Nancy Tucker has been helping to meet the needs of single mothers spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially for almost 20 years through the ministry of First Baptist Church of Woodstock’s Single Mothers’ Sunday School class and the Annual Single Mothers’ Banquet. This involvement led to her motivation to provide transitional housing for single mothers and their children. She recognized that this was a huge need in her community. In 2011, with the help of others, Nancy formed Serenade Heights, Inc., a non-profit, which provides supportive transitional housing for single-mother families for up to two years. The program has seen 19 moms and 36 children come through its doors and our hope is for each one to succeed and learn to dream again. The ministry also provides a bi-weekly workshop for single moms, open to any single mom in the community and last year opened Transitions Resale Boutique that supports the ministry of Serenade Heights. Nancy served at FBCW on staff in both the Counseling and Media Ministries for nearly two decades. She co-directed the Women’s Ministry at FBCW and has a huge heart for women to grow spiritually, as well as for South African Missions, Music, and Drama. Her blended family consists of five children, two sons-in-law, three daughters-in-law, and ten fantastic grandchildren! She and her husband, Alan, are building their forever family home up in Ball Ground, GA.
What inspired or led you to your current career?
I was a single mom. My husband passed away when I was thirty-seven from colon cancer. I had two kids that were thirteen and ten. I don’t think I knew a single mom at that time. I was blessed by parents that took care of us, a wonderful church family and friends. Other than the loneliness and the parenting alone, I didn’t really suffer.
Three years after my husband died, I remarried, and we blended five children. Right after that, one of the pastors of our church came to me and asked if I would teach a class for single moms. He wanted to start a class, and I told him no. I told him no four or five times and he kept asking. I told him no because I had just got remarried and I didn’t have the shared experience with them at that moment and didn’t think they’d want to hear from me. I gave him every excuse in the book until God finally said, you got to do this.
So, I agreed to teach a thirteen-week class to see how it would go. That was in 2000, and I am still teaching them. Out of that would birth an undying passion of knowing that somebody’s got to help these moms trying to get back on their feet because nobody was doing it.
In 2011 we decided to form a nonprofit, Serenade Heights. We strategized and plotted exactly what fit what we wanted to have, because we’re not crisis housing and we’re not a shelter. Both of those things are very needed in our community, but that’s not what we do. We’re a restoration ministry. We provide housing for two years transitionally and provide support for them to change the direction of their lives.
What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
Century House Tavern’s tuna burger. I always say I’m going to try something new, but always get the tuna burger.
How long have you lived or worked in Woodstock?
This year will be our thirtieth year in this area. I moved here from New Orleans. I grew up there for the first thirty years of my life, been here for the last thirty years, and I assume I’m going to stay for the rest of them.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Woodstock? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Woodstock?
Most interesting is my outgoing pastor, Johnny Hunt. He’s been super supportive of me since day one. He was raised by a single mom, so he has a real heart for what I do. His message and his life have changed the course of my life.
I would nominate Millie Hughes. She runs the Never Alone food pantry in Woodstock. I got to know her through what we do. She’s on the front lines. She’s just there with open arms. She’s all about giving people dignity and lets people shop for their food. She’s a face a lot of people see when they are having a hard time.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
The Holy Land. I would really love to go to the Holy Land. Our pastor is leading his last trip this year and I wish we could go.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
My favorite movie I remember seeing as a kid was My Fair Lady. I knew every word to every song. I still love that movie. I’m a musical person and I want to leave the theater happy, not depressed.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Be generous. Be generous with your life, not just with your money. I think we live too much for ourselves today. But when you are generous and you give, your life is just better.
What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I love seventies music because that’s my generation, but I would probably see The Beatles, Chicago, or Carole King.
What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?
The train depot (now Freight Kitchen). I have memories of the train depot before it was anything. It was just a room to rent for parties, so that little area makes me feel nostalgic.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Woodstock would you have lunch?
With housing people and people who make those decisions! Century Tavern!
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
The Amphitheatre. I love that we have that in Woodstock because it’s been able to be used for so many different things, people, and uses.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
I really want to be in the community and to be able to serve more moms and not have that waiting list that’s hovering over us. I also want to be able to spend more time with my family, including my ten grandchildren.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
That was the hardest question for me. I used to be able to put my whole fist in my mouth, my entire fist. I can’t do it anymore. I tried a couple of years ago and it really hurt. Don’t ask me how I discovered that – I think it’s because everyone in my family can do it.
I’m pretty much an open book. The only thing I thought of… I grew up kind of lonely. Because I had three older siblings and all my cousins were older than that, it kind of felt like growing up like an only child. But because of that, I think, out of all my siblings, I’m the most able to talk to strangers, able to make a friend easily because I had to and so that’s the only thing I thought that my siblings don’t know about me, but I know that about myself.
I had a great childhood, but I think recognizing that helps me in what I do now especially in networking.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Family, rest, and blessing.
If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A housekeeper. If you come home after a stressful day, the last thing you want to do is clean.