As the holiday season approaches, I become more keenly aware of the many blessings that have been bestowed upon my family and friends over the past year.  The weather change, beautiful fall leaves, good food, fun parties, and gift exchanges serve as reminders of how grateful I am for my earth, my country, and my community.  As I consider my personal blessings, I especially count organizations and women that make me a better person and help me to grow as a human being, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Women’s Fund of Smith County and GIVE (Girls Invested in Volunteer Efforts).  These groups have been a huge part of the lives of myself and my two teenage daughters over the past three years.  I joined the Women’s Fund to be a part of the mission that “Together is Better” and to feel the impact that collective giving has on our local non-profit community.  Through our grants, I know that my small contribution is helping to transform lives of women and children throughout Tyler and Smith County.  GIVE has also had a large influence on my family by teaching my daughters about giving back to a community that has blessed our family immensely.

The Power of the Purse luncheon, benefiting the Women’s Fund and GIVE, is coming up on November 8 at the Green Acres Crosswalk Center and we are so thrilled to welcome Becca Stevens as our keynote speaker.  The Rev. Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, Episcopal priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee. She is notable for founding Magdalene in 1997, now called Thistle Farms, to heal, empower, and employ female survivors of human trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.

The Women’s Fund has experienced the kindness of this community year after year through those that have sponsored and those that attend this event.  The generosity of individuals, companies, and other non-profit organizations, allows us to host wonderful and inspirational women to share knowledge and encouragement every year.  The Power of the Purse event enables us to reach more women to tell our story and motivate our members to stay involved and to give back.

Not only does the Women’s Fund have a record high number of members this year, GIVE has also doubled in size.  The membership is now made up of over 50 Smith County high school girls that attend public, private and charter schools.  Not only are we blessed with these new faces to GIVE but we are looking forward to the impact that this group of high school girls will be able to make this year as they fundraise and make a grant to a local non-profit of their choosing.  They will continue to sell the fun and funky socks that we all know and love but have also added a new fundraiser that is sure to be a hit this holiday season.  Ferrell Fisher, owner and founder of Lauren Ferrell Designs, has generously donated her time and resources to teach the GIVE members the art of making lovely, high-quality jewelry.  The GIVE girls have had the pleasure and honor of working with Ferrell to create a beautiful keepsake bracelet that will be sold at the Power of the Purse luncheon.

As November begins and the season of thankfulness and generosity is upon us, my hope is that you realize that, as an individual, you can greatly contribute to a group or organization just by being involved and being passionate.  Giving of your time, talent or treasure and doing so abundantly this holiday season will truly be a gift to yourself, to your neighbors, and to your community.  If you want to learn more about the Women’s Fund or to purchase socks or bracelets to support GIVE, please visit us at or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Christi Khalaf is the Vice President for Advancement for the Women’s Fund of Smith County.