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GAF Mission

"to TEACH inner city youth and/or underprivileged persons to be successful entrepreneurs while revitalizing inner city neighborhoods with a concentration on socially responsible/sustainable business practices"

GAF is the
Western Mass Office for


“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we’re captivated with purpose.”

Easier said than done, right? I’m guilty of comparison. It’s almost next to impossible to go through a day without comparing yourself, your life, your job, your things, your opinions, your decisions, your family, something, anything to someone else. Someone or something else is always going to look bigger and better. That’s true for the flip side…but we tend to focus on the “better” (ahem, what we don’t have, we think we want more…who we aren’t, we think we want to be). When we focus on what others have or who they are, we seem to lose purpose. If I spend my days comparing, I become less and less, while “they” or “it” or something [becomes] appears more and more. I emphasize “appearance” because it’s not the truth.

Example: sometimes I spend my days comparing my relationship, engagement, upcoming wedding, life experiences, education, job, family, friends, things in general to everybody else. Shouldn’t I be back in school like “everyone else”? Why don’t I have a house of my own? Wouldn’t it be easier if both of our families lived in the same state? Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to move across the country? Isn’t it unfair that we have to spend the first four months of marriage mostly apart? Why do I not have (that) or get to do (this)? These are the lies that fill my head when I compare me to you. These are the comparisons that kill my joy and purpose.

The reality is that I am who I am, and you are who you are. We are all created by He who values differences — differences that bring many, many talents and experiences to the table. Some of us are teachers and some listeners; some practice music and some practice sports; some are rich and others poor; some are outgoing and some are quiet, and so on. The idea here? Despite our personalities, relationships, lifestyles, possessions, we’re all His children, and we all have a purpose. My purpose is to be a daughter, a sister, a fiancé, a nurse, a coworker, or a friend. At times I’m a comforter for a friend, a listener for a coworker, or a teacher for a patient. Sometimes I focus on being a daughter and spending time with my parents, or being a “cat mom”, doing what it takes to care for Catsby Gatsby on a daily basis (ha!).

But above all else, I’m serving a bigger purpose in everything I do : a purpose that doesn’t compare our doubts, our jealousies, our insecurities or fears. Being captivated in living out this purpose diminishes the temptation to look across the room or to click on the post or the picture that tells me I am somehow not enough. Living out my purpose doesn’t include constant thoughts and comparisons of what I should or could or would be, or anything other than myself. Living out my purpose does include loving others and valuing who I am because of who He is. 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2

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week one

One week ago today, we were ringing in the New Year – 2017. So much to look forward to, so many goals, ideas, new beginnings, etc…you get the idea. Confession? Week one set a low bar. I spent most of the week stressed. Because if I’m honest with myself, 2017 scares me. Why? Because 2017 brings a lot of change

For starters, three months from tomorrow I get married. Believe me, I am extremely excited about April 8th and our wedding. But with weddings, comes planning. And with planning, comes decisions, details, and more planning. A sense of urgency hit me on January 1st, and I spent this week over-thinking everything that I have left to do, everything I have already done, and more. To add to the mix, I am also moving in two weeks. Maybe not across the country yet, but nonetheless moving out of my current house. For months I have been going through drawers and closets cleaning out the most ridiculous things that I have held on to. (Seriously, who keeps homework assignments from middle school and movie ticket stubs that you can’t even read anymore?!) Anyways. Despite my preparation, I felt the same overwhelming sense of urgency about moving that I did about the wedding. 

Flash back. The holidays were particularly difficult for me this year. I found myself taking in each moment extra carefully because all I could think about was change. The change in getting married and starting a new life with someone, which means sharing the holidays. The change in moving across the country, which means being far away from friends and family for longer periods of time. The change of quitting a job you love, which means unemployment and excessive free time. I found myself more than willing to participate in family Christmas tree-decorating and cookie-baking this year. I found myself tearing up instead of singing along as my church family sang ‘Silent Night’ throughout a candle-lit room that I consider home. I found myself staying a little longer, hugging a little tighter, and breathing in a little deeper. 

Fast forward to this weekend. After an errand-packed, non-stop, stressful, busy week, I was looking forward to spending time with my wonderful fiancé and (of course) completing more items on my never-ending to-do list. Change of plans: Kevin couldn’t make the trip to Birmingham due to the roads, and nothing has been checked off of my to-do list. This weekend forced me to slow down. And, I will admit I have been a little bitter about the snow/ice slowing me down. It has kept me inside my house, forcing me to either wallow in self-pity or take the time to reflect and look on the bright side. I did a lot of the first option until tonight. I have been watching too much Netflix, eating left-over Chinese food and peanut butter sandwiches, and feeling sorry for myself.

But something inside of me finally stopped worrying about all of the details and the lists and the changes. Yes, change is scary and unknown and different. Yes, I have a lot more change in 2017 than my typical New Year. But, no, change is not the bad thing I’ve been making it out to be. Change is just uncomfortable, but so is staying the same. Change brings about new opportunities and new growth. So here’s to 2017: a new year with much change, many opportunities, and a lifetime of growth!

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*Annual Gasoline Alley Foundation Holiday Party- December 5th*


Everyone is invited!!

Stop by to see your old friends, and make some new ones.

Saturday, December 5th, 2015


Beer , Wine, Munchies

Manfort Mansion Band will perform for your listening pleasure

Manfort Mansion- 270 Albany Street

Artifact's First Anniversary Block Party


Come join us to celebrate Artifact Cider Project’s first year of making locally sourced hard cider!

There will be 4 food trucks, 4 bands, lawn games, and of course a full draft line of our ciders featuring an exclusive anniversary cider release, only available on the 19th.

This is an all ages, family friendly event with no cover charge, but remember to bring your ID if you’re over 21 so we can serve you up some delicious cider.

Featuring music:
– Manfort Mansion
– Carinae
– Great Smokey
– The No No’s

Featuring food:
– Wheelhouse Farm Truck
– Holyoke Hummus Company
– Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn
– Sidecar Bakery

Lots or trunks available!! Most 18x18x36", this one…

Lots or trunks available!! Most 18x18x36″, this one features a metal and glass inlay on the top, with mixed types of reclaimed wood, pine body construction

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Custom closets out of reclaimed doors!

Custom closets out of reclaimed doors!

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Custom kitchen out of reclaimed apothecary

Custom kitchen out of reclaimed apothecary

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Custom stage built for a photo shoot

Custom stage built for a photo shoot

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Comment on Groundbreaking Ceremony by Mary Moultrie

Posted on by John Majercak

Our Groundbreaking ceremony yesterday was spectacular!  Over 100 of our supporters and partners were on hand to celebrate the fact that we now own the property at 83 Warwick Street and construction is about to get underway.

The theme for the event was “We are all pieces of the puzzle,” to reflect on how many individual efforts are needed in order to piece together this project.

Instead of holding the traditional golden shovel, honored guests assembled an oversized puzzle.  And everybody got a puzzle-themed pin (made from reclaimed trim and recycled paint, of course).

Here is a copy of the program that lists all of our supporters and partners.

Here’s ourmedia release from the event.

You can view some of the great media coverage at these links:

22 News

We’ll post a photo album from the event soon.  In July, we’ll give you a look at the plans for the building from inside and out!

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One Response to Groundbreaking Ceremony

  1. Mary Moultrie says:

    Congratulations on reaching your goal!! I enjoyed working with you and look forward to seeing the completed project Summer 2011

    Mary Moultrie

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Comment on Photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony by Gerry LeBlanc

Posted on by John Majercak

For those of you who missed our Groundbreaking – we’ve posted a photo album of the event on Facebook!  Thanks again to everyone for making it such a great event.

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One Response to Photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony

  1. Gerry LeBlanc says:

    Great photos!

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