Friends of the Children founder Duncan Campbell is no stranger to child neglect and poverty and how they can shape a child’s future.
During a unique Chapel service on Jan. 10, he spoke to Corban students about growing up in cars and bars with alcoholic parents and questioning God’s existence to coming to know Jesus Christ, starting a successful business and using his income to help at-risk children become good citizens.
The Q&A interview by Corban President Sheldon C. Nord often brought laughter from the capacity crowd, but also silence as Campbell’s candid conversation resonated with students.
“Given my childhood, people often ask why I created it (Friends of the Children),” Campbell said. “For 30 years after I turned 21, I was a child advocate. People would talk about doing this or doing that, but nothing ever changed. I looked back on my life and said to myself if I really want to change a child’s life who is where I was or even worse, what would I do?” Nord met Campbell in 2012 called Campbell an “Inspiration.”
“Duncan is on fire with the love of God for people and for children specifically,” he said. “He is an inspiration to me, and it was an honor to host him on campus for the day.”
Since founding Friends of the Children in 1993, Campbell said hundreds of children have successfully transitioned through difficult circumstances with the help of paid mentors. Most graduate from high school and many go on to college or build successful careers. Some have even returned to Friends of the Children and become mentors themselves.
He also noted that several Corban University alumni were among the program’s first mentors in 1993. During the Q&A, Campbell told students that to think about creative solutions to problems, someone often has to rearrange existing elements in a way that has never been done. To accomplish this, during Chapel he shared the five elements that makes Friends of the Children a successful program for children who are at the highest risk and helps them turn their lives around.
While at the Salem campus, Campbell was given a tour and met with a small group of students in Nord’s office to share more about Friends of the Children and how they too, could potentially become mentors for children.