Stephen Cooper

In Our Stories by Kim Eiffert

“In the first moments at Grace Avenue, it already felt like home.”

I was brought to Grace Avenue after my first week here in Texas. We had just moved from North Carolina and I knew absolutely no one, but in the first moments at Grace Avenue, it already felt like home. Coming to a new place as a high school sophomore is, for lack of a better term, difficult.

I had left my home of eight years, but the hardest part of leaving was wondering whether or not I would fit in once getting to Texas. Grace Avenue gave me a sense of home that’s hard to get anywhere else. Laura and Billy Echols-Richter along with Christopher Vaughn and the whole youth program gave me what I like to call my home away from home.

They have had a major role in shaping the man I am today and I cannot thank them enough for being a part of my journey. They are the reason I stay at Grace Avenue. They gave a kid who felt alone a place to feel like he had friends and more importantly a family in whom he could confide.

I was very involved with youth group and the youth praise band, U-Turn. Some of the greatest memories I have of Grace Avenue are the times I got to share the stage with some very amazing musicians and even better friends. While I am now a sophomore at Hardin-Simmons University, I am still an active member of Grace Avenue to this day. My hope is that Grace Avenue continues to grow and thrive so that everyone who goes there feels like they have a place to call home.