Modified GraceWorks for Summer 2020

A note from program director Kay Williams:

I want to update you on the decision we have made in regards to GraceWorks for the summer of 2020. GraceWorks will continue although modified. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we will not have our usual camp of young children. Instead, GraceWorks has partnered with the AmeriCorps Vista program for college students. GraceWorks has been authorized to have up to four AmeriCorps college students employed to ensure GraceWorks continues to move forward for the children and community.

The AmeriCorps staff will do their administrative assignments from home and also complete their on-site hours by working with me to utilize the vegetable beds to grow and harvest fresh produce for Community Kitchens and Grace’s Food Pantry weekly guests. The green space, Woods historic cemetery, Food Forest, rain catchment systems and Grace Place building will all be maintained and continue the work needed to move our projects forward.

Currently, I have scheduled times for individual families to come with their children and help prep the gardens for the growing season. Keeping to this plan of working with only one family a day allows us to follow strict physical distancing while allowing the children to continue to participate and learn. Additionally, we will be back working on the Grace Place renovations next week. (Just a few at a time. The building is big enough for a few to work in different areas and be isolated from each other doing different tasks.) If the community does not see anyone over at the building it will become tempting for some to try and break-in, even though we have an alarm system.

I have developed an Amazon wish list for items we will need this summer to continue our modified GraceWorks ministry. I have also included the AmeriCorps link for any college student interested in applying for a summer position at GraceWorks.

Blessings, and stay safe,

Summer 2019 Program Completed

A huge THANK YOU for all who supported, prayed, participated, and contributed to providing the 20 participants of the 2019 GraceWorks summer ministry a fun, educational and spiritual time of growth. From the stipend-supported young adults serving as staff to the youngest participant: all grew in self-awareness and the knowledge they were loved unconditionally by God.

When asked what they had learned this summer, some of their replies were: “I learned how to use a reciprocating saw, how to fix a bike, how to garden, how to pick vegetables, how to paint, how to build new things, there are a lot of new things I can learn to do like mowing, and how to use a weed eater”. When asked what did they learn about themselves this summer the children and teens replied they learned: “how not to react when I get mad,” “how to stay unbothered, how to have self-control,” and “I can do hard work until it is done.”

Although the kids have completed the summer portion of GraceWorks, the program  continues to move forward in many other areas. The GraceWorks Oversite and Building Board meet monthly to ensure progress in the repurposing of the Grace Place Building.

We have partnered with other Episcopal Churches, and youth groups to bimonthly help maintain the green spaces, work in the food forest, cemetery and in the Grace Place building. We have partnered with the Woods Cemetery organization to clean up the back alley fence line and cemetery. Since the back fence line has been cleared, the amount of loitering and litter behind the church has already decreased.

The GraceWorks fundraiser committee has set the date of October 5th, 2019, for our first annual fundraiser, Catfish and Karaoke. The fundraiser will take place at Willow Woods park and recreation center 1 to 5. As always, volunteers, sponsors, and partners are needed and welcomed!

Our next scheduled workdays are September 7th and October 5th. More will be added as the building progress warrants the volunteer help.

Thank you again to all with willing hearts to serve the children of GraceWorks,
Kay Williams

Phase 1 Complete!

GraceWorks, with the help of many volunteers, has completed the first phase of remodeling the “Grace Place” building on 57th Street. All plaster has been removed, usable wood harvested and the walls we planned to take down have been removed. We are ready to begin phase two of the renovation.

In phase two, the exterior back wall and a portion of a side wall that have water damage will be replaced. Currently, we have partitioned off the back portion of the building in preparation to rebuild the outer back wall. When the outer walls are repaired we will then be ready to begin phase three: replacing the roof. At present we are $20,000 short of having the funds to meet the $50,000 cost of replacing the roof. We have several ways to donate to this project if you’re interested.

Our upcoming work days in 2019 are January 26th, February 23, March 16th, and April 6th. As the weather improves more work days will be added to the schedule. Our workdays are usually Saturday and volunteers work from 9 am to 12 pm. No building experience is necessary (although it is appreciated) and we have tasks suitable for a variety of skills and physical capabilities. Please let Kay Williams know if you would like to volunteer – or (205) 305-4179.