The Wheeler House almost didn’t happen. In 2014, Serve Denton had $20,000 in the bank and $100,000 of invoices that were due. We were in the middle of renovating the building for The Wheeler House.
I left Mississippi to come and live with my sister to seek better educational opportunities for my kids. After an argument with her, she put me out on the street with my babies. I was homeless in a place I had never even been to before. I found out about the shelter, Monsignor King Outreach Center (MKOC), and went to stay there instead of sleeping in my car with my babies.
We are so excited to welcome Mandi Saville as our new Operations Assistant!
Mandi will be helping with a variety of administrative tasks at the Serve Denton Center. She will also act as the liaison between Serve Denton and our partner nonprofits at The Wheeler House.
Jainah loves to serve. She loves to minister to those who are overlooked, underestimated and outcasted in their own communities. When looking for a place to use her skill set, she came across The Wheeler House.
Jainah has been the House Mom at The Wheeler House since it opened in 2015 and recently concluded her time with us. While most people would have only stayed for one year, Jainah stayed for three.
Denton Calvary Academy (DCA) has agreed to purchase all the property on the west side of Nottingham Drive and W. University Drive from Denton Bible Church (DBC).
Serve Denton currently leases a 32,000 square foot building on this property with a 20- year lease from Denton Bible Church. The agreement includes a significant termination fee that DCA will pay Serve Denton. This will enable Serve Denton to pursue other real estate options to advance its mission of supporting nonprofits that open doors for people in need to become self-sufficient. Serve Denton has formed a search committee to look for other potential properties to purchase, renovate and operate in a similar manner to what it does at its present facility.
As part of this agreement, Denton Bible Church will transfer the ownership of The Wheeler House to Serve Denton. This facility provides space for healthcare services, homeless street outreach, and transitional housing for women and children in need. Since Serve Denton has been staffing and operating the facility since its initial opening, the transfer of ownership gives Serve Denton more latitude for development and expansion of that mission. This transfer represents a significant gift to Serve Denton.
Concurrently, Pat Smith, Serve Denton’s Executive Director, has been generously loaned to the organization by Denton Bible Church for over two and a half years. He has given notice of his desire to step aside so the board of directors can hire a full-time executive director. A search committee composed of Tim Crouch, Larry Parker and Rebecca Stanley will lead the effort. Pat Smith is deeply committed to Serve Denton’s success and will remain a board member. The board anticipates making a hiring decision by March. Pat will remain the executive director until someone is hired and assumes that position.
For more information about Serve Denton, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are currently 11 kids living at The Wheeler House ranging in ages from one to 14 years old. The Denton Parks Foundation stepped in to provide ongoing scholarships for these kids to attend their programs all year round! The shift to an indoor childhood has accelerated in the past decade, with huge declines in spontaneous outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming and touch football, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.
Surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CDC found that a child is six times more likely to play a video game on a typical day than to ride a bike.
These statistics show the importance of getting our kids to play outside and enjoy the outdoors. The Denton Parks Foundation has stepped in to help with this.
The Denton Parks Foundation organizes the Fourth of July Liberty Run; Paddle, Pound & Pedal Challenge; Reindeer Romp; and plenty of other programs. They head up an ongoing project that allows people to purchase trees in memory of someone, living or deceased, to be planted in Legacy Forest. The Lake Forest Park on Ryan Road, commonly known as the “Dog Park,” is also a project of theirs!
They kept two summer camps from shutting down due to a federal funding cut by raising $20,000 so kids from low-income families wouldn’t have to miss out on the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills, build self-esteem, life skills and pro-social behaviors.
"The building blocks of self-esteem are belonging, learning, and contributing. Camps offer unique opportunities for children to succeed in these three vital areas and even beyond home and school,” said Michael Popkin, Ph.D., family therapist and founder of Active Parenting.
The Denton Parks Foundation serves our community well by making our city beautiful, but also generously providing a way for the little ones at The Wheeler House to experience the beauties of childhood.
For more information about The Wheeler House, click on the button below. To contact the Denton Parks Foundation, email their executive director Molly Tampke at email@example.com.
We took some time to talk to a mother of 5 who once was homeless to hear her story about moving into transitional housing at The Wheeler House and then to permanent housing. We also talked to Michael Pirtle, director of Vision Ministries, about his perspective on homelessness in Denton.
When the counselor at her children’s school told her about The Wheeler House, Jessica O’Bannon’s entire life changed. Jessica is a single mother of five children, and when she left her home in Mississippi to come to Denton, TX, she was looking for a better life for her and her children. But, when her expected living situation didn’t work out, Jessica was forced to prepare her family for a life on the streets.
Jessica called The Wheeler House every single day until she got accepted because she knew this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. For Jessica and her family, The Wheeler House has been their clean slate. Throughout the last six months, her children have become more grounded in school, and Jessica has been able to pursue a diploma she has been working toward for ten years. “They have given us so much,” she said, “materialistic things, yes, but also their generosity, their love, kindness, their support…something I have not had in a very long time.”
Jessica and her family will be moving out of The Wheeler House at the beginning of July, and they are all very excited to start their new life in permanent housing. Jessica will be also be graduating in September 2016 with her diploma and plans to continue schooling to get her Associate degree so she can continue to provide for her family. “My five children are my motivation; they are the only motivation that I have because I am the only one that they have, so I have to keep going,” Jessica said.
Though Jessica and her family have experienced some roadblocks on their journey to a stable and healthy life, The Wheeler House has been an “amazing blessing” in allowing them to get settled in their new home of Denton, TX, and back up on their feet.