Brenda at Cozy Little House told this story on her blog, and I thought I would like to help by reprinting it here.
This is Terry Grahl, founder and president of Enchanted Makeovers. She is a mother of four and an award-winning interior decorator. In January 2007 she received a call from a black-tie coordinator for a local shelter, asking for her help. He said, "We would be so grateful even if you just painted one wall." She was hesitant. She had never been to a shelter. But she told herself she would go and take photos, as she did with all her clients, in case she accepted the volunteer job. The reality she saw there would change her life.
A week passed. "The pictures, the pictures...I must look at these pictures," she told herself. "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 on, I knew I was prepared to do whatever I could to bring hope to those women and children."
Says Terry on her website: "Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in the magic of her own imagination. Her parents were wise and caring adults who encouraged the little girl to follow her pixie-dusted 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 their spirits could soar was as important as keeping us fed and clothed."
"How could I have forgotten my own 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?"
Terry Grahl never turned back. She found herself back at the shelter with a design plan and a vision. She vowed to see that project to completion. Transforming the shelter took more than her decorating skills. It required finding and organizing volunteers and donors nationwide. "Six months later, the makeover was complete, and it was amazing. Even more amazing to me was that I had found my true calling." She knew she wanted to use her talents and skills as a decorator to provide refuge, solace and hope to people in need. She took on additional shelter projects. In December of 2008 she decided to close her decorating business, Terry's Enchanted Cottage, losing the security of her paying clients. In January of 2009, Terry's Enchanted Cottage, established in 2005, ultimately became a non-profit organization called Enchanted Makeovers. This organization would begin to change shelters for women and children into places of peace and possibilities.
Just imagine what these walls mean to children forced out of their homes. Fearful of an uncertain existence with an equally fearful mother, unaware what may lay ahead for them. Just imagine...
Says Terry: "Transforming the shelters that save people's lives into beautiful sanctuaries that heal their spirit is my vocation. I have a passion and belief in my cause that is greater than myself."
What can you do to help? Here are ten ways that are listed on the website:
1. Monetary donations, small and large, are the sustaining heart of the makeovers.
2. Volunteer your time and/or services on pre-Makeover Day and on Makeover Day.
Bulletins are posted on this website as to the needs/services when they arise.
3. Host a monetary or in-kind donation drive in your place of business or your home.
4. Are you a crafter? Contact Terry or call her at 734-776-0848 to see how you may be of help.
"We love and prefer items made by loving, human hands for the special touches of the
5. "We are always in need of sewing groups or individuals to make traveling sanctuary bags
for local shelters and nationwide."
6. Contact Terry (734-776-0848) if you would like her to speak to your group about
7. Spread the word about Enchanted Makeovers. "Blog about us or write an article."
8. Contact Terry to provide you with materials so that you can give a speech in your church
or community to get others involved. "We are always in need of freelance writers to write
press releases and stories and to design and print brochures and flyers."
9. Contact Terry for a radio or TV interview.
10. Always keep the women and children in your prayers. Says Terry, "We're always open
to great ideas and suggestions. Please send them our way."
Please visit this website and ask yourself what you can do to help. All of us have a skill or talent to help make dreams possible for these women and children. When you lie in bed tonight, snug in your home with the lights out, everyone safe, please ask yourself this question before you fall asleep. "What can I do to help?"
* All written material granted by the express permission of Terry Grahl. Copyright 2009.
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