20 years ago a West Medford neighborhood had a profound impact on my life. Newly married with no college degree or formal training, I was welcomed on staff at Westside Compassionate Ministries working with the Larson family to love on and serve the children and families that surrounded the now famous Yellow House on South Peach Street. Our mission was simple but rarely easy, love kids, serve their families, help fill in the gaps. The amazing kids I was able to connect with during that season probably had far more impact on me than I did on them, but that job sparked a flame in my heart and was the foundation for my love of our incredible community!

Last week I was scrolling through Instagram and I noticed the Yellow House that held so many memories in the background of one of our customer's pictures. I reached out and sure enough he and his wife are now the directors of Westside and they have taken love and service for their community to a whole new level!


It's not surprising that some of the kindest, most joy filled customers through our line each week lead the life they do! Ben and Tara Heidegger along with their 6 year old son Judah and a 5 year old daughter Hannah have been leading the charge at WCM since 2019! When I asked Ben what they're up to these days this is what he sent me:

What We Do...
-A 20 year old ministry, and a 100 year old house (affectionately called “The Yellow House”) serving Washington Elementary staff, students and families. We speak fluent Spanish and serve a predominately hispanic population.

-Free after-school program for Washington Elementary students. (30-40 students)

-A group of Jr. High and High School students meet at our house every morning to talk about what’s going on in their lives, be encouraged and challenged to pursue the good life, and then we bus them to Mac and South. (10-20 students)

-Weekly “Bible Club” (like Good News program) for Washington students. (100-150 students)

How You Can Partner With Us...
-We can only do what we do with faithful volunteers. Our primary need is for volunteers in our after-school program. The commitment is once a week, for 2 hours (2:30-4:30pm). No experience necessary, just a willingness to listen to and have fun with elementary age kids. The more volunteers we have the better quality care we can offer our families and the more students we can receive into the program.

-“Westside Outside”, our new program for 3rd-6th grade students. Every Friday we take them to the local trails to run/walk and enjoy the beauty of nature.

-We are currently building a two story ADU that we will run all of our ministry operations out of. We couldn’t be more excited! We have raised most of the funds we need, but with increased material and labor costs, we need a bit more. If you want to learn more, or are interested in donating, visit: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/southernoregonmakeoverannexministrycenter. 100% of donations will go straight to the build.

The Heideggers are absolutely making a difference in our community! I'm looking forward to partnering with them in the future and continuing to cheer on their work! If you are looking for a way to make a difference you can visit their Facebook page @WESTSIDECOMPASSIONATE or reach out to Ben directly at 541-973-6163.


If you have Good News to share, we want to know! We want to hear what individuals, businesses and nonprofits are doing to make a difference in our Valley! Email us at: goodnews@outsider.coffee

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