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History

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“Our Roots Run Deep” – The  Orthodox Christian Churches in the metro Omaha and Lincoln area came together to provide a Board of Directors and prayerful support for the Christian non-profit Sheltering Tree in 2008.  Antiochian Bishop Basil of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America blessed and dedicated the mission.

Sheltering Tree was founded by Tom and Shirley McNally and their children to answer the question of what will happen when their youngest son, who has Down syndrome, is an adult and they are no longer there to provide care for him.  Having spent over 30 years in the housing industry, the McNally’s dreams were realized with the opening of the first model residential community.  The Very Rev. Father Stephen Walinski, Vice President of Sheltering Tree and Retired Antiochian Priest, held the group steady with spiritual focus, prayers and his tireless work and belief in it.   Many others, including churches, donors and families have now joined in this a true journey in faith.

Sheltering Tree is “Providing an intentional faith-based community, encouraging its members to discover and deepen their spiritual life and live it according to their particular faith and tradition while welcoming, respecting and including those members who have no particular religious affiliation.” Pat Greenwood

The Many in Need –  While a mustard seed has been planted, there are so many adults with developmental disabilities that need help.  By some accounts over 2,000 persons are on the state’s housing waiting list.  Official records show that some 75% of the persons with developmental disabilities never get jobs.  They are without a doubt the most marginalized, neglected and left out part of our society today.

The incredibly faithful Board of Directors has brought the first residence to the finish line along with the help of amazing staff, parents, siblings, volunteers and compassionate donors.  The joy of the residents can not be expressed adequately.  Their excitement of a real life of their own is contagious.  The peace of mind for their families can truly be imagined. We need your help to continue to build apartment communities to create a meaningful life with friendships and a chance to see their hopes and dreams come true for all adults with developmental disabilities.  Join us today!

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