If you’ve been to the Little House on Poplar (the former convent our girls call home for a time), you’ve heard or seen words like believe, responsible, authentic, valuable and effective. Words birthed through hours of processing with our Board of Directors and Staff, as we prayerfully considered our B.R.A.V.E. value statements, during the strategic planning process. Throughout the pages of “Grace Repurposed”you will find stories of how we are living out these values and how “Grace” is truly changing the course of her life. We have been intentional in choosing each photo and story shared. As the autumn colors change the landscape, we've been praying for you. I hope you'll find a comfortable place, a cup of something warm, and an open heart as you read how Grace is being repurposed. We couldn’t do this work without you! God is using you to change lives for generations to come. ❤ God’s grateful girl, Becky Shaffer, Executive Director
And so it was that she, having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God had promised. Hebrews 6:15
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Hailey’s Story Stephanie Davis, Program Manager She came to us weary. Dreams of what life could or should have been, shattered by unspeakable brokenness and hidden behind her beautiful smile. History had taught her people could not be trusted. She'd learned to depend on herself and rely on no one. Yet through all of this, her heart remained soft.
herself the hard questions and grieve. “I’m beginning to understand grace at a new level. Grace isn’t perfection,” she shared one day as we rode in the car. I shared one of my favorite quotes by Anne Lamott, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where “You know, sometimes all you it found us.” She sat quietly thinkneed is twenty seconds of insane ing it over and I courage. Just literally twenty knew that this was seconds of just embarrassing a season of grace for her.
As Hailey entered the program, she wanted to hit the ground running. Instead, we asked bravery. And I promise you, her to slow down as she began our "Pink something great will come of it.” Pink Shirt goes Shirt Phase". Duragainst what soci~ Benjamin Mee ing this time, we ask ety asks from us— our girls to move at it asks our new a quiet pace, attend counseling and girls to slow the chaos and begin to plug into healthy relationships with live intentionally. It asks them to try mentors and staff. This is a precious new relationships, while making new time to nourish the body and find habits as they learn new skills. Hailey rest, even giving opportunity for naps described it as “six weeks to get sane.” as their bodies adjust to something Now that she’s on the other side reapthey've never experienced before. ing the benefits, she is more intentional about her choices, including “I didn’t know what I wanted or turning down a job which put her in needed", Hailey reflects (coming into an environment of unhealthy boundthis program). “Pink Shirt gave me aries. She listens deeply when staff or time I didn’t think I needed or want- mentors ask her to do something that ed to process through stuff that’s hap- seems a little crazy. “I have a different pened, stuff that I’ve done, stuff that’s level of trust for Saving Grace… grace currently happening… to gather my is something I feel I can’t comprethoughts about life.” hend. It’s not something I’ve received Hailey began to plug into relation- for very long. I guess that’s what I’m ships with her mentors, the staff, and working on—receiving it and giving it her house sisters. She took time to ask to myself.”
While there are still moments of weariness and uncertainty, Hailey is beginning to set goals and make plans for her life. She is learning in these seasons of grace, it is okay to be perfectly imperfect. She is beginning to believe in big dreams and in God’s plan for her life, a plan not for harm, but for hope and a future. ❤
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Bri Suitt, Life Coach This fall I am entering my last new season at Saving Grace, my tenure beginning at the cusp of winter. As a life coach, my main jurisdiction is coaching each girl to be responsible to their goals and holding them accountable for their progress in our program. Practically, this looks like weekly coaching meetings with each resident, helping students fill out FAFSA forms or putting together resumes, sitting in doctor’s appointments, grading their weekly folders, overseeing budgets, and helping new residents move and settle into the Little House on Poplar. It's grabbing celebratory cheese fries at Steak and Shake after graduating from high school or going for a jog with a resident for sticking to their budget. There are so many unexpected “other duties as assigned” and even more spontaneous moments of joy and unhindered laughter, which always makes each day an adventure. It will be nice to have all four seasons under my belt and small, obscure reminders of both change and familiarity in the work life flow here at SG. I’m already looking forward to Christmas break, turning the corner from my office to the hallway that leads to the kitchen and smelling burned eggs and seeing dreary morning faces gathered around said eggs, munching in quiet solidarity of the morning struggle around the table. It’s rare to have our girls gathered together by choice during the week, and like a sappy life coach that I am, I relish the spontaneous, unconscious community of winter break. There are many other rhythms I’ve grown accustomed to that I wish each of you could experience with me since living life with "Grace". Each week, there’s a varied rap on my door, where I distractedly respond to come in. Grace comes in, usually
strained by school assignments or work fatigue, and sits on my miniature couch for our weekly meeting, a space designed to make sure our girls are moving forward in our program and are resourced with everything they need for the week. Every time there's a fifth Thursday in a month, I load all of us up in the big bus dubbed The Green Pickle, and we drive to an assisted living home to play dominos and card games with a few of the lady-residents there. I’ve seen these precious elderly women stay up WAY past their bedtime to embrace
I’ve pulled back the tab of a drug test and look back up at Grace and asked eagerly, “How many days is this?” and she says seriously and confidently, “Seven months, fifteen days sober.” our little women and build them up. I’ve seen our little women put aside the heaviness of their day to smile and warmly speak up and into these women who have often slipped through the cracks of our community. I’ve pulled back the tab of a drug test and look back up at Grace and asked eagerly, “How many days is this?” and she says seriously and confidently, “Seven months, fifteen days sober.” Many mornings I wake up to a text from a resident, its sole intent to encourage me with a verse or a “good morning,” rarely unaccompanied with an emoji. It is hard to measure the beauty of these little rituals and share them in passing when someone asks, “How are things at Saving Grace?” I struggle with how to respond to that question, but now that I’m pausing, the truest answer I can offer to those who ask is simply, "so
much better than we deserve". Just as quickly as these rituals are formed, a new season ushers in, and we open our door and lengthen our table for a new "Grace", and begin the impossible task of goodbyes to these little women who are forever tied to our hearts, as they will eventually transition out to their own place. This is not to say transition here is bad. There are just more pieces to it. Each life connected with Saving Grace, seems to have more weight to it, bringing more responsibility toward each other. I feel like my tiny, selfish heart gave birth to sixteen little women since late November and I hardly know what to do with all of the love and concern I have for each one. My heart is so big and heavy these days, when one of our girls skirts across my mind in my prayers or as I’m drifting off to sleep, my chest feels so warm and tight, it seems like I couldn’t possibly make room for one more. And yet on a random Monday morning, one more shows up and moves in, and another, and God moves my rib cage yet again, and makes a way for my heart to keep growing. Just as I’m learning that a brain raised in trauma is still plastic and eager for change, I’m also learning just as I reach the borders of my own love and understanding, God broadens it all; He makes the impossible, possible. And that’s the thing about seasons –the transitions, whether expected or not, welcomed or unwelcome, exciting or painful, God’s unwavering faithfulness is the common denominator to us all. God loves each of us so lavishly and particularly in the midst of it all.❤
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Authenticity “bringing our true selves forward… work hard, play hard, rest hard” When Grace finds her way to our program, from whatever state of homelessness she’s been in, it often takes months to help recover her capacity to dream. Dr. Karyn Purvis from TCU teaches us “Good experiences heal bad experiences” and we see this happen with each girl who makes the brave choice to call Saving Grace home. The last several weeks we’ve been busy with our Summer Bucket List. These moments have been a catalyst to ignite trust, form character, and build anchors of happiness for Grace. Through each good experience, she heals a bad experience and the most broken corners of her heart begin to mend. She finds strength in a sisterhood, as she celebrates life with her Saving Grace family and begins to awaken a little girl who’s been hidden away merely surviving, for far too long. It is in these summer moments; a broken Grace encounters the most authentic version of herself and she begins to dream again. ❤
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147: 3
Kayla~ It’s really good to do something together even if it’s not anything big. It’s the little moments.
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“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
1. Drive In Movies 2. Ice-cream Cones 3. Spa/Movie Night 4. The Naturals Baseball Game & Fireworks 5. Birthday Parties & Sleepovers 6. Hawksbill Crag Overlook 7. Roller-skating 8. Weekend at Beaver Lake 9. Six Flags! 10. Dancing in the rain 11. Snow cones 12. Watching the sunrise at the lake 13. Hammock-ing 14. Riding bikes 15. Hiking
Brittney~ My favorite memory of the lake house was when we were all on the boat. We all were laughing and just bonding. The best part was when we were hitting the waves. We hit one wave going really fast and I’m pretty sure the whole boat went airborne. It was a lot of fun. It was also nice to get out of town and escape reality for a little bit. It was so beautiful and peaceful. I think it did the house good for us all to be together and just spend quality time.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ~Brené Brown
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Saving Grace is not a homeless shelter. Girls choose Saving Grace to escape homelessness. They find more than a safe home, they find hope to alter their path and strength to take brave steps to break the cycle of poverty. Since 2008 we have been a light to over 400 applicants and over 105 girls have called Saving Grace home. Many of our girls experience “firsts” while living at the "Little House on Poplar." Blowing out birthday candles, riding a bicycle that belongs to them, and having their own room. Small, but important pieces that give each of us self-worth, ownership and security. Each missing milestone often represents a time of survival. These brave little sisters lost out on what many of us would call a “normal” childhood. “Good experiences heal bad experiences.” When “Grace” chooses our program, she makes the brave choice to no longer depend on government assistance for food and housing. Instead, she develops skills through education or on-the-job training. Breaking the cycle of poverty is impossible when we choose to stay dependent. We believe there is dignity in work. Girls in our program pay a small amount of rent. This helps to develop a capacity to manage and invest in their own growth. Rent is held in escrow and provides funds matched by Saving Grace, after completing the program. This helps "Grace" launch into her own place. Saving Grace has scholarship opportunities for our full-time students in high school or college. In addition, we provide healthy on-the-go food choices, as well as school supplies. We believe education not only builds futures, but instills the confidence and courage it takes to empower each of them to dream big.
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Saving Grace NWA
In 2016, 275 hours of counseling was delivered in support of growth and healing for our girls. Traditional and equine therapy are both offered. Each girl receives 81 hours of life skills classes each year to develop knowledge and competency in areas of health, finance, safety, and security. 70% of our girls are in school either attending one of our local high schools or furthering their education through trade school, college or vocational training. Job shadowing. Local professionals give girls a glimpse into what they could become. they can't be what they can't see. Each girl is connected with three mentors who choose to mentor for life…these women love fiercely. When “Grace” graduates from the program, her mentors go with her. Saving Grace is always looking for gutsy and brave women to mentor the next “Grace” entering the program. We couldn’t do this incredible work without them. Every girl commits to volunteering in the community each week. It helps them learn to give and receive blessings, while nurturing their hearts to serve others. The Saving Grace program has 5 levels, starting with the “Pink Shirt Phase” and ending with graduating from the “Senior Phase.” With each level there are requirements to move to the next... one of those being as simple as growing their first savings account, or trying a new hobby. Lives are changing and YOU are making that happen through your support! We are grateful for every volunteer, every mentor, every board member, every staff AND every young woman who stands on shaky knees, and CHOOSES to do this program! ❤
Stephanie Davis, Program Manager Hannah is often found bouncing down the halls of the Little House on Poplar, seeking conversation with one of her house sisters or cooking some delightful Asian cuisine in the kitchen. If you have the honor to meet her, you might find it hard to believe that she would hardly speak when she moved in a year ago. When she first came to
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Saving Grace, she would say in broken English how she only wanted to “be like other kid”, and graduate from high school. She moved to America from China at the age of 14, speaking only her native language and knew little about American culture. The gap created a difficult and scary time for Hannah and the family who adopted her. They struggled to connect and understand one another, which resulted in a disrupted adoption. At 18, Hannah was orphaned again and lacking critical supports, but God was at work in her story. Hannah met two caring women in her community who knew about her and connected her with Saving Grace. These two mama bears saw Hannah's tender heart and enormous potential, and were determined to help her, regardless of the obstacles. Hannah tested at a third-grade level when she first came to us. Language, education and environment had all impacted her development. When we began to explore, school seemed impossible and most educational institutions encouraged us to help get her GED. One of our mentors, Christine, heard about Hannah's educational needs and was inspired to make this girl’s dream of a high school diploma come true. Christine connected with local tutoring agencies, schools, online schools, and community friends, and planned six full days a week of education for this girl. Hannah followed Christine’s teaching, instruction, and schedule with a persevering heart!
Together, this community made the impossible possible for Hannah.
As a result of Hannah’s determination, a collaboration of the community, and the grit and belief of mentors, Hannah entered the eleventh grade this year and is on track to graduate with her high school diploma.
Together, this community turned "can’t" into "can-do" for Hannah. Every partner in Hannah’s story made a commitment to her long-term plan, by staying positive, supporting her growth, and modeling effective change. Hannah believes more and more in her worth and value as she pursues her big dreams and finds a network of people who believe and support these dreams. Because of this community, this girl will walk across the graduation stage in two years proving that the seemingly impossible is indeed, very possible.❤
Thank you for taking the time to lean in close and read about how our girls are living out our brave values, doing the life changing work it takes to break the cycle of poverty. Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Now that you have read the stories of the many seasons of grace, maybe it is YOUR season to become a partner of Saving Grace. It is only through the support of people like YOU that we could come alongside Hannah and effectively equip her unique educational needs. The generosity of this community is what enables us to provide healing positive experiences like our summer bucket list, or to equip independent living through weekly life skills classes. Would you prayerfully consider a gift of support today? Your monthly or one-time gift to Saving Grace has a direct impact on changing lives in our community. It is through ordinary people just like you and me, that God is doing an extraordinary work in the lives of the young women we serve, and in the lives of generations to come! Join us and the hundreds of other friends and neighbors in our community in empowering lives to change for generations to come! ❤
Director of Development
Provides one month of groceries for a young woman pursuing her education
Provides basic living supplies and a warm welcome to a new Saving Grace resident in Pink Shirt phase.
Provides healing experiences and gifts for moments worth celebrating (i.e., birthdays, holidays, summer bucket list)
wa ys TO give
1229 W. Poplar St. Rogers, AR 72756
Saving Grace NWA
Nonprofit Org US Postage Paid Permit #14 ROGERS AR
1229 W. Poplar Rogers, AR 72756 | (479) 636-1133
fall open house
Saturday, october 28
Food, fellowship & tours
To be a sponsor contact Ashlyn Gagnon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-372-1785
g n fh c
Sponsor “Grace” for Christmas House Wish List: • Sofa • Ottoman • 6 high back bar stools
Please contact Cherri at
for more details.
Photo contributions throughout this newsletter are generously donated by Main Street Studios and Shelby Mooty Photography
A publication of Saving Grace NWA.