Preston Hollow Supports PCHAS Graduates

Supporting Grad & Trade School EffortsAnn Simmons, a member of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, said it all began with a casual conversation with Ralph Kopplin, a Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services Ambassador, before worship one Sunday morning. “Ralph and I were talking, and Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) came up in the conversation. We agreed to work together to support PCHAS.” They contacted Tom Anthony, one of the PCHAS Development Officers the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and discussed various ways they could help. They decided that reaching out to the PCHAS college students sounded interesting and worthwhile.

Rev. Elizabeth McLean, Associate Pastor of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, was supportive and helped secure a mission grant from the church. The circle of interest grew and Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church is now entering its second year of supporting and encouraging students who are participating in PCHAS’ Education Program for students attending college or trade school.

Ralph and Ann formed a small but committed six-member committee that meets throughout the year and enjoys preparing care packages for the students which include school supplies, treats, cards of encouragement and sometimes a $25 gift card. The boxes are shipped to Gayle Jordan, PCHAS’ Advanced Education Coordinator, who forwards them in person to each of the students.

This year some students were so overjoyed by the care packages, cards of encouragement and gifts they received they turned right around and sent touching thank you notes to the committee. “I really need people I can talk to while I’m in college; thanks for being there for me,” wrote one. “Your care package reminds me that there are people are out there praying for me,” wrote another.

“Ongoing support is very important to all students – especially those who might not have support from their biological families – so we allow and even encourage contact between the committee and our students, for as long as the students desire it,” said Jordan.

Ann and the committee value their new relationship with Carlos, a former resident of the PCHAS Group Home Campus in Itasca, his wife, Kimberly, and their six children. Carlos served as an Emergency Medical Technician for several years before being laid off. With the help of PCHAS’ Education Program, he returned to school.

When Carlos graduated in the spring, he needed a suit for his interviews, so Preston Hollow’s “college team” made sure that Carlos had the resources he needed to purchase a suit. Carlos is now employed as a police officer and he (and his family) are doing well. Ann said that the committee is grateful that their work on behalf of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church enables them to reach outside of their church and make a difference in the lives of people who really need help.

Editor’s note: The Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church “college committee” includes Belinda Downing (co-chair), Sherrie Bernardin (co-chair), Dennis Gray, Nancy Gray, Vicky Chaney and Sandy Watson. Ralph Kopplin and Ann Simmons, who founded the committee with Kathy Smith, served as the committee’s first co-chairs. Ralph and Ann have now “rotated off” the committee, but they remain supportive. Continuing as ex-officio committee members are Rev. Elizabeth McLean and Tom Anthony.

By The Rev. Nancy C. Mossman, Volunteer Ministries Coordinator

For more information about volunteering for PCHAS, or to support its current students and graduates, please contact Tom Anthony at tom.anthony@pchas.org.