Moms, Sons Grow Closer as Volunteer Gardeners

For the Park Cities mothers and sons who volunteered together in 2023, expectations for their gardening in West Dallas go beyond a harvest of tasty vegetables.

“This Ultimate Gift project was a blessing for everyone involved,” Stacy Burke said.

As president, Burke leads the Highland Park Chapter of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL), which dedicated numerous volunteer hours to upgrading outdoor programming and facilities for the children served by Voice of Hope.

“For 42 years, Voice of Hope has stood as a shining light of gospel-centered out-of-school time care and community outreach in West Dallas,” said Kris Kindred, director of development for the charity. “Our mission is not possible without the charitable dedication of faithful groups like YMSL, who have partnered with us for years to make our vision a reality.”

YMSL fosters quality time between mothers and sons and promotes community service.

Each year, YMSL chapters nationwide select philanthropic organizations to support through their “Ultimate Gift” projects.

Highland Park YMSL partnered with Voice of Hope to provide a safe and beautiful environment.

The work included weeding gardens, preparing and planting vegetables, cleaning out flower beds, and providing an overall outdoor beautification of the Voice of Hope campus.

“Our moms and sons especially enjoyed working on the raised garden beds for the community to grow vegetables and herbs,” Burke said.

Voice of Hope will grow vegetables and herbs in the raised beds and use them to emphasize the importance of education and sustainability.

The Highland Park YMSL team revitalized the grounds by adding flowers, ground cover, and solar lighting, transforming the look and feel. The project also involved clearing overgrown brush and weeds, preparing garden beds with new soil and landscape cloth, and planting fresh vegetable plants to support the organization’s winter harvest efforts.

“Their contributions to our facility and programs help the developing children in our ministry to thrive and grow in an environment with quality education and facilities,” Kindred said.

Ruibal’s Plants of Texas provided the YMSL team with valuable guidance, a discount on supplies, and superior service, organizers said.

And the moms and sons are looking forward to seeing how the new garden and more inviting outdoor spaces will impact West Dallas children, Burke said. “The HP YMSL chapter is so proud to have had the opportunity to come alongside the wonderful Voice of Hope ministry and help create beautiful and useful spaces for the children they serve.”

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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