Story and Photos by Hunter Lacey.
Taylor Pennartz and Hillary Gribble are best friends originally from Wichita Falls, Texas. They’ve known each other since elementary school, and now they promote their mission here in Dallas known as The Arrangement Project. What’s the mission? Bringing the joy of flower arranging classes to communities of women who otherwise might not have the resources to enjoy something like that.
“She graduated from OU, and I graduated from Tech, and then we moved in together here in the DFW area,” Hillary said. “I worked in visual merchandising, and Taylor was in grad school. For the first time, we had the time and resources to do things like attend workshops. We did a lot of those around the city, and it sparked an interest.”
“We learned quite a bit about flowers and floral design, and thought it was really fun. We thought, ‘I think we could do this for people,’” Taylor remembered.
Both women felt a hankering for giving back to the community in a creative and unique way. They had new skills from workshops, and they wanted to put a purpose-driven spin on what they had learned.
“We were actually at a workshop close to the farmers market downtown. We had paid for it – it was pricey but really fun. The setup was great and we had learned a lot that night. Walking out, we both said, ‘this would be fun to spread further,’” Taylor said. “We thought of The Arrangement Project over dinner and then, to be honest, we were a little nervous.”
Taylor and Hillary both were skeptical that flower arranging classes were the avenue to reach out to women in vulnerable situations. They wondered if this was something anyone would actually be interested in, or grateful for. In the end, they decided to go for it – they figured it was worth a shot.
The first event Taylor and Hillary put on was for the women of Exodus Ministries. “We weren’t sure how the women would respond to two girls coming in with a bunch of flowers, not knowing their life experience or backgrounds,” Taylor said.
Hillary remembered thinking: “They’ve had rough experiences, and a rough past. How are two girls with flowers going to make a difference?”
Their event with Exodus Ministries was a great success. The women were able to simply relax, play, and indulge their creative side by making a color flower arrangement that they got to take home with them.
“At the end of the day, the reason behind it is the same no matter the background of the person. It takes you to a different headspace. You don’t have to think about your stressors while you’re doing it. That’s why we love it,” Hillary shared.
“You get out of your own headspace. It allows for creativity. And people so often underestimate their creativity. I remember that first workshop, those ladies’ creativity really came out that night,” Taylor said. “I remember getting in the car so happy and excited because it turned out so well. Their joy was so cool to witness. I’ll never forget that.”
It was after that first event that Taylor and Hillary knew this was something far more significant than just a simple flower arranging class. It was providing a moment of respite for these women who were under great stress. For the last two years, The Arrangement Project has been able to provide moments of rest for women all across the metroplex, including partnering with Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM).
“Each workshop and nonprofit is a little different. There have been populations we didn’t think to serve but here we are doing it because other people connected us. Referrals have been huge for us, and we’re so thankful we’ve been able to serve so many women,“ Taylor said.
How do they fund these free workshops? By offering paid workshops as well for groups who can pay. They do private events for birthdays, showers, and any type of celebration. All of the funds from those workshops go toward putting on a workshop for a nonprofit.
Taylor and Hillary both find their desire to give back to their community rooted in their faith. “There’s a great joy that comes from giving to other people, and both of us feel connected to others because of our faith in God,” Hillary shared.
“Our faith definitely drives our energy and motivation. There are some days when we’re really tired, and I know it’s God giving us the energy to make things happen,” Taylor said. “Being best friends, I think our value on friendship is central to why we want to do this, too. We value friendships and community a ton – we love the chance to make that happen through these workshops.”
As Taylor and Hillary look back at all the workshops they’ve had the chance to host over the last two years, they look forward to all the organizations they’ll get to serve in the years to come. Arranging a bouquet of flowers truly is therapeutic, but it is also a privilege that we often take for granted. The Arrangement Project has changed that. This creative outlet is accessible to women of all backgrounds throughout Dallas.
If you’re a nonprofit organization or a paying group, and you’d like to book The Arrangement Project for a workshop, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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