On Common Ground

In All Articles, Nonprofit Spotlight, SPOTLIGHT by Amy L. George


In 1991, Pastor Leroy Fenton (First Baptist, Waxahachie), Dr. Rhonda Walton, and a handful of others saw the need for kids on the East Side of Waxahachie to have a place to go after school for mentoring, tutoring and recreational activities. What started as a Sidewalk Sunday school those years ago is now Common Ground Ministries, a 501c3 non-profit organization, serving the kids and their families. I recently sat down with Director Stacie Dixon to find out more about what Common Ground offers.

What is the mission of Common Ground? Our mission is to reach as many families on the East Side, to be a safe haven and place for their children. We offer recreational activities plus tutoring and mentoring in the after-school hours of 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

How long have you been the director? I’ve been the director for nine years. Before that, I was the assistant director for a  year.

How did you get involved? My stepmother-in-law, Melveen Dixon, was on the Board for CG. I had spoken to her prior to a board meeting and told her I felt the Lord moving me into ministry, but I wasn’t sure what direction. During her meeting, the then-director, Felicia Snell, expressed a need for help. My mother-in-law said I needed to talk to her. That was in 2006, and I’ve been here ever since.

Wow. What’s your staff and volunteer like? How many children do you all currently serve?” Our staff is myself and an assistant director, as well as one SAGU intern, Hannah Huffman. Waxahachie Junior Service League Representative, DeeAnne Rowe also comes once or twice weekly. Our volunteers are mainly SAGU students. There’s a student group that is a part of Southwestern Missions Association (SMA) that specifically focuses on serving Common Ground. It is led by students Rachel Montez and Janelle Hooker. We’ve also worked with a SAGU service organization, The Gold Jackets, recently, that blessed us for a day with over twenty volunteers. We’ve had groups of 2-30 volunteers over the years. We serve 30 children from the East Side per session.

What age group do you all work with? We work with children from Kindergarten through the fifth grade. One of the neat opportunities is that we have an iPad program for our fifth graders, where they get to work on an iPad their entire fifth grade year. At the end of the year, we gift those to them during a graduation ceremony. It’s really neat to be able to do.

I imagine! What else is rewarding for you? The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the kids I started out with receiving Danny Hill scholarships as seniors in high school. Just watching them be successful is pretty awesome.”

So where can folks get more information about Common Ground? How can they get involved? We have a Facebook page: Common Ground Ministires Waxahachie. Or they can call me at 972-938-6832. We have a current need of someone who is working toward a counseling degree and who would be available to counsel children and parents. We’re also looking for donations and volunteers for our Christmas Store, December 9th. They can contact me for more information.

“I became a co-leader for Common Ground because mentoring children and loving them with a Christ-like love is my passion! I know what it’s like to feel unloved and unwanted because of some of the circumstances in life. Being there with the children and learning from them (which happens often) helps me to use the gifts that God has given me and I work hard to be a good example of what God’s love really looks like!”- Janelle Hooker

Amy L. George