By Veritex Community Bank
Scottie Scheffler and his wife Meredith are known in their hometown of Dallas for being down-to-earth folks. Scottie still drives the same car he did in college, despite a 2022 Masters win. Meredith stays very busy with her job as Director of Curating Opportunities for Behind Every Door (BED). BED is a nonprofit dedicated to offering programs for community centers in poverty-stricken areas of Dallas. The Schefflers first became familiar with Behind Every Door through their church, Park Cities Presbyterian Church. After touring the center and seeing firsthand the love and kindness poured into the community members who attend BED programs, they decided to roll up their sleeves and make a difference.
“Everyone deserves to have dreams and goals and to be able to pursue those dreams and goals,” Meredith said. “I believe everyone has unique gifting. I love being part of an organization that is showing kids their giftings and giving them a chance to not only discover those gifts but see who God created them to be.”
Behind Every Door started in 2009 and operates in several community centers in Southern Dallas. The need is great. The average income of families in the communities BED serves is 68% below the poverty line in Texas. Annual income for these families is $12,000, 81% below the national average. However, it isn’t just lower income that creates a disadvantage, 63% of the children from this area read below grade level. After-school tutoring and activities are in great demand, and, while Behind Every Door is focused on helping the children and families where they need help the most, it also stays true to its mission of “walking with people into the fullness of who they were created to be.”
“It’s seeing potential in kids that they may never see themselves, and, in turn, helping those kids see it in themselves,” Meredith said. “Kids are also being taught, some for the first time, that there is a God that loves them and that gives them a hope. A hope beyond their immediate circumstance.”
Serving as President of BED is Darrion Lewis, who understands firsthand what these families are experiencing. In 2017, after working as a volunteer, he left his position as a probation officer with Dallas County and joined the BED staff full-time.
“Growing up for me consisted of being a son of a high school senior and spending the first six years of my life at my grandparents’ home because we were not economically capable to move on our own,” Lewis said in an interview with Dallas Doing Good. “My mother tried her best, and there were times she would not eat so that my sister and I had a meal. I saw my mother cry at night sometimes because life was hard, and she was trying to figure it out. God brought us through these hard times through community. People showing up to our door randomly with groceries when we had nothing. Checks randomly appearing in our mailbox. It was all God. So, I understand what it means to grow up in an economic struggle.”
“We really love that the heart of BED is to walk alongside people,” Meredith said. “We love that it starts with listening. We don’t say, ‘this is what you need, this is what we’re here to give you,’ but rather, ‘we want to build a relationship with you and walk alongside you.’ After all, every child and family is unique and their needs are so personal. Learning how BED goes about empowering kids and families to overcome poverty and build up their communities has been amazing. We love how relational it is and that the heart behind everything they do is the gospel, that is important to Scottie and me, as well.”
Hundreds of kids are served through BED, and the need for volunteers is great. The Schefflers are working tirelessly to enlist the help of their friends and family and have begun hosting events in their home to help educate those interested in the organization. Additionally, along with Aineta Lutz, BED Director of Meaningful Connections, and her husband, Proper, the two couples have started a board of young professions for BED for those in their twenties and thirties.
“Coming together for a bigger purpose to discuss how we can be involved with the kids and the parents has been sweet,” Meredith said. “It is time with our friends, that we want so badly when we are home, and we can combine it with volunteering at BED. Our friends and family have been so excited to get involved and that has been so much fun.”
As the Schefflers’ work to grow the list of volunteers, BED is growing as well. Its newest community, Cedar Crest, was on the verge of closing when BED stepped in and purchased the center. After a 50- year history of serving the community, BED knew how important it was to keep the doors open for families that depend on the center for after-school activities, a meal, or a place to gather with friends. More than 1,000 teens and children in the neighborhood attend school within a quarter mile of the property and, after its renovation, will have access to a chapel, community center, athletic field and playground.
Since 2017, Veritex Community Bank has been a fan of Behind Every Door’s hands-on approach to supporting the community. As an ally, Veritex Community Bank has donated more than $50,000 to its after-school programs, volunteered at various events and committed to being an ongoing partner. When Veritex was approached by Behind Every Door to support the revitalization of Cedar Crest Community Center in 2019, the decision was made with a definitive “yes,” as the project aligned with the bank’s culture. Veritex Bank is dedicated to being the catalyst for communities as they strive for success. Veritex Community Bank has committed $250,000 for four years, with a total commitment of $1,000,000, to Cedar Crest Community Center. The 20,000-square-foot property will undergo three phases of construction, during the next year.
Meredith says her position at BED and volunteer time with Scottie have impacted them deeply.
“We’ve been given so much and grew up with so much. And just because someone grew up in a different place than Scottie and I, doesn’t mean they should have less opportunity or hope. It has given us such a purpose to help others. That is why we are on this earth. We are not here to live for ourselves. I get caught up in that and so working for Behind Every Door has brought me back to what really matters in this life. I need that reminder daily. I am so thankful to work for BED.”