It’s a wonderful life, indeed.

On December 7th, under the twinkling Christmas lights in the Celebration Hall and The New Granbury Live of the Downtown Granbury Square, active citizens and members of Hood County gathered to celebrate Forward Training Center of Hood County. Spirits were high as everyone raised funds for the Forward Training Center of Hood County with a dreamy evening of dinner and holiday music all in the theme of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

After heaping helpings of Christina’s Bistro salad, cooked vegetables, prime rib and garlic grits, everyone gathered by the Granbury Live stage to listen to Danny Wright on the piano. Even Mayor Nin Hulett was in attendance as everyone celebrated a wonderful cause that helps so many in the Hood County area.

What is Forward Training about, and why give to this organization? Forward Training Center of Hood County focuses on helping those in the cycle of poverty, those struggling to figure out what is next for them, or those who just need help to get back on their feet and gain a sense of self-worth, growth and love in community and peer-based skills classes. The training is all focused on a strong Faith and finding a job in their local community.

The center offers several classes, and each student also has a mentor throughout their journey. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Forward Training Center wouldn’t be able to operate without volunteers, generous donors and business owners in Hood County.

Laurie Lilly, Event Coordinator and Forward Training Center Mentor, explained the importance of the fundraiser and the reason behind why they do what they do in Hood County.

“I know that the Lord is in this place tonight…” Lilly said. “In Hood County we have such a high percentage of poverty, but we can make a difference. The attendance tonight, at this event, truly proves that. I can’t thank you enough for being here.”

Prior to Danny Wright and the Fort Worth Symphony’s phenomenal performance, two Forward Training Center graduates took the stage, sharing their success stories, and why the training center was truly the turning point in their lives.

Heather, now in the works of starting her own business and featured on the program cover for the evening, shared her beginnings and journey through the Jobs for Life Program and Forward Training, and what it did to turn her life around.

“I came from a home with an abusive father, and an alcoholic mother, and it was a really good day if I had running water and electricity at the same time. It was a good day if I had butter for bread, because we usually didn’t have one or the other,” Heather said. “I went to the Jobs for Life program [Forward Training Center] and everything fell into place. The mentors were amazing and the trainers were amazing, and I learned so much about myself. I learned I can do things, I don’t have to be the way my mom and dad were. I learned coping tools I never had instilled in me. I learned I’m awesome, and I am precious, and God made me for me.”

Heather is now breaking out of the poverty cycle in Hood County, and showing her girls that they can, too.

“I have a plan, I have a dream. I knew where God was taking me, I wasn’t wandering anymore, I knew exactly where God wanted me to be,” Heather said. “Now, I’m working on starting my own business, I’m going back to school, and I would have never had that chance if it weren’t for places like Forward Training, and people like you [volunteers, attendees]…. I wouldn’t be able to teach my daughters that they broke the chain, and they’ll be better than me just like I was better than my parents. It’s all because of God, and all of the people He has put in our lives.”

Under the beautiful lights on the Downtown Granbury Square, the night was truly magical, in more ways than one. It really is a wonderful life. If you would like more information about how to donate or volunteer to Forward Training Center of Hood County, please call 817-573-6677, or click here