The mission of The Encouragement Project is to cultivate a community of giving and service in North Georgia, following the words and example of Jesus.
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
resources for serving Jesus and loving others
a place of rest from expectation
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.
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.
JULIE SWANGER - Chairman of the board Julie is a Senior Investment Strategist for Ronald Blue Trust, a wealth management firm based in Alpharetta, Georgia. 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 resides in Milton, Georgia, is mom to two college-aged daughters who are “the light of my life,” and attends North Point Community Church. She has served on the board since 2020.
DIANNE NJIE - Board Secretary Dianne is a retired elementary school teacher who still substitutes in the classroom a few days a week. Having been involved as a volunteer with some aspect of TEP almost from the beginning, she believes in what the Project stands for — encouraging and helping others, and says that “when we serve others, we serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Dianne is a member of The Transfiguration of the Lord Catholic Church in Marietta, Georgia, where she is a part of the choir and the Homebound Friends ministry, and she also serves with MUST Ministries. She enjoys crafting, movies, reading, and traveling. Dianne has been a member of the board since 2018.
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. She first sat on the board from 2016-2019, and began serving a second term in 2021.
SARAH GRAVES - 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 has served on the board since 2018.
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 books, running a book drive, processing books, writing, editing, packing, delivering, planning, creating...etc! Whew! 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 be a part of any of our current projects, or as part of our giving team, let us know by clicking here!