Chairman's Update

            CHAIRMAN’S UPDATE November, 2020

Greetings in Grace!


It has proven to be difficult to gather for a meeting of the Grace Village Board of Directors and others involved
in our efforts. As we continue to move forward in hopes of addressing critical needs in our area, I have decided
to put together and share an update about where things currently stand. Feedback & questions encouraged!

 

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT: At our last official meeting, the GV BOD decided to bring Steve Bolton on
board to help us as we move forward. We are paying Steve $300/month, and he has been working on several
key things related to our efforts as described below. POTENTIAL BOARD ACTIONS—Formalize Steve’s position
description and title.

 

POTENTIAL PARNERSHIPS: During these strange months of the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve met with Pastors
John Richardson of Trailhead Church, and Jon Willhite of Stonebridge Church, to discuss the potential of our
churches partnering in hopes of pursuing the Grace Village dream. These excellent local pastors have great
enthusiasm about the potential of our big vision of a developing a community which could provide such
important services as affordable childcare, post-foster/homeless youth housing and programs, affordable
housing, and Senior Living. Their involvement has already provided valuable connections with several key
individuals and organizations which could help us significantly as we move forward, both in strategical
planning and financial support… including a possible major donor. POTENTIAL BOARD ACTIONS—Formalize
Partnerships; expand BOD to include reps from each church.

 

LAND: After a couple of conversations, the Loudon family has decided they are not ready to pursue the
potential sale of their 40-acre property. Shortly after receiving the news, I initiated a conversation with our
family veterinarian about whether or not there might be interest in speaking with Grace Village regarding the
possibility of our purchasing their 21-acre property neighboring the new Wellington Middle/High School
property (to the west). Steve, John, and I met via ZOOM with Dr. Charles and Margaret Mizushima, who
indicated they have decided to move and would very much be open to exploring possibilities with GV. They
asked for a few months to get their plans together, and then we will have further discussion. (NOTE: There is a
very nice 4-bedroom, 3-bath home on the property with great potential as a post-foster youth home, as well as
land and buildings which could be used for equine programs!)

 

After that conversation, I reached out to Zion member Cynthia Conklin to see what her intentions were in terms
of her 42-acre property immediately west of Dr. and Mrs. Mizushimas’. Cynthia stated that she does intend to
sell and move. Ron Lockner, Steve, John, Jon and I had a meeting with Cynthia, her daughter Melissa Lurkins,
and her nephew Jason Waldo, to talk about the possibilities. With the BOD’s approval, we agreed to pay $500
for a value assessment. We continue to evaluate the potential of this property. (NOTE: There is a modular
home and a barn on the property which could be used in a number of ways.)

 

Meanwhile, Steve has been reaching out to people qualified to help us attain estimates on how much it would
cost to bring the necessary utilities to the properties. While a lot of fine-tuning remains, an initial guesstimate is
that it might cost as much as $11 million dollars to purchase both properties and bring all the needed utilities.
We intend to speak with Doug Doane of Doane Construction to discuss these figures and get his input on
potential ways to make this project happen. (NOTE: Doug has a good connection with Good Samaritan Society!)
We have also been looking into how best to work with the town if this project moves forward. POTENTIAL
BOARD ACTIONS—None quite yet.

Over these many months, I have been gathering with Betsy Graves and Jon Willhite
to continue plans for initiating ministry to post-foster and homeless students. I am
very excited about how things seem to slowly but surely be coming together! Here
are some details…

 

We had been looking at a “Launch Event” this month, but COVID and other factors
have delayed things until late winter, early spring. Our hope is to seek to gather
youth together around a meal and present them with a ‘menu’ of options for them
to be engaged with activities for the purpose of offering them healing, guidance,
and support. We are hoping and praying for 4-6 participants, which we will invite
through PSD connections (including McKinney Vento), as well as other potential agencies.

 

Here is a summary of what we are putting together:
 

MENTORING: We are making plans to recruit, train, and support mentors for the youth. We will soon be
reaching out to our church members for potential candidates and are looking at some training and support
programs. POTENTIAL BOARD ACTIONS— We need a few more people helping us pull this together, and would
also encourage BOD members to consider being a mentor!

 

COLORADO YOUTH OUTDOORS: I am very excited about the potential of this partnership! A while back I
had an opportunity to meet with Chris Woodward, the Director of Operations, who gave me a tour of their
incredible facility and property. Chris is very excited and supportive of what we are seeking to do, and has a
great deal of experience with very similar ministries with at-risk youth. CYO has a program called CORE, which
would provide our mentors and youth with a 15-week series of outdoor activities, all designed to promote build
the relationship and teach important life skills. Chris encouraged me to try to connect with their Wednesday
evening CORE, which is free for at-risk youth and their mentors because of a grant from Otterbox. Please take a
view minutes to check out this place and program: https://www.coloradoyo.org/wednesday-night-core/

 

EQUINE EXPERIENCES: We are hoping to add to our menu an opportunity for youth (and mentors?) to
participate in some form of “equine therapy.” We initially reached out to Tracy Chapman of Charis Youth
Ranch. The cost of engaging youth in a program at Charis would be $125/youth/week for six weeks. That
remains a possibility, but I am looking into other possibilities, including a local (Wellington) equine program
called “Unbridled Ranch,” run by a woman with a counseling background and lots of history working with at-risk
youth. I am waiting for a program description and cost estimate, which should come in the next few days.

 

MUSIC OPPORTUNITIES: Another very exciting connection has been made with Brayden Lans, the new youth
pastor at Trailhead, who, along with his wife, formed a music ministry called “Half-Step.” This offers an
opportunity for youth with interest in learning/playing instruments and/or singing to gather weekly with skilled
and caring leaders. This has the potential to be another fantastic item on our menu. Check it out:
https://www.halfstepministries.com/

 

DANCE ‘THERAPY’: Elizabeth Schmidt, who recently graduated with a degree in dance, is anxious to providing
a variety of opportunities for our youth to heal and grow through various types of dance.

 

Other… We continue to look for other options to include, such as art, opportunities to teach life skills, and
providing specialized counseling.

 

I ask that all of us would devote ourselves to prayer for God’s guidance and provision as we continue to
move forward. The potential (and the amount of work!) is tremendous, but if God is in it with us, it will
be done!! We will try again to gather when things calm down and open up!

Mark