Dear GRACE Family,

        We are counting down to our annual 24 Hours of GRACE fundraiser. During this event, we humbly ask our supporters to go online and make a contribution to help the five-thousand people who will come through GRACE doors this year looking for assistance. Each one has a special story, and we wish we could tell you about the extreme want and need we see every day here at GRACE. Some stories are heartbreaking, but nearly all have happy endings because of GRACE.
        There is one story in particular we are so very glad to share with you now. It’s a story you may have heard before.  Courtney S. graduated last week from our Transitional Housing program. That night she stood before a crowd of GRACE volunteers, staff, and friends, and dozens of women and family in the Transitional Housing program, fighting through tears to remind us all of her struggles. Unashamed of the depths of despair she experienced, she was proud to tell of her survival and her achievements.
        Courtney came to us feeling extremely broken. The same can be said about a lot of our clients in Transitional Housing, but what makes Courtney’s story different is the age at which she found GRACE — being one of the youngest woman accepted into the program. Her journey had taken her through places no young teenage girl should ever have to experience. She sought acceptance and love through unhealthy relationships after a pattern experienced in her own family. She describes her “ups and downs” in her own words: My Life So Far, which is included in part below.
        Her relationships led to an unwanted pregnancy, until she heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Agonizing decisions followed and she walked into an adoption center. She was not prepared to bring a child into the same world she had experienced. Then suddenly, her direction in life became clear. The adoption agency helped her find a pregnancy program where she delivered her son. Then the agency referred her to GRACE as her time in that program grew to a close.
        At the GRACE Transitional Housing graduation, Courtney acknowledged the fact that she struggled with new found freedoms and decision making. Although her path was not easy, or always straight, she was guided by Transitional Housing Director Jamé Scott, LMSW, Courtney and began to flourish. Her new-found self-assurance led her to training as a dental assistant, and each new week she gained additional life skills for life-after-GRACE.
        Our staff would be the first to credit Courtney with everything she has achieved, while also acknowledge GRACE for giving Courtney the freedom to pursue her new life. GRACE was there for Courtney with a safe shelter and loving environment. GRACE was also able to help with assistance with childcare expenses, food, housewares and furnishings, clothing, and wise guidance and direction, when needed, to help Courtney achieve her dreams of a better life for herself and her son.
        Courtney’s story is by no means complete, but the two years she was with GRACE has shown her a new way. A way she can stand on her own. A way she can be a role model for her son. A way she can become a thoughtful, grounded and self-confident person. Stories like Courtney run throughout GRACE. But the happy endings are up to you.
        At GRACE, we see our place as the channel through which the generosity of our community runs. Because of you, people like Courtney are guided towards wholeness; their families are made stable and self-sufficient; and our community continues to be the kind of place of which we are proud. Please consider going to our website and contributing a gift for 24 Hours of GRACE by clicking here – literally every dollar counts. Better yet, make a gift and send this message out to all your friends and ask them to make a donation!
Thank you in advance for all you do!

In His Service,

Shonda Schaefer

Executive Director


Read Courtney’s story in her own words here.