Generational Giving: Meet the Wachs Family
For the Wachs family of Castle Hills, giving knows no boundaries.
Deb and Steve Wachs, residents of Castle Hills in Lewisville, have chosen to be part of the Metrocrest Services mission for more than 35 years and have made volunteering at Metrocrest Services one of their most-treasured family traditions.
“Back then, they only had nine staff members,” Deb remembers of her beginnings with the young agency. “I was chair of missions at my church, and that’s how I got introduced to Metrocrest Services. We did Easter baskets and the holiday family adoption program,” she said. “That’s how we got started.”
That involvement expanded into being part of the team running the agency’s holiday store, becoming involved in back-to-school shoe programs, winter coat drives, volunteering for the Sack Summer Hunger initiative and more. Deb also has served on the Metrocrest Services Board of Directors, and Steve joined Deb in chairing the Metrocrest Services 50th Anniversary Golden Gala in the fall of 2021.
Introducing Their Children to Volunteerism
Throughout their service, Deb and Steve have not only benefited families in need, but also have brought new traditions and perspectives to their own family.
“It was important to us to introduce our kids to giving back. Metrocrest Services provided that environment in which to learn, and it’s something our children carry with them throughout their lives,” Steve said.
“As our children grew old enough to be involved, they would just come with me,” Deb said of her daughter Stephanie and son Jeremy. The kids would spend hours helping Deb arrange the toys in the holiday store for families in need to come and select during the holiday season, or gather and organize coats for the winter coat drive, for example.
“Even when they would come home from college, they would bring friends to introduce them to the Metrocrest Services mission,” Deb, a clothing stylist with Cabi, said. “We’ve done a wide range of things, but we’ve always tried to integrate others into everything we do.
“We have gained so much from volunteering and for people new to Metrocrest Services. The best way to learn about it is to volunteer.”
Steve, owner and partner of Legacy Consulting Group, a wealth management firm in Plano, is committed to the idea of creating sustainable change that will far outlive any of us.
“Volunteering through Metrocrest Services is a way to introduce a generational change in your kids in giving back – not just with money but also with your time.” It develops a different person, Steve explained, one who is more conscious of those around them and how one person’s philanthropy – via time or money given – can help someone in need.
“We just really encourage our friends to teach their kids the art of giving,” Deb explained.
Steve and Deb’s daughter Stephanie turned her commitment to giving into a career, now serving as a licensed clinical social worker in Atlanta, Georgia. The Wachs’ son Jeremy lives in Justin and works in the audio/visual field. He recently put his specialized skills to work for Metrocrest Services, volunteering to run the A/V for the Golden Gala that the Wachs chaired.
When asked how both of their children ended up incorporating philanthropy into their lives – and in their own unique ways — Deb and Steve shrug and shake their heads. “They both just came out with the same heart for Metrocrest,” Deb said with a smile.
When asked what advice they might have for parents wanting to get their own children involved with volunteerism and philanthropy, Steve had words of wisdom to share: “Friends and food are two things I would suggest. There are times when our kids brought friends with them to Metrocrest. Bring them in packs, tell them that there’s going to be time to hang out, and feed them – take them out to eat after they volunteer.”
“For us, serving just evolved into our family tradition,” Deb said. “Even when they would come home from college, Stephanie and Jeremy would often go straight to Metrocrest Services to do a volunteer shift before heading home. As adults, they continue to volunteer, so we have seen the fruits of those efforts and their evolution as they have grown. They always looked forward to volunteering.”
Making a Generational Difference
In addition to helping grow and foster a new generation of volunteers, Deb and Steve also have chosen to support a new home for Metrocrest Services by supporting the Building Our Future capital campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise the funding needed for a new facility for the agency in the heart of the Metrocrest Services’ service area. In addition to personally supporting the campaign, Deb and Steve Wachs also volunteer their time on the capital campaign committee.
“We’ve always talked about the perfect location of Belt Line and Josey roads in Carrollton would be — the fact that we’re in that location now was truly meant to be,” Deb said. “It’s been a dream for many for a long, long time.”
Because of her experience as a volunteer and board member, Deb is intimately familiar with the need for a larger facility to house the services required to help provide for the communities served.
“Because of that exposure to the inner workings of Metrocrest Services, I always knew we needed a better location and a better facility – and I also knew we wouldn’t find an existing facility,” Deb said. The new home for Metrocrest Services, slated to open in 2023, will combine all of the agency’s many services into one efficient, custom-built space that will provide convenient access for clients and also a great place to work and serve for volunteers and staff.
“The dream was always to have our own space where we could offer these programs and have space to add other services and programs,” Deb said. “Now we can see it.”
“Facilities like this allow you to have more people on hand, and the need is always there,” Steve said.
“At Metrocrest Services, it’s a hand up rather than simply a hand out, so Metrocrest provides job training, interview skills and other support services that will empower families to move on to that next step of self-sufficiency.” Steve points to wrap-around services like these and others that support clients as they better their lives for themselves and their families. Helping individuals as they learn and grow to meet their own family’s needs often opens up doors for their children they might have always assumed to be impossible to open.
“This building will provide that – and that’s something that will make a generational difference in people’s lives,” Steve said.
While the Wachs continue to add to their family’s tradition of giving back, they also help mentor others in how to create a legacy for themselves through volunteerism and philanthropy.
“It’s all about building it out to make a generational difference in people’s lives,” Steve said. Deb agreed and added, “If there’s any heart of giving in there, if they do it once, they’ll do it again.”