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MUSTANG SOFTBALL PLAYERS PITCH A 555

GRACE welcomed the Grapevine High School Softball team, which hosted an entire work week of Feed Our Kids!

The group served at least 555 meals to children in need, potentially enough for 62 teams to grace the Mustang dugout in the years to come.

The objective of Feed Our Kids is to deliver meals to children living neighborhoods most vulnerable to food insecurity. Having a presence at the communities, specifically, the Trailwood Mobile Home Estates where the softball team served is both intentional and relational.

Volunteers are encouraged to look for ways to engage with the neighborhood children (like testing their pitching arm) or hosting at arts and crafts table.

This gives groups a unique opportunity to be creative, employ their talents, and present learning opportunities for parents and peers to remember that we are all on one team.

Thanks to the dedicated role models at Grapevine High School, and all the wonderful restaurants and groups knocked this Feed Our Kids season out of the park!

PROJECT ALERT: COMMUNITY GARDEN DAYS

The mission of the GRACE Community Garden is to cultivate a healthy community by providing organically grown produce to families that seek help at the GRACE Food Pantry.

Join us for two important days: tomorrow, August 19 for the Last Summer Planting Day, and Saturday September 9 for Early Fall Planting Day.

Volunteers are welcome to join at 8:00 a.m. at the Community Gardens adjacent to the Food Pantry, 837 E. Walnut Street.

Volunteers of all ages are needed to plant winter squash, weed, mulch, and cultivate the compost for new growth.

Volunteering at the Community Gardens is a feasible, rewarding way to provide wholesome nourishment for families in need. Projects at the Community Gardens are ideal for families, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, employees and church community groups.

RSVP to Becca Clark at 817-454-0731

If you’re not able to attend this workday but have a heart for the purpose of the Community Garden, prayerfully consider providing in one or all of these areas:

Ongoing Community Garden Needs:

  • Volunteer on scheduled work days – garden clean up/planting
  • Make a monetary donation (Please mention GRACE garden in memo.)
  • Donation of seeds and plants for planting days

ASHLEY CUNNINGHAM NOMINATED A SHINING STAR

Ashley Cunningham has been nominated as a Shining Star, a prestigious recognition announced at Arts Council Northeast’s signature event that raises funds and honors outstanding women leaders.

Ashley is an invaluable part of the community and played an instrumental role in the oversight of GRACE’s single most important fund raising event to ensure all the moving parts function seamlessly for a memorable and purposeful event.

As co-chair of the 2016 Gala, Ashley worked tirelessly to ensure that every detail and function of the event was completed to the utmost perfection.

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Texas. A former teacher and child life specialist, her specialization in children with special needs led her to partner with Camp Jon Marc, a North Texas summer camp designed for children with disabilities.

Of course, Ashley would not receive this award without the recognition of her family as her biggest support system. Her husband, Andy, co-chaired the Gala and was by her side every step of the way.

Prior to moving to Southlake in 2016, the high school sweethearts called Grapevine home for sixteen years. The two have since volunteered ample time to after-school activities for their three young children: Drew, Claire, and Cole.

Ashley is an excellent motivator, friend, and role model. Her warm spirit comforts everyone she comes in contact with. Thank you for all that you do, Ashley!

COURTNEY’S STORY

The following is the final of three life stories told by three courageous Transitional Housing clients, and recent recipients of the Kathee Livengood Foundation Scholarship.

As early as age three, Courtney’s first memories were of her parents’ substance-induced rage. Both were stricken with debilitating alcoholism, the toxic choices which one night led to her mother’s hospitalization and father’s incarceration.

Courtney would not see her father until four years later at her mother’s funeral. With Courtney facing a dizzied future, addiction hadn’t taken its final blow; she was sent to live with her grandmother, yet another alcoholic caretaker who battled major depression.

Later Courtney realized that those hardships made her stronger from a young age, but as one can imagine she wasn’t freed from the aftermath. Courtney attests that she made the wrong friends was on a self-destructive path.

courtney2.JPGCourtney found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy. At the first sound of her baby’s heartbeat, she vowed to make changes to give her son the best life possible. She was connected with a maternity program that helped her pave the way and welcomed her son, Damien.

Damien just turned a year old, and two local scholarships have helped Courtney’s dream of higher education to equip her to support herself and her son independently.

Courtney has been a gracious, insightful participant in the Transitional Housing program. She is articulate, determined and exhibits an air of gratitude and humility.

GRACE will continue to work alongside Courtney to support her on the path she chooses.

“God always has a plan and I trust Him to lead where I’m meant to go,” says Courtney.

About the Kathee Livengood Scholarship

livengood1.pngAfter our community lost prominent philanthropist Kathee Livengood to cancer in 2012, the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber established a memorial fund in her honor to help deserving women seek new opportunities and increase their earning potential.

We are moved by Courtney’s courage and grateful for Kathee Livengood’s abundant life, which continues to inspire us to live as she lived.

 

FEATURE HIGHLIGHT: BERKEYS AIR CONDITIONING, PLUMBING & ELECTRICAL

If you haven’t had a Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical van pull to your driveway to service your home, you’ve probably spotted a Berkeys van driving throughout the Metroplex.

What many may not see is the behind-the-scenes services, donations, and resources Berkeys provides for the community they love.

President and owner, Jamie Wooldridge, built his company to fulfill charitable work, including utilizing his skills to provide substantial HVAC services to all GRACE sites.

The longtime friend of GRACE, Berkeys has also been a steadfast sponsor of the GRACE Gala, this year as a Platinum Plus Sponsor.

The team at Berkeys has made a personal investment in various projects, including the Christmas Cottage program, which provides new, unwrapped toys to family members facing hardship.

After the Berkeys staff helped prepare the Christmas Cottage for guests, the team was so moved by the experience that they were compelled to mobilize their efforts.

The company asked their customer base for a donation of a new toy, and the fleet was sent out for pickup for one of GRACE’s largest mobile toy drives to date. As a result of the vision, 200 toys were collected.

Berkeys also offers a substantial discount to meet the needs of the GRACE facilities, and are eager to pursue special projects that facilitate the broader mission.

Most recently Berkeys awarded $3,000 to Assist the Officer Foundation, which supports families of fallen soldiers or families that are experiencing other hardships.

We are genuinely grateful for the steadfast support of Berkeys, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical in so many capacities.

Berkeys 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

The 2017 GRACE Gala will take place on Saturday, October 14 at the Hyatt Regency DFW. As GRACE’s largest fundraising event of the year, the event revenue provides foundational support to further the GRACE mission. Sponsorships range from $2,000 to $20,000. Individual tickets are $325, and a table of ten is $3,000. Auction item sponsorships are also available.

YOUNG GIRLS EMPOWER NEW MOTHERS

Five National Junior Honors Society scholars and fellow Girl Scout members of Troop #1411 met a profound need for struggling mothers seeking haven at GRACE.

The young ladies collected and raised enough baby items to fill 50 new diaper bags, meeting their goal to achieve the Girl Scout Silver Award—the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

Each embroidered diaper bag holds all the essentials for a new mom—diapers, wipes, pacifiers, blankets, bottles, books, and other necessities. The Cross Timbers middle school students showed their sewing skills with handmade burp cloths that filled each bag.

A kit will be given to new mothers who enter our Transitional Program, as well as single mothers or families struggling to meet the varying needs of their children.

It’s particularly inspiring that these young girls would have the insight to understand the far-reaching impact helping parents have on empowering the next generation.

We are thankful that their collective efforts will provide relief, encouragement and much-needed support to moms and dads who want their children to grow up with the kind of hearts these young girls have.

Thanks for your hard work!

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‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,

    and you will harvest a crop of love.

Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,

    for now is the time to seek the Lord,

that he may come

    and shower righteousness upon you.’

–    Hosea 10:12

NUSTAR HELPS ‘REFUEL’ FAMILIES

This week followed our noses to the GRACE Feed Our Kids site to feast our eyes on some lip smackin’ barbeque, courtesy of NuStar Energy.

The airline vendor for bunker oil is motivated to fuel more than planes. The company served all six Feed Our Kids sites simultaneously!

An estimated 560 plates of hearty brisket was followed by a refreshing snow cone for children and their parents to enjoy together.

Area Manager Ralph Wimp says his team has a heart for service, “NuStar has a culture of giving time and resources nationwide. After GRACE came out and we learned about Feed Our Kids, we knew it was something we wanted to be part of for the long term.”

Feed Our Kids isn’t the only way this dedicated team has taken initiative behind the scenes. The local staff has made it a priority to serve monthly meals to truck drivers who pull into their loading docks as a gesture of hospitality.

During the winter, the NuStar team hosts a fundraiser with the truck drivers, offering them a chance to donate a gift for Christmas Cottage. “Many truck drivers work twelve or thirteen-hour days,” explains Ralph, “since they may not have time to volunteer, Christmas Cottage gives them the perfect outlet to pay it forward.”

Drivers have become so energized by the event that they have enlisted their own companies to donate to GRACE Christmas Cottage, and other businesses have quickly followed suit.

A distributor based out of Houston loves Christmas Cottage so much that he delivered a trunk load of new toys for GRACE last year. Drivers all over the metroplex bring cash donations and new toys to make sure no child in this community is without a Christmas morning.

Spurring on others to do good works is what GRACE loves to see, and we are thankful for NuStar for demonstrating what it means to love the community you work in.

Thanks, NuStar!

J’SECA’S STORY

The following is the second of three life stories told by three courageous Transitional Housing clients, and recent recipients of the Kathee Livengood Foundation Scholarship.

From a young age, J’seca remembers being told she would end up like her mother and never amount to anything.

J’seca spent much of her childhood taking care of her mother, who was addicted to drugs and alcohol.

She’ll never forget running proudly to her mom to tell her that she wanted to be a Police Officer one day. The police came regularly after her father unleashed his abuse on her mother.

She was determined to help families the first time they were hurt, instead of coming and going like they did at her house.

“That’s no job for a lady,” her mother said.

J’seca lost her mother to a hit and run when she was only 16 years old, leaving her and her brother in full custody of their father, who wasted little time to turn his wrath against them.

All she could think about was going to school to get away from the abuse, where her big dreams were met with encouragement. She remembers the day she ran to her father to say, “I know what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be a lawyer!”

“Don’t you know you have to be smart to be a lawyer?” was her dad’s reply.

She thought of how well she did in school, and how it wasn’t enough.

“I walked into the bathroom mirror and said, ‘J’seca, you are going to dream big. You are going to stay in school, and you are going to work hard. You are going to be somebody.”

Soon after, J’seca ran away from home.

Over the years, J’seca was placed in so many homes, she lost count. The journey that brought her to GRACE Transitional Housing brought J’seca and her girls to what they consider the first home of their own.

“My children and GRACE are my family now,” she says.

J’seca is the recipient of the Kathee Livengood Scholarship, and plans to earn the training needed to become a Gynecologist. Even though she dreams big, her greatest aspiration is to make her little girls proud.

“One day I want my daughters to grow up and say, ‘Mommy, I know what I want to be when I grow up!’ When I say, ‘what’s that?’ they say, ‘Just like you!’”

About the Kathee Livengood Scholarship

livengood.pngAfter our community lost prominent philanthropist Kathee Livengood to cancer in 2012, the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber established a memorial fund in her honor to help deserving women seek new opportunities and increase their earning potential.

Livengood was the driving force behind many charitable causes, and her collective passion for others raised thousands of dollars for local children and families.

We are moved by J’seca’s courage and grateful for Kathee Livengood’s abundant life, which continues to inspire us to live as she lived.

 

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FRIENDS & FAMILY SERVICE OPPORTUNITY

Looking for a tangible way to serve your neighbor? GRACE is asking for volunteers to help move a local senior from one Grapevine unit to another.

Despite minimal furniture in her one-bedroom home, this senior is physically and financially unable to relocated on her own.

Transportation is needed to move the resident approximately two blocks. This is an ideal service opportunity for a family, scout troop or small group.

The moving date is next Saturday, August 19.

Contact Volunteer Manager, Lara Hohweiler.

About

Friends & Family is a network of faith groups, community partners, civic groups, service organizations and individual volunteers that work together to improve the quality of life for displaced and immobile seniors in our community.

Inspired to serve?

GRACE loves these seniors, and so do the volunteers who get involved in their lives through GRACE! Contact Maryann Waddell to answer any questions and see what might be a good service opportunity for you.

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