New transitional residential program to help at-risk women build new lives
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOL–An estimated 60 people attended an open house in Tool recently for Grace House, a safe place where at-risk women can overcome destructive lifestyles of addiction, incarceration and poverty by learning new skills and developing healthy habits while growing in their faith.
Nov. 1, officials from Henderson County and nearby cities, along with other community leaders, got a tour of facilities that have been transformed from a private school to a residential learning center capable of housing up to 12 women at a time.
There was still much construction work to be completed, but visitors got the idea of the layout and the program meant to transform lives by the power and grace of God.
Visitors also got a glimpse of the ongoing support needed to maintain a program, that for some women might be their last chance to turn their lives around.
The program includes one to two house mothers to provide round-the-clock supervision, who will also be responsible for seeing that the structured schedule is maintained.
Besides meal and recreation times, the schedule includes GED/further education classes and spiritual training. The participants will be provided room, board and clothing in an atmosphere of hope and encouragement.
Still under construction is the house’s bathing and laundry facilities, flooring for the public rooms and furnishing of the bedrooms, including that of the house mothers. So far, volunteers under the direction of the Christian Life Center Church caretaker, have been doing the work.
The Grace House board of directors are planning for a January opening of the facility.
“There’s nothing else like it in the county (Henderson), and it is sorely needed,” Pastor Barry Boatright told Rotary Club members recently.
Often women offenders – usually drug offenders – don’t have anywhere to go except back to the same environment that helped produce the problem in the first place, he explained.
The no-cost program will concentrate on teaching life skills, providing counseling and preparing women to seek education, job training, or college classes.
Anger management, parenting skills, money and time management and recovery are a few of the areas that will be covered during the six- to nine-month program.
A board of directors has estimated a modest monthly budget of $7,500, all of it from donations – onetime gifts and monthly partners.
Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake is a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organization. All gifts are tax deductible.
Boatright added that what the facility is seeking from the community, besides monetary funding, is a number of household items.
These items have been put on a registry at Walmart, so community members can see the items needed and purchase any of them for Grace House. They can even be purchased online. The list of things should be printed out from the registry kiosk at Walmart in Gun Barrel City or from home by going to walmart.com/gift registry, select the registry tab and wish list.
In the form, type in Grace House for the first name and Housewarming for the second name and October, 2012 for event date to get the wish list.
Tax-deductible monetary gifts can be sent to Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake, PO Box 43012, Seven Points, TX 75143.
If you think you can help in other ways, please call (903) 887-5429 or (469) 644-6254.
The 6,000-sq.-ft. facility is situated on 13 acres on the west side of Cedar Creek Lake and will include a dormitory, kitchen and classrooms, equipped with computers for training and practice.
“This is not a Christian Life Center Church project, it requires broad community support,” Boatright said. “We won’t be able to sustain a program of this magnitude alone.”