Spotlight Post: the Just for Grins Foundation
Mandi Kelloway is no stranger to the Closer to Love community. She and her husband, Jason, have partnered with us on several occasions through their ministries Cup of Love and Social Grounds Coffee. So it felt like a familiar scene last Friday to have a Kelloway up front at Sanctuary, but with a new and exciting story to share. Mandi has an organization of her own, one that is deeply in-touch with her own faith journey of isolation and healing.
After being born with a cleft palate and lip, Mandi went through at least 17 separate surgeries and several tooth extractions as a young girl. As if that traumatic ordeal wasn’t enough, she was also bullied all throughout grade school which ingrained a deep sense of failure and unworthiness in her. Through becoming a Christian and ultimately finding her identity in self-worth in Christ alone, Mandi realized that her own struggle could serve as a platform for other girls with cleft lip and palate disorders. And as a hair stylist and make-up artist herself, she knew that she could give those girls a sense of themselves that would last long after the curls had fallen and the lipstick faded.
Starting with 20 high school aged girls and 50 volunteers, Mandi launched the Just for Grins Foundation which aims to support those suffering from and affected by cleft palate and lip disorders. That first year she brought the high schoolers into her salon and transformed them all, while at the same time developing long-term partnership about finding their purpose and identity in Christ first and foremost. Just as God poured into her and shored up her weaknesses before trials, Mandi hoped to bestow her own wisdom and experiences to these girls in the middle of an incredibly vulnerable season of their lives. Not only that, but Mandi has also connected the mothers of the girls together, to offer support and consolation throughout all the surgeries, rehabilitation, and therapy. This community has been invaluable for a disorder that can be so isolating.
The more that Mandi shared the more it became obvious that this wasn’t just about her, or even the girls that she helps, but that she was telling out story. That we all with our upbringing and our baggage, bring ourselves to God looking affirmation and a plan. And that He, with arms wide open, whispers to us his purpose and intentions for us. What an amazing gift to be able to share with the believers gathered on Friday night, and with those that partner with the Kelloways in the future.
Keep up to date with the Just for Grins Foundation’s events and needs by going to their website or liking their Facebook page.