Aali’s Journal

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Our team at That Grace Restored is so excited for the chance we’ve had to interact with so many amazing, generous people in our community these past two months of Stitched classes!  We launched our collaborative journal making classes with the desire to see fellow Atlantans in our immediate neighborhood and beyond come together with us to learn about the art of journal making and support women exiting the commercial sex industry, and we are thrilled to see that happening before our eyes!

While our new friends leave Stitched with a beautiful hand bound journal filled with paper made by our TGR women, they also donate a second journal to our sale stock which provides us with increased revenue for use in operating TGR and employing our women.  In this way, all of our Stitched participants become a part of our story and join our family.

A very special part of our story comes through Aali, a young woman who participated in last week’s Stitched class.  At 12 years old, Aali came to Stitched as part of her birthday celebration.  She made two beautiful journals, including a light blue chevron patterned journal that she donated back to That Grace Restored.  

Because we believe deeply in empowering women, both young and old, and because we want to increasingly create space for the greater community to come alongside our women in love, we have decided to dedicate Aali’s donated journal to a special project.  Starting today Aali’s journal will be passed from our staff to a friend who will then write an encouraging note, verse or quote in the pages and pass it along to someone else.  The journal will be sent from person to person until the pages are full with encouraging words, at which time we will send a shipping label for the journal to be sent back to us.  

Aali’s journal will be kept for the women we serve who stay with Leroy and Janelle, and eventually at our safe house as a source of encouragement and an outpouring of love.

We are asking everyone who receives the journal to take a selfie with the journal and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #Aalisjournal.  This will allow you to follow Aali’s journal on it’s journey, and maybe even to track it down to contribute a note yourself!

If you do not have an opportunity to write in Aali’s journal, but would like to encourage our women, please send a handwritten letter to PO Box 115416 Atlanta, Ga 30310 and we will make sure it is placed in the hands of our women. 

#Aalisjournal starts today!    



The Story Behind the Paper Pt. 2

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Each woman will be identified only through a signature symbol, which will soon also be used to show who has made the handcrafted paper for each journal you buy! Today’s TGR team member is represented by the lily shown on the left.

She has shown Her capability and creativity as a That Grace Restored employee for the past 5 months.  She began working in the sex industry in Atlanta at age 14, after giving birth to her son.  With no father in the picture and a mother struggling with drug addiction, She had no support for Herself or Her child.  

When She was 26, She reached her breaking point as She attempted to raise Her son, now a teenager, on Her own. She knew that all She wanted was a better life for him and that to give him what he needed She couldn’t keep working on the streets.  She made the decision to leave Her life as a working girl behind.

After meeting Leroy and Janelle and working through things in Her life with them for a time, She started employment as a paper artisan at That Grace Restored, and is now being trained as the next General Manager.  She credits Her time spent at TGR with renewing Her belief that She can find restoration and is capable of working and achieving goals.   She finds safety, hope and encouragement to always remain positive by spending time with both the Serenity’s Steps and TGR staff, and is excited about increasing Her number of work hours.

In regard to paper making She says “It’s very therapeutic.  I get in the zone, my own little world.  It’s relaxing and calming.  It helps me grow as I learn how to communicate with others well, and helps me work on myself and the direction I want to go in my life.”

She is currently working towards earning her GED, plans to become a homeowner and hopes to go to school for business management as a pathway to her dream of opening a restaurant. 

Fun Fact: If given the chance to have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, She would love nothing more than the chance to cook oven fried chicken and macaroni and cheese with her late grandmother, whom she always wanted to meet.  



The Story Behind the Paper: getting to know the women of TGR

Meet the first of the lovely ladies of That Grace Restored! 

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Each woman will be identified only through a signature symbol, which will soon also be used to show who has made the handcrafted paper for each journal you buy! Today’s TGR team member is represented by the flying bird shown on the left.

She became part of our TGR team two months ago.  After experiencing rape at only 14 years old, She was introduced to street prostitution.  At that time, She along with her sister were cared for by their grandmother who was struggling financially.  It was then, with the genuine desire of a young girl’s heart to help her family, that She began to work the street in order to provide the monetary help they needed. 

Two and a half years ago, as a mother of several young children, She decided to leave the life and start fresh.  She credits this motivation to a sense of God touching Her heart and convicting Her to change.   This was a hard decision and difficult process as She still struggled to provide for Her children.

Through Her time spent working at TGR, She has found encouragement to keep persevering through the other women and staff who have provided a consistent source of support and love.  Having someone that She knows really cares about Her and Her future has been vital to pressing forward even when it is tempting to go back to the life.

At TGR, we often show the process of paper making, but She looks forward to the end product.  She relishes the beauty of a crisp sheet of paper produced from a pulpy mess.  In this appreciation, She recognizes a deeper truth, “[Paper making] helped me realize that you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, just like the paper.  Some of the paper has imperfections but it’s still useful.  You’re not worthless if you have imperfections.”

She dreams about one day owning a lactation consulting business and opening a food truck.  With the supportive personal development and financial assistance TGR provides, She is looking forward to working hard to achieve Her goals for the future!

Fun Fact:  Given the choice to have dinner with anyone, living or dead, She would eat dinner at Two Urban Licks with Jamie Foxx or Kyrie Irving at This Is It. (She couldn’t pick just one!)


Check back Monday for our next introduction!