In celebration of Juneteenth, “Resilience comes to mind when I think about this community and its people,” Toynes told a room filled with TREC members and For Oak Cliff supporters. “Without resilience, we would not be where we are today. It’s not possible without extreme focus and a collective community family to support our ultimate goals. Today is our day!”
Toynes founded For Oak Cliff in 2016 to improve community engagement by bringing together residents of Dallas and high-demand resources to create opportunities for deeper ongoing community organization and development. His mission is to create a culture of education and increase social mobility opportunities for Oak Cliff residents, especially for the many children and young adults who study for their GED and find mentorship in this space.
TREC’s ALC partnered with For Oak Cliff to conduct a major renovation as its 2018 class volunteer project, and they began work in February 2018 to transform For Oak Cliff’s facility into a community hub that will allow South Oak Cliff residents to access resources that promote the nonprofit’s three pillars of education, advocacy and community building. The renovation includes a new computer lab, children’s play area, library, recording studio, conference rooms and other resources. It also features a large, well-lit, glass-walled conference room that greets visitors upon entry.
“Relationships are the foundation of career success, civic responsibility and community investment,” said TREC Chair Ran Holman. “The relationship that TREC and our Leadership Class has forged with For Oak Cliff, Taylor Toynes and the residents in the Super Block have been ones that will influence these young TREC leaders for the remainder of their careers. Hopefully, they will also be beneficial to the important work that is being done in this center and for the community.”
The total value of For Oak Cliff’s renovation is almost $200,000. This includes a $60,000 grant from TREC Foundation along with the donation of fixtures, furniture, supplies and any labor that could not be performed by TREC ALC Volunteers. According to Elias Bahar, an ALC Class Member, pro-bono design, consulting and other professional services add an additional $100,000 to the value of the project. Additionally, more than 1,000 volunteer hours were dedicated toward tearing out the walls and ceiling, creating a unique hexagonal ceiling fixture for the entryway, painting, installing flooring, cabinets and shelves, and other labor services.
All work on the For Oak Cliff renovation project was overseen by TREC’s ALC Class of 2018, which is the organization’s comprehensive leadership development program. The ALC program takes place over a 10-month timeframe, during which selected commercial real estate professionals participate in educational programs, receive personalized training with a professional executive coaching firm and implement a community service project.
“TREC’s good works would not be possible without the generous spirit of its members, who donate their time and immense talent to all our projects,” said Jim Knight, TREC Foundation Chair. “Nowhere is this spirit more evident than in our Associate Leadership Council. This is an incredibly proud moment for TREC to see these 30 young professionals investing in their community and partnering with the vastly important work that For Oak Cliff does in our city.”