Dear Friend, This weather has a way of inviting me on a journey back
our girls as “Grace”. We hold names sacred, until they’re
lived with my first set of foster parents. I can almost hear
it’s not always pretty. They aren’t aware how their story
to childhood. Sweet memories fill my heart from when I the sound of the potatoes we’d just spent the afternoon
digging out of the garden, frying in a big cast iron skillet. “Farm to Table” happened on a daily basis around our
house, as morning always beckoned before the sun came up. Cows had to be milked, weeds pulled, vegetables to harvest and there were never any less than 10 kids
waiting to be fed. This was our life, and it was beautiful. I find myself smiling as I type this and remember a much simpler life, brimming with hard work and time spent with my foster family.
I was twelve when I first came to live with them. Life
was not like this with my birth mother. There were days
without food (unless school was in session), violent abuse, and the never-ending cycle of poverty. I’m certain my
foster mom had no idea about the trauma from my early
childhood and how future studies would show that “good experiences heal bad experiences.” All these years later, I
still cook for my family on cast iron and it may be all in my imagination, but I believe it gives food a flavor that can’t
be pulled from cooking on a non-stick pan. When I have
the opportunity, I do the same for the girls at Saving Grace. It is through supporters like you we are able to provide a
good experience to heal the trauma from their childhoods, too.
ready to share. Healing from trauma takes time and inspires every single one of us.
I’d like to give you some perspective before you turn to
the next page. I invite you to find a quiet place, free from distractions and experience life as “Grace”. When she
finally braves vulnerability and leans in to ask for help,
she’s exhausted all other resources and is either homeless or facing the daunting possibility. She is often unsure of where she will sleep that night or if she will even have food to eat. Abandoned by those who would be, by definition, critical supports in her life.
Our first priority when Grace arrives is to give her a
safe, inviting space to begin the healing process. Our
focus is providing healthy nourishment, rest, counseling and community. We believe good experiences heal bad experiences. When Lucy (on the cover, her name used
with permission) showed up for her interview, she kept
her eyes down or closed. She wouldn’t give us eye contact and we later realized she couldn’t see. You can read more of her story on pages 4-5. We often say, “She can’t be
what she can’t see,” and in this case, her impaired vision was a very real obstacle.
I invite you to sit back in your favorite place to read. For
me the best place to read is away from distractions, with
There are countless stories I want to share with you in this fall edition of Grace Repurposed. Your prayers and gifts
of support are changing lives in the most beautiful ways. God doesn’t waste anything. He can take a situation that
seems to have been stripped of all hope and turn it around for His good and perfect glory. The enemy has a way of taking our eyes off Him and making us feel alone and
my phone on “do not disturb”. For you that may be your bedroom, the bathtub, or the car line waiting for your
littles to get out of school. Wherever that is, my prayer is
that you take time to read this cover-to-cover. It’s for you that we take the time to tell these stories after all.❤ God’s grateful girl,
forgotten, like our stories no longer matter. Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me, too. The young
women in the Saving Grace program sometimes struggle to tell their story. You will often see and hear us refer to
Becky Shaffer, Executive Director
This issue of Grace Repurposed is dedicated to the memory of our sister, Kelly Walters, Mentor for Life.
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Meka with mentor Jacci
Kennedy (center) with mentors Jeehoon and Kelly
Sydnie and daughter Brinlee
Kimberley (right) with mentor Courtney
Ruthie (center) with mentors Elana and Michael
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Each of us can look at our healthy habits and find glimpses of the people who influenced them. For me, it’s the memory of my dad making sure our family never missed church which pulls me out of bed early on a Sunday morning, or the way my mom washed the kitchen counters with a rag and a sink full of hot, soapy water which compels me to make mine shine. Maybe for you it’s your grandmother’s bold faith, or your big sister’s strong work ethic, or your neighbor’s lavish generosity that you mimic. If you look closely at these tendencies, you’ll notice that without an example to follow, you wouldn’t be able to emulate them. Simply stated—you can’t be what you can’t see. For Lucy, this isn’t just a metaphor for healthy habits—it’s literal. In fact, she is seeing things clearly for the first time in almost a decade. Just a few short weeks after coming to live at Saving Grace, Lucy received a beautiful new pair of glasses through our generous partners at Parenti Morris Eye Care. A whole new world came into focus as she began seeing the faces of her new housemates and Saving Grace staff members for the first time. “Becky!” she would exclaim as she finally connected a voice with a face. “Look! I got my glasses! Can I give you a hug?” Seeing life through her eyes has been magical for all of us. Lucy’s journey began with the gift of glasses and is being sustained by all she has been able to see because of them. This girl has BIG, audacious goals for her time at Saving Grace, and possesses every bit of the grit it’ll take to reach them. In the human services realm, people tend to glorify the “helpers”—as if the fate of those we serve rests entirely on us. How exhausting that would be if it were true! Friend, the REAL truth is, Lucy and others like her are the real heroes, the MVP’s, the world changers. Years from now when our daily involvement in her life has dwindled, SHE is the one who will continue the work. She is the one whose big risks, bold prayers, and great determination will change the next generation of her family, her community, and her world. The young woman who comes to Saving Grace is not a victim, she is a WORLD CHANGER, and when she finally begins to realize this truth about herself, there is nothing she can see that she can’t also be.❤
Cherri Rodriguez Director of Development
“I am shy and smart. Quiet and polite. I am sweet, gentle, loyal, and dedicated. My confidence is growing. I have conquered my negative thinking and fears about my future. I am Grace.”— Lucy
Photographs courtesy of SG ministry partner
Flower crown courtesy of SG ministry partner
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B. R. A. V. E. values
Saving Grace is a Christ-centered home in Northwest Arkansas offering hope and transformation to young women lacking critical supports, by providing relationships, skills, and resources to empower generational change.
We believe in God and His people. We have a God-centered confidence that He will equip us to serve and love others deeply, as we all pursue our original purpose in Him. We are committed to dream big, pray hard and live out bold faith as we work with “Grace” to break the cycle of poverty for generations to come. Saving Grace Program Coach, Maggie Powers, says, “‘Grace’ (SG freshman) is investing in her church, taking time to study the word, and leaning into gratefulness. She has things she wants to accomplish while she’s here and believes that she can do it. I have seen her commit to budgeting, start to see the value in herself and her time, and serve the children in her church and at her job.”
We set a high bar for ourselves and the girls we serve. We all work hard and recognize it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to us. We are committed to doing what we say we will do, “owning our own space” and being fiscally responsible, as we continue to lean in and lead this generation out of poverty. Maggie says, “Charisma (SG Pink Shirt) is living this out! She does what she says she will do. She knows that breaking the cycle of generational poverty is possible. She wants more! The other day she said, “I was going to be perfectly happy living off of a government check, but after seeing how my (foster) mom lived, I knew I could do more.”” “Jasimine (SG Pink Shirt) has also shown responsibility. She is motivated, teachable, present, and is leaning into pink shirt phase!”
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We bring our true selves to this community and invite others to do the same. Life is messy, let’s stick together! We are committed to building each other up, expressing our needs, and practicing good self-care. Maggie says, “Khrystyna (SG Sophomore) is showing up authentically for herself! She’s working hard to learn and own who she is. She is willing to ask for help when she needs it. She’s a dreamer and has big, beautiful hopes for her future!“
We believe each girl is worthy of investment. We also place a high value on all our partners in the community; donors, volunteers and organizations. We are all in this together! We are committed to being generous in all things, playing well with others and SHOWING UP—for the young women we serve and for our community! Saving Grace Development Director, Cherri Rodriguez, says; “Brittney (SG Graduate) lives out this value by showing up BIG for people. It’s so neat to watch her pour into others the way she’s been poured into over the years at SG. The words of courage and love spoken over her are words she’s now speaking over OTHERS! WOW!”
We are here to change lives. We are constantly learning how to do this better. We are committed to getting positive outcomes for generations to come. We are committed to keeping a positive attitude, learning and growing and thinking long-term. This isn’t a quick fix. This is life-altering work. We choose to take the time it takes and continue to be dedicated to holding ourselves and the young women we serve to a high standard. Cherri says, “Ciera (SG Junior) is such a joy to my heart. She keeps a positive attitude, and thinks long term! She holds herself to a high standard and is committed to herself and her SG sisterhood. I love that about her!”
We intentionally live out our B.R.A.V.E. values every day, in every decision and every conversation. We begin our staff meetings by reading our mission and value statements out loud. We lean in and talk about how we are living those out and staying true to the work God has called us to. We use this as a filter to ensure high standards for ourselves and the young women we serve, believing we are accountable to God and our community.
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We are so grateful to our friends at Schuber Mitchell Homes in Bentonville, for making this event possible at no cost to our guests.
is a sacred gathering of women, where mercy meets the messy. The gospel is spoken from a place of genuine love and the Holy Spirit seems to hover. This is an annual event for every girl who’s ever been in our program, as well as her mentors, to come back together in community. This year nearly ninety mentors and mentees gathered. Here are some of their favorite moments from Grace Camp 2019. “The staff was nice and sweet. I also made a few new friends. The speakers modernized the Bible in today’s words to make it more relatable for everyone, such as the soul-care vs self-care lesson!” —Lucy, SG freshman “Grace Camp has always been one of my favorite events, but this year felt different. When you pick a theme like “The Comeback” in a season where you are getting your tail kicked it becomes less of a theme and more like a battle cry. This weekend was powerful for all of us. We’re all living proof that “The Comeback” is always greater than the setbacks. We’re the game changers. We are the weak becoming strong, through Jesus.” —Jennifer Watson, Grace Camp Speaker @jenniferwatson “Grace camp gave me a new start. I’m looking at things differently now in how I do things for others and myself. Soul care is so important and I have to make time for that. I discovered things about myself and while that was hard, it was also really awesome. Thank you for such an amazing weekend and continued support as I begin to deal with all those things I have run from.” —Alicia, SG Alumni, 2010 “The most powerful thing for me is when Becky said in the mentor group session that “Fear comes from the Devil.” I knew this, but having her say it in the context that she did changed my thought process. Thank you!” —Monica Massmann, SG Mentor for life “The “I AM” boards that Keri Sallee did with us made a big impact on me. I’m always too hard on myself, so it really gave me a new perspective. For example, one of my “mean girl words” to myself was that I’m slow or uneducated, but during the circle time my tribe wrote that I am learning and appreciate learning even the smallest of details, which I now remind myself of because it is true!” —Sydnie, SG Aumni 2017 “This weekend was wonderful and empowering! Such a great reminder that fear is from the devil! And that God has such big plans for us! So thankful for this community, atmosphere, art, activities, and wonderful speakers! A safe place to be vulnerable with our mess.” —Cara Gooch, SG Mentor for life “I loved horseback riding, connecting with my sisters, and sessions where you learn that it’s ok to be broken. I also loved dancing with everyone and seeing people open up and set things aside and allow themselves to be silly and in the moment.” —Courtney, SG Alumni 2011 “Grace Camp is a weekend to be reminded how much we need our sisters; whether we are mentors, mentees, or staff. We are stronger together! And we get to see how far some have come on their journey with God, while rejoicing that others are just beginning theirs. God is so good.” —Laura Silva, SG Mentor for life “I learned that life never gets “wrapped up with a bow”. We continue to struggle forward and God is faithful to show up when we do!” —Ashley Anne, SG Alumni 2011 “Keri Lynn’s talk about the difference between soul-care and self-care really spoke to me! I have spent all this money on books to better my soul and I give up on them only a few chapters in. Keri challenged us to pick 1 thing from the soul-care list and do it for 30 days, so mine is going to be to “read intentionally” from the books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf.” —Keri Sallee, Grace Camp Worship Leader and Art Instructor @thecreativelifestudios “I loved camp it was amazing! My favorite part was the art project that we did. I thought it was a real eye opener on how hard we are on ourselves. I also loved the sessions. I got a lot out of those, especially the “grow slow” session. It reminded me that it doesn’t matter how fast I go in life, what matters is that I’m going.” —Charisma, SG Freshman “The message all throughout the weekend was so powerful! So many incredible nuggets. Also, the dance party was pretty epic!” —Kasheena Dill, SG Mentor for life “Doing the art project & truly reflecting on it was so profound! Our “inner mean girl” can be so harsh, but to take a step back and not allow her to take control was a beautiful moment. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to grow as a tribe with other mentors, with “Grace”, and with the staff in such a safe place where being vulnerable wasn’t something to fear.” —Brianna Fields, SG Mentor for life “Being in a room full of lovers of Jesus and broken ones just like me felt like I finally had a home. Granted, I am around the same kind of people at my home church every week, but this was way different. I can’t explain why. You all touched me in a profound way.” —Chasity Heitt, Mentor for life
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A hope and a future...
Many of you know the incredible story of Saving Grace—the God-sized dream of our founder, Becky, birthed out of a painful past and a desire to give girls like her a place to call home. It’s the kind of story that breaks your heart into a thousand shards and then mends it in the same sitting—laced with grace and wrapped up in gratitude. If you haven’t heard it for yourself, come over and let’s sit a while. We’ll put the kettle on. Saving Grace has been home to over 125 young women in the last ten years, empowering them to break the brutal cycle of poverty that has so greatly influenced their lives—to God be all the glory and praise! But friends, we believe He’s calling us to do even more. Our program has received over 100 applications in the last year, but in our current space we can only serve 12 girls at a time. There’s a great need for our ministry to expand and serve even more vulnerable young women in our community—the daughters of NWA. Over the last several months, God has cast His vision and given us a very exciting plan to make growth tangible. The Dream is a Saving Grace Farm-style campus built to serve 50 young women at a time. Will you lean in for a moment as we share this vision with you for the first time? ❤
Cherri Rodriguez Director of Development
farms GRACE COTTAGE
(Pink Shirt house) “Pink Shirt” is phase one of our current program—a time for healing and a fresh start. Pink Shirt phase puts the brakes on survival mode and provides “Grace” with an opportunity to learn new healthy rhythms and routines. This house will be technology-free, and relationship-rich. “Grace” will spend time in counseling, contributing to the community farm alongside the other girls in Pink Shirt, and laying a foundation for her move to Grace House in a few short months. This is the restorative phase that prepares “Grace” for all the hard work ahead!
GRACE HOUSE Freshmen and Sophomores in the program, will call Grace House their home as they continue on their journey to independent living. This house will mimic the atmosphere of the current Saving Grace residential program. Here “Grace” will begin to practice paying rent and contribute to the community as she attends school, gets her first job, and works toward achieving her personal goals. She’s learning new things and gaining skills that will help her break the cycle of poverty. This is the phase where we see the most growth happen! “Grace” is gaining momentum!
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GRACE GROVE When “Grace” moves into the Junior and Senior phase of our program, she’ll get the chance to practice independent living in her own place! This is an opportunity to put into practice all the skills she’s learned so far—because we find success in the doing! She’ll continue to attend life skills classes, tailored to her specific needs as a senior resident, while she moves toward real independence, living in her own efficiency apartment.
EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY Grace Farms will have its own licensed equine therapist, therapy horses, and barn. Just like our current program, “Grace” will have the opportunity to heal through counseling in a non-traditional setting which uses horses as a means to facilitate deeper healing for victims of trauma. We hope to be able to offer this service to foster families and other community members who will benefit from this incredible tool.
THE DREAM CONTINUES... Other plans include a community garden, office space, and a classroom/training space for things that are also a part of our current program, such as life skills classes, celebrations, art therapy, mentor gatherings, discipleship classes, trainings for our volunteers, community outreaches, staff development, traditional office counseling, crisis intervention, donation space, and Sisters Closet Boutique.
Help us raise our first $40,000! Friend, we know this is a multi-million dollar project from start to finish. We also believe that TOGETHER we can do so much more, serving deeper and wider to break the cycle of poverty! Psalm 50:10 reminds us that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He also owns the hills! He provides through you and moves in hearts to give when we aren’t even aware. We are excited to share with you that a generous donor has pledged to match the first $20,000 in gifts designated to our growth fund. This means your gift of any amount toward the future of “Grace” will have a double impact!
As excited as we are to take steps of faith toward this dream, our desire is that our current program will not be overshadowed by this opportunity for growth, so if you are a regular supporter of Saving Grace, PLEASE continue your generous support there. But friend, if you feel God nudging you to invest something more toward the future of “Grace”, would you consider giving a special gift to our growth fund?
There are many ways to give
1229 W. Poplar St. | Rogers, AR 72756
Designate your gift to “Growth Fund”
Thank you for being a Light! Illustrations by
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Saving Grace NWA
Nonprofit Org US Postage Paid Permit #14 ROGERS AR
1229 W. Poplar St. Rogers, AR 72756 | (479) 636-1133 savinggracenwa.org
SAVE DATE Donate your birthday 23,000 teens age out of foster care every year on their 18th birthday, but YOUR birthday can help welcome them home. Ask your friends and family to give donations instead of gifts. Every penny raised will give girls a home and a reason to celebrate.
To sponsor this event contact Cherri Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-387-7822
Christmas Wish List House: Dishes Glasses Silverware Serving Utensils Knife Set
"Grace": Pretty Stockings Soft Lush Sofa Blankets Gift Card for Winter Coat
Individual wish list upon request.
Email email@example.com for more information on how you or your group can provide Christmas gifts for â€œGrace.â€?