Committed to a brighter future for children, neighbors and communities.

We consider a healthy neighborhood to be one that is safe, clean, and diverse; one in which it makes economic sense for people to invest and one where neighbors manage change successfully.

We consider a healthy neighborhood to be one that is safe, clean, and diverse; one in which it makes economic sense for people to invest and one where neighbors manage change successfully.

Meet Our Staff

Darrell Abercrombie

Housing Counselor since 2001
The third child of the Late Lavern and Ruth Abercrombie. Educated in the Waco Independent School District. Alumni of Brook Avenue School, West Junior High School, North Junior High School, and 1978 Graduate of Waco High School (TIGERS). Received a Baseball Scholarship to Ranger College in Ranger, TX, also to Saint Edwards University in Austin, TX. Graduated from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor with a degree in Religion. Has worked for MHMR as a Counselor, later at Providence Hospital for Twenty years as a Cardiovascular Technician and Chaplain, Temple Housing Authority and finally as a Housing Counselor for Nineteen years for Grassroots Community Development. He is married Jacqueline Buhl Abercrombie, one daughter LaTorsha Abercrombie Richard’ and two-grandsons, Joseph and Je’von Josiah. He has been the Senior Pastor of the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Elm Mott, TX for Twenty-one years. Loves Family, Friends, Food, and Fellowship.

Josh Caballero

Director of Community Organizing since 2016

Josh Caballero is a native of Floydada, Texas and a graduate of Wayland Baptist University with a degree in Religious Education. He moved to Waco to attend Truett Seminary where he met his wife and they have called Waco home for the last 15 years. Before joining Grassroots, Josh worked as the community coalition coordinator working with school districts in the Central Texas region to provide substance abuse prevention education to area students for 9 years. For the past 4 years, Josh has worked at Grassroots Community Development as a community organizer in the North Waco area where he works closely with local schools, churches, businesses, and residents in the historic Brook Oaks and Sanger-Heights neighborhoods. As a part of this role, Josh has helped local residents bring about changes in affordable housing, policies against predatory lending, opportunities for business growth, and resources for entrepreneurs. Most recently, his work at Grassroots has focused on collaborating with local school districts to improve family engagement efforts and strategies. Josh loves getting to work at Grassroots to do meaningful work in the community, but perhaps the best part is having the opportunity to build relationships and hear a small part of people’s stories. Josh also enjoys living in Waco and spending time with his wife of 14 years Jennifer and his 4-year-old daughter Millee Grace.

DeShauna Hollie

Community Organizer (North Waco) since 2021

DeShauna Hollie grew up in Waco and attended Waco public schools. She moved away to attend college in Illinois at Greenville College where she studied History and Political Science. After college she spent some time volunteering and living in an intentional Christian Community in Comer, GA called Jubilee Partners. At Jubilee she had the opportunity to work with refugees, teaching English. After leaving Jubilee, DeShauna moved to Philadelphia to attend graduate school at Eastern University’s Tony Campolo School for Social Change where she studied Urban Economic Development. She moved back to Waco in late 2008 to be closer to family and spent many years working as an Early Childhood Educator. Since being back in Waco, DeShauna has spent a lot of time volunteering on community boards and committees that focus on a range of Waco centered initiatives that include education, immigration, and performing and theater arts. DeShauna is excited to join the Grassroots team as a community organizer, seeing it as a great opportunity to mix her previous education and experience with her desire to stay engaged with her community. When she’s not serving on boards and committees, DeShauna likes to spend time riding her bike around town, writing haikus and trying to grow plants.

Elise Jones

Community Organizer (South Waco) since 2018

Elise spent the early years of her childhood in a small town in Oklahoma and overseas in Norway, but Houston is the place she calls home. For the past four years, Waco has been home for Elise and her husband, Rory, after moving here for her to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work at Baylor University. In her spare time, Elise enjoys walking with her dog in Cameron Park, trying out new vegan recipes, and spending time with family. Since starting at Grassroots as a Community Organizer in 2018, she is regularly reminded how a community’s greatest strength is the people within it. Elise shared what about working at Grassroots motivates her. “I am grateful to get to collaborate and learn from the many gifted leaders in the South Waco community and our greater Waco community. It is the dreams and aspirations of community members that continue to give me hope!”

Jocelyn Williams

Community Organizer (East Waco) since 2019
Jocelyn Williams has been a resident of Waco since 2017, after marrying Waco native, Morris Williams. She is a native of Jessup, Maryland, a small town equally distant from Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in Music Performance from Catholic University. Although music and teaching are her first love, Jocelyn has always had a passion for community outreach and development. She watched her mother go before the local county council in her hometown and advocate for neighborhood improvements, such as sidewalks, streetlights and a neighborhood park and programs for seniors. So, joining the Grassroots Community Development is just like walking in her mother’s footsteps. She is the newest member to Grassroots, beginning in December 2019. Jocelyn works primarily in East Waco, and even in a short time, has been able to establish and build relationships with many churches, schools, neighborhood associations and local businesses. “I enjoy getting to know people in the community and to hear their stories and historical tidbits. I also am inspired to work and support their efforts and ideas for development, improvements, programs and projects.” In her free time, Jocelyn enjoys spending time and traveling with her husband, Morris, chatting with family and friends and exploring all the different flavors of Texas BBQ.

Brian Shavers

Project Manager since 2021

Brian is a fourth generation Wacoan with a History degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He grew up attending First Methodist Waco and was the youth director there after graduating from UT. He then spent a year in Ecuador walking alongside church planters with Every Community for Christ. Brian met his wife Emily in Austin through YoungLife and they were married in 2012. Shortly after, they were off to Jordan and China for a year to learn how to mobilize the Christian church overseas. Since moving back to Waco, Brian has had 4 children with the last being a set of twin boys. He enjoys outdoor adventures and making furniture in his spare time. For the past 5 years Brian has been in the construction industry working to learn all aspects of residential building and remodeling. At Grassroots Brian will be leading our Bounce program which serves Waco by doing exterior home repairs through volunteer groups. He will also be overseeing our roof repair program. “Working at Grassroots is about using our gifts and abilities to serve those in our community and that’s a mission I can get behind.”

Elizabeth Nemec

Office Manager since 2016

Elizabeth is a native of Central Texas. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in English and has taught in both middle and high school. She has her husband have 3 beautiful children, who keep her busy with their sports, Scouts and participation in youth church groups. Elizabeth became a bookkeeper after her children were born to give her flexibility in her schedule and to venture into starting her own business.  She has been blessed with many wonderful clients, and feels especially thankful to be part of the Grassroots family since 2016.  Elizabeth expressed what inspires her to work for Grassroots, “I get to work alongside an amazing team of friends who are making an indelible impact on Waco communities from the Grassroots level.  It gives me joy to be even a small part of something so vital to the prosperity of the communities we serve.”

ML Dickey

Construction Manager(Contractor)

ML is originally Hemphill in East Texas, but has lived in Central Texas, Waco for all of his adult life. He is very active in his church, New Road Church of Christ, where he boasts of participating in almost every group or activity….except for singing and preaching. ML has always liked construction and building things. He was the main architect and construction manager for New Road church, as well as his previous church. He has served on many business development boards, like the Better Business Bureau and has also served as President of a local Building Association. ML has been the Building Manager for Grassroots for about 16 years and shares his passion about his work, “I am very proud to be serving with an organization that focuses on helping to development the community. We have made wonderful relationships with great families and have been able to build homes for them.”

Mike Stone

Executive Director since 2002

Mike grew up as a military brat traveling all around the pacific ocean, landing in San Angelo, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in Electrical Engineering. But he claims that he used to root for Baylor 364 days of the year.  Mike spent 6 years as a power plant engineer and 6 years at Nortel Networks before coming to Waco to serve with Grassroots.   Married to his wife Brook, they raised two young men and now have one young grandson.  Mike cut his teeth serving families while serving on mission trips to Mexico and Peru. “Let’s go help some people.” is how Mike ends each week staff meeting.  When he is not serving in Waco, he is in the mountains hiking (MikeshikeWaco)or with his wife traveling in very remote places.  ” I am proud to work with talented team members and community leaders in serving Waco.”


Grassroots Community Development
Grassroots Community Development2 days ago
Parents and Students of Waco ISD: Meet the Teacher Events are happening on campuses this Thursday and Saturday. Check out the flyer below for more details.
Grassroots Community Development
Grassroots Community Development3 days ago
Grassroots is delighted that one of our Community Organizers, Deshauna Hollie received the first Henrietta Napier Changemaker Award in Education!!! Read more details below.

The winner of the Henrietta Napier Changemaker Award in Education is DeShauna Hollie.
Hollie works at Grassroots Community Development, and she spent 10 years teaching young children at Talitha Koum. She has promoted effective early childhood care and education by considering the traumatic stress experienced by many children. After a decade of addressing social and emotional needs while teaching, DeShauna made a move to community organizing in North Waco with Grassroots Community Development. Here she continues to advocate for children and families while building bridges across sectors. Hollie considers a supportive neighborhood as part of a healthy childhood experience.

Congratulations DeShauna!
Grassroots Community Development
Grassroots Community Development3 days ago
Parent Connect is a group at Alta Vista Elementary who strongly believes that parents can support each other as their kids go to school together. Interested in learning more? Read about it and how to get involved here,