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Message From Executive Director Debbie Rippstein

Gracewood is about a lot of first steps. I thought about this recently when our staff and moms began a new physical fitness program. It was intimidating, but we were challenged to make a healthy choice or change that would be a small step in a positive direction.

These changes caused me to think about the changes we ask our families to make. When they arrive, these changes seem almost impossible at first. However with a bit of time, practice and some success, the process becomes easier. New habits replace old ones. Encouragement replaces doubt and suddenly self-confidence blossoms. It all starts with that first step.

Gracewood is about a lot of first steps. This past year we took first steps as we implemented ways to build sustainable funding for Gracewood, which provides its services at very little or no cost to the moms and children in residence.

As part of that, we were challenged to find new ways of introducing people to Gracewood, which took us out of our comfort zone. We initiated Home, Hope and Healing tours to introduce people to our ministry and we held a major luncheon for prospective donors that had amazing results. God is indeed good!

First steps are all around us. We are adding new events all the time. Children and moms have stepped back into school, well equipped for success thanks to the generosity of donors. Volunteers are a blessing, whether it is a church group bringing new backpacks, school supplies, school clothes and uniforms or another church that had an ice cream truck come to our campus so the kids could choose ice cream before they received their school supplies. Other groups are providing monthly meals for our moms and children. And one of our moms recently was baptized! Now that truly was a big first step!

You have an opportunity to take a first step with us. If you are new to our ministry, we invite you to come visit us. Take part in one of the Home, Hope and Healing tours that are scheduled twice a month. Visit the Gracewood home page for details. Thanks for visiting our website! We look forward to seeing you soon!