Grass Root: The continuous story of Advent
In a little over a year and half since our inception, the people of Advent have done some amazing things. From our beginning, the value we have talked about most has been keeping our efforts grassroot or bottom-up.
First, the youth, children, and families of southern Haltom City are our biggest advocates and voices. We partner with them in their life stories, and without them we wouldn’t know their needs and the needs of the community. It is for this reason that we started Advent. It wasn’t from some expensive survey or study that we found the needs of the community; No, we rubbed elbows and made friends with the community for years before we started to think about starting a non-profit that could not just provide emergency needs, but long-term and sustainable community change.
We started with a 15-person teen student advisory committee, to get an understanding of their needs before we started any efforts. This committee not only meets quarterly, but also volunteers. They have served countless hours to reinvest in the betterment of their community.
Equally important to our success are the numerous individuals who selflessly dedicate their lives for others. Advent doesn’t and can’t function on a weekly basis without the volunteers, mentors, and partners that invest into the community. These volunteers coach our soccer team, pick up the players to take them to the soccer games, go to schools to check up on their mentees, take their mentees out to dinner, lead boys and girls mentoring groups, teach science and social skills at high risk apartment complexes, donate supplies and funds, and many other things!
Our current volunteer count for a year and half is over 75 unduplicated volunteers!
We’ve started a 10-person adult advisory committee made up of community members, professional and non-professional, to guide our efforts and add an extra level of accountability.
Next we have a an 8-person Executive Board of Directors, who are in charge of setting policy and high level decision-making. They take into account the suggestions of the student and adult advisory boards before making any decisions.
Ryan Uran and I founded Advent, but we started it with the same mindset; that we can’t be all Advent is and we shouldn’t make every decision on our own. Thankfully, that is true today, as Advent is SO much more than just us.
Finally, Advent currently has ZERO paid employees. Maybe one day we will, but for now every precious dollar that is donated is spent directly on our youth programs, not overhead.
This brings me back to the real point of this post:
A few months ago, Chase Community Giving sent us an email saying a community member or Chase employee nominated us to be a part of the Chase Community Giving contest. This contest is simple, get as many votes as possible in a two-week period and the top 196 charities will receive prize money ranging from $250,000 to $10,000. The contest started on September 6th and ended on September 19th. Through a true grass-roots effort, Advent received a total of 732 votes and ranked 272 out of 7,000 nominated chanties nationwide! This only happened because friends told other friends who told other friends– We didn’t put an ad in the paper or on TV or hire an expensive marketing firm to advertise for us.
The day after voting closed, the charities that were very close to the 196 mistakenly got a $10k recipient badge on their pages, and Advent was one of them. We thought nothing of it and went about our day.
Unexpectedly on Saturday morning, September 22nd, our Board president received a call from Chase stating that they would honor their mistake and give us a grant for $10,000! I am still in a state shock and probably be until I see the check reflected in our account.
As with all funds that go to Advent, these funds will go to the important programs that run every week. Here is a run down of our numbers and programs every week:
Tuesday: 1BC: Boys mentoring group: 15-18 Boys
Tuesday: AUYD Beasts soccer team: 15-20 Boys and Girls
Thursday: 1BC: Girls’ mentoring group: 12-15 Girls
Saturday: SWARM: Spanish Square apartment program: 15-25 boys and girls
First Saturday a month: SWARM: Rio Vista apartment program: 10-15 boys and girls
So conservatively, Advents’ volunteers and mentors serve about 40 boys and girls a week.
With the $10,000 and increased volunteers I am sure we will add more mentoring groups and possibly more apartment programs, barring advisory and executive board decisions.
Did I mention this year we’ve also received $3,000 from Southlake Womens Club, $500 from DoSomething, $2,500 from The Hills Church of Christ, and $600 on North Texas Giving day that will be matched by DonorBridge!!!
To sum up this long blog post, I want to thank everyone, because YOU are the reason Advent is and will continue to be a grass-roots organization!
I would like to share with you all of the huge obstacles the youth and children of our city are facing, but I will do that in a future blog post. Those obstacles include high poverty, crime, and drop out rates in the three-mile radius that Advent focuses on.
Advent is in an amazing story…..will you join us?
Ryan Murphy-Executive Director