Spotlight: West Dallas

Just Beyond the Bridge...

...Watermark people have been involved in serving West Dallas for years. In one of the poorest areas of our city and our country, we've seen hope rising, development happening, kids getting mentored, and lives being changed. Consider jumping in with any of our seven West Dallas Ministry Partners - and join us in serving just beyond the bridge.

Enjoy West Dallas

When we choose to love and serve a particular place - whether a country, a city, or a neighborhood - God often "tunes our hearts" simply through time spent there. Did you know some of the trendiest newTrinity Groves Logo restaurants in the whole city of Dallas are right in Trinity Groves, "just beyond the Bridge"? Those include Casa Rubia, Babb Bros. BBQ (with regular live music), Kitchen LTO, and several more - with some excellent patio dining! Or head over to the fantastic Chicken Scratch, grab an awesome brunch at Smoke, or go "classic West Dallas" with a burger at Wimpy's or catfish at Snappy Catfish.

So if you're heading down to serve, be sure to plan to spend some extra time enjoying this awesome neighborhood. Or take an extra trip down there to explore - it's definitely worth it.

Our West Dallas Ministry Partners

An in-depth look at each West Dallas partner, and ongoing ways to serve!

Advocates for Community Transformation · Russ Brown:

ACT has bravely decided to “interfere” with the West Dallas status quo, bringing Justice to those who feel powerless. Hundreds of West Dallas families face urban blight and crime within their neighborhoods because of houses that have become headquarters for criminal activity or have simply been abandoned. But ACT empowers residents of West Dallas to help redeem these properties – and therefore entire neighborhoods – through our city’s legal system. By engaging residents, encouraging the timid, explaining the opportunity, and rallying hearts for long-lost hope, ACT is fighting injustice and seeing results. And through it all, new community is being built within the multi-racial neighborhoods of West Dallas.

Is it possible to take part in God’s redemption, not only of individual lives but of entire communities? Those interested in striving for Justice – both legal professionals or otherwise – can join this exciting fight “just beyond the bridge.”

Present volunteer opportunities

...include helping with Women's Bible Studies and monthly Community Prayer Visits. For legal professionals, you can help residents prepare wills, help bring actions against negligent or criminal landlords, and participate in other justice efforts. Or if you've got skills or passions that might help in other ways, contact Russ!

Brother Bill's Helping Hand · Cynthia Gammill:

Brother Bill's Helping Hand may have a legacy of 75 years of service to West Dallas, but what matters most is providing hope today to the 25,000 people living in 75212. Brother Bill’s Grocery Store provides free food assistance to West Dallas families, but the ministry offers much more than only hunger relief. Through education and life skills training, an on-site clinic, children’s programs, and spiritual conversations with those who come for a “helping hand,” Brother Bill’s offers a chance for community members to develop their lives.

Over the decades, a community has developed within Brother Bill’s. Staff and volunteers learn a lot from their amazing neighbors, the caring people of West Dallas. These citizens may have great needs, but they also have much love and life experience to share with those willing to spend time with them “just beyond the bridge.”

Present volunteer opportunities

...include many chances to help on weekdays and occasionally on weekends. This is a great ministry for moms and dads who want to serve with their kids, but there are many ways individuals or Community Groups can get involved, too. And those with a specialty - medical field, job training, ESL, etc. - can provide great help in the specific ministries of BBHH. Or if you have skills or passions that could help in other ways, contact Cynthia!

C. F. Carr Elementary · Tracey Beckwith:

What does a public elementary school have to do with ministering in West Dallas? Everything. In this neighborhood, where most kids don’t finish high school and school staffs feel underappreciated and underfunded, we have the opportunity to bring encouragement where it’s needed most. And while we do, we’re helping develop the educational climate of West Dallas children. Whether a volunteer connects with students directly, supports a teacher in her classroom, or helps provide a home-cooked meal to the Carr staff and faculty, they’re not only building relationships. They’re building a foundation of support for hundreds of children who live and learn “just beyond the bridge.”

Present volunteer opportunities

...include helping provide lunch once a month, helping one or two children at Saturday School, or serving as a weekly "Reading Buddy" for half an hour during the school day. There are also ways to provide classroom support or otherwise encourage teachers and staff. If you've got ideas for other ways to serve or want to know how your skills or passions might serve Carr, contact Stephanie!

Mercy Street · Ken Dawkins:

“Mentoring.” It’s a vogue notion that everyone applauds – but few participate in. But Mercy Street has made mentoring its M.O., not only by connecting hundreds of West Dallas kids with ongoing mentors, but also by providing other unique chances for kids to engage with Christ-following adults. Coaches train kids for baseball, softball, or soccer – and share life principles and spiritual encouragement. “Fan Clubs” cheer these teams on – and connect with kids and families in the process. Bible studies, new sports fields, and social events bring kids, families and mentors together, and the Bicycle Garage trains in life skills that go far beyond adjusting gears and chains.

If this sounds like a comprehensive way to impact kids and families in West Dallas, build future leaders, and transform a community… it is. And it’s all happening “just beyond the bridge.”

Present volunteer opportunities

About 200 Watermark people already mentor kids through Mercy Street, but there are several kids still waiting! Or serve as a coach, serve in the bicycle shop, or even form a sports team "Fan Club" with your Community Group and support kids who may never have had anyone cheer them on. Or if you've got other ways your gifts and passions might help Mercy Street, don't hesitate to contact Ken!

Readers 2 Leaders · Stephanie Schweinfurth:

Most of us take basic literacy for granted; we can’t imagine not understanding a web site, a novel, or this paragraph. But in West Dallas, an elementary kid’s ability to read is an achievement, not an assumption. And with this simple need comes an amazing ministry opportunity.

Readers 2 Leaders and its volunteers strive for grade-level literacy throughout West Dallas, establishing relationships in the process with elementary children and with their parents. So R2L gives hope and lasting help to a child who may feel frustrated or ashamed – as well as serving the parent who may feel frustrated or ashamed they don’t have tools to help their children. All along, relationships are being built through the hard work, the fun, and the ongoing encouragement. So whether in the rooms of the “Booktown” facility or the halls of West Dallas schools, reading and relationships are growing word-by-word, page-by-page, just beyond the bridge.

Present service opportunities

...include building kids' literacy after school, helping parents understand their children's reading needs, and reading with a child once a week as a "Reading Buddy" in a West Dallas elementary school. But if you've got other skills or passions that might help Readers 2 Leaders, let Stephanie know!

2ndSaturday · Todd Fields:

“Reach Lives, Restore Hope, Redeem Community” could easily be the motto of countless organizations, but 2ndSaturday actually DOES each of these things on a monthly basis – alongside several hundred of their closest friends! This ministry’s cornerstone event on the second Saturday of each month brings hundreds of volunteers together to restore homes of seniors, the disabled, and low-income individuals. As they do so, they have the chance to share the love of Christ with the people involved – from the homeowners, to their neighbors, to the individuals in the surrounding community watching redemption physically displayed.

Beyond their cornerstone event, 2ndSaturday has established social businesses to impact these same communities. Employing and discipling individuals from a difficult environment and with difficult backgrounds, 2ndSaturday has the opportunity to reach, restore, and redeem every day of the month, “just beyond the bridge.”

Present volunteer opportunities

...include helping with the monthly home restorations or connecting with neighbors on the same day through the "Redeem Team." Professional builders, contractors, and tradesmen are also needed for occasionally more-complex restorations. Or if you'd like to get involved in one of the other aspects of 2ndSaturday (including their social business efforts), don't hesitate to contact Todd!

Thrive Women's Clinic


For many women and couples, facing an unplanned pregnancy feels overwhelming – with only one way out. Thrive Women’s Clinic offers these women and men medical care, counseling, and ongoing support. Most importantly, Thrive offers hope. In 2013 alone, more than 300 babies were given a chance at life as a direct result of Thrive volunteers’ relationships with the people who walk through the clinic’s doors. Ultimately, Thrive wants people in the most difficult of circumstances to choose life – both the life of an unborn child, and the life they can freely experience through Jesus Christ.

As one of three strategic Thrive locations across Dallas, the West Dallas clinic reaches women and men, girls and boys who have often experienced enormous challenges long before their unplanned pregnancy. This moment is a crossroads not only for their baby but for their own lives as well, and we get to make an impact at this crossroads “just beyond the bridge.”

Present volunteer opportunities

...include serving as a mentor for women or men who visit the Clinic, helping organize materials, helping with administration, and signing up to pray. But professional services are also needed, from nurses, trained sonographers, and doctors, to people able to help with PR or web site needs, to those who can dovar ious "handyman" tasks. Or if your skills and passions seem like they might be a fit for Thrive, it's likely they could use you - just contact Steve!


Video: Brian Aiken & Daniel Polk
Footer: Jack Keene (whatknot) - Flickr, CC 2.0, some rights reserved