the parents of two children born in another country, they also have a passion for orphans and living out James 1:27, which lists the care of orphans as one element of acceptable religion in the sight of God. In 2010, David was invited to be on the Board of Directors for The Forsaken Children, bringing experience of overseas ministry as well as over a decade of work in Christian non-profits. David, Diane and their three children live in the Memphis, TN area where David works for FedEx as a marketing analyst and Diane works as a homeschool mom. They are members of the Collierville Bible Church in Collierville, TN.

 

 

Nicci and KalebNicci Feathers

In June of 2011, Nicci first traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where her heart was forever broken and her life’s mission was forever changed. She had an instant, unconditional, head over heels kind of love for the children TFC exists for. Upon her return home, Nicci wanted to do everything she could to return to those precious faces as soon as possible. While she has been able to return on several short term trips, God has shown Nicci over time that His purpose for her now is to advocate for the children in any way she can here in the U.S. Nicci lives in Memphis, TN, where she teaches third grade, and serves as a TFC volunteer and board member. Nicci attends Harvest Church.

 

 

central staff 004Rev. Don Gilbert

Don and his wife Linda, currently live in Orange Mound, an inner-city community in Memphis. Don served at Central Church for 29 years and knew Joe and Karyn before they were married. As the Missions Director and Pastor, Don worked with Joe in establishing the Ethiopian ministry and getting his Masters in Social Work. He has traveled to orphanages and been a part of ministry to children at-risk, across the world. Don worked with Joe to send mission teams to support the work. Don has a heart for the least of these and is excited to join the Board. Don is the Executive Director of Kingdom Community Builders, a non-profit focused on community development in the 38114 zip code, inner-city Memphis. Don and Linda have four grown children.

 

 

 

 

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Family Reintegration



Watch Alemayu's Reunion With His Mother, a beautiful success story unfolded for you in the video above:

Alemayu, an 11-year-old boy, was taken from his home in rural Ethiopia when he was 7-years-old to work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s Capital. Seen here is the moment he sees his mother for the first time after being gone for 4 years. Thanks to The Forsaken Children and especially their ground efforts in Ethiopia, Alemayu is now living with his family again.

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