North Texas Daily

Serve Denton celebrates its year of accomplishments

Serve Denton celebrates its year of accomplishments

April 10
10:35 2014

Ali West // Staff Writer

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development defines 19 areas that people in poverty need, such as income, transportation and childcare.

Nonprofit organization Serve Denton sees the ascent out of poverty as climbing a ladder with 19 rungs, one for each area of need, Development Director Kayce Strader says. Although each rung is essential, the ladder cannot work without the rails.

“Serve Denton is the concept of the rails holding all the rungs in one place so people can climb out of poverty,” Strader said.

Serve Denton works to gather and support organizations that serve those 19 categories of need and collaborate with them to help people climb out of poverty. The ultimate goal for Serve Denton is to benefit people who are in need in the Denton community, Strader said.

“We are a nonprofit that exists to serve other nonprofits, because that’s the most effective way to serve those people in need,” Strader said. “We’re not here to compete with the nonprofits we’re serving. We’re here to support them.”

Serve Denton will host its second annual Celebration, one of its biggest fundraisers of the year, at 6 p.m. Saturday in its new Assistance and Event Center or, “The Mill”, at 1910 E. University Dr. The event will highlight the organization’s successes and goals of the year.

Serve Denton has had numerous achievements this year, Strader said. The nonprofit bought a $30,000 walk-in cooler and made it available for all nonprofits. It aided in connecting volunteers and providing an infrastructure for the Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry food drive. It also doubled the number of nonprofits it is helping from six to 12, Strader said.

“By supporting nonprofits we can provide infrastructure and support to nonprofits that they can’t afford individually, but we can help them do it together collectively,” Strader said. “We do things like collaboration workshops every month where they come together and work on issues.”

Serve Denton cut the ribbon to its Assistance and Event Center on April 1, welcoming its first two tenants – Big Brothers Big Sisters Denton and Rising Star Resource Development Denton.

The function of the new building will be to house nonprofits as tenants for $1 per year in rent with utilities split among organizations, which helps to lessen their expenses.

“They can take the money they save and invest it straight into helping people,” Strader said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Denton has been involved with Serve Denton for two years. Janemarie Clark, regional executive director, said the partnership will allow Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide more complete services to program recipients.

“While we are providing caring, adult mentors for our local children, we can also refer their parents to our partner agency, Rising Star, for employment support,” Clark said. “Working together allows our unique organizations to support families into self-sufficiency and a brighter future.”

Strader said Big Brothers Big Sisters would save $12,000 in its first year.

“That’s $12,000 that goes straight to helping little brothers and little sisters,” Strader said. “That’s the whole point behind what we’re doing, so that was a big success for us.”

There are 27 additional organizations hoping to move into the new Serve Denton facility, including American Red Cross and the Denton Affordable Housing Cooperation.

Darian Orr is a volunteer in charge of the decorations for the Celebration for the second year in a row. She said it is important for Serve Denton to celebrate to help raise community awareness and bring businesses, universities and churches together.

“It’s extremely rewarding. I put in a lot more time and effort just because it’s a great cause,” Orr said. “I’ve been impacted just by seeing the number of devoted volunteers coming together firsthand.”

Tickets are $100 per person, which will pay for the event itself and raise money for Serve Denton and its partners. Former major league baseball player Dave Dravecky will speak at the event, and a silent auction will take place, offering prizes such as creating and naming a custom ice cream flavor, which Beth Marie’s will sell for an entire year.

“Serve Denton has an incredible core of staff, board members and volunteers, but the community will have to come together with funding, networking and volunteer efforts to continue this vision and allow Serve Denton to make a difference for local families in need for years to come,” Clark said.

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