Beauty From Ashes Videos


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Julie Shematz Announced As A 2014 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida

WGCU Public Media
2014 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida

December 3, 2013….The MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida for 2014 were announced today by WGCU Public Media. Fourteen women were selected from 121 nominees. Nominations were received from the Southwest Florida community from Aug. 1 through Oct. 25. A community selection committee reviewed each of the nominees in the categories of arts, business, education, environment, health & wellness, politics and social justice activism.

             In its second year honoring women who are leaving a legacy and making a significant impact in our region, WGCU will produce video and audio portraits of the MAKERS that will air in April 2014 on WGCU TV and radio. The portraits will also be posted at to inspire generations to come.                        
            The 2014 MAKERS are listed below.  This year’s MAKERS are not listed by category.  The selection committee determined that several of the selected MAKERS are leaving a legacy in more than one category.

The 2014 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida are:

Rita Bertler, President, Dollars for Mammograms
Sharon Bruckman, Owner/CEO, Natural Awakenings Publishing Corporation
Myra Daniels, Founder, The Philharmonic Center for the Arts 
The Honorable Laura Safer Espinoza, Executive Director, Fair Food Standards Council 
Eve Haverfield, Founder, Turtle Time, Inc.
Martha Hill, Mailbag Editor, The News-Press
Theresa Ink, Founder, P.A.W.S. Lee County
Kimberly Leach Johnson, Firm Chair, Quarles & Brady, LLP
Nancy Lascheid, Co-Founder, Neighborhood Health Clinic
Darla Letourneau, Founding Steering Group Member, BikeWalkLee
Pam Oakes, Owner, Pam’s Motor City
Michele Valencourt, Executive Director, Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda
Gail Williams, Chief Diversity Officer, Hodges University

            MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida selection committee members are:  2013 MAKERS: Andrea Clark Brown, Ellin Goetz and Trudi Williams; Sarah Owen, Southwest Florida Community Foundation; Brenda Tate, Women's Fund of Southwest Florida; Walter Douglas, WGCU Diversity Advisory Group member; WGCU Public Media Advisory Board members: Debra McIntyre, Maria Palacio and Mimi Gregory; WGCU staff: Valerie Alker, Toby Cooke, Barbara Linstrom, Kim Woodle, Amy Tardif and Barbara Steinhoff.

Community partners for MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida are the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Women's Fund of Southwest Florida. MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Corporate sponsorships are available. For sponsorship information contact Terry Brennen, at (239)590-2366 or

Beauty From Ashes™ Annual Christmas Party

 December 7th
Eagle's Landing
North Fort Myers, FL


New FREEdom™ Team Members Trained

New FREEdom™ Team Members Trained

12 new volunteers, ages 18-65, attended our monthly Volunteer Orientation this month. New team members range from Florida Gulf Coast University students to a professional grant writer. Welcome!

Our next Volunteer Orientation is December 14th, 9am-Noon, in North Fort Myers, FL. Registration Required. Limited Seating. For a list of BFA abolitionist opportunities and to register, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Executive Board Members

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Attorney David C. Gibbs III and Dwayne Zeigler have joined BFA's board of Executive Directors.

Attorney David C. Gibbs III
is the President and General Counsel of the National Center for Life and Liberty, a ministry organization that defends life and personal freedoms nationwide. A regular speaker at conferences and churches, he hosts the weekly radio program Law Talk Live on the Moody Radio Network and has authored five books including Fighting for Dear Life and Understanding the Constitution.
Attorney Gibbs graduated from Duke Law School and manages the Gibbs Law Firm with offices in Dallas, Texas; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Washington, D.C. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and numerous federal circuit and district courts nationwide. He has also been admitted to the State Bars of Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, and the District of Columbia.
Attorney Gibbs believes: “If it’s wrong, fight it. If it’s right, fight for it.” His life verse is Matthew 25:40, where Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Attorney Gibbs has been married to his wife, Carin, for over nineteen years. They have been blessed with four children; Heather (18), Heidi (16), David and Danielle (14-year-old twins). Their home is in the Dallas, Texas area.

Dwayne Zeigler is a the owner of Zeigler Contracting, Inc. and has been serving Christ in the Southwest Florida region since 1988.  A high school football coach and chaplain for Riverdale High School, he is also an Area Representative for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Mr. Zeigler has a passion for being on the field where the action is and for serving youths and adults. His service roles have included the development and implementation of community and church events, teaching, and mentoring.

A high energy individual who has the gift of humor, his life verse is 1 Timothy 1:15-16, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life."

Mr. Zeigler has been married to his high school sweetheart, Karen, for over 30 years. They have been blessed with one daughter, Haley (18).  Their home is in North Fort Myers, Florida.

Attorney Gibbs and Mr. Zeigler have been supportive of BFA for over 7 years combined. As leaders in their communities and men of integrity and character,  it is with great honor that we welcome them.

To read more about what BFA is doing, CLICK HERE and check out this Month's Newsletter

Monday, December 2, 2013

10th Annual Thanksgiving Strip Club OutREACH

On Saturday, November 16th, members of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries (BFA) FREEdom™ Team gathered, after Hug & Groom, to prepare a traditional meal of turkey, sweet potato and green bean casseroles, crunchy cole slaw, cranberry and blueberry sauce, and dump cake.  As I taught college students how to cook this year's annual Thanksgiving strip club meal, I had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness.

I could hardly believe that every month for the past 5 years, following Jesus' model of regularly eating with individuals the religious community judged, that a home cooked meal has been served inside of the strip club BFA adopted 10 years ago.

As we entered the club, I was delighted to be met with expressions of excitement, squeals of joy, and embracing hugs . . . some things never change.  When BFA began doing the outREACHes, the goal was to develop relationships,  share the love of Christ, and provide resources for change to those that wanted them.

We've succeeded at sharing the Gospel and maintaining those relationships as evidenced by the number of women that have received and continue to receive ongoing services that BFA has developed and implemented. Because of YOUR support of over 30 programs and services, we have raised the standard of outREACH & afterCARE to a professional level. Because of our partners, women, children, and families have transitioned from victims to overcomers.

To read more about what BFA is doing, CLICK HERE and check out this Month's Newsletter.
When I started doing strip club outREACHes, there were less than 5 ministries nationwide doing them. Today, there are more than 180, and many of the ministries BFA has trained and provided consulting to that will be doing holiday outREACHes this season. They will be taking His light and love into dark places, serving food and delivering gift bags with the message of hope, and the truth that there is a way out.  They are continuing the model of outREACH pioneered by BFA.
Thank you for your ongoing support in Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries' (BFA) mission to prevent, reach, and restore victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. Together, we have and will continue to make a difference.

From the BFA FREEdom™ Team family to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Julie Shematz, MA
Founder & President
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries

If you'd like to sponsor a monthly strip club outREACH meal, CLICK HERE.