Volunteer Stories

Rick Crutcher and Resounding Harmony
“Our mission is to enrich and effect change in our community through benefit performances for worthy causes…and by the worth, dignity and equality of each human being through the harmony created.”

Rick Crutcher is a member of our choir at Royal Lane. But that is not the only place he shares his voice. Rick is a member of a local choir, Resounding Harmony. This choir is unique in that its purpose is to use the gift of song to benefit local charities. Their motto is “giving where we’re living”. Each year they present at least two concerts benefiting local charities. Previous beneficiaries have included North Texas Food Bank, Parkinson’s Voice Project, The Family Place, and the Wounded Warrior Project. In 2018, they celebrated 10 years of giving a total of $175,000.

Rick has discovered that singing with this group for the past two years has been very enriching, fulfilling and joyful. He loves that it benefits the quality of life of communities in the DFW area. His volunteering involves weekly Sunday rehearsals 10 months each year, and benefit concerts.

Resounding Harmony has 2 choral benefits scheduled this year.

June 8-9, 2019 – The Birthday Party Project
This organization brings joy to homeless children through the magic of birthday parties. Suzie Humphries (KRLD) will emcee.

September, 2019 – Blackland Prairie Raptor Center – Lucas, Texas
Enables environmental preservation through the conservation of birds of prey and wildlife. Birds, owls, eagles, and hawks are rescued, receive medical care and returned to their natural habitat to live out the remainder of their lives.

If you are interested in learning more about this unique choir, visit resoundingharmony.org, attend a concert, or talk to Rick. You can always find him on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Meadows Museum and Barbara Gunnin
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.” —Galileo Galilei

The Meadows Museum at SMU is almost in our backyard. A number of Royal Laners work, study and volunteer there. Barbara Gunnin is one of them. Barbara is a docent at the museum and has been a member at Royal Lane for 32 years. She facilitates 3 programs that are unique and diverse.

Connections is a program that targets people with Alzheimer’s and their spouses. Barbara is their guide as they visit, look at the art and do any activity which encourages conversation and interaction.

Focused Looking is a class for UTSW Medical School students. Its purpose is to help participants slow down to develop and refine their analytical interpretative and communication skills. She shares the responsibility of teaching the class.

Finally, when someone with a vision impairment wishes support to enhance their visit, Barbara often is their guide. Go to https://meadowsmuseumdallas.org/visit-us/accessibility/ to learn more about this program that allows individuals to experience the museum using the five senses to make paintings come to life.

Barbara says this work is important to her because both health and education (which includes art education) are important social issues for her. She believes this is one of the ways she can support this work.

If you are interested in volunteering at the museum, contact them at https://meadowsmuseumdallas.org/and click on volunteers. Or of course you talk to Barbara.

Cook Children’s Hospital
Mike Jones was inspired after serving as a missionary in West Africa and watching his son recover from a serious illness at a children’s hospital in Memphis to become a volunteer. One year when his granddaughter was unable to visit at Christmas, he decided to be “grandpa” for other children. That was in 2007.

Currently Mike works in Patient Care and teaches other volunteers how to be Patient Caregivers at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. He loves the NICU/PICU units (where he is known as the “baby whisperer”) and the cancer units. He has a great interest in helping French speaking patients, helping their parents, playing with children — and always singing hymns and praying over them. From 2000 volunteers, he was elected Volunteer of the Year in 2014. On Sundays, Mike is often called on to be with a child who is having a bad day, and when CPS is called, he often stays with the child.

Mike has found after advocating to have chapel services on Sunday, he loves being part of the ministry team and helping new chaplains. He describes the moments with children and caregivers as a “remarkable experience.”

If you are interested in volunteering, talk to Mike. He will inspire you. You can also contact volunteer services at 682-885-4337 or on the web site at cookchildrens.org.

Voter Registration and Neighborhood Watch
 “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts for which he is accountable to God and his country.”  —Samuel Adams, Founding Father, United States of America.

Susie Leinneweber certainly understands to whom she is accountable when she volunteers as an election judge in Dallas county. She says that she always has voter registration cards in her purse to give to people in the grocery store or wherever she is. As a volunteer for her neighborhood watch, she believes that helping keep her neighborhood safe is especially important for school children and those who are elderly or vulnerable in other ways. Susie is a longtime member of Royal Lane. Her actions remind us that we are all missionaries in our daily lives.

Chores for Chickens
The children and youth of the church, through the work of Laura Keller and Charlotte Sewell, have completed their annual CHORES FOR CHICKENS project. They raised $650 through the chores they did for family members, friends and church members.

With the money they raised, they were able to provide impoverished families with these gifts:

  • 2 Goats – $240
  • 1 Sheep – $150
  • 2 sets of Honeybees – $60
  • Gardener’s Gift Basket – $170
    This garden basket gift features tree seedlings, rabbits, chickens and a hive of bees as part of an integrated farming approach. Training consists of animal care, fertilization and growing techniques.
  • Flock of Hope – A Flock of Hope may include chicks, ducks or goslings, depending on the culture, climate and dietary conditions of the region. Families will also receive training on the birds’ care.

Spreading the Warmth
 “Do your little bit of good where you are.  It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”.  Desmond Tutu

Christine Nicolette-Gonzalez says it was a “God thing”. In the summer of 2012, she learned to knit. The stress of caring for others led to her own health crises. Knitting was relaxing and soon she had given many knitted scarves to friends and family. On a cold December day, she brought 5 scarves with her to the hospital to visit her mother-in-law. She impulsively began to distribute them to others saying, “I made this for you”. The stories they shared with her inspired her to found Spreading the Warmth. Since its founding scarves have been given out in six states and as far away as Chile and Australia.

If you are interested, there are many ways you can volunteer. Some of these are:

  • Donate yarn
  • Tag scarves with the STW message
  • Teach others to knit or crochet
  • Drive others to share scarves on cold days

The knitters would love for you to join them at Second Saturday Knit nights. Each event is held upstairs at the Whole Foods Market on the SE corner of Preston and Forest in North Dallas. Each meeting is come and go from 6:30-9:00 p.m.

You can talk to Christine at church, email her at [email protected] or visit their website at www.spreadingthewarmth.us.

Youth Believing in Change
Another ministry partner with Royal Lane is Youth Believing in Change. (YBC) Founded in 1995 by Rev. Vincent E. Gaddis, who, after tutoring children In the Vickery Meadows community, found that the thing that was missing in their lives was Jesus. YBC serves more than 200 children from September through May, in faith based after school programs including hot meals, tutoring, mentoring and homework help. They also offer an eight week summer program that focuses on music, art and leadership. Royal Laner, Dennis Turnbull, who is a great believer in home missions, has been on the board of directors for 18 Years. He says the kids “kinda got a hold of my heart”. Others from Royal Lane who are volunteering there include DeeDee Young, Connie Bechtol and Laura Keller. They put together a library for the center. Volunteers are always needed there. DeeDee will tell you that these children are wonderful to work with and give more than they get. If you are interested in volunteering, talk to one of these church members or visit the web site for Youth Believing in Change

We Over Me Farm, Paul Quinn College – Mission Project – April 14, 2018

The Mosaic, April 4, 2018

If you are wandering through Family Hall around 3:30 on Wednesdays, you might hear laughter floating from the Bride’s Room. That would be the “Holy Rollers”, so named because the group rolls toilet paper in bags for the homeless ministry at Cornerstone. Started by Anne Sewell last fall, they also package forks and napkins for the 7 meals Cornerstone provides each week. Some volunteers, like Jack and Judy Mullinax even take supplies home and put family members to work under the guise of family dinners!

Cornerstone Baptist Church is a ministry partner with Royal Lane. For many years we have volunteered in a variety of outreach programs there. Some of their current programs include a shower facility, the kitchen, and the clothes closet. For more information on this church who has provided so much to so many, go to www.cornerstonedallas.org.

If you would like to join the “Holy Rollers”, just show up on Wednesdays any time between 3:30 and 5:30, or contact Anne Sewell.

The Mosaic, March 21, 2018

Maebelle Raiza joined Royal Lane in 1967. She raised her 3 children in this church and over the years has volunteered in many areas, including several mission trips. If you are looking for Maebelle on Wednesdays, you will find her at Upscale Retail in Richardson where she has volunteered for 14 years.

Upscale Retail is a thrift store operated by Lifesavers Foundation to support their mission “to empower and assist those in crisis.” This faith-based charity provides a mobile pediatric unit “Doctor Spot”, giving basic medical care to kids in some of Dallas county’s underserved neighborhoods. It also provides crisis counseling and education to women through pregnancy centers in the area.

Maebelle says she loves knowing that her volunteer efforts help kids get free medical care. There are several ways you can support Upscale Retail. You can donate gently used or new clothes furniture and household items, volunteer in the store or come and shop. There are great bargains to be found.

More information about the Lifesavers Foundation and Upscale Retail can be found at www.lifesaversfoundation.org


The Mosaic, March 7, 2018

Dallas Women’s Job Corps

The Mosaic, January 10, 2018

Shirley Bohannan became interested in Meals on Wheels in 1975, when Paula Bright encouraged her to try it. Shirley is still there today: volunteering continuously for 43 years.

Shirley says she loves it because it gives her an opportunity to give directly to someone. ‘I receive the blessing because while I’m giving to them, they are helping me. I have become attached to many clients over the years.” She, along with “Royal Laners” Sylvia Turnbull, Fred Binder, and Steve Box, have provided many years of faithful service.

Meals on Wheels is administered by the Visiting Nurses Associations. Volunteers deliver nutritious meals to individuals who cannot provide for themselves due to illness, advanced age, or disability. Currently they need a driver for Fridays, once a month. If this interests you, please contact Shirley Bohannan.