We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Dalton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
During the pandemic, I had a lot of time to reflect on my life and the things going on in my community and in the world. I started to wonder how I could make a positive impact on things. I noticed that there were a lot of negative discussions on social media platforms, the news was reporting about sickness and death and there was a lot of strife going on in our country. I knew that despite all the bad things happening in the world, there was one thing that was always good, and that’s our God. I decided to start sharing on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube the lessons that I had learned in life and sharing how God is the source of all hope, all grace and all love in the world. Through featuring the positive stories of myself and others on social media, I realized I could make an even greater difference by taking action. I decided I wanted to host donation drives for causes that I care about. In order to gain the trust of the public and become credible as a fundraising platform, A Light Hearted Life became a Nonprofit Organization! Through this nonprofit, I have been able to collect item donations from other community members, such as shoes for underprivileged kids, winter coats and clothing for the homeless, food and school supplies for afterschool programs, as well as collecting cash donations for other nonprofit organizations in our community. There was no grand plan in the beginning, just the desire to help change people’s lives for the better. It is a decision that I will never regret and I couldn’t do it without the support of so many caring individuals. Though our individual contributions may seem small, together they can make a huge difference!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Our mission at A Light Hearted Life is to serve our community by organizing donation drives, fundraisers and service projects to help those in need. Our vision is to bring a greater awareness and social impact to the needs of our community such as poverty, homelessness, addiction recovery, veterans affairs, the elderly, and the intellectually disabled. We want to provide opportunities for people to share their resources and help others. We are an organization where everyone is welcome and anyone can find Christian fellowship and serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. How we are different than other nonprofit organizations is we seek to impact a broad range of needs in our community. Rather than focusing on one population or niche to support, we desire to reach various groups of individuals through the organizations that serve them. We want to partner with other nonprofit organizations by organizing donation drives, fundraisers or service projects to help them meet their unique needs. Think of us as a booster club for the needy! Starting a business has been very fun and challenging. My professional experience is in education and I had limited business experience before starting this nonprofit. I have done a lot of research and taken several free business courses online to help me grow my business and improve my skills. I have learned that I don’t know what I don’t know! The way I overcome this is by asking questions, using my trusty friend Google and seeking mentors through social media to help me grow. Despite the challenges, I have really enjoyed learning about the nonprofit market and I have loved exploring my creativity with marketing and event planning. It has been inspiring to work with other business owners and nonprofit organizations and I have made some new friends through our common desire to help others. I believe that we all have God given gifts to share with the world. I want everyone to know that if you ask God to help you find your calling, he will be faithful to do so and His provision will follow. When people hear about my organization A Light Hearted Life or attend one of our events, I want them to see that we are living out our motto: helping others in service and love. And most of all, I want as many people as possible to get involved and help us make an even greater impact in our community and in our world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting for a week, we would definitely be hitting up some great restaurants. Some of my favorites are Las Mananitas or Center Court Pizza in Richmond, Escalantes and Rouxpour in Sugar Land Town Center, and for a fun bar that has a “Cheers” feel, Einsteins Pub and Arcade in Richmond. They have karaoke on Tuesday nights and a DJ on Fridays and they have fantastic burgers. One place that is expanding and is really nice is Sugar Land Memorial Park at the Brazos. We love to bike the trails around the lake and there are neat bike trails along the river. We also love to hit up some downtown spots like Dean’s Downtown for a speakeasy feel or Little Dipper bar to hear some great music with their DJ spinning the best of the 80’s. Another area of town that has a lot of cool spots is the Heights– Tacos a Go-Go has amazing food and just down the street is White Oak Hall for live music in a fun, outdoor setting. In the Heights, we love Spindletap Brewery because it’s got a relaxed feel and they have indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy some beverages and games with your friends and family. We also load up our bikes in the truck and enjoy biking around the Heights area, where you can find some cool art markets and vintage shops. If you’re looking for a church to visit for the weekend, The Bridge Fellowship in Sugar Land or Richmond has an amazing band, a “come as you are” approach and the messages each week will leave you feeling inspired.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people who deserve a shoutout in my story that I couldn’t name them all. First, and foremost I am thankful to God for his mercy and grace, because without Him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My husband Thomas has been my biggest supporter and greatest volunteer so far. A lot of time and money go into starting any kind of business, and he has never once discouraged me from doing this work. He has helped me with every single event and garnered supporters along the way. My brother and sister in law, J.R. and Theresa Laffey have also been very supportive of every donation drive and fundraiser despite living far away, and that has meant a lot to me. My best friend Joan Lopez has been a source of inspiration and support by providing me with opportunities to spread the word about the work I am doing, and by teaching me how to use social media better. Stacy Bourgeois, founder of the nonprofit organization Sole Loved has been a wonderful resource for answers to questions I have about how to be successful and make a greater impact. William Ferguson, a Sugar Land City Councilman has done a lot to support my donation drives with social media as well as finding a ton of winter coats when we had a donation drive. All of my friends have been amazing at sharing about my fundraisers on social media, volunteering and donating their own time and money to help make A Light Hearted Life a success. I am extremely grateful to all of them.