Oh for Grace... Dear Friends, Time goes by faster than ever these days. I don’t know
about you, but I find myself struggling to keep up with all that I need to accomplish. I’m a wife, mother, friend, leader…and so much more. At times it feels like my pillow and the music on my alarm clock are dancing and I wasn’t invited to the party. I chose this life. I find myself worshiping, even in my own brokenness, thanking God that He allows me to do this every day. There’s freedom that comes when we find ourselves in the most vulnerable of spaces, exposing all of our brokenness. It’s in that place
where God uses our mess to heal others. When “Grace” finds herself between storms, she makes her way to the back door at the old convent, her eyes begging for help. We open ourselves up to another story that takes our breath away. Things can get messy when we show up vulnerable. I’m so excited about this spring/summer edition of
“Grace RePurposed.” I hope you’ll take time to find a quiet spot and read the stories we’ve chosen for you about “Grace.” She’s amazing and you’re going to be so proud of all that she’s accomplishing through your support. She’s doing things different than the previous generation. She’s gutsy and showing up to make brave choices. We are hopeful as we watch her struggle through this program, fully aware “she can’t be what she can’t see.”
We also believe that when everyone matters, everyone wins and that means “Grace” wins every time. ❤ God’s grateful girl,
Becky Shaffer, Executive Director
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Kendra moved to Saving Grace the first time, on August 11, 2010, the day before her 18th birthday.
I was 18 the first time I went to Saving Grace.
She came to us straight out of foster care. Her
I remember going to the store with one of
story wrecked us. Generational poverty was the
the staff and walking around by myself. I
only culture she knew–she was more than rough around the edges. She’d been with us less than 24 hours, when out of the blue mama showed up… the mother who had lost custody of Kendra and her younger siblings, the mother she’d not seen since going into care. Kendra left that day with her mom, only to apply again multiple times over the last nine years.
realized at some point I couldn’t find the staff who had brought me and I panicked. I was lost. I hated getting lost. The next day, Mama showed up at Saving Grace, unannounced and bawling. I hadn’t seen her since my siblings and I were taken away. I remember not feeling anything. I was numb. I went back into survival mode and felt like the little girl I was when I lived with her. So whatever she
I remember how cautiously we moved through
told me to do, I did. She wanted me to leave,
a decision to extend an invitation to Kendra to
so I did.
give our program another chance last year. We’ve learned so much more about childhood trauma and how good experiences heal bad experiences. Kendra desperately needed good experiences to
Recently I applied again. I want this time to be different. I’ve been in the program a few times because, thankfully, they have a way of making us feel like we are always welcome home. SG was the first glimpse at anything healthy,
heal from the trauma of her past.
and I want it. I’m working hard in the program, attending Northwest Arkansas
We have women who mentor for life, but Kendra
for second, third and in my case, fourth chances. Thank you. Thank you for
had become pretty well versed in burning bridges.
helping to give me a life I never could have gotten on my own.
She’s had numerous mentors. It’s tough to go from a home where nothing is sacred; where love is only
Community College, as well as working part time at McDonald’s. I’m thankful
Thank you for showing me a different way. —Kendra
used for manipulation and violence is the only form of discipline…to a safe, loving community where love, respect, and kindness are the norm. Kendra is different today. She’s maturing. She’s been given grace and a safe place to fall. We trust God to write her story and heal her heart. Oh for “Grace“ to trust Him more.❤ — Becky Shaffer
Christine Gustin, Kendra Owens, Christine Winn, and Sandy Young
...to Trust Him More
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Celebrate “Grace” I’ll never forget the day I met Brittney. She was standing in the lobby of my church waiting for youth group to begin. I breezed through and quickly greeted her. “Hi! How are you?” I asked, in my usual chipper voice. “Not good.” She replied. This stopped me in my tracks. Either she wasn’t aware that the social norm was to respond with “I’m good. You?”, or she was someone so desperate for human connection that she was willing to tell the actual truth to one annoyingly cheery stranger. “Well, would it be okay if I gave you a hug and prayed over you?” I asked. “Yes.” she replied as she fought the urge to cry.
Over the next few days, we exchanged messages on Facebook and I began to learn about Brittney’s home life. In a household fraught with addiction and turmoil, she’d sometimes go days without having anything to eat, locking herself in her room to escape the verbal and physical violence that regularly occurred between her mom and stepdad. During one such incident, she was able to escape to a friend’s home for the night and returned to utter chaos the next morning. Large holes riddled the walls,
broken glass covered the floors—her own belongings totally destroyed.
Over the years, other family members would try to step in and remove Brittney from the home, but those efforts always came up empty. Then, during her junior year of high school, Brittney began attending a local church with her aunt, and over the next two years, she would come to know Jesus. He began to put people in her life who would prayerfully support and encourage her— even providing gifts that would become her first memories of Christmas. Just after graduating from high school, Brittney was finally free to leave her dysfunctional family home and made the choice to move in to Saving Grace. Here, she found so much more than a safe, clean space where she was fed and cared for. She found the loving family she’d always longed for.
This summer, Brittney will graduate from the Saving Grace program, equipped with all of the tools, life skills, and supportive relationships she needs to ensure that the cycle of verbal and physical abuse stops with her. ❤ — Cherri Rodriguez, Director of Development
“These women encourage and push me to meet my goals, love me unconditionally everyday, and teach me so much. They will spend an entire Saturday afternoon helping me pick an outfit that I feel confident in, even if it means we go to 6 different stores. They will embarrass me any chance they get. We celebrate each other. Last night we all got together and decorated cookies and made lots of sticky messes. They let me spend holidays with them. They brought me in and made me a part of their families. I am forever grateful for these four @brittney_lanee women. They are the best mentors.” #lovemytribe #mentors #family — with Cara Gooch, Donna Killgore Pearson, Christina Iacovino Roling and Wendi Snider-Seidel.
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“To see Brittney today—a strong, confident, loving woman—is to know that GRACE wins every time!” — Wendi Seidel, Saving Grace Program Manager and Mentor for Life “It has been such a blessing to see God transform Brittney into someone who stands up and fights for what she needs. There have been so many moments where I thought I would come in as a mentor to save the day but she ends up teaching me so much.” — Cara Gooch, Mentor for Life “I’m continually impressed by Brittney’s grit and perseverance. She chooses to challenge herself to grow and serve others, while walking outside of her comfort zone. I cannot wait to see her conquer the next adventure!” — Christina Roling, Mentor for Life “I have seen so much growth in Brittney since she walked through the doors of Saving Grace. Her confidence level, her work ethic, her ability to embrace and love others. She has such a gift with children and with art and writing, and I’ve watched as those gifts have blossomed. It will be fun to watch as she continues to grow into this next phase of her life.” — Donna Pearson, Mentor for Life
“Since moving to Saving Grace, I have accomplished more than I ever thought I’d be able to. I’ve gone to college, got a job that I love, got my drivers license, and bought my first car— with cash! So much has changed in the last few years. I always have food in my fridge, I live in a safe, clean environment, and I have an army of people who love me no matter what. I have picked up new hobbies and found joy in doing those things. I’ve learned the true meaning of being brave and stepping out of my comfort zone.” — Brittney
Grace Wins On January 6, 2010, we opened our doors and invited the first of many girls to call the little house on Poplar home. And although not every girl completes the program, when everybody matters, everybody wins. Grace wins. If she will show up, all in, for even one day, she will leave with something she didn’t have before. Her life is altered. Her future changed. There are 5 phases in the Saving Grace program, each one full of unique opportunities for “Grace” to experience new things and find new norms. She can’t be what she can’t see, so we want her to learn by doing things different than the generation before. “Good experiences, heal bad experiences.”
Pink Shirt Phase
In Luke 12:6 referring to sparrows, it says “….not one of them is forgotten by God.” Pink Shirt phase is a time to embrace “Grace” in such a way that she has no doubt that she is loved always and never forgotten. This is one of our favorite seasons with the girls. The first few weeks they are with us is a beautiful time of intentional pause to activate the healing process. This is a semi “cell phone free zone,” with purposeful community and a constant reminder that “you’re going to be okay,” as “Grace” finds a safe place and begins to maneuver through this foreign soil where seeds are being planted.
Freshman to Senior Phase
These phases include a combination of the following:
MENTORING We are committed to helping young women develop supportive relationships. Within the first three days, each girl is introduced to her three mentors. These women come with various life experiences and have a lot of wisdom and love to share. They choose to mentor for life. EDUCATION We are committed to supporting the pursuit of educational goals. Young women applying to live at Saving Grace often have obstacles to education. We give incentives and rewards for pursuing educational goals, for both full and part-time students. This includes things like free or reduced rent, weekly groceries, and help getting the school supplies needed. COMMUNITY We are committed to helping each young woman identify her unique footprint within our local community. In addition to the contributions that each resident makes to the Saving Grace house, she makes a regular contribution to her community through volunteering at a local non-profit. LIFE SKILLS We are committed to equipping young women with the life skills they need to excel. Venturing out on one’s own is harder than any of us expect. “Grace” will learn things like making and following a budget, finding a job with a sustainable income, searching for an apartment, making connections with people in our community, and preparing healthy meals on a budget, just to name a few. Every girl who chooses Saving Grace has the opportunity every day she’s with us, to alter her path. We make every effort to provide experience and direction toward breaking the cycle of poverty for generations to come. “Grace” is no longer a victim, but a world changer. When everybody matters, everybody wins. Grace wins every time! ❤
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Grace Girl Manifesto I am BRAVE.
I BELIEVE in big dreams and big prayers. I am RESPONSIBLE, a good steward. I am AUTHENTIC, being genuine and kind to others and myself. I am VALUABLE, seeing the value in myself, my surroundings, and others. I am EFFECTIVE, realizing my efforts to serve others matter greatly.
I am Grace.
y d o b y r e v e s r e tt a everybody m
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Amazing Grace Saving Grace is all about saving the girl “Grace.” It’s not a church, although as individuals, aren’t we really the church? The body of Christ? This unique space we fill in the NWA community provides more than a simple program and a safe place to live until these young women get on their feet. Our hope when we began this journey almost ten years ago, was to break the cycle of poverty for generations to come. As we’ve gotten to know these girls, who’ve blossomed into these incredible young women, we see them as world changers…not victims. Lean in closer and listen with your heart as “Grace” shares a small piece of her experience. And if you’ve ever given support, whether it be as a mentor, volunteer, donating items from our needs list, or giving a monetary gift of support, know that as “Grace” displays her gratitude, she’s truly thanking YOU. ❤
One of the biggest ways Saving Grace impacted my life was the structure. Before coming into the program, I moved from state to state, never living in one place for more than a year. At SG, I was able to rest at the same address for almost 3 years. The seed that was planted has changed everything—not just for me, but for my daughter—who was adopted into a wonderful family upon her arrival, and for those who I can share my victory story with. Your love offering has grown farther than just a need being met—it’s grown into God’s purpose being fulfilled. Thank you!
The support system Saving Grace provided is what I needed most. I have mentors who truly invest time and energy, helping me to succeed. I really wanted to make them proud. In doing so, I not only learned to respect myself, but to respect my story and what I had been through. I am very thankful.
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Saving Grace is a tribe of people that came alongside me during a difficult season in my life—mentors, staff, and volunteers. They loved and encouraged me in my journey. They have become my people! The love of Jesus Christ was displayed through them! I am so grateful to have experienced that. Saving Grace is the real deal!
Saving Grace is so much more than a program. It is in itself a divine tool, anointed by the blood of Christ and led by the Holy Spirit. The greatest gift I received was the comfort and protection to grow in my new-found faith. The support system is unbelievable. I had a team of Godly women standing by ready to help me fight the all-too-real battles of walking with Christ. I came with so much shame, so much brokenness, and an atheist at that. The struggle I faced wouldn’t have been manageable without the love and courage of these mighty warriors; the people who made a difference to me and for me. All I can say is thank you for believing in me and for investing in my future. I could not have taken a new path without your hands to help me, carry me, and guide me. Even the smallest gestures while I was at Saving Grace had a profound impact on my life today. You set an example of how to be gentle, and humble, and loving. I am empowered to be a warrior for those who need a chance like I did. I want to be one person who believes that they can be something more. When I graduated from SG in January of 2011, I walked away as a woman I am proud to be. I walked away whole, loved, and trusting in the God I had denied for so many years. Thank you.
I was placed in foster care when I was 10 and aged out when I was 18. One of the greatest things for me in the Saving Grace program were my mentors. They provided such encouragement and direction. I learned how to have positive relationships. The life skills classes were incredibly beneficial, and although I did not always like it at the time, budgeting has been the most helpful tool since I graduated from the program. I am grateful for those who have given so that I could have an opportunity to find support and love in a community.
When I came to Saving Grace, I had no confidence. I hardly looked up during my interview. Going through the program—and graduating— gave me the confidence to be the woman I am today. Thank you for believing in all the girls who didn’t know how to believe in themselves.
By far the greatest impact Saving Grace made in my life was through my three mentors. I had one stick like glue! Charlotte spent several months treating me to coffee and just listening. She accepted and loved me right where I was in my journey. No judgment. Just love. She was persistent in encouraging me to finish my GED. I did, and finally found a career that worked for me and my 3 small children. She is still a huge part of my life today—always in attendance at birthday parties and events to support my kiddos and me. Honestly, Charlotte was the glue that bonded my family together. I’m so grateful for the program! I’m so grateful for our “Lottie.”
Saving Grace allowed me the opportunity to go to school and to work. Those things gave me something to fight for and a sense of responsibility—the courage and the hope to keep fighting for greatness. I can hardly express how much of an impact it made on my life. If I had a million words, I couldn’t say “thank you” enough. I’m thankful to God for these gracious hearts!
Being at Saving Grace was difficult, but had a big impact on me, especially through equine therapy. My counselor, Miss Karol, helped heal some pain in my past. She was very honest, loving, and patient— and kind of cool! She and her horse, Fiddler, helped me face many of my fears and taught me how to trust, think, and love in healthy ways. Through working with that horse, I learned that I am a leader and one day I will change the world! Thank you for supporting a place that helped put me on a new path. I appreciate you dearly!
The best thing by far about the program was the safe environment for growth and community. Healing took place and boundaries were taught. We learned about safe people, healthy relationships, and trust. Thank you for supporting the program and saying “yes” to the Holy Spirit when He prompted your heart. Jesus was able to multiply this gift in many hearts.
Saving Grace continues to consistently support me even though I’ve transitioned and have a family of my own now. They show up. They lean in and listen. They will always be my friends.
The greatest impact Saving Grace has had on my life was through the mentoring program. Though I was extremely resistant at first, I received two motherly figures in my life that challenged me and helped me through every phase of adulthood. I am so honored that they continue to play a large part in my life. The two of them walked me down the aisle at my wedding and look forward to being “aunts” to my daughter, arriving this August. They both set an amazing example of how a mother should love their child, of how to be in a healthy marriage, of how to love yourself as a woman, and how to love God. With their love and support, I feel like I can take on any challenge.
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Welcome Ho *Foster Care/Poverty Facts 23,000 kids age out of foster care every year in the US 20% of those will become instantly homeless on their 18th birthday 50% will develop some form of chemical dependency Less than 3% will earn a college degree at any point in their lives 70% of girls will become pregnant before their 21st birthday, forcing them to rely on some form of government aid *According to the National Foster Youth Institute, 2017 study
Since opening the doors of Saving Grace in 2010, we’ve welcomed home 117 girls. We exist to serve young women who are homeless or aging out of foster care and have found themselves lacking the skills and resources to make it on their own. Because of your faithful generosity, our doors are open to welcome young women in our community with MORE than just a place to sleep. Here, they will find the healing hope of Jesus and the love of a supportive forever-family. Lives are changing and those changes require funding—but at Saving Grace, we look at raising money a little differently. You may be surprised to learn that we don’t apply for government grants— our ministry is 100% donor funded! This is because God calls us, as His people, to minister to widows and orphans—not the government. We serve the daughters of NWA with the support of generous people like YOU, who believe with us that our girls truly matter! We couldn’t do this work without you! ❤
Cherri Rodriguez Director of Development
If I were able to sit down with you to express my gratitude for your support of Saving Grace, I would say: “I was a hurt, unloved, and abused young woman. Before I arrived on the doorstep of that old convent called ‘Saving Grace,’ zI had lost all hope in everything. But because of you, I was accepted. I was finally able to replace all the lies spoken over me with Truth. Without your support of this ministry, I honestly believe I would be living on the streets—or dead.” You may not know me on a personal level—but you saved my life. You pulled me out of the darkest pit and showed me what kindness, charity, and hope looked like. For that I will always be thankful. I will use my life to help others the way you’ve helped me. Thank you so much for supporting this ministry. You will never know the enormous impact you’ve made on every girl who has called Saving Grace “home.” ❤ — Kimberley
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Breaking the cycle of poverty is not a quick fix. It demands more than a place to sleep and a band-aid solution. Your support can give a brand new beginning to a young woman aging out of foster care or experiencing homelessness—ensuring that the generational cycle of poverty ends with her. ❤ Your monthly gift of $37 ensures that each young woman at Saving Grace receives: Safe & Stable Housing Professional Christian Counseling Money Management Training Personal Coaching Comprehensive Life Skills Training Educational Opportunities “Cord of Three” Mentors Medical/Vision/Dental care …and so much more!
Welcome “Grace” Home
$37 Welcomes One Girl Home
and supports the life-altering change ahead.
Your monthly gift is our greatest need.
$222 a month
or $444 single gift
or $1,332 single gift
or $2,664 single gift
or $5,328 single gift
More giving levels at savinggracenwa.org
There are many ways to give
1229 W. Poplar St. | Rogers, AR 72756
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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
Saving Grace is a Christ centered home in Northwest Arkansas offering hope and transformation to young women lacking critical supports. We provide relationships, skills, and resources to empower generational change.
Serve With Us • • • • • •
Mentor Volunteer Office Team Work Group Teacher/Trainer Dinner with Friends Tutor
Summer Bucket List
• • • • • •
Gift cards for swimsuits Sunscreen Sleeping bags Flashlights Bug Spray Day Passes for Silver Dollar City
More ways to serve at savinggracenwa.org/volunteer
• • • • • •
Paper Towels Toilet Paper Tall Kitchen Trash Bags Copy Paper Swiffer Wet Pads (note: not wet jet) Liquid Laundry Detergent
Pray for “Grace”
• • • •
Open hearts ready to heal Willing hearts to try something new Mentors as they love and lead Provision as we welcome another “Grace” home • Vision as we expand to serve even more
Full list of needs at savinggracenwa.org/needslist Thank you to Main Street Studios and Two Feathers Photography and Design for providing many of the photos, and H. Shaffer Art for the birds illustration in this edition of “Grace RePurposed!.”