Sunday, February 12, 2012

Enchanted Makeovers for Homeless Shelters

Name: Terry Grahl

What is your job? Founder and Visionary for Enchanted Makeovers an award -winning non-profit organization that is recognized internationally.

What social causes are most important to you? Women and children living in shelters.

What charity do you support – and how?  

I create the vision for EnchantedMakeovers, and pour my  heart and soul into every last detail, from makeovers to programs to events to strategic planning. 

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie?
“A polka-dotted pillow changed my life and my journey.”
When I tell people this, most will say, "what?" and then envision a pretty, feminine, polka-dotted pillow, trimmed with a big flowing ruffle. Well, that is exactly what my heart saw when I viewed the old, worn, tattered bed , but clearly not what my eyes saw. That vision was the beginning of my personal transformation. Opportunities present themselves all of the time. We just have to be awakened enough to see them. I feel blessed that God opened my eyes with the vision of the polka-dot  pillow.

You see, in December 2006, I received a call from a gentleman asking for help. I was an interior decorator, and he was the black tie event coordinator of a local shelter.

He said, "we would be so grateful even if you just painted one wall." Honestly, at the time, my first reaction was fear. I was fearful of going. I really didn't know what to expect. I had never been to a shelter.  I decided to make the visit and, as with all of the consultations I conducted with my private clients in my decorating business, I took photos to assist with any necessary planning and visualization. That is, if I would actually accept the volunteer job. I still wasn't sure, and was leaning towards a "probably not".

A week had passed since my first visit to the shelter. I hadn't given it much thought. All I know is that I had this lingering feeling of despair knowing the living conditions of the women and children. I began to reflect upon my own expectations for my life and the dreams of a child. I was a big dreamer; my mother instilled this upon me and my siblings.

Had I forgotten my own dreams? My mother taught me that decorating didn't need to be motivated by money and that by relying on your own creativity and vision – each home improvement was a selfless act of love. For my mother, making a home where her five children felt safe and where our spirits could soar was as important as keeping us fed and clothed.
How could I have forgotten my own big dreams, given my stable circumstances. But, more importantly, how could the women and children in the shelter realize that they were worthy of so much more? They too had dreams, but where could they be found again?
"The pictures, the pictures — I must look at these pictures." As I downloaded them to my computer, there it was, THE picture. There amongst black metal posts, a stained mattress and an unfinished sheet rock wall was an answer. There amongst the harshness was something dear to my heart: a polka dot, a safe pattern that has no sharp edges. There on that seemingly ordinary pillow was an answer. It was an answer from within me but not directly from me.

When I saw the polka dots in that picture, I heard, "Trust me." From that moment, I knew I was prepared to do whatever I could to bring hope to those women and children.

Soon, I was back at the shelter presenting them with a design plan and a vision of what was to come. There was no turning back. I vowed to see this project to completion.

With no funds and no volunteers lining up at the door, I had only to put my trust in God, keep the faith and, most importantly, I needed to step away from my ego. These women and children must not be disappointed again.

As I presented the plan to the group of women and staff, I was overcome with emotion. I again was that vulnerable child wanting their acceptance. I realized the thin wall that separated our lives. We all deserved and desired the same things. It was simple, but seemingly so complicated in its simplicity. I would find a way to break through this thin wall.

"It Takes a Village and I Turned from Decorator to Project Leader to Founder"
Transforming the shelter took more than just my decorating skills. It required me to pull out strengths I did know I had- finding, organizing, and leading enthusiastic volunteers and donors nationwide to help me carry out my vision.

Six months later, the makeover was complete and it was amazing. Even more amazing to me was that I had found my true calling. I wanted to use all of my talents and skills to provide refuge, solace, and hope to people, women and children in the shelters, myself, and volunteers alike.

As I continued accepting work from private clients, I felt something was missing. I had taken on additional shelter projects in 2007, but continued to hold onto the security of my paying clients. In December, 2008, I decided to close my decorating business, Terry's Enchanted Cottage.

I knew without a doubt that God had much bigger plans for my life, and He needed to use me for His glory. We made a deal with each other on that day. I asked that He would continue to provide the needs for my family (food and a roof over our heads) and His request was, "Glorify Me".

In  August 2009, Terry's Enchanted Cottage, established back in 2005, ultimately became Enchanted Makeovers, a non-profit  501 (C) 3 organization. Today, my calling is to transform shelters into beautiful sanctuaries, uplift the human spirit and empower individuals from all walks of life to pursue their dreams.

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved?

Ten Ways You Can Help:
Monetary donations, small and large, are the sustaining heart of the makeovers. Your donation is tax deductible with the IRS.

Invest your time and/or services on a special event, pre-Makeover Days and on Makeover Day. Bulletins are posted on this website as to the needs/services when they arise. Host a monetary and in-kind donation drive in your place of business or in your home.(please contact Enchanted Makeovers first before you begin this process) all tax receipts and thank you letters must be mailed to every donor.

Are you a Crafter or Artist? Contact EM to see how you may be of help. We love and prefer items made by loving, human hands for the special touches for our events or makeovers. 

We are always in need of sewing groups or individuals to make pillowcases, twin size quilts (cottage style), quilts for kids, dolls, aprons and capes for kids.

We are always in need of new white bath towels,  new white wash cloths, set of new white twin sheets, new twin mattress pads, new standard pillow protectors, new or custom journals, new or gently used books, new white crib sheets, sewing supplies and new Converse tennis shoes.

Watch Enchanted Makeovers video.....We hope it will inspire you to work with us.  
Spread the word about Enchanted Makeovers. Blog about us, place an ad in a local or national paper/magazine or write an article.

Contact EM (734-776-0848) We are always in need of freelance writers to write press releases, stories and angels to design brochures and flyers.

Contact EM (734-776-0848) for a radio or TV interview.
Always keep the women and children in your prayers.

How would you define social responsibility? Social responsibility is stepping away from ourself so no one gets hurt. It’s not all about us and how we can get get get. Until we realize we all have the power to make a difference we will never move forward spiritually, emotionally or financially.

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