Care for today and hope for tomorrow is Back2Back ministries’ mission for the world’s orphans and vulnerable children. Headquartered in Mason, the international Christian nonprofit is dedicated to being their voice and exists to provide holistic, loving care to orphaned and vulnerable children around the globe.
Inspirational Copywriter, Steph Duff explains, “Back2Back’s holistic care strives to meet the spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs of each child, so that they can overcome their circumstances, experience restoration to a life of purpose and fulfillment and become mature, Christian adults.”
In 1997, current Mason residents and Co-Executive Directors, Todd and Beth Guckenberger, headed to Monterrey, Mexico to partner with and work alongside local orphanages and to host short-term mission teams. The first year brought more than 350 mission guests to work on projects and care for the children.
Reflecting on the ministry’s beginnings, Beth shares, “The first time we met an orphan, we thought of all the people from our Cincinnati community we believed would help, if they only knew how. That started a journey of learning who, how and where to love and serve vulnerable kids. We had a lot to learn, and still do, but 23 years later, we are deeply grateful to be in this story.”
As new needs were realized, Back2Back responded. The Hope Education Program was launched in 2001 to assist children who were leaving the orphanages as teens without completing high school. Through this program, the generational cycle of poverty is broken by giving teens tuition and other resources in a family-style setting, so they can finish high school and even attend college.
In 2006, Back2Back purchased land and established a campus in Jos, Nigeria. From there, they continued to expand, developing ministry sites in Hyderabad, India, Cancun and Mazatlan, Mexico, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, they’ve brought their ministry to the west side of downtown Cincinnati.
“The Cincinnati ministry will largely be built around our Strong Families initiative that serves parents and children, providing education and skill training,” Steph says. “We will partner with existing organizations to care for vulnerable children and keep families together.”
At all their locations, the name Back2Back reflects their commitment to working ‘back to back’ with the nationals and local community partners.
In addition to working directly with children and their families, the ministry is committed to sharing their expertise by training, advising and assisting other organizations and individuals through their Trauma Competent Care program. The program was developed to respond to the needs of the more than one billion children in the world who have experienced trauma.
Since 2016, the training has been offered to more than 2500 caregivers from 68 countries, with more than 250,000 children impacted. An online version, expected to be released early this year, will broaden the ministry’s impact globally.
Back2Back offers a wide range of opportunities to connect with and support their mission. Internships, volunteering and The Care Fund are ways to be involved and invest in the lives of the children they serve. Most of their American staff raise funds for their own salaries, so financial donations given to the organization, directly impact the global programming and the children.
You can make a personal difference in one child’s life by becoming a Child Sponsor. Through monthly financial support and exchanging pictures and letters, you will be an important part of caring for and changing a child’s life. “A sponsorship is very relational and has a remarkable impact on a child,” Steph explains.
To really experience the ministry’s work firsthand, travelling to a location on a short-term mission trip allows you to work alongside Back2Back staff and serve the children directly. Steph states, “Typically our trips are a week to 10 days. You’re not just visiting. You will be working on a needed project and spending time with the children.”
Director of Strategic Relationships, Brian Bertke, reflects on his short-term mission, “When I took my first mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico with my daughter Hope, she taught me that the most important thing we did was not the work, but the relationships we built. Fourteen years later, we still stay in regular contact with Alondra, the very first child we met at the children’s home. Our relationship with her is priceless.”
Today, Back2Back has a staff of more than 300 serving around the world. They have hosted more than 20,000 mission guests and have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. But the story isn’t over yet: they won’t stop until every child is known and loved.
For additional questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
8118 Corporate Way #103, Mason
"Back2Back’s holistic care strives to meet the spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs of each child, so that they can overcome their circumstances, experience restoration to a life of purpose and fulfillment…"
Every child has a name, a dream and a future. Back2Back exists to reach the world’s orphans and vulnerable children.
In 2019 these mission teams served alongside Back2Back staff and nationals at sites around the world.
PEOPLE ON MISSION TRIPS:
Volunteers on short-term mission trips in 2019 invested in children’s lives around the globe and returned home motivated to invest in their own communities.