Paint the Town Proud - July 2022
Color World’s Paint the Town Proud Hero: Renee Harper
She may be best known by many in our community for her giving heart and endless efforts to help others. She is also known by many who don’t even know her full name. Renee Harper, a Dripping Springs resident since 2011, is our July honoree for the many ways that she gives to our community, often one person at a time.
When someone’s house burns down, she’s reaching out to see what they need. If someone finds themself without a working refrigerator and children to feed, she’s calling her connections for repairs or a replacement. Loss of job or home? It’s her name you’ll see posting to social media groups for job openings and housing options. No one is a stranger to her; everyone is deserving of her time and attention.
In her role as Vice President with Project Connect Dripping Springs, with the support of her board members, Renee is a resource for all things in life from furniture to clothing, gifts to food, and everything in between.
Project Connect: The Big Picture
Those kinds of resources aren’t always readily available though, and she explains the process of supply & demand often being off balance. “We have a storage unit at Morning Star storage where we store some of our donations. When we need something, we have it ready to go,” Renee said. “In a perfect situation, we’d have a need, then a donation, and that donation would be picked up and delivered directly to a family that needs it. We often get donations before we have a specific need and vice versa. Having a storage option is really critical to our mission.”
Speaking of mission, Project Connect’s is simple: A nonprofit dedicated to coordinating, complimenting and funding charitable activities within the Dripping Springs ISD and surrounding areas. The organization relies on volunteers to fuel efforts and fund projects such as Tiger Santa and Tigers Got Talent.
As a former military wife, her calling to serve started in Del Rio, Texas. Renee was contacted by a school counselor about a family in crisis. “I was made aware of clothing needs for families in the area. I put the word out through my various networks for donations. Within a week I had 47 bags of clothing on my porch” she said. Since then, her abilities to find housing and safety as well as tap into resources in our area have multiplied many times over.
Specific Event: Tiger Santa
Tiger Santa - Their DSISD Christmas outreach, will kick off soon. Once school is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner. Each year various groups in the area pull together donations of time, money and gifts for children and families that would otherwise go without at Christmas. Tiger Santa is designed to coordinate efforts so that each donation goes further. “If you’re interested in getting involved, this is a great way to do a little that gives a lot,” Renee added, constantly keeping the subject on ways to give and do instead of talking about herself.
“I want to be involved in as many efforts as I possibly can – with the projects and people who serve the people in our community,” Renee stated. “There is so much need in our own area that many of us don’t see.” She knows this because she experienced it when she first moved to Dripping Springs. It appeared that Dripping had very little need until she looked deeper and beyond the surface and saw some of our neighbors struggling.
Getting Involved: Following Her Lead
“Renee is spreading the word of donations and needs in our community regularly” her nominator said. Renee’s advice for those wanting to help our neighbors is simple: “When you learn of a need or a person/family that’s struggling, share that need with the community. Dripping Springs is a very generous and compassionate community. I find that when needs are shared, our neighbors jump in to support one another,” Renee said.
“Open your eyes and ears and pay attention to what’s going on in the community – not just your street or circle of friends. You’ll see there are many needs, great and small,” she added.
In addition to Project Connect, which collaborates with most of the local nonprofits, she actively works with Lost & Found Ministries for the homeless and LifeAustin church community outreach. When she isn’t serving members of our community, she serves as a property manager for Rainey Ventures Commercial Real Estate and works with Armstrong Estate Sales.
“I’m very honored by this recognition, but like I tell others, I basically share needs as I learn of them. Making people aware of what is needed for our neighbors is the first step. Our community does the rest with donations of time, money, donations, and resources. I’m just the facilitator.
It’s that attitude right there that summarizes her giving heart and dedication to our community. Thank you, Renee Harper, for Painting our Town Proud!
If you have storage space that you’d like to donate or loan to Project Connect, contact Renee or any of the leadership team. https://www.projectconnectds.org/