Category: Philanthropy

Nonprofit Turns House Into Home

Dallas Furniture Bank works with partner agencies to help new homeowners get started. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Food, clothing, and shelter are considered necessities of living. But imagine enjoying shelter with nothing to sit on or no television nor bed to lie on at night.

This is the reality of those transitioning out of homelessness. With the help of the Dallas Furniture Bank, many are one step closer to finding security.

“There’s an importance of pride in ownership and stability when you have those basics,” said Aliah Henry, CEO of Dallas Furniture Bank. “We sometimes take for granted the items that we can just go and get, like a bed. We don’t think about those families that are just starting over or a family that had to up and leave in the middle of the night.”

DFB was founded in 2003 as a way to bridge the gap in social services that were already present in Dallas County. Founders Sheryl Fields Bogen and Jerry Szor spearheaded the initiative after acknowledging the lack of furniture resources for families trying to secure housing.

Learning Can Be Fun Afterschool

Bottom left: Dallas Afterschool works with 120 sites throughout Dallas, collectively serving 9,000 students. Activity boxes contain 45-minute activities to help actively engage the students. (Photos Courtesy of Dallas Afterschool)

There was a time when afterschool care was just homework help, apple-juice boxes, and peanut butter sandwiches — not the most appealing situation for today’s youth.

Introducing Dallas Afterschool, where there’s more to programming than just snacks. The staff is in the business of improving the quality of afterschool and summer programs. Since 2007, Dallas Afterschool has collaborated with nonprofit afterschool sites in low-income neighborhoods to suit the needs of the youth in that area.

“There’s something to be said for having kids safe between the hours of three and six,” said Christina Hanger, CEO at Dallas Afterschool.

Today, Dallas Afterschool serves 120 nonprofit afterschool sites, including Trinity River Mission and Family Place shelter, serving nearly 9,000 students.

Mission Inspires Kids to Achieve

Believe and Achieve 2014 grads. (Courtesy Photo)

Since 1988, Trinity River Mission has paid attention to academic advancement of underprivileged youth in West Dallas. This volunteer-based center provides resources such as homework help and tutoring, volunteer opportunities, and free nutritious meals.

At 6 years old, Rosaerlinda Cisneros saw it as a safe place for her and her two older brothers. Cisneros and her siblings grew up in West Dallas and attended public schools in Dallas ISD. They were raised by a single mother with limited English, so TRM’s homework help and tutoring came in handy. In middle school, she participated in Believe & Achieve, the organization’s scholarship program that pairs students with mentors to encourage valuable skills and expose them to post-secondary education.

Founder Invests in Relationships

(Courtesy of Behind Every Door)

If relationships are the keys to success, Park Cities resident Will Dowell says relationships can also help someone out of poverty.

“In ‘A Framework for Understanding Poverty,’ Ruby Payne identifies several types of assets you lack that indicate poverty,” said Dowell, executive director of Behind Every Door Ministries. “Number one is the lack of relationship with someone not in poverty.”

Dowell’s friendship with employee Lawanda Thompson backs up this notion — not that their relationship directly removed her from poverty, but it helped her realize her own worth.

Grad Student Turns to Education

Jayda Batchelder (back left) visits an eighth-grade class using Roadmap to Success at Stockard Middle School. (Photo: Can Turkyilmaz)

Jayda Batchelder had already enrolled in Tulane University’s graduate program when she was accepted to Teach For America for a two-year assignment in Dallas. Thinking she’d return to New Orleans after, she requested a leave of absence.

“It’s so funny how you make plans for yourself, but you don’t realize there’s definitely a much greater plan,” Batchelder said.

Batchelder taught eighth-grade science and saw improvement in students’ test scores. She visited those students the next year to prepare for her second year of teaching.

Giving Back to Caregivers

TAIMH trains professionals with the skills necessary to improve the brain development of at-risk infants and toddlers. (Courtesy Photo)

The term “early childhood development” usually connotes pre-K or kindergarten. What about the years prior? That’s the question that Ashley Borthick sought to answer.

Borthick worked at an inpatient facility for children as an undergraduate at Southern Nazarene University.

“Children could be there 5 and older, and I remember thinking there had to be some kind of foundation for these kids before they reached the age of 5,” she said.

She pursued a master’s degree in human development and early childhood disorders. During her internship with Nexus Recovery Center, she was introduced to a tool that would help her create the healthy foundation that youth need prior to age 5: the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health.