Watching two little boys jumping in the bouncy house Thursday evening, I couldn’t help but consider the heartbreaks that brought these children and their families to the Transitional Housing program at GRACE. These young children have likely seen more tragedy in their past than most will see in a lifetime.
At that moment, however, I saw their faces painted like their favorite superheroes, giggling and bouncing as lively boys should, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
The Transitional Housing Fall Festival was a product of Program Manager LaDondra Wilson and Case Manager Tami Mainey’s vision two years ago. Families who have endured an ordeal of brokenness and discord had the opportunity to fellowship with their GRACE family. Over 50 clients, staff and volunteers attended this harvest block party.
Children and adults alike found their youthful side with face painting, a cake walk provided by Nothing Bundt Cakes, and a huge castle-shaped bouncy house. Volunteers decorated their “Trunk or Treat” cars with spider webs, and spooky embellishments as children gathered a ‘candycorn-ucopia’ of sweets.
Officer Husky and Sergeant Roath from the Grapevine Police Department were good sports, even though they were no match to the children’s beanbag tossing skills. Volunteer Mary Lou Barabash drove the children’s Grapevine Police Patrol car, which measured 4 feet long and was quite talkative.
During the closing ceremony, purple balloons were released to commemorate the families’ victory over domestic violence, symbolizing freedom for our clients in starting their lives anew.
GRACE Transitional Housing Manager LaDondra writes, “Our clients have expressed their gratitude for the festival and acknowledging domestic violence awareness touched those clients that have been affected in a special way.”
Hot dogs, candy corn, bouncy houses and laughter not only usher in the autumn season; they pay tribute to something much larger. Last night we celebrated the power of compassion, the potential of stronger families and gifts of hope to the families who enjoy a safe home and a bright future because of your support.
The Transitional Housing Program received over $450 in monetary donations from local businesses to ensure the children enjoyed a festive evening. A special thank you to the Grapevine Police, Nothing Bundt Cakes and the Transitional Housing team for making the 2nd Annual Fall Festival a success!
By: Heather Ortner