The Disciple Women’s Ministries of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) hosted a coffee Tuesday morning to learn about the Ebby House.
Most of Dallas has now heard about the Ebby House. There have been news articles about it and, of course, everyone knows Ebby Halliday. She is a real estate icon and philanthropist who has spent many of her years in Dallas empowering women. At Central Christian Church, we know her personally because she is a long-time member of Central’s congregation.
But what is the Ebby House? Is it the little white real estate office at the corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway?
No. The Ebby House is a newly renovated home on the Juliette Fowler Communities Campus in East Dallas.
Cindy Wabner, director of Mission Advancement at Fowler and Kristin Mazza, executive director of the Ebby House came to Central Christian Church Tuesday morning to explain what The Ebby House intends to achieve and why it is so important.
Every year 18 year old children “age out” of the foster care system. As “adults” they are on their own. In spite of the fact that they have often already been “beaten down” by circumstance; they are now faced with dealing with a world that is sometimes difficult even with the support of a family and the gift of an education.
“Each time a child is moved from one foster home to another it causes a six month to one year set back in their emotional adjustment, so the young women are already behind their chronological years in maturity when they reach 18,” said Wabner.
Think about your daughter or your granddaughter. My granddaughter is about to turn 16 years old. She called me one afternoon last week, the beginning of the new school year, to share the news that she had earned 100 on her first exam.
“Whoopee! Way to go! Proud of you.” I said.
Imagine a young girl making 100 or even a 50 on a test and having no one who truly cares to share that joy or even that defeat.
Imagine your daughter or granddaughter dreaming of a prom dress with little chance of getting one. Or a pair of shoes or a backpack or any of the many things that make growing up fun. Or, for that matter, just being “first” in someone’s eyes.
That is the life for many youngsters in foster care.
Just imagine what it would be like to turn 18 and already be so filled with disenchantment and disappointment that you had very little hope left.
The statistics show that 70 percent of the young ladies who have “aged out” of foster care say they want to go to college. Realistically, three – 11 percent actually receive a bachelor’s degree.
About 350 to 400 young girls age out of foster care each year in the DFW area and they look forward to a life of homelessness, prostitution, prison and unwanted pregnancies because they have no skills and they are emotionally and financially ill-equipped to enter the world on their own.
Juliette Fowler Communities, through the Ebby House, wants to break that cycle.
“A loving home, upbeat décor, rules for succeeding are all a part of the program at the Ebby House,” said Mazza.
Financial responsibility, meal planning, food preparation and smart shopping are basic living skills that will be learned at the Ebby House.
The opportunity to finish high school at a local school or the GED program is part of the curriculum at the Ebby House.
If a participant in the Ebby House program does not have a grandmother, she can have a surrogate at Juliette Fowler. “The Grand Pal” program pairs young ladies with senior residents to love and learn from each other. What a “win/win” there.
There are so many opportunities for volunteering at the Ebby House. One requirement for living in the house and participating in the program is that the young ladies do have to work part time resulting in a need for skilled volunteers for mentoring. Lawyers, doctors, home economists, CPAs —your skills are needed.
The Disciple Women of Central Christian Church have opted for gift cards as one of their ministries for the Ebby House. Disciple’s Ministries President, Mary Chris Gibbons, announced that Central will donate gift cards for use at food stores, discount stores and bed and bath stores for the Ebby House residents to use when shopping for their household needs.
Contact Cindy Wabner or Kristin Mazza at Juliette Fowler Communities and arrange for a tour of the Ebby House so you can see first-hand the wonderful work that they are doing.
Visit Central Christian Church for Sunday worship so you can see first-hand the spiritual enrichment and community service that Central is providing.
Central Christian Church is located at 4711 Westside Dr., just off Mockingbird Lane. The church is home to a community dog park, the AcersCommunityGarden named in honor of Ebby Halliday Acers and Maurice Acers and Park Cities Connecting Point. Sunday worship is at 11 a.m. All are welcome!