Business Name: The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation
Member Name: Sara Knight
Business Address: Bristow
Business Phone: 571-247-5176
When and why did you decide to start your organization?
I started The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation (SJGF) in honor of my daughter Julia Grace, who passed in November 2013 at the age of 12. Julia’s life quote was: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.” I wanted to be able to come alongside other families whose children were in the “midst of a storm” and help them “dance in the rain” just like Julia Grace taught us to do.
How does your business serve the local community?
Our mission is to “Fill in the gaps, grant wishes, and meet the non-medical needs of (local and regional) children who are seriously ill, have special needs, or are in the midst of a medical crisis.”
Please share one of the greatest moments you’ve experienced in your current profession.
Since we began in 2014, we have helped over 50 “Raindancers.” We started our first chapter in my home state of West Virginia, and are partnering with the INOVA PICU in Fairfax to service families there. We’ve sent kids on dream vacations, built playgrounds, ramps, and handicapped accessible bathrooms, bought iPads to keep them connected, and even gave a young man an all-terrain Track-Chair so he could literally go anywhere he wanted. We’ve been blessed by our community so that we may now be a blessing to others. We are so honored to do so.
Tell us about your experience with the HGBA. How has it supported you in your local business?
Being a member of the HGBA has been such a blessing to our foundation. The support our fellow members give SJGF has not only helped us grow, but has also been so encouraging.
What are the top business tips can you offer other professionals?
If someone is considering starting a nonprofit so that they can help their community, I say go for it! You’ll never know all the things you have to know to start, and you’ll never have all your “ducks in a row” beforehand, you just have to take a leap of faith, and figure it out as you go.
Are you from this area? If not, what brought you here and what do you like about our town?
I moved to Bristow in 2003 from West Virginia. This is now my home, and I can never imagine leaving my community. Even though our area is large, and a lot of people live here, it has the “small town” feel that I love. There are so many things to do here, and so many ways to get involved, and so many ways to meet each other.
What is your favorite season in this area, and why?
Spring for sure. I love when our long winters pass and all the flowers start to bloom and everything turns green again.
What are some hobbies you enjoy?
Between being a realtor and SJGF, I don’t have much time for hobbies. I would say my hobby is spending time with people I love…which I would say is honestly the best hobby in the world!
What is your favorite restaurant?
I love El Tio because it’s like our local “Cheers,” and the food is great.
What is your favorite local high school sports team?
Patriot High’s golf team (because my son played on it for 4 years).
What was your first job, or your most interesting job prior to your current profession?
I waited tables all through college and loved it, and also learned very quickly how everyone thought I looked like Helen Hunt. At least every other table I would walk up to (no kidding) would say “Do you know who you look like…?”