A development of The 1877 Journey

About Us

Cultivating Community

We are here to cultivate community by empowering everyone into a life of belonging and dignity.

Community for all

Community Forever Village intends to provide permanent, alternative, supportive housing in a manner that fosters community for our chronically homeless neighbors. It is likely that this venture is quite different from anything you have ever seen or experienced in homelessness solutions brought forward by other organizations. This grassroots effort has been undertaken by community-minded business leaders volunteering their time to serve our most vulnerable local neighbors. Regardless of your previous experience with those in our local community that are experiencing homelessness, we believe you will be excited about our methodology and we invite you to join us on this journey to make our community a better place for us all.

We provide a multidimensional approach to permanent housing for our chronically homeless neighbors that cultivates community, empowering them to discover a life of belonging and dignity.

We will foster a richer shared human experience by connecting the formerly homeless with the broader community through education and opportunities for service which enrich and improve everyone. We will create a better place to live and be a sustainable model that validates replication and serves as a catalyst for change throughout the world.

Our Mission

We provide a multidimensional approach to permanent housing for our chronically homeless neighbors that cultivates community, empowering them to discover a life of belonging and dignity.

Our Vision

We will foster a richer shared human experience by connecting the formerly homeless with the broader community through education and opportunities for service which enrich and improve everyone. We will create a better place to live and be a sustainable model that validates replication and serves as a catalyst for change throughout the world.

Our Values

We believe the family is the foundational institution of society ordained by God and that the catastrophic destruction of the family unit is the primary underlying factor of the homelessness crisis in America. Our calling is to provide a community to assist those in need and love them unconditionally. We demonstrate this through our shared values.

Christ-like at Heart

Living in Dignity


Gratitude & Compassionate Service

Fearless &
Intentional Integrity

Our Location

Approximately 70 acres of land in Denton, Texas has been donated to build Community Forever Village. We are in the process of preparing and submitting a planned development permit application to the city of Denton. We have hired a team of local Denton professionals to help us with the application including the 97 Land Company and Kimley-Horn Engineering. The architectural design firm, BRNS Design from Westlake, Texas is developing our village concept plans. Based on the proven model of Community First! Village in Austin, Texas; Community Forever Village will include a market, a sizeable community center, multiple communal kitchens and laundry/shower facilities. Our first phase plans include micro homes to provide housing for many of our chronically homeless neighbors. The village will also provide multiple homes for missional residents to live onsite in service with our neighbors and all the essential partner services necessary to serve our neighbors well.

The 1877 Journey

History of the Land

Hermann Barthold was born on August 22, 1827 in Weimar, Saxon, Germany. At the age of 18 he stowed away on a ship headed to America. After working his way across the country, he came to St. Louis where he worked as a cooper, which is a barrel maker. There he met Mary Sippel, who was born on September 7, 1838 in Berlin, Germany. Mary and Hermann married in St. Louis on May 26, 1860. Their first two children, Fred and Augusta, were born in St. Louis. Later six others were born in Illinois, just outside of St. Louis: Charlie, Emma, Lena, Anna, Herman, and August.

When the Civil War broke out, Hermann joined the St. Louis Arsenal on June 4, 1861 and was discharged on August 20, 1861. Hermann and his family traveled to Denton County, Texas in 1877 where he bought farm land in the Blue Mound community. They pitched a tent on this land which is near the present southwest corner of Barthold Rd and Ganzer Rd. Lizzie was born here. 

Hermann later built another tent nearby where they lived for about three years until he built a two room house, in which their last child Ida was born.

Hermann died January 25, 1914 and Mary died September 3, 1925. Their descendants live in Krum, Denton, Valley View, and Gainesville. Hermann and Mary are buried in the Blue Mound cemetery next to the Blue Mound United Methodist Church.

In 1905 August bought 73 acres two miles southeast of Hermann’s original home. This is on a hill which is one of the highest points in Denton County. August and his wife Anna reared a family of four children and farmed their land for many years. This is the land that is to continue The 1877 Journey. It will become Community Forever Village.

Help our neighbors reclaim their dignity.

Evelyn Barthold

Evelyn Barthold grew up on the 73 acres in Denton, TX that is now Community Forever Village. She studied at the University of North Texas, graduating with a B.M. degree in piano performance and a B.S. degree in physics. After graduate work in physics at Columbia University in NYC, Evelyn chose to return to Denton where she could continue her love of church music. For nearly three decades she worked as organist at various churches in the Denton area. When development came too close to home for comfort, Evelyn moved to southwest OK. She is a pianist and organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Altus, accompanies a women’s chorus, and sings with the Community Chorus.

Shirley Krueger

Shirley Hermes Krueger has lived in the North Texas area her entire life. She’s married to Jeff Krueger and has four children and four grandsons. Ms. Krueger has spent her career in the human resource field and is the Past-President of North Texas SHRM. She previously served as the co-chair of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Building Committee, President of Denton Youth Basketball, and pack leader assistant for her son’s Cub Scout Den. She loves reading, golf, hiking, and anything outdoors. She graduated from Columbia Southern University with a BS of Business Administration in Human Resource Management. Ms. Krueger was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community and is very excited to be on the Board of Directors for The 1877 Journey. She is looking forward to making a profound impact on the community and being able to provide a life of dignity, purpose and self-worth to those who have been chronically homeless.

Gretchen Benolken Maugans

Gretchen Benolken Maugans became an attorney in 1985 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and began her career at a large law firm in Washington, D.C. She relocated her practice to Denton in 1998 and her firm currently serves clients in Denton and Collin counties. She married Pete Maugans in 2011 and has enjoyed many blessings as a result, including recently becoming a grandmother to two precious children that live nearby.

Before becoming a founding member of the 1877 Journey board, Gretchen has been honored to contribute as a Board member for several organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Denton County and the Monsignor King Outreach Center (now known as Our Daily Bread), the latter of which provides safe shelter to persons experiencing homelessness. Gretchen also served for several years as the Probate Chair of the Denton County Bar Association Real Estate, Probate and Trust Section and was also Co-Chair of the Finance Council for Immaculate Conception parish in Denton for many years. Two of Gretchen’s proudest accomplishments in that role were crafting and implementing a solution to pay off seven figure debt, and initiating and helping build the church’s first Habitat for Humanity house.

Pete Maugans

Pete has been an entrepreneur for over 45 years starting in early high school when he opened an auto repair business in the 1970s. His career path has led through multiple industries including insurance, public utilities, real estate investment and venture capital. He lives in North Texas with his wife, Gretchen, has 2 sons, a daughter-in-law, 1 grandson and 1 granddaughter. Pete feels led to serve in this role and it is his hope that by giving of his time and serving, he may, in some small way, influence those around him toward a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Brian McClure

Brian McClure is an American businessman that lives in the Austin, TX area. He has served on the board of Mobile Loaves and Fishes in Austin for over 14 years and is very excited to now be serving here on this replication of Community First! Village.

Roy Metzler

Roy Metzler graduated from UNT in 1983 with a degree in Marketing. He married Sandra Herr in 1985, and they have 4 children: Samantha, Jill, Kevin, and Jason.

Roy is a local restaurant owner who has given countless hours of his time over many years to various charities. For his parish, Immaculate Conception Church, he served for ten years as the Chair of the Finance Council, and also served five years as co-chair of the steering committee where he oversaw construction of the ICC campus on Bonnie Brae and the move from the former Elm Street location. He became good friends with his pastor, Monsignor Charles King, who opened the doors of the church during inclement weather to the homeless in the community because, as he told Roy, it “was the right thing to do”. After Monsignor King’s death in 2011, Roy continued the vision, negotiating a $1/year contract for the use of and refurbishing the local animal shelter into a facility able to house nearly 100 homeless individuals with showers and dining facilities that became known as the Monsignor King Outreach Center (“MKOC”). Under Roy’s leadership, MKOC became a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 2015 and for many years provided emergency shelter for persons experiencing homelessness while operating with only a paid security guard and otherwise fully volunteer staff. Roy served as president of MKOC from 2015-2020, when MKOC merged with another local charity, Our Daily Bread, who ministered to the same individuals. Roy now serves as president of the merged organization.

Roy has served on various homeless coalition boards and committees. He was also awarded the Denton Chamber small business of the year in 2000. Roy was also inducted into the UNT Small Business Hall of Fame in 2016.

When he finds time, Roy enjoys golfing and doing things with the family.

Karen Ybarra

After earning an EMBA from Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA and a B.A. in Business Administration from  Cal State University in Fullerton, CA, Karen Ybarra initially worked in retailing and then banking. She then joined finance in the defense industry, retiring in June 2013 as Sr. Director of Finance for Raytheon in McKinney, Tx.  With 35 years of industry experience, she is well versed in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (G.A.A.P.) and Cost Accounting Standards (C.A.S.). She is a certified ICE (SOX) assessor and R6σ Expert (black belt).

Throughout her career, Karen served on various boards and councils, including a combined fourteen years at the business and corporate level Diversity Council. She founded the site’s Indianapolis Women’s Network. Karen was also a member of the Board of Visitors IUPUI Kelley School of Business. 

In retirement, Karen utilizes her servant’s heart spending countless hours with  various charities, in addition to serving as Treasurer on the Board of the 1877 Journey. Karen actively volunteers in several ministries at her church, including as a member of the Finance Advisory Council and past co-chair of the initial capital campaign. She also volunteers at Texas Health Frisco.