Hope Center 'Family Fest' beats the heat, educates families

DALLAS - Families and volunteers from across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex gathered together for Buckner Family Hope Center at Wynnewood’s annual Family Festival on June 17, which included games, vendors and resources such as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Mountain View College, dental screenings and diabetic information sessions.

Hope Centers work to strengthen families and shine a light to people who often don’t have any other options and these summer events work on introducing people to what the Hope Center has to offer.

“We are looking to introduce resources for our residents and clients, right here in their neck of the woods,” said Cheryl Williams, director of the Hope Center at Wynnewood. “They say, ‘Who is this Buckner? What is this Family Hope Center?’ Families come through here and say, ‘I want my GED, I didn’t even know you guys had that in here.’”

Family Fest drew nearly 85 people despite the warm weather. People wandered around the booths while others munched on fruit and snow cones. A group of mothers, fathers and children clapped and sang along with musical guest Rocking with Rhett. 

Many organizations and individuals are passionate about sowing into the lives of their neighbors. National Charity League (NCL) Liaison Susan Talavera and her daughter have volunteered at Buckner for the last five years. Along with decorating paper fans with children, the NCL helped oversee a beanbag toss game. 

“We have about 25 mom and daughter pairs, and we have face painting and craft items. We are going to help out wherever they need us,” Talavera said.

Volunteer Merry Miller sees the impact the Hope Center has on the community.

“I have known of Buckner since I grew up in Dallas. For years my mom used to volunteer at Buckner,” Miller said. “It was important that I volunteer someplace with direct interaction with the recipients. I like the fact Buckner gives 100 percent of the money to the kids.”

Miller was joined by student Allyson Guba. Although she is young, Guba knows the importance of serving others.

“Originally I needed hours for school, but I just ended up liking it,” Guba said. “So just to come out and see the kids, they are so fun and energetic. I think it’s great to give back when you can.”

The Hope Center has many programs coming up this summer that families can participate completely free of charge such as a summer school program, construction training class and a Dallas County electric bill relief event.

“That’s what we’re supposed to do, point them to Christ,” Williams said. “Point them to the tools. Point them to the resources. So they know if our doors are locked tomorrow, Buckner helped me know how to take care of my family.”

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