Divine Living Word initially began as a campus ministry at DePaul University that met weekly in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, Illinois. From 2000- 2005, the organization was recognized as an establishment and official affiliate to the University. Since, we’ve expanded into a multi-faceted charity.
We began as Divine Living Word Ministry, Inc and has since transformed into Divine Global Empowerment. We serve as a public charity whose goals are rooted through the works of faith and hard work. Through our works, our ultimate vision is to encourage & empower lives globally.
With Divine Global Empowerment, you can help engender change, hope, and opportunity in people’s lives by staying connected, advocating for change, and supporting us financially.
ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE!!
In 1999, Taryn LaRae…an ambitious, eighteen year old Freshman of DePaul University would take a group of students weekly and ride the Chicago ‘L’ trains from the North side to the South side of the city to fellowship in a faith-based study group. As a result of the growing interest, more and more students joined in on the hour-long ride. Seeing the impact made and the enthusiasm in her peers to develop in their spiritual faith, Taryn decided this type of group needed to exist on DePaul’s campus.
Beginning in September of 2000, the newly established on-campus organization – Divine Living Word – would meet every Thursday evening to share their faith with one another and explore topics relating to relationships, personal development, communication, unity, volunteerism, etc. The group, which held a very specific message of personal & spiritual growth, was spearheaded and under the advisement of Taryn LaRae. This student-led organization that convened every week, accepted anyone & everyone who was interested in exploring their faith, while promoting & engaging in positive activities. Throughout the years, along with the weekly meetings, the on-campus group sponsored & hosted several musical concerts, banquets, social outings, and other events which brought together hundreds of people at a time. “Out of the fourteen years that I have worked at DePaul, I have never witnessed an organization having the success that this group organization has had on the students and the University. On Taryn’s departure from DePaul, she will indeed have left a legacy,”…quoted by former director of DePaul’s University Ministry, Robert Ludwig. After Taryn graduated in 2003, her Mother, along with other students continued to meet weekly and kept the organization active.
The following summer, Taryn LaRae wanted to extend her mission & take her growing on-campus organization from DePaul University and reach a broader scope of people. From the onset, the mission was very clear and concise – To provide services and programs that will enrich and empower people’s lives through faith & hard work combined; and assist other social change projects & programs who would do the same. With the support of her parents, community leaders, and other students, the campus group was transformed into an incorporated, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, respectfully named – Divine Living Word Ministry, Inc.
By the fall of 2004, DLW was operating out of a small, cornered office located on the Near North Side of Chicago. The Berezny North Branch Commercial Lofts would serve as a base for the organization during its primary stages. In the startup years, with limited resources but a strong determination to grow, the Board of Directors set out on its mission to grapple with several issues to help build on the civic infrastructure of the Greater Chicagoland area. One of the organization’s targeting objectives was to help bring a greater awareness to the issue of domestic violence while encouraging victims to seek supportive, direct services. Those supporting the organization began a number of strategic fundraisers and events to gain the funds & resources needed to build. Such major events included the production of a stage play entitled, “Slapping Domestic Violence Back in the Face” held at the beautiful, Merle Reskin Theater; a 1,300 seated, fully staged theatre located in the heart of downtown Chicago…and, what was known as DLW’s “Christmas Teen Toy Drive”. Through the benevolences and in a collaborative effort with one of the highest political figures in Illinois, the Honorable Ms. Dorothy Brown’s (Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County) organization hosted a concert/campaign, which was inclusive to DLW’s event. Patrons attending the concert, which featured some of the hottest, leading musical talent that evening, signed up to give toys for the event. With the success of the toy drive, DLW was able to deliver toys to its first domestic violence agency based in Chicago. In that same year & in the best interest of the mission, the Board would decide to establish a separate non-profit that could work specifically with the area of domestic violence – Women In Need of Godly Services; also doing business as “W.I.N.G.S. Domestic Violence Agency”. (Read more below).
During the time in between, the campus group at DePaul University, then called D.L.W.’s ‘Hour of Power’ Christian Fellowship, reached its fifth and final year as an on-campus, student organization. True to its nature of hosting events, the group held a nine-week empowerment conference that produced speakers from Chicago to Atlanta. From 2000-2005 the student-oriented campus group enhanced the student’s experience by promoting consistency of good morals and success beyond their limitations.
Ten years later, the Board of Directors adopted the new name – Divine Global Empowerment.
While Divine Global Empowerment’s overall mission is to strengthen and empower people’s lives, our current programs not only tackle social issues, but also encourages community capacity building.
*** DGE’s Affordable Housing Initiatives began with a single, donated two-flat apartment building rendered for two families. With the consistent donation of single family homes, apartment buildings, and close to twenty parcels of vacant land that stretches throughout the City & Suburban areas of Greater Chicago with plans of developing new construction homes, DGE has already set in motion its plan for producing housing opportunities to not only low-income renters, but other special community groups.
By providing viable options for veterans, the elderly, low-to-moderate wage workers, victims of domestic violence, disabled individuals and others who can’t pay market rents and still afford other necessary expenses like food and health care, affordable housing provides stability and peace of mind. Through the efforts of both private, community and governmental sectors, D.G.E. is able to fill that considerable gap between human needs and market commodity through a safe and affordable environment.
*** DGE’s latest development, the Life’s Lift Program, is a Health & Wellness program intended to influence at-risk families & individuals (ages 21+) with guidance on making healthier lifestyle choices. By concentrating our efforts on seven key areas – career, family, finance, physical, mental, spiritual, & social wellness – this unique program model encourages, educates, and empowers individuals towards a balanced approach in living through instructional content, workshops, seminars, and special organized events that compliments the overall curriculum. The program aims to to keep individuals at their best in all aspects of life, which in turn leads to greater levels of happiness.
*** The Taryn L. Gordon Community Service Scholarship was designed for the advancement of citizenship & community development, directed towards support for social & community infrastructure. The scholarship awards incoming freshman or currently enrolled students of a four-year University a $1,500 financial gift who have demonstrated exceptional levels of activism and outreach. The scholarship comprises a strong representation of the missions of both Taryn LaRae (the Founder) and her works at DePaul University & Divine Global Empowerment.
While the benefit of earning a scholarship does come with a monetary value, the award focuses on the community rather than the individual. Our core message promotes social investment, civic responsibility, & good citizenship. As a result, we believe those who do engage in activities of volunteerism results in not only a better society, but a well-rounded, community-minded individual that imposes positive change.
*** From its inception, the Founder & Board of Directors saw first-hand the need to increase resources available to domestic violence victims. To help meet the growing demands in the city’s housing crisis of limited beds and bridge a service gap by providing additional resources to victims of domestic abuse, the Board agreed in order to operate effectively, an additional non-profit would need to be incorporated.
Women In Need of Godly Services, (W.I.N.G.S. Domestic Violence Agency), was officially incorporated to function and operate as a full service domestic violence agency. Since support & awareness began initially through DGE’s organization, the idea was to build on W.I.N.G.S’ internal infrastructure simultaneously with DGE. In March 2006, the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office hosted their 16th Annual Black History Event and acknowledged the Founder/Chair of W.I.N.G.S., Taryn LaRae, as the recipient of the award for her vision and works towards the initiation of the domestic violence agency. By 2011, W.I.N.G.S expanded and purchased a facility of over 3,000 sq ft. to serve specifically as a community emergency shelter and direct service agency for victims and their dependents who are suffering from domestic violence. (Click the Link Below to Visit the Website…)
Since its initial incorporation, DGE has has made consistent growth, while in a short period of time made a lot of progress in people’s hearts & lives. In the decade of being incorporated, we have since transformed into a multifaceted organization, upholding various charitable purposes, now doing business under the name – ‘Divine Global Empowerment’.
With the continued acquisition of properties & land to provide housing opportunities, as well as, DGE’s other creative initiatives, the organization proves to demonstrate a successful track record of diligence and a committed heart for service. The new name is a reflection of where the organization has been & the continued vision and plans for GLOBAL EXPANSION! Our core philosophy has and always will be to enrich people’s lives spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally, academically and socially through every branch of our business with the utmost care and quality service.