Transforming Lives in Tarrant County: The Resale Shop
Texas’ first YWCA was founded in Fort Worth back in 1907 to serve as a boarding house for poor women, and they have been dedicated to anti-poverty programs for women and children ever since.
In 2015, the group officially changed their name to The Center for Transforming Lives to better dedicate all their focus on folks living in our community. All the money they raise stays here and goes to several programs they have in place to assist low-income and homeless families.
For low-income and homeless families, child care can make or break their ability to earn a living. Without a stable environment, these children are at risk during the most crucial phases of brain development. In the three care centers that the Center runs, they place a premium on continued educational development and make sure children have breakfast and snacks to fuel their learning. They offer full-day, wrap-around care for mainstream kids, as well as low-income and homeless kids. While low-income families pay on a sliding scale based on their ability, children without a residence attend free of charge. The diversity of backgrounds is crucial to the beneficial environment they provide.
Lyndsay Hoover, The Center’s interim development director explains, “We want these kids in school, especially the homeless kids who would either be on the street or in a shelter. We want them learning with us.” It costs the Center approximately five thousand dollars for each homeless child to attend the program for free each year. For the past fifteen years, a major source of income for their good works has been their Resale Shop on Camp Bowie. In addition to the store, The Center for Transforming Lives runs and maintains an event space, Historic 512, whose proceeds benefit the programs in place for women and children.
The Resale Shop manager Nola Davis runs her domain with care, where she works tirelessly to process donations and get them out on the floor to sell – always accepting assistance from new volunteers. As the weather turns and we endeavor the annual tradition of opening closets and cleaning out the old to make way for the new, consider bringing your gently-used treasures to the drop off, where you just need to pull up out back and they will do the work. Even if you are unable to make it to the store they will gladly come pick up your items, which can be processed for tax deductions. Sometimes selling your prized possessions online can be more hassle than it is worth, you can always reach out to the Center for Transforming Lives.
The downtown homeless center has twenty beds available for women and children, capable of assisting clients in need of emergency, transitional or long-term care. Families are paired with advocates, who offer guidance with tuition assistance and navigating the various certification systems and accessing available resources for grants and other aid to get more training and advance their careers. Just as the YWCA did over a hundred years ago, The Center for Transforming Lives is committed to moving Moms out of poverty by providing education, support and employment. Glad to invest in someone’s improved future, private donors often pitch in to help them pay for an education with benefits across the community.
The third element of the project includes financial empowerment classes, which aim to strengthen financial skills, foster savings, and help clients find helpful tools for debt reduction, money management, budget, and refinancing. All are carried out with an emphasis on breaking the cycles of poverty. “When a woman leaves us, we want her to stay out of poverty and remain stable.” Serving approximately 3000 clients, average income increases of clients working with CTL were measured at approximately $10,000 over the course of a calendar year. Every family who successfully gets off the streets represents not only a boon for taxpayers but enriches the tapestry of any city. Fewer people in crisis and less suffering across the board should be a central task of all society.
Hoover explains the relationship between the various sides of CTL, “Kids grow so quickly that they often only wear things a few times; we can use those items. When things come in, we might ask, ‘What do we need for a homeless woman immediately? Let’s service her first.’ Or Resale will get things, and we’ll say this will be perfect for those little babies we take care of downtown. And we are always seeking gently-used towels and hand towels for our homeless clients. There’s a little bit of give and take.”
Nothing is wasted as Nola and her staff at the Resale Shop make the best possible use of everything that comes in to the store. Boutique items with unique pieces and designer brands are a favorite with new stock flowing in weekly. Houseware, furniture, glassware and books; you never know what you might find looking back at their shelves, like the silver tea pot Nola shows off from Leonard’s Department store with the tag still on it.
Put your cast-offs to good use by donating your spring cleaning to help move women and children out of homelessness and poverty. The Resale Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm to take your donations. Donated clothes equal transformed lives.
An Austin native, Lyle Brooks relocated to Fort Worth in order to immerse himself in the burgeoning music scene and the city’s rich cultural history, which has allowed him to cover everything from Free Jazz to folk singers. He’s collaborated as a ghostwriter on projects focusing on Health Optimization, Roman Lawyers, and an assortment of intriguing subjects requiring his research.