The mission of The Encouragement Project is to cultivate communities of giving and service among empty nesters and retirees that follow the words and example of Jesus Christ.
It is our hope that through this ministry you will find encouragement to truly live where you are, and to use the gifts you have been given. We strive to provide a place of rest from expectation, and present a change of perspective on what can be We are all created differently, with different abilities and capacities for action and knowledge. And we are all uniquely special and valued by our creator, the one true God. At The Encouragement Project, our heart is to see people encouraged to know and love Jesus more - for out of that life flows service, action, and rest. God gives abundantly good gifts, and walks faithfully with those who believe in Him - through rough storms and beautifully clear weather. We pray you will look for Him in all that you do.
The vision of The Encouragement Project is to reach just one more person with the encouragement they need. And then just one more...
STEPHANIE CERVANTES - CEO, Founder After lots of prayer, planning, and fermenting the idea for close to ten years, Stephanie founded The Encouragement Project (TEP) in 2015. With a love of crochet (passed down from her grandmother), a love of writing (discovered while serving as a missionary in Europe for seven years), and a heart for helping and encouraging others (which the Lord has deepened over time), she began TEP with just two projects (and a journal full of other ideas). It has been a joy for Stephanie to see how God has grown this effort to include more ways of blessing others, and more people who are involved. She most loves learning more about Jesus, spending time with her husband and two children, encouraging and helping people, gardening, and long walks.
JAMI SINGH - Chairman of the Board Jami is the co-Founder/President of JSC Nexus, a search firm based in north Atlanta, GA. Having grown up in a military family, she has lived in several parts of the US and in England. Jami enjoys Bible studies, growing her business, spending time with friends and family, hiking, biking, camping, gardening, reading, and traveling. She also volunteers her time and resources to help with organizations such as Family Promise, Ciudad de Angeles, Meals by Grace, and Helping the Elderly. Jami, her husband, and their two Beagles reside in Cumming, Georgia, where she is a member of Grace Chapel Church of Christ. She has a daughter and son-in-law that reside in Athens, Georgia. Jami has served on the board since the spring of 2022.
REBA SHACKELFORD - Board Treasurer, CFO Since the beginning of TEP in 2015, Reba has been committed to helping fulfill its mission in many ways as an advisor, project assistant, and board member. Having spent thirty-five years as a school teacher and administrator, and a private piano teacher, she now enjoys her retirement years with her family, especially her four grandchildren. Reba has been a church pianist and choir director of both children and adult choirs, and currently attends Ebenezer Methodist Church in Roswell, Georgia. She first sat on the board from 2016-2019, and began serving a second term in 2021.
DR. SHERRY TAYLOR - Board member Dr. Sherry Taylor is a board-certified OBGYN and Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She specializes in women’s health at Alpha Omega OBGYN in Alpharetta, GA, and was recently awarded “Top Doctor in Atlanta” for the third year in a row. Sherry is involved with many charitable organizations, and has faithfully supported The Encouragement Project since the beginning. As she now serves on the board (since February 2023), she is excited to see what additional support, encouragement, and leadership she can add to this team. Sherry also enjoys traveling, water sports, spectator sports (especially Auburn/War Eagle events), art, music, and ballroom dancing. She has one daughter, and resides in North Atlanta.
WENDY HATFIELD - Board member After retiring from a career in nursing in 2017, Wendy has become a prolific volunteer. She serves at the Cherokee Family Violence Center, with Cards for Soldiers, and is a long-time volunteer/advocate for animals, pet rescues, and animal shelters. As a member of Waleska United Methodist Church, Wendy also serves as Chair of Outreach and sits on the Church Council. She started an annual Great Day of Service for the church, along with numerous monthly volunteer opportunities, blood drives, and educational classes. In her “spare time,” she enjoys gardening and just being outside. She and her husband Brian have two sons. Wendy has served on the TEP board since February 2023.
JULIE SWANGER- advisory board member Julie is a Senior Portfolio Advisor for Northern Trust (effective January 2023), offering holistic wealth management services for individuals, families, privately-held businesses, foundations and endowments. When Julie first saw TEP’s direction toward supporting and uplifting often overlooked community members, she was inspired to help fulfill the mission by offering her business perspective. Julie currently resides in Sarasota, Florida, is mom to two college-aged daughters who are “the light of my life,” and attends South Shore Community Church. She served on the TEP board for three years (2020-2022).
SARAH GRAVES - advisory board member, project development During her career, Sarah worked as a paralegal, preschool teacher, classroom paraprofessional, office manager, and bookkeeper. When she retired, she felt the only thing missing from her “retirement chapter” was the “giving back” piece. That’s when she and TEP found each other. In addition to the various ways she serves with TEP, Sarah enjoys traveling, Bible studies, swimming, knitting, reading, and gardening. Sarah and her husband live in Alpharetta, Georgia, are members of Alpharetta First United Methodist Church, and have two grown sons. She served on the board for three years (2018-2020).
We are deeply grateful for ALL those who volunteer in a wide variety of ways through TEP - knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing, sorting/labeling items, folding/decorating/filling gifts, donating/processing books, washing/packing stuffed animals, running a drive, writing, editing, packing, delivering, planning, creating...etc! Whew! In fact, our volunteers have spent over 50,000 hours helping, serving, and encouraging over 30,000 people! We SO appreciate those who are a part of these efforts, and we would love to have you join us!
If you would like to volunteer with any of our current projects, or as part of our giving team, let us know by clicking here!