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A Turn the Corner Moment

By | community, dreams, generosity, Home page Blog | No Comments

Turning the Corner

An act of kindness opens a whole new world for Longview volunteer

For 10 years, Sondra Gibson didn’t have a vehicle.

To get around town, she caught the bus. Or asked someone for a ride. Or just walked.

That changed last December when she got the keys to her very own Chevy Aveo.

It was, she says, a Christmas miracle.

Looking to give back

It all started with Doug Edwards, a longtime Whataburger Family, who created a relationship between Whataburger and the Longview Dream Center. Based in Longview, Texas, the Dream Center provides food, clothing, computer classes and job training to those in need.

“They just find people that truly need help, and they help them,” says Edwards, who oversees operations of the city’s Whataburger restaurants through the Whataburger of East Texas franchise. “That’s what we like to do, too, so it made sense to work with them.”


During a Whataburger-sponsored holiday event, Edwards experienced firsthand the gratitude of the Longview clients. That inspired him to make a considerable personal donation: a car.

Give it to someone who can use it, he told the executives of the center.

They knew just the person: Sondra Gibson.

A new direction

Gibson came to the Longview Dream Center as a client. “I used to be a drug addict,” she says. “I’ve been homeless before. Now, I’ve been sober for four years.”

She credits the change, in large part, to the Dream Center. “When I came in, they treated me like I was OK,” she says. “There was no judgment. They were kind.”

Gibson began fighting her addiction and gaining control of her life. Then, she began volunteering. She came early. She stayed late.

Now, she’s the director of the center’s clothing program, manages more than 10,000 articles of clothing, shoes, and accessories given away each month. “She has the love for it,” says Shonna Barlow, the center’s executive director.

“I have a purpose every morning when I get up,” Gibson says.

A dream come true

Last December, Edwards turned the keys of his white Chevy over to the Dream Center, and Gibson became the proud owner of a vehicle for the first time in a decade. “I started shaking,” she says. “That they would pick me above everybody else to bless!”

Having a car means Gibson can visit her grandson and mom, both of whom live out of town. She can run to the store to pick up groceries, without items melting on the long bus ride home. She can make doctor’s appointments, attend church and help other volunteers or clients who might need a lift.

It’s given her independence.

And each day, before she turns the key, she still does a little prayer. “I think how blessed I am,” Gibson says. “Not a day goes by – not an hour – that I’m not blessed.”



Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody

By | community | No Comments

Written by:  Thomas McDaniels

  Here at the Longview Dream Center our volunteers are soooo important!  We could never accomplish week in and week out the results we see without them.  Teamwork truly makes the dream-work!

Someone great said; that great servants impact the world and that is so true.  One of the issues of serving is that the servant often never realizes the impact they bring.

One of my favorite quotes is; serving requires no degrees, no accolades and no definable skills, only a willing heart.

We often miss the hidden power of contributing to others.  Contribution is the 6th greatest need in the life of human beings.  God knew that we have the need to give to others and not continually receive or take.

Contribution or contributing to others may be one of the greatest secrets of emotional, spiritual and philological health.   Psychologists tell us when we serve others we receive the value of something called a “helpers high.”

“Helpers High” occurs when we step up to serve and make a contribution to others.

When we serve our endorphin’s are released in our bodies and these endorphin’s enhance our mood, attitude, and emotional makeup.  Psychologists compare this to a runner’s high after running 3-5 miles or more.

The point is God created us knowing our greatest need is to serve rather than “be served.”

Let’s look at the benefits of serving.

  1. Serving others is God’s secret weapon of discovering your purpose

Serving is like eating your personal vegetables it is laced with hidden power and awesome unseen benefits.  Bernard Melzer wisely said; there is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and helping others.

  1. What looks menial is often monumental

Serving is rarely convenient and often seems minimal.  God calls it entering the zone with the greatest.  Jesus looked menial but certainly was more.  A little boys lunch seemed menial yet fed over 5,000 people. Your serving seems menial but brings magnanimous results.

  1. Serving others opens the door to newness

When we choose to serve we position ourselves for change and newness. The choice to become a new volunteer in a church or an organization forces a shift in  your schedule and newness to people you encounter.  This results in developing new relationships.


A Little Parable

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that

Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did

what Anybody could have done.

Let’s decide we are that “somebody” who answers the call to SERVE!