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YOUTH WEEK AT GRACE

We are continually impressed by the dedication and tenacious work ethic of the youth who come to serve at GRACE. GRACE recently hosted Youth Week, a collective endeavor by different youth groups to advance a common goal of serving families facing hardship.

Forty junior high students from Trinity Klein Lutheran Church travelled from Spring, Texas, to serve as part of their church retreat. No junior high youth group could come to the metroplex without enjoying some rollercoasters at Six Flags, but not without pulling up their sleeves first.

The students were divided between GRACEful Buys and Donation Station to sort, assess and clean the incoming donation items. Items collected at Donation Station will be filtered through proper channels to ensure the community’s items are utilized. Merchandize at GRACEful Buys and Style & GRACE provide a reliable revenue stream that goes directly to GRACE programming.

Today twenty middle school youth from First Baptist Grapevine came to serve at Donation Station as part of Mission Grapevine: a weekend event that is dedicated to serving local families through charity partnership. This afternoon, the youth got a behind-the-scenes look of the Food Pantry warehouse and received education about the Community Garden, which produces an average of 3,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce to bless local families at risk for being nutrient deficient.

Groups like First Baptist Grapevine and Trinity Klein Lutheran Church often remind us of the importance of loving our community through service. Thanks for your hard work and positive attitude, and embodying the meaning of 1 Timothy 4: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, and love….”

If you are part or lead a youth group or other faith-based group, we have many opportunities to serve families in the local community. Contact Lara Hohweiler at lhohweiler@GRACEGrapevine.org for ideas and resources.

BACK TO SCHOOL UNDERGARMENTS NEEDED

We have all experienced how simple ‘trips’ to purchase essentials can add up at the cash register, and it is no different for the families we serve. With the new school year approaching, we want to ensure growing boys and girls have access to clean underwear and socks in all sizes.

Despite being the least-stocked item at the Clothing Room, first layer undergarments are the most requested articles of clothing for families facing emergency. Meeting the seemingly basic checklist lessens added financial burdens for families who may be struggling to cover utility bills, groceries and unforeseen costs.

Basic white cotton underwear, undershirts, camisoles and socks are staple items that all children should have, and basic whites are easy for moms to launder and clean in hot water. But, what child doesn’t love a fun pair of socks or superhero boxers? Any and all types of undergarment donations are greatly appreciated at GRACE. During your next trip to Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target or Costco, add a multi-pack to your cart.

If you are part of a civic or small group, this would be an ideal collection that isn’t cumbersome or unfeasible. Thank you in advance for allowing us to give to GRACE clients—great and small!

Donations are accepted at GRACE Main, 412 Shady Brook Dr., or Donation Station, 112 N. Scribner during office hours.

 Current Needs

  • boys and girls crew socks
  • boys and girls underwear
  • girls training bra and undershirts for preteen boys
  • new or like new shoes
  • new shoelaces

BROTHERS SERVE A FRESH GLASS OF HOPE

Two students of Coram Deo Academy stood outside Su Vino winery on Main Street last Saturday to serve passerbys a cold glass of lemonade and provide stability and comfort for families facing crisis.

Cade, age 9 and Colton, age  5 “and a half”, along with Cub Scout pack 1225, held the lemonade stand with a specific mission to donate all the proceeds to the GRACE Food Pantry. According to mom, Charli, Cade was particularly touched after his school helped stock the Food Pantry last winter, and has been anxious to start another project for GRACE.

The pair spent the afternoon offering free glasses of fresh lemonade with an optional donation to GRACE. Proceeds from their $69 revenue will fund the operations to serve at-risk children and family members that struggle to put food on the table and covering other essential costs, like rent, utility bills and unforeseen expenses.

The most pressing question of the day? Their favorite superheroes, which according to Cade, are an even tie between Captain America and Ironman. “Five and half” year old Colton had a telling answer, which was simply, “every man.” We think Colton is on to something. Cade and Colton are the true heroes in this story, and we are truly grateful for their pure hearts and willingness to give of themselves so generously.

If you would like to host a third party project to collect items or funds for GRACE, our Special Events Coordinator is available to provide ideas and resources. Contact Chelsea at crose@GRACEGrapevine.org to start your group or family project today.

CORPORATE SPONSORS MAKES PERSONAL INVESTMENT IN GRACE

Not only does GRACE feel privileged to have the steadfast support of Alsbridge as the Feature Dinner Sponsor for the GRACE Gala, we are truly honored by the personal investment Alsbridge President Dieter Thompson and partner Jennifer Cleckler have made in furthering the GRACE mission.

Alsbridge, Inc. is an award-winning global advisory firm providing expertise in information technology and business process outsourcing, shared services, finance and accounting, benchmarking and network transformation. In short the company, which facilitates 40 employees locally and close to 300 internationally, is a high-caliber consulting firm that helps large business organizations reduce cost, streamline business operations and optimize their service provider relationships.

Despite the company’s ample generosity to support the mission of GRACE, Thompson has made learning about GRACE a priority, taking advantage of our last tour which gave an in-depth view of our various programs, and even giving the use of his private estate to raise funds during the Gala.

According to Thompson, what made the biggest impression on the couple was supporting a place that helps people move toward independence for their families while retaining their dignity.

“We were introduced to GRACE by Gala Chair Kevin Chase three years ago and have been blessed to be a part of this wonderful organization,” says Thompson, “we continue to be amazed at the expansiveness of the services offered and the balance of compassion and professionalism displayed by the GRACE staff.”

Thompson has generously donated the use of one of his favorite getaways, a 10,000 square-foot estate in Possum Kingdom Lake that boasts luxurious weekend you won’t soon forget. As one of three potential raffle prizes, winners can chose to host a staycation of a lifetime; a truly unique experience complete with the use of jet skis, dinner on a private yacht, access to The Cliffs golf resort, catered dinner, and more, all with the weekend use of a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe from Classic Chevrolet.

As supporter of many international and local causes, stewardship is of utmost importance to Alsbridge.

“As a consulting firm our business is all about efficient operations, and as such we recognize and appreciate GRACE’s efficiency and ability to make every dollar count towards delivering programs and services that have an impact, “says Alsbridge Content Director Alex Kozlov, “we’re confident that the resources we contribute as a business and as individuals will truly make a difference in helping under-served individuals and families in our community.”

Alsbridge’s support ensures the dinner at the GRACE Gala is second to none, but that pales in comparison to the profound impact they’re able to have on families in our local community who are facing hardship and looking for accountability, education and compassion to advance their families’ potential. Whether individuals or corporations are able to give financial gifts or time or expertise, we are truly honored to be able to use each and every resource to ensure families receive compassionate, comprehensive services.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of this organization and look forward to becoming even more involved in the years to come.”

As GRACE’s largest fund raising event of the year, the event revenue provides foundational support to further the GRACE mission. The 2015 GRACE Gala will take place on Saturday, October 10 at the Irving Convention Center. Sponsorships range from $1,500 to $15,000. Individual tickets are $300, and a table of ten is $2,750. Auction item sponsorships are also available.

For details how your business can be showcased at the GRACE Gala as an event or auction sponsor, visit GRACEGala.org.

ALSBRIDGE

GRACE GRADUATES MASTER THE SHOPPING CART

GRACE Nurse Manager Shirley Roberts and staff were beaming with pride at the twelve determined students who completed the Cooking Matters course.

Cooking Matters is a hands-on nutritional series that provides a long-term solution to hunger and poor nutrition by demonstrating strategies to get the best nutrition possible on a limited budget. Sponsored by the Tarrant Area Food Bank, the six-week course is taught by certified nutrition and culinary instructors with a hope that sharing innovative budgeting techniques will create healthy, nourished families.

Helping families know what to put on the table not only reduces budget in food costs and lighten stress, families are able to spend quality spend time together and are more likely to opt for unabridged whole foods.

Often low-income families have little to no access to nutrient-dense food due to the cost-ratio between fresh produce and refined, processed food. Studies show food-insecure families are most vulnerable to obesity, which often leads to a sedentary lifestyle, poor heart health and even diabetes.

Groceries are provided to all participants to take home at the end of class each week so that they can practice preparing the recipes at home and share them with their families.

We all understand how limited our time can be between work and family schedules, and we applaud these students for making smart cooking a priority in their family. Congratulations, Cooking Matters graduates! We hope the program continues to serve your family at the dinner table and the grocery store.

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TEACHER HELPS CLIENTS BUILD CONFIDENCE IN ENGLISH SKILLS

Recently, those who spoke little to no English had the opportunity to build their confidence in their English skills at GRACE, thanks to the unique teaching style and empowerment of Russ Lugo.

Russ Lugo is the Director and originator of Elévate English.  Elévate’s mission is to “equip individuals with the ability to speak, read and write the English language fluently and help them to discover their purpose and take the necessary steps needed to accomplish their destiny.” Through this strategy, relationships are built on a weekly basis and the Gospel is shared in a relevant way.

Russ, along with two additional instructors, met the class of nine with varying English skills to tackle over the course of six weeks. Russ and the team at Elévate believe the most effective ways a student can attain the information is to embrace an individualized approach in a positive and highly-interactive atmosphere.

“One of our key learning theories is that we are not teaching English…we are teaching students– and so our approach centers not so much on content but rather on the individual’s unique way of receiving and processing new information,” says Lugo.

Elévate English is about more than refining language skills, it’s about restoring personal efficacy and opening doors for higher education and employment.

“Confidence is paramount,” Lugo explains, “most of the individuals I have had the opportunity to coach mainly lack confidence in their English abilities. Though they understand a good amount of the language, most are hindered in trying to speak it. Parents who have command of the language are able to interact more with their children’s teacher and be more involved with their children’s educational progress. They are also able to aim for better paying jobs and even advance their own businesses or feel more empowered to tackle higher education.”

Russ and his team are prime examples of using their resources and gift for teaching to empower and help families accomplish their destiny to lead rewarding lives.

We ask that you continue to pray that the clients that come through the doors of GRACE leave stronger, healthier and more fulfilled. A heartfelt thanks to Russ Lugo and the instructors at Elévate for enriching the lives of our clients!

Russ is a third-generation Hispanic, but did not become fluent in Spanish until college and after travelling internationally. He and his wife Trish first met while en route to two different countries, and have been married for twelve years. The two are active members of Gateway Church.

The Legacy of Chris Tomczak

Every strong organization has a devoted team serving behind the scenes, and perhaps no Board member or volunteer has provided more foundational support than Chris Tomczak, whose collective terms on the GRACE Board grant tenure in the hearts of those who have been privileged to work alongside her.

For nearly two decades, Chris has served in virtually every capacity, including the Presidency, and has provided valuable fiscal oversight as Vice President, Treasurer and faithful volunteer.

After becoming a volunteer in 1994 Chris helped lay the groundwork for GRACE in its infancy. Chris witnessed seasons of substantial growth, including the founding of GRACE Main, the Community Clinic, Food Pantry, Transitional Housing program and each resale store.

Chris’ modest, reserved nature and intuitive ability to communicate with a diverse audience wins the admiration of everyone she comes in contact with. The extent of her partnership is described by GRACE Founder Tricia Wood as being a “rock” of the organization, one who is lauded for her “solid faith in God.”

“Chris’ tireless work has made her a pillar of GRACE. Her striking intellect and mission-mindedness always made Chris a reliable confidant with leadership decisions,” says Wood, “much of the growth GRACE has been blessed with is rooted in her valuable insight.”

Those who know Chris describe her as being faithful, transparent, and dedicated. She is known for her silent leadership, progressive ideas, and love for Lord,–who is her greatest Motivator.

Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Florida State University, and earned her Ph.D in Philosophy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Chris’ financial acumen came from a decade of experience as the Director of Regulatory Affairs at Barnett Bank. Chris currently serves on the Chair of Philosophy Department at Cedar Valley College, where she has been on a professor since 2002.

On behalf of the Board, staff and volunteers at GRACE, we are privileged to have enjoyed your leadership and compassion for families in need. Thank you for your unmatched service as a GRACE Board member!

Berkeys Serves Community through GRACE

If you live in the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, HEB area, you have probably spotted a Berkeys trucks in your neighborhood, if they haven’t already paid a visit to your home for AC, plumbing or electrical work.

What many may not know is there behind-the-scenes achievements at GRACE to support a community they love. Not only has Berkeys been an active GRACE Gala sponsor, the team at Berkeys have made a personal investment in the Christmas Cottage program, which provides new toys to over 1,600 children each year.

In 2013, the Berkeys staff volunteered their time to decorate and restore the facilities used for Christmas Cottage. They were so moved by the experience that they were compelled to do more and had the idea to utilize their mobility across the community. Berkeys President Jamie Wooldrige explains, “With our fleet of 40 trucks on the road each and every day throughout the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, we thought that reaching our vast customer base through a toy drive was just a natural fit. We are excited to increase our partnership with GRACE and are thankful to have the opportunity to help others out in a more meaningful way.”

The local service calls also became a pick-up service, allowing customers to donate toys on behalf of GRACE. Last year alone, over 200 new toys were collected for children in the community.

In addition to their volunteer work and collection drives, Berkeys offers a substantial discount to meet the needs of the GRACE facilities, and even helped on Saturday morning with the clean up shortly after a fire devastated Donation Station last February.

“Berkeys supports various charities throughout the year,” said Wooldridge, “but one which is near and dear to our hearts is GRACE Grapevine. We hope [our support] might inspire other organizations and members of our community to get involved by volunteering and donating their time, talent and money. Everyone working together to help those in need is what makes our city one of the best in the United States and the world.”

We are genuinely grateful for the steadfast support of Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical, and are honored to host them as our Exclusive Sponsor for the 2015 GRACE Gala.

Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical is a full service residential contractor serving the great Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. The award-winning company is heralded for their unparalleled customer service and industry knowledge. To learn more about Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, visit Berkeys.com.  

Brody’s Birthday Wish

Toy trucks and GI Joe might be on most birthday boys’ wish list, but Brody’s only wish is to help children at risk for hunger.

Rather than fill his room with games and Legos, Brody, aged 7, and his family piled groceries sky high so food would find their way into the homes of children in Brody’s community.

Earlier this year Brody and his classmates at W.A. Porter Elementary hosted a macaroni and cheese drive for the GRACE Food Pantry, and learned about families in their town who struggle to put food on the table.

The young boy was saddened to learn that children who may attend his school, church or even live in his neighborhood could come home to an empty cupboard or sparse refrigerator after school.

The evidence is startling to children and adults in like. In fact, it is estimated that one in five children live in households that are food insecure, many of whom are forced to choose between basic necessities.

In a household where adequate food is limited, cutting back on groceries can be a coping mechanism when faced with seemingly impossible decisions between paying for other necessities like rent, utilities or medicine.

Meanwhile, Brody and his family are determined to do everything they can to ensure children in the community are given food and even toys to spare. Brody regularly donates his toys to GRACE because he doesn’t want them to just “sit on a shelf and go to waste.” According to his school teacher mom, Macie, Brody is always eager to share the cause of GRACE with his peers and is always looking for ways to give of his heart.

Brody’s inquisitive spirit and generous heart reminds us the value of not being idle with it comes to families in need. Thanks to the Bemrick family for investing in children in the community!

Brody's picture and essay about giving earned statewide recognition
Brody’s picture and essay about giving earned statewide recognition

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