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Difference Makers

These Four Women Are Creating a Safer, Healthier, Kinder and Wiser Community

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Dawn Michelle Photography, Contributed

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

Kimberly Gronberg

Orthodontist, Owner of Gronberg Orthodontics

For years, you've been giving patients new smiles. How does it feel to have made such an impact on the community? 

It has been so rewarding to see children and teens have more confidence at such a crucial time in their life when they are proud of their new smile.  Our adult patients have many times been the most emotional about the change in their smile because it is something they had wanted for so long but didn't have the opportunity to have before. It's really rewarding to see someone so grateful for something that many of us take for granted. 

What is your greatest accomplishment?

My pride and joy are my three amazing children.  I can't really say they are an 'accomplishment' because they are each gifts from God. Raising children is the hardest job I have had, but it has definitely been the most rewarding.  I am so proud to be their mom.  I think parenting my own children has changed my perspective in treating patients as well and has hopefully made me a more empathetic clinician. 

Sheila Taylor

Lewisville ISD Board Member, Director of Corporate Tax for Heidelberg Materials

This past year, you were elected to the LISD school board. Congratulations! Why did you want to be on the board, and what are your hopes for the future of LISD? 

I am deeply honored and grateful to be in this position. I think of myself as a very curious person who is always wanting to learn. Community service and education have always been at the forefront of my very existence, so I found a way to marry the two. LISD is a great school district that spans 127 square miles across and serves almost 46,000 students in 13 municipalities. The challenge is meeting the needs of every student when the needs can be so different. We are committed to providing the best education and solid foundation to every student so we can ensure their future success whether that is college, skilled trades or entrepreneurship.

As a three-time breast cancer survivor, you founded the non-profit Sock It to Cancer. How does the program help those fighting breast cancer?

I am very passionate about breast cancer advocacy and awareness. I lost my 46-year-old mother-in-law to the disease before I received my first diagnosis. I knew I had to do more, so I joined the Board of Directors for The Bridge Breast Network. They provide free medical care through their network of volunteer doctors and surgeons to uninsured women needing treatment for breast cancer. I also became very active with Susan G. Komen becoming the co-chair of the Advocacy Committee, race chair and a National Advocacy Ambassador. I still felt like I needed to do something more personal, to turn my own private pain into purpose, so I started Sock It To Cancer. We provide comfort items - blankets, house shoes, fuzzy socks, pillows, etc. - to women in treatment for breast cancer by making donations to oncology centers. We have also done a wig drive to provide gently used and new wigs to cancer patients. Most insurance does not cover head coverings as they are not seen as ‘essential.’ Future goals for the organization are to provide a scholarship in my mother-in-law’s name to students who have had a parent diagnosed with breast cancer and to help with transportation to and from chemotherapy appointments.   

Suzann Woodard

Director of Development, Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas

The Children's Advocacy Center does such important work. Tell me about your role with the organization. 

I have a dream job because I’m a member of the Dream Team! I am the Director of Development at Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas. We are THE place a child goes in Denton County when they make an outcry of physical or sexual abuse. CACs provide a safe, child-friendly environment where law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution and medical and mental health professionals can share information and develop effective, coordinated strategies sensitive to the needs of each unique case and child. As Director of Development, I oversee the team responsible for raising the funds needed to provide these precious kiddos with these services. We do this through grant applications, private fundraising, special events and community sponsorships. We have an amazing team that makes all of this happen and I am so proud of the work they do. 

Why do you think it is important to serve the community? 

We are the community…all of us.  Doing what we can for the community enriches everyone’s life, including mine. I am so happy that programs like YMSL and NCL exist to instill that value in our children. These programs also support the work of the many non-profit organizations in our community including the Advocacy Center. The Advocacy Center serves as the community response to child abuse in Denton, Wise and Jack counties. Without the support of our volunteers, donors and our community, we would not be able to provide the six-core services to victims or provide education to our community on how to Recognize and Report Child Abuse. As a mom, my main goal is to protect my boys. In order for my children to be protected, I will protect yours.    

Kelly Andrus

Founder of AUsome Moms

What inspired you to start AUsome Moms, and what is the organization's mission?

My older son Bradley was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old. We didn't have any friends or family with autism, and I was kind of at a loss on where to start this journey. After searching online, I was having trouble finding a support group that met in person on a frequent basis. I found a few moms in different parts of the metroplex that had newly diagnosed children with autism around my son's age, and we became friends. We would meet for dinner once a month and became each other's support system. We all learned so much from each other! I realized the big benefit of meeting in person and having that support. It was invaluable. So, I decided that helping other moms find that was what my mission needed to be. Our mission statement is: AUsome Moms was created to provide support, social opportunities and education to families of children on the autism spectrum throughout the DFW metroplex. AUsome Moms is devoted to supporting local moms in our community and making a positive impact in their lives and the lives of their children.

I understand AUsome Moms now has more than 7,000 members. How does it feel to be making such a large impact on the community? 

It feels like all our time and effort throughout the year is being well spent and making an impact on a lot of lives, and that feels good. The resource fair, social events, playdates, grants and giveaways – they all take a lot of time and effort. But I have been blessed with a board that is amazing and works so hard all year for our moms. When we get emails and hugs from teary eyed moms that tell us how much they have been impacted and how the group has changed their lives… well, it makes it all worth it.

"I think of myself as a very curious person who is always wanting to learn. Community service and education have always been at the forefront of my very existence, so I found a way to marry the two."  - Sheila Taylor 

"As a mom, my main goal is to protect my boys. In order for my children to be protected, I will protect yours."   - Suzann Woodard

"When we get emails and hugs from teary eyed moms that tell us how much they have been impacted and how the group has changed their lives… well, it makes it all worth it."  - Kelly Andrus

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