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Apr. 10

Daily Point of Light #4980, Terry Grahl

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Today’s guest post is written by Terry Grahl, wife and mother of four, and the founder of Enchanted Makeovers, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to transform shelters for women and children from surviving to thriving spaces.  Her heart has led her to introduce women, children and volunteers to a way of life, a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about their lives, how we see each other and possibilities for the future. 

Six years ago, I was an award-winning decorator with my own business just outside of Detroit.  One day I received a call from an event coordinator at a Detroit homeless shelter.  He asked that  I help improve the deteriorated space by painting any of the walls.  My visit to the homeless shelter changed my life. I immediately saw that the issues went well beyond paint and bedspreads.  I saw what was really lacking was the message that everyone is worthy of more that just the bare necessities and basic needs.  I was so moved that I took a leap of faith and changed course in my own life to found a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless.  I am now the founder and CEO of Enchanted Makeovers, a national, 100% volunteer non-profit organization whose mission is to transform long-term stay homeless shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. 

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The vast majority of homeless mothers and children have never lived in a nurturing environment nor have they been cared for by a supportive family unit.  I wanted to create a unique model that nurtures women and children living in shelters.  Through various projects and programs, women and children are introduced to a way of life, a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about the possibilities for the future.  The shelter is physically and emotionally transformed into a beacon of hope.

I want people to know that this is not about decorating or just painting a wall.  There is great significance behind how I, and a team of hundreds of national volunteers, accomplish each shelter transformation.  With each project, I want each woman and child living in the shelter to know they are loved and worthy of much more.  As a result, a stronger foundation is created in the shelter system that helps to improve overall outcomes.  Residents are more likely to complete programs and move to the next step of transitional housing and ultimately, re-joining their communities as productive citizens. 

bedroom after

We just recently completed our largest project ever.  For the majority of 2012, we worked at the Detroit Rescue Mission to transform their Genesis II house.  We completely transformed the hallways, 21 bedrooms with a total of 53 beds,and created a sacred sewing room.  Over 300 people including mural artists, crafters, sewers and volunteers from around the country helped to transform this house into a “home”.  

People always ask me how Enchanted Makeovers is different from other groups that volunteer in homeless shelters.  The best way for me to explain it is that no other organization approaches or executes a process that takes care of the “vision, mind and spirit” quite like Enchanted Makeovers. It gets people locally and nationally involved in the future of their own lives as well as the people we serve.  As a result, donors and volunteers are engaged daily in serving with their natural talents, seeing one another in a different light and helping each other to thrive instead of just surviving.  I have been a student for the past six years and what I have learned is women and children don’t need a super hero to save them, they want someone to walk beside them. 

Do you want to be a part of the village that is transforming lives and changing how we see each other?  Please visit Enchanted Makeovers’ website at www.enchantedmakeovers.org to learn how you can get involved!

Know other volunteers creating positive change in their communities? Nominate them for the Daily Point of Light Award!

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