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Zera Coffee Company

Zera Coffee Company

The Denton Freedom House is a residential discipleship program located on eighteen acres in Aubrey, and it is designed for men who are coming out of prison and/or various forms of addictions and struggles. The program that DFH offers, started over 10 years ago, requires a one-year minimum commitment from all of its residents prior to entering the home, but does not charge any fees or tuition for the first six months of the program. The Freedom House itself is a Christian ministry, although it is not funded or sponsored by any one church. DFH’s mission statement is “To liberate broken men from their bondages of sin and addiction by the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping them to become prosperous disciples of Christ with kingdom vision, purpose, and direction.” DFH depends on the gifts and generosity of individuals to cover their daily operating expenses. The ministry is also planning and praying for the opportunity to build and open a women’s home on their campus as soon as the necessary funds are raised.

Five years ago, the Denton Freedom House started a business, Zera Coffee Company, a coffee shop located just off of the Square. Unlike other coffee shops, Zera is entirely supported and run by a volunteer staff. The revenue from the business acts as an additional source of funding for DFH, but that is not the only reason the business was started.  The name “Zera” itself comes from the Hebrew word meaning “seed,” which represents the hope of the business to be a place where the Love of God in Christ can hopefully touch everyone who enters, whether it’s through a smile, a peaceful place to sit and rest, or a barista who knows your name and your favorite order. Like the name, these moments may only be a seed planted, but we believe they can grow and truly make a difference in people’s lives.

Since opening in the fall of 2009, Zera has become a vibrant hub in the Denton Community. The coffee shop itself boasts over 5500 sq feet of interior space and almost 3000 sq feet of covered patio seating, featuring cozy couches and eclectic corners ideal for studying or meeting for business or pleasure. In addition, event space is available to rent for small events such as board meetings or baby showers, and for large events of up to 300 people such as wedding receptions, company Christmas Parties, or conferences/seminars.
In addition to functioning as a coffee shop, Zera Coffee Company has also offered a line of restored and refurbished furniture for sale in the shop, known as “The Back Porch.” The Back Porch had a very unique concept from the beginning…to utilize the skills and craftsmanship of the men from the Denton Freedom House to handcraft furniture and accessories, and then to offer these items to be utilized and sold as a part of the decor of Zera. In the summer, however, the Back Porch production was put on hold to move the wood shop to a new location. As soon as things are back up and running, Zera will announce it on its Facebook and website.

In Fall 2013, the coffee shop renovated its interior to add a stage, with sound, lighting and video projection capabilities, in order to host live music on Fridays and Saturdays. The events and concerts are just another aspect of the business that allows the local community to come together to be encouraged by worshipful music, warm drinks and fellowship. Continuing to look for new ways to offer products and services that appeal to local residents, Zera is now featuring handmade accessories by some of the female staff members of the Denton Freedom House. These products are featured in a shopping corner nook inside the coffee shop, called “Boutique 31”.

Zera Coffee Company has several potential avenues for growth and expansion on the horizon, and we look forward to continuing to grow and reach more people. The original hope and focus at Zera remains the same: to reach more people with the Love of Christ.

For more information, our menu, event pricing, and our live music schedule, like us on Facebook ( and visit us at The Business & Event Manager Lisa Moore can be reached at

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From the Dash to the Bash

From the Dash to the Bash

Let’s All Come Together to Fill the Pantry

by Jacqueline Harper, Event Coordinator

Have you ever stood in front of a pantry that only had one bag of noodles and a can of corn trying to make dinner for your family? Have you ever stood in line at the grocery store counting out change to pay for that gallon of milk that needs to last your family a week? These are the realities for 43% of children enrolled in school that live at or below the poverty level. Daily these children and their families are left wondering where their next meal will come from. The need in our community is so great that some children survive on school breakfast and lunch only. This should not be the reality for families in our Denton Community and thus I knew there had to be a way to unite our community and address the need.

Several years ago I started helping a friend with her local food drive.  I recognized the success of it and wanted to stir and cultivate the same compassion within my own Denton Community. The first endeavor began with the building of a platform in the Trinity United Methodist Church pumpkin patch and the heartwarming service of our pastor that spent three continuous days and nights living in the perch. The goal was to raise awareness and meet a food collection goal. Success was achieved with “Pastors in the Patch” and the event has grown from collecting 19,000 pounds to an awesome 40,000 pounds of food in 2013.

This year I would like to challenge the community in helping to collect 50,000 pounds of food for our local food pantries. Benefactors include the Denton Food Center, Our Daily Bread, Shepherd’s Hand, Vision Ministries, Asbury Relief Ministry, Singing Oaks Church of Christ, Lake Cities Food Pantry, First Refuge, and Krum’s Special Touch.

It all begins on October 11th with “The Pantry Dash,” A Run Against Hunger 5K Run/ 1 Mile Walk, at South Lakes/Eureka Park in Denton.  Register for the race or walk at

The following Saturday, October 18th from 2-6 p.m. there will be a “Pantry Bash” at the Trinity United Methodist Church pumpkin patch.  This will be a family friendly event with live music from the Buck Creek Band, delicious cuisine to purchase from our local food trucks, a bounce house and face painting for the kids, and pumpkins galore for fun fall decorating!  While dropping off your donations you can even meet with members of our local Corvette Club and view their beautiful cars.

All week you can participate by dropping off your canned goods or monetary donations at either the Pantry Dash, the pumpkin patch, or various locations throughout the county.  Even the smallest $10 donation can be turned into 60+ pounds of food via the area food bank.

As a community I have the faith that we can do remarkable things to help our local families meet their food needs.  Together we can and will grow stronger if we take care of one another and make it a place where we can all thrive.  I challenge you to help fill the pantry!

For more information about this challenge or to volunteer please e-mail at

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Cross Timbers YMCA

Cross Timbers YMCA

Community Starts Here

by Dawn Sprayman

If you had asked me two years ago if I would ever coach a sports team I would have laughed. But then I did what many parents do. I went to sign my daughter up for volleyball at the YMCA, way passed the registration deadline, thinking that it would still be open, but they could only wait list her.  She was so upset! They, of course, said I was welcome to volunteer to coach and that would allow not only my daughter but a list of other girls to play as well.  Coach? I knew nothing about volleyball, and nothing about coaching…so of course I said yes!  Well, I couldn’t let my daughter down, and I was going to be at every game and practice anyway, right?

So, I went online and read everything I could about volleyball and coaching. Then, I volunteered to help with a clinic so I could learn drills.

That’s how it all got started. Two years and five seasons later, it has been the most rewarding experience both for me and my daughter!

But it’s gone beyond just doing it for my daughter.  I see amazing transformations in young girls each season. Girls, who were too intimidated to try in school, will open up and try at the YMCA. And when they get it, it really changes them. That changes you as a parent, whether they are your children or not, suddenly you are a coach. It’s not just the girls. My son started playing too, and I see the same thing with the kids on his teams.

The difference in children playing team sports can benefit off the court, too. As I have watched this with my kids and their friends, time and time again, most of the kids who are playing in team sports are growing stronger socially and their confidence level is greater. It is wonderful to play a part in this. Parents, you too can share in your child’s experience as well as contribute to the growth of other children.  Believe me, if I can coach, anyone can.

Cross Timbers YMCA is so much more than just about sports.  The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Every day, they work side-by-side with neighbors right here in your own neighborhood to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.  With your support, the YMCA can continue its mission to provide programs for all, a promise to the community they’ve kept for over 125 years. Money raised will help to teach a child to swim or show them the importance of teamwork on the sports field, and so much more.

The YMCA launched a new “Coach The Coach” program to ensure that we, the parents, have all the tools we need to help the kids. It is a short training session which gives you more than just a list of rules, but a “how to” coach, with suggested drills. In addition, we have a new Sports Committee which monitors the coaches and serves as a sounding board and resource for questions and guidance.  Did I say “we”? I did. That is because I believe so much in this organization that I recently joined the board of the Cross Timbers YMCA, a 501(c)3 organization that has been serving Denton County for over 30 years with programs that focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  I am working alongside the board to help grow these and other programs for our community.  So parents, the fall sports registration is underway and we can always use more coaches. Have you signed your kids up yet?

For more information about the Cross Timbers YMCA and the programs it offers go to Or call Jason Walter, Executive Director 972-539-9622.

Dawn Sprayman is the Executive Marketing Director at PointBank and board member at Cross Timbers YMCA. PointBank is a proud supporter of the Cross Timbers YMCA and encourages others to support this worthy organization,

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Hearts for Homes

Hearts for Homes

What would your grandparents do if they couldn’t afford home repairs? Who would help them? There are many without family close by or a solid support system, but you can help them. Join Hearts for Homes in helping those who can’t help themselves. You can make a difference.

Hearts for Homes is a Christian based non-profit outreach based in Denton, that provides no-cost housing repair and housing rehabilitation for low-income seniors, as well as meeting the needs of their everyday existence. Their goal is for the aging population to enjoy their latter years in a home that is well-functioning and comfortable. Hearts for Homes is an all-volunteer organization, with no salaried staff members. That means, they need your help.

Hearts for Homes relies upon their volunteers and the generous financial support of organizations, businesses and individuals in the community. They are seeking partnerships with businesses, schools, service organizations and individuals to maximize the effectiveness of this outreach ministry. Donations of time (regardless of home repair skill level), money and materials are greatly appreciated. Join them and reach out to the generation that made us possible.

You can give your time, talent or treasure to help Hearts for Homes. They need volunteers to assist in the actual repair work. You do not need to be a skilled builder, repairman or technician. There are jobs for every skill level.

They have need for skilled technicians to handle some of the more serious repairs. If you are gifted as an electrician, plumber, or other trade used in home repair, please email with your contact information.

Hearts for Homes is always in need of financial donations so the work can continue to bless others.

Join Hearts for Homes as they celebrate their Heartbeat Dinner on Sunday, June 22nd at 6:00 pm at the Center for the Visual Arts on 400 East Hickory. Learn firsthand about the ministry of Hearts for Homes, listen to testimonials from donors, volunteers and board members. Meet many of the senior homeowners and find out why people support this very vital ministry. Share the work of Hearts for Homes with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, church members and business associates by sponsoring a table.

For more information about the Heartbeat Dinner, or how you can help, please visit

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Women to Women

Women to Women

Pregnancy Resource Center

Unsure? Woman to Woman Resource Center brings clarity and truth to a moment of crisis.

Do you know a young woman that has it all together, a self-supporting college student who is organized and knows where she’s going?

“Candace” is like that. She has had some successes in life….and she is pregnant. She knows she is emotionally capable to raise a baby, but in her mind, she did not have all of the logistics and finances worked out. She was completely unsure of what to do and needed help processing through her difficult decision.

Her counseling session at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton revealed the truth and all of her options. The ultrasound found a 10-week old with arms and legs that wiggled, kicked and squirmed. Candace’s conclusion that day was “that’s a real live baby in there.”

Denton’s Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center is a non-profit organization that empowers women and families to make wise life choices through education and truth. When a woman is overwhelmed by her unplanned pregnancy, she needs to know and understand all of her options. Mostly, she needs to know someone cares. That’s where Woman to Woman bridges the gap in our community.

With counseling by dedicated volunteer advocates, Woman to Woman gathers the resources a woman needs to make wise decisions and to see her through a pregnancy, from pregnancy tests to education and mentoring. All of the services are free, including the diapers and wipes the mothers earn while participating in Woman to Woman’s programs.

Woman to Woman operates under the direction of a local OB/GYN and has an R.N. on staff. Clients receive pregnancy information and are provided with referrals for social services as well as clothing and baby equipment. Clients that participate in the in-house education and mentoring programs earn coupons and vouchers that are redeemed for donated infant care products.
Supported by individuals, businesses, churches and Twice as Nice Resale, Woman to Woman holds a few events each year to introduce the community to the mission.  Lace ‘em Up for Life, a 5k run/1k fun walk fundraiser will be help on Saturday, May 17th at the Greenbelt near Aubrey.

Find out more or register to run, walk or support the mission at There are also business opportunities to sponsor this event and receive some publicity in return.

For more information, contact Tammy at 940.383.3150, ext. 303 or

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CACDC Champions for Children

CACDC Champions for Children

By  Colleen Preston

When Highland Village resident Marnie Grodzin visited the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County (CACDC) 12 years ago to donate some of her son’s toys, she never imagined she would eventually be chairing the American Eagle Harley-Davidson Annual 2014 Champions for Children Gala.  As a new volunteer for CACDC, I had the opportunity to interview Marnie, a social worker in our community, and hear about her experiences as a volunteer spanning more than a decade.

What made her decide to volunteer at CACDC?

“I needed to donate toys, searched for a children’s organization online and the CACDC popped up.  I put my son and the toys in the car and drove to the center. Dan Leal, the Executive Director, greeted me at the door and asked me a few questions. Once he learned I was a social worker, there was no turning back.  I started volunteering my social work skills from that moment on.”

She decide to get more involved; “A few years ago, I sent an email to all my contacts – nationally and internationally – promoting CACDC and the upcoming Gala. I was overwhelmed with the number of responses from my friends, family and colleagues who said they wished they had an advocacy center when they were a child because they too had been abused. At that moment, I made a commitment that I would do whatever it takes to get our community educated about child sexual abuse and raise funds to support the center and staff.”

What are some of the highlights and accomplishments of CACDC over the years from her perspective?

“I think more of our community knows about CACDC compared to 10 years ago; it’s on the radar screen as a worthy, established and reputable organization that produces results. I strive to educate people on what CACDC is all about. It’s important for the public to be aware not only of the child sexual abuse that’s taking place around them, but also about the services the CACDC provides to children who have been abused.”

“I’ll never forget my job as a foster care social worker with DCFS in Chicago. ‘My job is to keep you safe’ was the message I continually delivered to the children I worked with.  If there was a children’s advocacy center in Chicago, my team was not made aware of it and the children we served were never interviewed there.   A teenage girl, whom I spent a year trying to gain her trust, burst out one day while in the car, “You lied! You said you would keep me safe!  Now I have to go sit in the courtroom and see my parents who hurt me more than you will ever know.”  This girl needed to testify and tell her story, once again, as she never had a proper interview.  If she had, she may never have had to enter that courtroom.”

“When a child is being interviewed at the center, a blue light flashes reminding staff and volunteers to be quiet as a recording of the interview is taking place.  More and more, over the years I have seen that light flash more frequently.  For a while, I found it depressing, but then one day I realized, every time that light flashes, a child is telling their story, and getting the help they need and that perpetrator will be brought to justice sparing more children from being sexually abused.”

What has surprised you most during your tenure at CACDC?

“What shocks me the most is the general belief that sexual abuse only happens in certain socioeconomic, religious or racial backgrounds. It happens everywhere. Statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be abused – regardless of their background. In fact I believe the numbers to be higher!”

What does she feel needs to be shared about CACDC?

“People need to know exactly what it is and how it serves our community. Kids don’t live there. It’s where kids who have been sexually abused can tell their story ONE TIME in a safe location. It’s where all professionals in the prosecution process – detectives, case managers and attorneys – work together in one location to bring the perpetrator to justice. It’s where abused kids and their non-perpetrating family members can receive free counseling and services to assist them in healing.”

“People typically cringe at the topic of sexual abuse. But, let’s face it – it’s not going away. Keeping the abuse contained only creates more heartache and pain. Every time I see that blue light, I know another child is sharing their story and will ultimately move on with their lives without shame or guilt.”

For more information about the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County, visit

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