On Saturday, June 9, Newton's teen center, The Landing, will welcome guest speaker Blake Schroedter of Effingham, IL. Blake is a clinical psychologist for the Road Home Program: Center for Veterans and their Families. Blake joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 2001, at the age of 17, he is currently assigned to the Joint Force Medical Department, where he holds the rank of Captain. The community as a whole (adults and particularly those involved in the lives of teens who are considering service or who are committed to service in the armed forces) should attend without reservation. There is never a fee to be a part of The Landing.
"The Landing welcomes guest speakers every month, if possible." remarked Amy Kemp, co-founder of Daring to Soar Ministries, which is the ministry that operates The Landing south of town. "We have been seeking a speaker who might address combat, service to country, PTSD, and other related topics. We are aware that many consider service to the armed forces when they are approaching high school graduation and adulthood. In fact, some young men who have been very close to this ministry have made such a commitment. It is our hope that this speaker will give them confidence in their decision and will be an encouragement to others as well."
Schroedter, who has ties to the Newton community, was awarded the Bronze Star and Golden Combat Spurs in 2009 during a deployment to Afghanistan for his role in training and operating with the Afghanistan National Army while, tactically attached to 19th Special Forces Group, assigned as a combat advisor. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and Combat Action Badge in 2005 for multiple actions taken under enemy fire while assigned as a .50 caliber vehicle machine gunner during a year-long deployment to Iraq. Now, Schroedter is an adjunct online professor at Adler University, where he teaches a course on the psychology of combat and is also an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University. His experience and education make him a highly anticipated speaker for the crowd on June 9.
On that Saturday evening, teens are welcome to arrive, as always, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A light meal will be served at 7:00, and Schroedter will begin addressing the crowd at 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome and churches across the county and beyond are encouraged to bring teens and adults to enjoy the testimony of Captain Schroedter.
The Landing teen center is an arm of Daring to Soar Ministries. In the facility, community members offer private music instruction, gymnastics instruction, Christian counseling, GED courses, and softball and basketball training in the off seasons. Daring to Soar Ministries was founded in 2015 and is governed by a five-person board of volunteers. All funding for the ministry is acquired through private donations and grants.