NEWS TO KNOW
Houston Earns Top Placement in 2023 World’s Best Cities Ranking
America’s fourth largest city hailed as “educated, diverse, and hard-working”
Houston has been named one of the world’s best cities, according to a 2023 World’s Best Cities Report. Stirring global curiosity with its economic might and consistent presence on Google searches, the city ranked 42 out of 100 and is the highest-ranking Texas city on this year’s list. In total, only 25 U.S. cities earned selection to the 2023 report.
“Houston has been called a world in a city and a city of the world thanks to the rich culture and ethnically diverse backgrounds of our residents,” Houston First Corporation President and CEO Michael Heckman said. “To continually be recognized as one of the world’s most welcoming and diverse cities is something to be proud of and we invite all to discover for themselves what makes Houston such a great city to experience.”
Earlier this year, Houston earned the moniker as “America’s stealthy powerhouse on the rise” after climbing six spots on the 2022 list of America’s Best Cities. In February, 13 Houston chefs were recognized by The James Beard Foundation and just this week, the city garnered global attention after the Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series for a second time, drawing in thousands of fans to the city over the course of the series.
The World’s Best Cities Report is an annual ranking conducted by Resonance, a leading advisor in tourism, real estate, and economic development. Regarded as the world’s most thorough city ranking, findings in the report also quantify and benchmark the relative quality of place, reputation, and competitive identity for the world’s principal cities with metropolitan populations of 1 million+.
To learn more about the methodology and key statistics generated by Resonance or to view the complete 2023 list in its entirety, visit https://www.bestcities.org/rankings/worlds-best-cities/.
THE HOWARD HUGHES CORPORATION® PARTNERS WITH MEMORIAL HERMANN THE WOODLANDS MEDICAL CENTER TO SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY CONFERENCE CENTER IN THE NEW SOUTH TOWER
The Howard Hughes Corporation® has recently shown its support with a substantial five-year financial commitment for the community conference center in the new South Tower at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. Named “The Howard Hughes Corporation Community Conference Center”, it houses nine areas for educational seminars and meeting space within the new hospital addition.
The new tower represents a $250 million expansion to enable the hospital to meet the needs of the area’s growing population. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands originated over 30 years ago as The Woodlands Hospital, an independently-owned small community hospital and the first healthcare provider for the community. Today, it has evolved into a top-tier, full-service medical center.
“Memorial Hermann is grateful for The Howard Hughes Corporation. We are honored to receive their generous support of the new South Tower at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, and are continuously touched by their true friendship,” said Justin Kendrick, SVP and CEO of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. “Their employees have supported our employees these past two years with donations of meals and notes of encouragement as well. They are a true partner in every sense of the word.”
“By extending our partnership to provide long-term financial support for the conference center in Memorial Hermann’s new tower, we are demonstrating the mission of our HHCares initiatives, which strives to take care of the local community by giving back,” said Jim Carman, President – Houston Region for Howard Hughes. “The Woodlands is recognized as a highly coveted, nationally-acclaimed master planned community. Superior quality healthcare is a strong element that draws residents and companies here. Today, we are home to a top regional medical hub that offers convenient access to advanced healthcare for those who live, work, and visit in The Woodlands area.”
Photos courtesy of Howard Hughes Corporation
HISD sports icons to be commemorated at Athletic Hall of Honor induction ceremony
The HISD Class of 2022 Athletic Hall of Honor includes NFL legends, Olympic medalists, renowned coaches, high school record holders, collegiate standouts, and those who have given back as mentors to student-athletes.
“This is our annual opportunity to memorialize some of the best people associated with HISD sports,” said Athletic Director Andre Walker. “They’re not just legendary athletes and coaches; they are people who have used their talents to guide others through life’s challenges.”
Every year HISD will add the names of 14 individuals and one team to the Athletic Hall of Honor at Delmar Field House for their lasting impact on HISD and the world of sports.
Among those honored in the Class of 2022 are Olympic track star Jackie Washington of Yates High School; NFL Hall of Fame member Mike Singletary of Worthing High School; three-time Olympic swimmer Cynthia Potter of Lamar High School; and professional basketball player Eddie Owens of Wheatley High School.
The complete list of inductees will be released soon. The induction ceremony is Saturday, August 13, at 4 p.m. at Delmar Field House. Tickets are available now.
HCDE Board approves $172.9 million 2022-2023 budget
The Harris County Department of Education Board of Trustees approved a $172.9 million budget for the 2022-2023 school year during its monthly meeting in July.
The HCDE budget, adopted annually in July, is designed to allow the agency to be responsive to the needs of area school districts and the communities it serves. Additionally, the budget provides ongoing support for Department employees through competitive compensation and benefits.
The budget features recruitment and retention plans and salary increases for eligible employees, which includes raising the starting teacher salary to $63,600—the highest starting teacher salary in Harris County.
The budget allocates funding for 25 new positions. Among the new positions created are teachers, educational aides, licensed counselors, and school-based therapists to support HCDE’s special schools, programs, and services supporting students, educators, and districts in Harris County.
Also included in the budget is phase two of the Department’s capital improvements plan, which accounts for the continuation of major capital projects and the construction of HCDE’s Equine Therapy Center. The facility is planned to be built in Barrett Station and will offer programs serving students in HCDE schools and area districts.
HCDE predicated the budget on a proposed estimated tax rate of .004990 per $100 of taxable property value, the same rate adopted in September 2021.
Property tax revenue, which amounts to less than $9 for the average Harris County homeowner annually, makes up $27.2 million of the overall budget. Grants, fees, and revenues from HCDE’s business endeavors, including its purchasing cooperative, fund the rest of the budget.
#SeeTheImpact at www.hcde-texas.org.
Applications Open for Nonprofit Partners, Volunteers, Food Vendors and Live Entertainment for 50th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown
Bayou City Art Festival, produced by the Art Colony Association, Inc., has opened the applications for nonprofit partners, volunteers, food vendors, and live entertainment for the 50th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown on Saturday-Sunday, October 8-9, 2022.
Located in Sam Houston Park and along Allen Parkway, Bayou City Art Festival will celebrate 50 years of providing unique art experiences and education for the Greater Houston area, while supporting local organizations and promoting the impact that art has on the Houston community. As one of the top art festivals in the country, the outdoor gallery provides patrons with the opportunity to meet 250 artists, view original works, and purchase one-of-a-kind art, world-class paintings, prints, jewelry, sculptures, functional art and more. This year’s featured artist is Cindy Olmes, a mixed media artist from Cincinnati.
The weekend festival features two entertainment stages, a food truck park, beverage stations throughout the festival, and art installations. Guests will enjoy Houston’s skyline views while enjoying the festival’s wine garden, craft beer garden, and Art Bar. Bayou City Art Festival will also premiere a new Collegiate Art Collective, a collection of art composed of six Houston-area college art students.
Bayou City Art Festival has raised over $3.6 million in support for nonprofits in the Greater Houston area. For each festival, Bayou City Art Festival selects up to 10 local charities to receive a portion of the proceeds from the event. Each nonprofit partner provides volunteers and has the option to host a crafting station in the Active Imagination Zone. Local nonprofit organizations interested in becoming a nonprofit partner for the 50th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown can submit an application here. The deadline to apply is July 8, 2022.
This fall, art-loving foodies will swarm to Bayou City Art Festival Downtown and their senses will lead them to the onsite food truck park. Food vendors interested in serving up delicious eats to patrons at Bayou City Art Festival Downtown can submit an online application here.
Festival volunteers have the option to choose various roles and shifts for Saturday and Sunday. After every shift, volunteers are entered into a raffle and have the chance to win prizes, such as gift cards to local restaurants, movies, museum tickets, and more. All volunteers will receive a complimentary t-shirt and can enjoy the festival at no cost before and after their shift. The minimum age to sign up is 13 and group volunteering is also available. Volunteer registrations will open on August 1, 2022.
Lone Star College honored for diversity efforts
The Houston Business Journal (HBJ) has named Lone Star College as an Outstanding Supplier Diversity organization. This recognition is awarded to companies and organizations that successfully seek out and do business with minority suppliers.
“Lone Star College understands the importance of ensuring that minority businesses are able to bid and be awarded contracts,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC Chancellor. “This acknowledgement confirms that those efforts are successful.”
LSC was one of four organizations to receive the Outstanding Supplier Diversity recognition. Honorees will be featured in a special publication and recognized at an awards ceremony on June 23.
In all, 30 companies were selected as HBJ honorees and divided into three awards categories: Outstanding Diverse Organizations, Outstanding Supplier Diversity and Outstanding Diversity Helping Hand. The Outstanding Diverse Organizations were also subdivided by company size.
In fall 2021, LSC welcomed more than 37,300 Hispanic students representing 45% of the total population. LSC also opened its doors to more than 23,800 White and 11,700 Black students representing 29% and 14% of the student population respectively.
“Lone Star College reflects the community it serves and this recognition acknowledges the work the college does when working with local businesses,” said Carlecia Wright, LSC Chief Diversity Officer. “Lone Star College will continue to promote and champion the business case for diversity.”
LSC has also been recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. An HSI is defined as a higher education institution with an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students.
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s 9th Annual Wags & Whiskers Brunch and Pet Fashion Show
Wheels were up at the Lone Star Flight Museum as more than 250 philanthropic animal lovers took flight with the Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston crew for the 9th Annual Wags & Whiskers Brunch and Pet Fashion Show with Event Honoree Ann Kaesermann and Event Chair Melinda Wineinger on Saturday, February 26, 2022.
With table décor representing the Bahamas, Italy, Mexico, India, Egypt and more, the “Around the World with Animeals” themed event raised more than $109,000 for the Animeals program that provides free pet food and vet care to the dogs and cats of Interfaith Ministries’ Meals on Wheels homebound seniors.
Casey Curry served as Emcee and welcomed guests onboard to fly around the world on Animeals Airline, Flight 2022. Curry introduced Marie Magee, Interfaith Ministries Chief Development Officer, who thanked the pet-loving sponsors, board members, and attendees. A multi-faith invocation was offered by Interfaith Ministries’ Interfaith Relations and Community Partnerships Program Manager the Rev. Kim Mabry and Nadia Tajalli, Interfaith Ministries’ Development Chair. Animeals supporters enjoyed all the flight perks while hearing remarks from Wineinger.
Interfaith Ministries Board Chair Charlene Chuang presented Kaesermann, a longtime Animeals donor and volunteer, with the 2022 Animeals Champion Award. Curry introduced Animeals Support Specialist Alexis Haynes who shared heartwarming stories about the Animeals program.
With their passport stamped, pet parents and pets headed down the runway showing off their “world traveler” attire. The title of Animeals “Top Pet” from the fashion show judged by local media judges was awarded to Melanie Baxter with her two travel partners Janet and Sally.
The Brunch was made possible with the support of the following sponsors: Private Plane Sponsor – Fred G. Marshall in loving memory of his wife Linda; Business Class Sponsor – Saranne and J. Livingston Kosberg; Premium Class Sponsors – Charlene Chuang, Marian and Paul Cones, Maureen Quirk and Lesley Harris, and Don A. Sanders; Frequent Flyer Sponsors – alliantgroup, Jen and Purvez Captain, Polly and David Roth, Paula Sutton & Bill Gross, Nadia Tajalli and Dr. Shahin Tavackoli, Dr. Kim Tran and Dr. Vasant Garg, and Tracy and Connie Williford; Prosecco Sponsor – Total Wine & More; and Media Sponsors: Bellaire Connect, CultureMap, Cypress Living Magazine, Hedwig Village, Hot in Houston Now, Houston Woman Magazine, Key Magazine, PetTalk Magazine and Swoon Memorial.
Photos: Quy Tran
Buffalo Bayou Partnership Members Take First Meeting with New Neighbor, Regent Square
The Allen Parkway corridor mixed-use district, which unveiled its second phase during the holidays, selected the community non-profit for their inaugural sip and see, hosting several dozen participants for a spirited happy hour at The Sterling, the project’s just debuted luxury apartment midrise.
Amidst the stylish backdrop of Thirty-Five Fifteen, one of several one-of-a-kind amenity areas surpassing the specs of many a five-star hotel, guests mixed and mingled while sipping on signature Gentle Ben blackberry mules and noshing on delectable, savory cones from Charcuterie Board HTX.
And the fun didn’t stop there. Members were then whisked back to street level to Regent Square’s newly opened Flight Club, where they were treated to more refreshments and an introduction to the British-born brand’s social darts concept.
Photos: Daniel Ortiz
Blue Sprig Pediatrics Addresses the Great Blue Pumpkin Debate
With Halloween festivities right around the corner, Blue Sprig Pediatrics, an autism therapy clinic with locations throughout the country, is taking an opportunity to address the significance of the blue pumpkin some children carry as they trick-or-treat.
Similar to the teal pumpkin, which calls attention to children with food allergies, the blue pumpkin is designed as a symbol of autism meant to signify that a person trick-or-treating may require specific or different needs.
“Our team at BlueSprig recognizes that there are various opinions about the blue pumpkin. We’ve observed that some families like the idea of the blue bucket. They feel it helps educate others about small changes that can be made to allow their child to enjoy their Halloween experience. Others feel it perpetuates stereotypes and calls unnecessary attention to their child’s diagnosis on an occasion that is supposed to be inclusive of everyone,” said Sharyn Kerr, PH.D, and chief clinical & administrative officer at BlueSprig.
BlueSprig Pediatrics supports inclusion and acceptance of all children and realizes there may be many reasons why Halloween activities can be challenging for some children. Communication challenges, social anxiety, and sensory issues can make the trick-or-treat experience negative. We understand that children may need different types and levels of support to fully enjoy their Halloween experience. The goal should be to provide the least restrictive support to create the most positive experience possible. To that end, the use of a blue pumpkin should be an individual decision made by the child and/or the parent, with the child’s best interests in mind.
“The bottom line is that a child’s diagnosis should not impact their ability to participate in part of the Halloween tradition. All children should be accepted, celebrated, and loved,” added Kerr. “Whether kids are carrying an orange, blue, or rainbow pumpkin, we hope our community will embrace the idea of acceptance for all children this Halloween and embrace inclusion, regardless of the color of their trick-or-treat pumpkins.”
This Halloween, BlueSprig encourages families to do what is best for them and what makes them the most comfortable. Whatever it is they choose to do, we just hope they have fun.
BlueSprig Pediatrics has the mission of changing the world for children with autism. They are laser-focused on providing individualized, high-quality applied behavioral analysis therapy for children needing this specialized therapy. For more information, visit https://www.bluesprigautism.com/.
AHA CELEBRATES “JOURNEYS OF THE HEART” WITH EVENING FULL OF SURPRISES
American Heart Announces 2022 Honorees and Campaign Theme at Heart Ball Kickoff
On Tuesday, October 12th, the American Heart Association (AHA) Houston Chapter officially kicked off its 2022 Heart of Houston campaign with a fabulous evening at the River Oaks Country Club. After last year’s virtual campaign, guests were thrilled to safely gather and mingle in-person to celebrate the organization’s collective success in driving change, funding science and improving behaviors.
Partygoers delighted in cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and had the opportunity to preview luxury auction items such as luxury trips to Dubai, Hawaii, and Fiji, and expertly curated cases of exclusive wine packages, as well as make their table selections for the upcoming Heart Ball. This year’s chairs, Joanne Houck and Tim Singletary, introduced the theme, “Journeys of the Heart,” and spoke about their vision and goals for the campaign. The pair made impactful remarks, emphasizing the importance of AHA’s mission, and opened up about Tim’s personal journey as a survivor, recounting their experience after Tim suffered a cardiac arrest in August.
The night was full of exciting announcements and surprises, the first of which was an appearance from George Glauser, the man who gave Tim CPR on the scene immediately following his cardiac arrest. After George and Tim shared a heartfelt reunion, George shared his account from that day and left guests with a compelling message about the importance of CPR. Later, Tim and Joanne announced the honorees for the 2022 Houston Heart Ball, The Fluor Family – Ann and Peter Fluor and Lacey and Matt Goossen.
The festivities continued as the chairs dedicated a special thank you to Russ Labrasca who leads the wine auction and is celebrating his 10th anniversary of volunteering with AHA. It was estimated that Russ has supported the campaign with over 1,500 volunteer hours and has helped raise at least $800,000 through the auction. To thank Russ for his passion and longtime support of the American Heart Association, Citi Private Bank will sponsor the Wine Auction this year, with special guest Steve Trauber announced that he and Citi Corporate and Investment Banking will be matching Citi’s support for a total of $50,000 in sponsorship made in his honor.
The inspirational kickoff event set the stage for what is sure to be a successful Heart of Houston campaign, culminating in their most fabulous gala yet, which will be back in-person on February 12, 2022.
Photos: Daniel Ortiz
MOODY GARDENS HONORED WITH AZA QUARTER CENTURY AWARD
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums Recognized Moody Gardens with an Esteemed Award as Staff is Credited for 25 Years of Service and Standards
The Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids at Moody Gardens were recognized with the Quarter Century Award by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums at the AZA Annual 2021 Conference on September 24. Moody Gardens has been AZA accredited continuously since 1996.
AZA serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums and ensures that accredited facilities meet the exceptional standards of animal care that exceeds those required by law. The Quarter Century Award is an outstanding and rare achievement only given to facilities that have been AZA-accredited for 25 consecutive years. AZA accreditation is the highest standard of excellence in animal care attainable in the zoo and aquarium industry.
Every 5 years, the accreditation process requires participating zoos and aquariums to undergo a rigorous inspection and review to ensure it meets ever-rising industry standards in animal management and care, that includes living environments, social groupings, heath and nutrition. The AZA Accreditation Commission also evaluates an institution’s veterinary program, involvement in conservation and research, education programs, safety procedures, security, physical facilities, guest services and the quality of staff.
“We are honored by this award. Moody Gardens has an outstanding team without whom this achievement would not be possible,” said John Zendt, Moody Gardens President and CEO, who added how fortunate the facility is to have such a seasoned staff of professionals. “Their knowledge, passion and standard for excellence is what has created such a great workplace, home for our animals and a fantastic venue for our visitors for the past 25 years.”
A total of 39 employees from numerous departments ranging from Curatorial and Maintenance to Education and more have been employed by Moody Gardens for over 20 years and contributed to this achievement through their areas of expertise.
For more information please call 409-744-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org. Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens.
BARBARA BUSH LITERACY PLAZA AT THE HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY REOPENS AFTER TRANSFORMATIVE MAKEOVER
The Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the Houston Public Library Downtown will open Wednesday, September 8. Renamed in honor of Mrs. Barbara Bush in 2016, the beautifully transformed, versatile plaza features a water wall, an adult reading area, a children’s reading room with shade structure and fans, a performance stage, a jumbo video display screen for engaging programming and events, new pavers, an artificial lawn, planters with trees, new furnishings and other special amenities .
“The City of Houston remains extremely grateful to the Bush Family and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation for their longstanding commitment to ensuring Houston is a city where all can thrive and reach their full potential through the power of literacy,” said Mayor Turner. “I thank them for their partnership and that of the Houston Public Library and its Foundation, along with major donors – the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, the Brown Foundation; Downtown Redevelopment Authority (The Main Street/Market Square TIRZ #3) and Phillips 66, who helped to make the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza’s grand opening possible. The Plaza will serve as a point of light and place for all people while preserving and advancing the former First Lady’s legacy.”
“Mom and Dad are surely looking down on this day with humbled pride and delight,” said Neil Bush, son of President George H. W. Bush and Co-Founder of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “On behalf of the entire Bush family, we are deeply grateful to Mayor Turner and the City Council members for honoring Mom in this most special way. It is our desire that the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza not only serve to pay tribe to her incredible life and legacy, but also that it will foster a love of reading in children and families and encourage others to help someone else receive the life-changing gift of learning how to read.”
In addition to the Plaza opening, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Board of Directors have commissioned a bronze statue of Mrs. Bush sitting on a park bench with her beloved dog, Millie by her side. The Ladies for Literacy Guild is also donating benches to complete the plaza’s outdoor décor. The statue and bench additions will make their debut at a date to be announced next year.
While the plaza ribbon-cutting is a private ceremony, the Houston Public Library-Central Library will also reopen for the public to enjoy on September 8. The newly reimagined Central Library has made exciting updates to its spaces and services and is eager to share its changes with the community.
Later in the month, HPL Central Library will once again host public programming and events starting with its Hispanic Heritage Fiesta on Sept. 18 from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Those wishing to see the full realization of the newly developed plaza and reopened facility will have the opportunity to participate in educational and engaging activities, events and exhibits celebrating Houston’s rich Hispanic heritage.
Upcoming events on the plaza include:
o Wednesdays on the Plaza!-Sept. 15 https://houstonlibrary.libcal.com/event/8126305
o Nature Walk Story Time-Sept. 21,28 https://houstonlibrary.libcal.com/event/8134890
o Family Storytime-Sept. 11, 25 https://houstonlibrary.libcal.com/calendar/events?cid=15272&t=d&d=2021-09-25&cal=15272&inc=0
For more information about the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, visit bushoustonliteracy.org. For more information on the exciting events and programs coming to the HPL Central Library and Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza, visit Houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.
HCDE, Education Foundation of Harris County partner to offer $200,000 in classroom supplies for teachers
Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) and the Education Foundation of Harris County (EFHC) have partnered to create Tools for Teachers, a program designed to support Harris County independent school district teachers with classroom supplies for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Starting Monday, Aug. 2, up to 2,000 Harris County public school teachers registered for a $100 coupon from EFHC that can be used to purchase classroom supplies through a local online vendor. The $100 credit will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. In total, the EFHC will offer $200,000 for this initiative, which the HCDE Board of Education allocated from its annual budget. The program aims to mitigate the personal costs teachers incur as they purchase materials necessary to set up their classrooms for the first day of school.
“Teachers are facing very long hours, taking on the needs of all of their students, and reaching into their own pockets to sustain their classrooms,” said HCDE Trustee Andrea Duhon, who represents Precinct 3. “A program like this will not only positively affect the teachers that are receiving these supplies, but it’s going to affect the students in those classrooms and the community surrounding them.”
Eligible teachers who register will receive an email with a coupon code and instructions for buying the supplies online. The credit may not be used towards furniture, electronics, or clothing.
To qualify, educators must register with a valid work email from a Harris County independent school district. Teachers from charter schools, private schools, or schools outside of Harris County are not eligible for the credit.
Purchases over the $100 credit will be the responsibility of the individual teacher. All supplies will be shipped directly to the teacher’s school free of charge. Items will not be shipped to a residential address.
Eligible teachers may register from Aug. 2 to Sept. 7 at hcde-texas.org/ToolsForTeachers.
Lone Star College-Houston North receives National Endowment for the Arts NEA Big Read grant
Lone Star College-Houston North is the recipient of the 2021-2022 National Education Association (NEA) Big Read Grant.
The NEA, in partnership with Arts Midwest, awarded 61 grants totaling $1,070,000 to support NEA Big Read projects in 2021-2022. These grants, managed by Arts Midwest, will support dynamic community reading programs designed to encourage conversation and discovery, all inspired by a book from the NEA Big Read library.
“The Big Read initiative brings together two important concepts for LSC-Houston North, literacy and community” said Dr. Quentin A. Wright, LSC-Houston North president. “We have long recognized that our service area college attainment goals will not be reached without a concerted, collaborative effort to increase literacy levels.”
NEA Big Read grantees are located in 28 states, with 43% of the organizations located in communities with populations under 50,000. Each organization is receiving a matching grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 with LSC-Houston North being fully funded receiving $20,000. The book of focus will be Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street”. LSC-Houston North will host the author Monday, Nov. 8.
“For 15 years the NEA Big Read has supported opportunities for communities to come together around a book, creating a shared experience that encourages openness and conversations around issues central to our lives,” said Ann Eilers, acting chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We congratulate all of the new NEA Big Read grantees and look forward to seeing the range of meaningful activities they create for their communities.”
LSC-Houston North will host several events coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month. This will include a kick-off event book discussion and a block party Sept. 18 with LSC-Houston North partnering with the Houston Public Library and the Alley Theatre.
AIDS FOUNDATION HOUSTON LAUNCHES “RAPID START” HIV TREATMENT
The START Now Project links persons living with HIV to immediate treatment and care
Beginning May 3, 2021, AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. (AFH), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, launched a rapid start anti-retroviral treatment project as a service to people diagnosed with HIV. START Now (Strategic, Targeted, Anti-Retroviral Treatment Now) is designed to provide linkage to care and treatment medication to persons newly diagnosed with HIV within the first seven days of their diagnosis. The project will also assist persons with linkage to care who have a previous HIV diagnosis who either have never been in care or have not been in treatment and care in the past twelve months. START Now aims to support patients in achieving sustained viral suppression, which prevents the transfer of HIV to another person through sex.
“We are proud to be one of 15 organizations across the nation that are funded by HRSA in this Special Project of National Significance (SPNS) to support this activity that is directly linked to our mission to end the HIV epidemic in the greater Houston area,” said John Huckaby, CEO of AIDS Foundation Houston. “START Now allows us to assist people living with HIV to be linked to care and helps patients reach viral suppression as soon as possible, which is a key goal in the CDC’s Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.”
Persons wanting to enroll in START Now should contact the Linkage Case Manager, Antonisha Alves, at 713-623-6796 x 295. In addition, individuals can be referred to the program by other HIV prevention service organizations, Urgent Care facilities, Emergency Departments or other hospitals and clinics. The START Now team will ensure that patients get their treatment medication within 7 days of enrollment and schedule the patient for their first appointment with their long-term HIV treatment provider.
Additionally, AFH now offers a number of services online, including HIV and STI testing, as well as consultations and prescriptions for PrEP, nPEP and START Now. AFH has also partnered with Mistr and Sistr to make PrEP more accessible. Patients can talk to a doctor virtually, handle the lab work at home, and get prescriptions delivered to their homes for free. Learn more about all services provided or make an appointment at www.AIDSHelp.org.
The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency Hosts 6th Annual Wine Dinner
After last year’s event swiftly turned virtual due to COVID-19, more than 130 supporters brought an appetite to experience an intimate in-person event with exceptional wine, culinary delights, and entertainment to benefit The Women’s Fund’s mission at the 6th Annual Wine Dinner on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Tony’s.
Chairs Joanna and Brad Marks, generous sponsors and guests raised more than $135,000 to ensure Houston-area women and girls have free access to tools they need to be advocates for their health through classes, workshops, lectures, and publications focused on physical, mental, financial, emotional, health, and wellness.
President of the Board of Trustees Kathy Johnson highlighted The Women’s Fund’s accomplishments and its commitment to continue providing free and virtual health presentations and services to Houston-area women and girls during unprecedented times.
Johnson introduced Victoria Balderas, a “What About Me?” class participant, who shared how The Women’s Fund has personally impacted her life and taught her resiliency skills through its free programs.
The Marks then introduced the evening’s dinner host famed Houston restauranteur Donna Vallone who guided guests through an exquisite four-course meal with wine pairings.
The Marks recognized the Wine Dinner’s entertainment sponsor Plains Capital Bank while introducing Houston’s own American Idol Season 12 finalist Vincent Powell along with the Houston Ensemble Band.
For more information, visit www.thewomensfund.org, call 713-623-6543, or follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Photos: Michelle Watson
After Pandemic Delay VITA LIVING Hosts 6th Annual Pearls of Wisdom Fundraiser
Over 200 guests helped to raise over $140,000 for Houston-area citizen with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) at the Pearls of Wisdom Dinner benefitting Vita Living. Event Chairs Kristen and Drew Perrin welcomed Gold Level sponsors such as O’Donnell/Snider Construction, Architectural Floors, and Westwood Wealth Management.
The featured speaker was one of Vita Living’s own clients, Wade Washington, a champion bodybuilder with cerebral palsy, his wife BJ, and their coaches and mentors, Pro champion bodybuilder Tina Chandler and Carl Ducena. Wade’s inspiring story brought gusts to tears and inspired one guest to issue a $20,000 matching gift challenge to encourage fundraising.
Monies raised support of the nonprofit’s mission to provide lifelong services and supports for children and adults with IDD to promote personal growth toward a safe, satisfying, and meaningful life in their community.
For more information, go to https://www.vitaliving.org/.
Photos Steven David , courtesy of Vita Living.
San Jac baseball finishes third in the nation
Sabin Ceballos named to Outstanding Defensive Player
The San Jacinto College baseball team ended the 2021 season finishing third at the Alpine Bank Junior College (JUCO) World Series last week in Junction, Colorado.
San Jac finished the season 51-15overall after winning the Region XIV Tournament. The team’s JUCO world series appearance is the 27th in program history.
“I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished,” said Head Coach Tom Arrington. “They were a team that faced many adversities, but remained diligent in the work ethic and support of one another. Win or lose, they will always be a championshio team. ”
San Jac, seeded third in the national tournament, defeated eighth seed Miami Dade 11-3 to kick off the tournament. They then knocked off ninth seed, Shelton State 11-10 to advance against Central Arizona, defeating the Vaqueros 7-4. San Jac then fell 13-10 to McLennan Community College and 11-10 to Central Arizona to end their national title run.
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s 8th Annual Wags & Whiskers Brunch and Pet Fashion Show
Wheels were up as more than 200 philanthropic animal lovers took flight with Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston crew to the 8th Annual Wags & Whiskers Brunch and Pet Fashion Show with Event Chair M.A. Shute as the Captain on May 8, 2021.
The virtual “Jet Set Pets” themed event raised more than $70,000 for the Animeals program that provides free pet food and vet care to 1,300 dogs and cats of Interfaith Ministries’ Meals on Wheels homebound seniors.
Using its home-delivered meals expertise, Interfaith Ministries’ team of Meals on Wheels drivers delivered a carry-on lunch from Phoenicia Specialty Foods for guests to enjoy at home similar to what they do for homebound seniors in its Meals on Wheels program.
Guests at home donned their best jet set or vintage attire along with Delta Airlines slippers, which were included in their carry-on. Interfaith Ministries Board Chair and Co-Sr. Captain Jay Harberg prepared guests with virtual boarding passes to fly to the Brunch and Pet Fashion Show while Lead Flight Attendant Casey Curry served as Emcee and welcomed guests on board to fly on Jet Set Pet Airline, Flight 2021.
Puppy love and cat fever took over the internet when viewers watched jet set pets on the runway of a lifetime during the “pupular” Pet Fashion Show at the Lone Star Flight Museum.
The title of Animeals “Top Pet” from the fashion show judged by local media judges was awarded to Rachel Feiertag with Zim (cat) and Kuma (dog). Viewers swooned over Coco and pet parent Ali Al Sudani, Interfaith Ministries’ Chief Programs Officer, who won the People’s Choice Award.
Photos courtesy of Interfaith Ministries
Houstonians Rally Behind Crime Stoppers of Houston to ‘Keep our City Safe’ and Honor Distinguished Community Members at Annual Houston’s Heroes Awards Luncheon
Over $183,000 raised to fund critical public safety initiatives combating the increase of crime in Houston and offering support to victim’s families
After more than a year of cancelled in-person events in Houston, 220 guests, were happy to be out lending their support to Crime Stoppers of Houston at its annual Houston’s Heroes Awards Luncheon, which was held May 4, 2021. The long overdue fundraiser honored and celebrated outstanding community members who have made incredible contributions to make Houston and Texas a safer place to live, work, learn and play. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the event was also livestreamed via ZOOM for virtual supporters.
The uplifting celebration served as a vital fundraiser for Crime Stoppers and raised over $183,000 to directly fund the critical public safety and crime prevention initiatives delivered by the non-profit in local and statewide communities and schools.
The following 2021 Heroes were presented with distinguished awards for being positive contributors to the community through their long-standing support of crime prevention and public safety initiatives that make Houston, and Texas, safer for all:
§ The Johnny Klevenhagen Award – Houston Police Department Commander James Dale: Recognized for his 26+ year career at the Houston Police Department and his significant contributions to fighting crime, specifically human trafficking and his work with non-profits like Crime Stoppers.
§ The Fenner Weller Award – State Representative Jim Murphy: Recognized for working tirelessly to pass bills, including the Parole Bill HB 3387 and Summer Camp Bill HB 4372, that make Texas a safer place to live. Rep. Murphy’s heart and passion has changed victims into victors.
§ The Leiv Platou Award – Hazem Ahmed: Recognized for his significant contributions to public safety as a volunteer, board member and tireless advocate for Crime Stoppers of Houston for over 9 years now, providing a wealth of knowledge and guidance to the organization.
§ The Corporate Citizen Award – H-E-B: Recognized for their commitment to public safety, especially the Crime Stoppers Safe School Institute which educates students, teachers and school personnel on the Tip Line and critical safety issues to keep them safe while at school. They have been instrumental in the Crime Stoppers rewards committee for many years and have assisted to curb crime in all community retail community retail stores through the Greater Houston Loss Prevention Alliance.
§ The Safe School Award – Jerri Duddlesten Moore: Recognized for her enormous heart for the children of today and an unmet compassion to reach all students in all communities. Her tremendous support of the Crime Stoppers Safe School Institute has allowed the program to grow and reach over 1 million students with critical safety information related to reporting weapons on school campuses, cyber safety, teen dating violence and much more.
§ The Women Who Shape Houston Award – Brigitte Kalai: Recognized for her incredible philanthropic contributions, specifically her history of championing causes that uplift women and children. She has been instrumental in bringing Crime Stoppers into many of her personal events and connecting the organization within many communities.
§ Partner of the Year Award – Lawrence and Linda Levy: Recognized for their incredible support of the Crime Stoppers anonymous Tip Line and their work to help the organization launch an anti-terrorism community task force, as well as creating many new connections that have directly impacted the growth of the Safe Community and Safe School Institute.
While the focus of the afternoon was to honor incredible heroes, Crime Stoppers was able to raise additional funds to continue their critically important crime-solving work through the famed 713-222-TIPS Tip Line and expand their free crime prevention and safety education which is provided through their Safe Community Program and Safe School Institute.
Photo credit: Quy Tran Photography
Lone Star College awards record number of degrees and certifications during spring commencement ceremonies
Lone Star College awarded 9,295 students with a degree or certificate during spring 2021 commencement celebrations, representing a 5% increase from 2020.
“This past year has presented students with unprecedented challenges,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the winter storm and the general disruptions in their lives, Lone Star College students were able to remain focused and accomplish something that will change their lives for the better.”
In addition to conferring more than 9,000 associate degrees and certifications, LSC also awarded 23 Bachelor of Arts degrees for the very first time.
“Attaining my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Lone Star College is the highlight of my educational journey and a valuable achievement for me and my family,” said Stella Bishop, RN, LSC-Montgomery BSN graduate. “I feel very confident knowing that I’m receiving a high-quality education from a well-respected college that also allows me to maintain an essential work-life-school balance.”
Lone Star College ranks second nationally in conferring associate degrees among all community colleges, according to data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. The ranking is from the 2018-19 academic year, the latest complete data available. There are approximately 1,100 community colleges nationwide.
LSC graduates were recognized in virtual graduation celebration videos which can be seen at LoneStar.edu/CongratsGrads.
“What these students accomplished is a testament to their hard work and determination,” said Mariam Saldívar, LSCS Board of Trustees chair. “I would also like to recognize the extraordinary work of our faculty, staff and administration to ensure students had the tools and resources necessary to earn their degree and be prepared for the next step in their journey.”
Summer and fall registration are currently underway. Visit LoneStar.edu/Start to explore all the opportunities available to learn a new career, or update your current skills.
“Starting out at Lone Star College has given me the chance to look at all my options and has helped me determine a path that I am passionate and excited about,” said Autumn Hildebrand, LSC-CyFair graduate. “I learned that it’s okay to step out of your comfort zone and that communication with others is the key to all success.”
Two HISD schools ranked among the most challenging in the nation by Challenge Index
The nation’s only index that ranks high schools’ ability to challenge their students will be published soon, and two Houston Independent School District campuses made the list in more than one category.
Carnegie Vanguard High School is ranked number five on the latest Challenge Index list of top 20 high schools, as well as number 2 on the Index’s list of Top 10 Magnet Schools and number 3 on the list of Top 10 Southern Schools.
Additionally, Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy is ranked number 10 on the list of Top 10 Magnet Schools.
The Challenge Index 2020 will be published in the May 2021 edition of Education Next. It is also available online.
“We are extremely proud of Carnegie Vanguard and YWCPA for being recognized as the most elite schools in America,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “It requires hard work of administrators, teachers, and students to obtain such an impressive achievement.”
Carnegie Vanguard serves grades 9-12. As a Vanguard Program, all students are gifted and talented, and all students take Advanced Placement core classes as part of the curriculum. The school consistently has been ranked as a top public high school in the United States by several major magazines and journals.
Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy was named a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in 2020. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes high student achievement and exemplary progress in closing achievement gaps.
YWCPA provides a unique learning environment for female students in grades 6-12. It focuses on college readiness and science, technology, engineering, and math. All core curriculum classes are Pre-Advanced Placement or Advanced Placement.
First published in 1998, the Challenge Index has appeared in Newsweek and The Washington Post. It is the only list that compares private and public schools. It does not rely on test scores. It ranks high schools by a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Cambridge tests given at school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.
Education journalist Jay Matthews compiles the list. He believes participation in college-level AP, IB, and Cambridge tests is a measure of learning depth.
CenterPoint Energy Foundation contributes more than $500,000 to support hunger needs following severe winter weather
Company’s commitment helping those who are hungry or at risk of hunger
CenterPoint Energy, through its charitable foundation, contributed more than $500,000 to organizations focused on supporting food needs following the recent severe winter weather event. CenterPoint Energy’s contributions include a $500,000 commitment to the Houston Food Bank.
The Houston Food Bank provides food assistance to those in need in all counties within CenterPoint Energy’s Greater Houston area electric and natural gas service territory, including Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.
“The need for food assistance had already increased dramatically because of COVID-19, and the severe winter weather exacerbated that need,” said Alicia Dixon, Director of Community Relations for CenterPoint Energy. “The Houston Food Bank plays a critical role in addressing food-insecurity across our area and supporting the well-being of our neighbors in need. We are proud to support the Houston Food Bank’s mission to serve community members who are hungry or at risk of hunger.”
The CenterPoint Energy Foundation is also making a $50,000 contribution to Kids’ Meals, an organization focused on ending childhood hunger in Harris County by feeding kids under six who do not have access to school-supplies lunches due to extreme poverty. Since 2006, Kids’ Meals has been making and delivering free, healthy meals directly to the homes of hungry children. Since inception, Kids’ Meals have given more than 8 million free meals to food insecure children in 42 Houston-area zip codes.
“While the storm may be over, the effects of this disaster on many of our neighbors will last for months to come,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank. “CenterPoint Energy’s recent contribution and continued support of the Houston Food Bank illustrate their core value of commitment to community, and allows us to provide food for better lives. We could not do this work without partners like CenterPoint Energy.”
These contributions are in addition to the CenterPoint Energy Foundation’s $1 million contribution to the Houston-Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund aimed at supporting low-income Houstonians without insurance who were impacted by the recent extreme winter weather.
Lone Star College, RigUp to offer free training for solar professionals
The solar energy industry is experiencing massive growth but is facing a severe shortage of skilled solar professionals. Lone Star College and RigUp have announced a partnership to provide free training for students interested in joining the growing renewable energy industry.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for those who have lost jobs in the oil and gas or construction industries to retool and learn new skills,” said Ken Kral, executive director, Lone Star Corporate College. “We are honored to partner with RigUp as they help build the solar industry in Texas and support tremendous job growth.”
RigUp is a leading workforce management solution for the skilled trades, serving the renewables, oil & gas, construction and defense industries.
Students will learn the basics of installing utility scale solar racking and modular equipment, and will earn Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10 certification. The free Solar Installer Training Course, including an online OSHA Training and two-day, hands-on course, will take place in the El Campo area where the Aktina Renewable Power Project solar farm is being constructed. The facility is expected to take two years to complete and will consist of 1.4 million solar modules.
Once students complete the program, they will be offered employment to work in the solar industry to construct, assemble and maintain commercial solar systems.
“RigUp is committed to helping people get back to work,” said Ron Nickelson, head of solar at RigUp. “Our partnership with Lone Star College gives local residents access to the training they need to secure good jobs with low barriers of entry, whether they are simply looking for short-term work or a long-term career in the solar industry.”
The weekly course offering is expected to begin in mid-February and continue through the spring. Visit LoneStar.edu/Solar-Installer to learn more.
“The solar power industry is booming, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting an over 50% growth rate of solar installations through 2029,” said Kral.
About RigUp: RigUp is the leading workforce management solution for the skilled trades. We make it easier for skilled laborers to find work and for companies to find in-demand, trained workers. RigUp operates across the oil & gas, wind, solar, construction and defense industries. Through people and technology, we provide the staffing, training, and professional services to empower the people who get hard work done. For more information, visit www.rigup.com.
Holiday Meal Distribution Event Serves Up 5,000 Meals to Third Ward Families
Lucille’s 1913, Kinder Foundation and Emancipation Park Conservancy to distribute 5,000 meals to 1,000 families
Sarah and Doug Foshee underwrite 1,000 H-E-B gift cards valued at $100
Simone Biles and mother Nellie assist with distribution
families from throughout the Third Ward area picked up delicious, free holiday meals and H-E-B gift cards at Emancipation Park. Prepared by Chef Chris Williams’ non-profit Lucille’s 1913 Conscious Community Collective, the drive thru-event provided 5,000 meals for 1,000 families from the Greater Third Ward area. In addition, families also received a $100 H-E-B gift card, generously donated by Sarah and Doug Foshee.
The event was facilitated by Lucille’s 1913 in collaboration with Emancipation Park Conservancy and sponsored by the Kinder Foundation, Sarah and Doug Foshee, and Deshaun Watson Foundation.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and her mother Nellie Biles, former Houston Rocket Steve Francis, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and Councilwoman Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz (District D) were all on hand to assist with distribution. Recipients remained in their cars for distribution, either popping open their trunk or lowering their passenger side back window to receive their meals. Chef’s Produce provided a refrigerated truck to keep the meals throughout the day. Covid-19 measures were in place to ensure safety amongst staff, volunteers, and guests.
Lucille’s 1913 has donated more than 100,000 meals to Houstonians in need since the start of Covid-19, an effort primarily self-funded by Chef Chris Williams and Lucille’s. Each meal is thoughtfully created with regard to the palate of the communities which Lucille’s 1913 serves. The individually packed meals for Wednesday’s holiday event featured chicken breast, giblet gravy, macaroni and cheese, and Virginia-style green beans.
Photo credit: Jenn Duncan
Delta Dental Community Care Foundation Marks Giving Tuesday with $350,000 to Texas Food Banks
Houston Food Bank receives $100,000, which will provide 300,000 meals
The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation today announced that it is giving $350,000 to food banks in Texas. This announcement falls on Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement that encourages people and organizations to do good, which has deeper resonance amid the challenges presented by COVID-19.
“As a result of the pandemic, food insecurity rates and reliance on food banks are skyrocketing like never before,” said Kenzie Ferguson, vice president for foundation and corporate social responsibility for Delta Dental of California and its affiliates. “Fighting food insecurity is not only the right thing to do for our communities during these trying times, but it also aligns with our mission to promote oral health.”
Dental caries, or the disease that causes tooth decay, has been linked to food insecurity – a disruption in food intake or eating patterns due to a lack of resources – in numerous studies. Delta Dental of California and its affiliates, through the Foundation, employee support and corporate giving, have strengthened food banks across its enterprise states for years. As the economic crisis caused by the pandemic continues, it became clear it was time to increase that support exponentially.
Food banks receiving grants include:
- Houston Food Bank in Houston – $100,000
- North Texas Food Bank in Dallas – $75,000
- San Antonio Food Bank in San Antonio – $75,000
- Central Texas Food Bank in Austin – $50,000
- El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank in El Paso – $50,000
Today the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is announcing $2.5 million in funding to food banks across 15 states and Washington, D.C. This is in addition to $11 million in previously awarded grants in response to COVID-19. Foundation support in 2020 totals nearly $15 million, including nearly $1.3 million to nonprofits in Texas.
The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency Hosts 10th Annual Rockin’ Resiliency Luncheon and Celebrate COH Proclamation for Rockin’ Resiliency Day
Daylight savings ended and more than 60 households and close to 250 virtual guests were up and rocking the house by dancing and singing along with Houston’s very own and Season 12 finalist of American Idol, Vincent Powell on Sunday, November 1st in support of The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency. If that wasn’t enough to get guests at home excited and inspired by The Women’s Fund’s mission, the Rockin’ Resiliency luncheon was officially kicked off when partnerschools singers, Emma Fulton, Emilia Haymon and Bridget Gray joined Powell and performed “Count on Me.” The song was a tribute to the work The Women’s Fund provides to the Greater Houston community.
With support from Luncheon Chairs Christine and Steve Johnson, the lively event raised close to $180,000 while celebrating the thousands of women and girls that count on The Women’s Fund for health education information.
Just an hour before the luncheon, The Women’s Fund hosted over 90 participates for an Educational Panel Discussion sponsored by Dr. Elizabeth Grimm, PHD. Led by Drs. Wanda Mott and Frene’ Lacour-Chestnut, Denise Bates, Chau Nguyen, and Centrell Reed, the discussion focused on the luncheon’s theme: “Your Voice Matters” and explored how women and girls of all ages can speak up and do something important with their thoughts, ideas and opinions, and be the change they wish to see in the world. The participants also received goodie bags sponsored by Veritex Community Bank.
Lead underwriters and participants were treated to a viewing boxed lunch sponsored by Katherine and Chris Gillman and curated by Phoenicia Specialty Foods. Delivery of lunch and a goodie bag with face mask and swag was made possible by delivery sponsor Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
Emceed by KTRK-ABC 13’s Gina Gaston Elie, the luncheon continued to engage guests as they celebrated and snapped photos via the virtual photo booth sponsored by Allegiance Bank from the comfort of their homes. Houston City Council Member Sallie Alcorn made a surprise appearance and presented The Women’s Fund with a proclamation from the City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner that proclaimed November 1, 2020, as Rockin’ Resiliency Day.
The Women’s Fund presented Edna Meyer-Nelson as the recipient of the Sue Trammel Whitfield Award for Resiliency Award and The John P. McGovern Foundation “Champion in Women’s Health and Wellness” Award to Kathleen Schmeler, M.D. PlainsCapital Bank presented a lively interview with the face and voice of HEB Scott McClelland by Luncheon co-chair Steve Johnson of the famed Walton and Johnson Syndicated Radio Show.
BRIDGELAND® HOSTS MODEL HOME DISCOVERY TOUR OVER TWO NOVEMBER WEEKENDS
Thirty Model Homes Open to Interested Buyers, Realtors® and Guests
The top selling master planned community in Texas is inviting guests to experience 30 of the best model homes in the Greater Houston region. (NYSE: HHC) announced that will host the Model Home Discovery Tour during two weekends in November. Potential homebuyers, families, Realtors® and builders are invited to participate in the free event held Saturday, November 7 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, November 8 and 15 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free to all ages.
Bridgeland’s Model Home Discovery Tour is designed to showcase the many different architectural styles, home features and amenities throughout Bridgeland. Whether purchasing an existing inventory home or purchasing a homesite on which a builder will construct a home in the fast-growing, award-winning master planned community, this is an opportunity to leisurely view the many different options for those looking for their new home or curious as to what Bridgeland has to offer.
“Whether looking for a new home or simply curious as to the variety of design options and products available, the Model Home Discovery Tour is a great way to see all that Bridgeland has to offer,” said Heath Melton, Executive Vice President of MPC, Residential for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Our wide variety of award-winning homebuilders are second-to-none throughout the Greater Houston region and we know that there will be something that interests everyone that visits our stunning model homes.“
Thirty model homes from a variety of acclaimed builders will be featured, food trucks will be on hand to provide refreshments, and all participants will have a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize – $2,500 Visa card. The Model Home Discovery Tour includes models by Beazer Homes, Chesmar Homes, Coventry Homes, Darling Homes, David Weekley Homes, Fredrick Harris Estate Homes, Highland Homes, Lennar, M/I Homes, Newmark Homes, Partners In Building, Perry Homes, Ravenna Homes, Taylor Morrison, Trendmaker Homes, Village Builders and Westin Homes.
Guests will be provided a map and a tour card at the Bridgeland Welcome Center, located at 16919 North Bridgeland Lake Pkwy., Cypress, TX 77433, or at any of the model homes. They are invited to visit as many model homes as they wish but will have an incentive to visit six or more. Guests that visit two models at the model home park, one custom model in Sheldon Lake, one model in Parkland Square, one model in Lockhart and one model at Copper Breaks will receive a $15 gift voucher to be used at participating businesses at Lakeland Village Center by the end of 2020. Guests that visit ten or more models will be entered to win a $2,500 Visa gift card in addition to the $15 Lakeland Village Center gift voucher.
FARIS FOUNDATION Raises $750,000 for Campaign in Honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
This year, The Faris Foundation—a Houston-based nonprofit focusing on childhood cancer research, creative arts programs at children’s cancer centers and public engagement and awareness around childhood cancer—raised $750,000 for its “Let There Be GOLD” campaign in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Every September, the Faris Foundation hosts the campaign with public education and fundraising endeavors with Prime Communications, AT&T’s largest authorized retailer, along with celebration events at childhood cancer centers and gold-themed public art initiatives.
This year, over 55,000 customers at nearly 2,000 Prime Communications stores in 46 states contributed to the campaign to raise funds for childhood cancer research and creative arts programs at children’s cancer centers.
HOUSTON FOOD BANK’S HOLIDAY CARDS OFFER GIFT-GIVING ALTERNATIVE WITH A HEART
Looking for just the right thing for the person who has everything? Need a corporate gift idea for employees, co-workers, clients or business associates? This year spread holiday cheer and do something good with your gift-giving with the Houston Food Bank’s Holiday Cards with Hope.
The Houston Food Bank’s holiday card program makes gift-giving easy, all while providing food for better lives. Just make a donation in honor of friends, family, colleagues, clients, or anyone special to you and the Houston Food Bank will send them a card on your behalf. Holiday Cards with Hope are perfect for Christmas, Chanukah or New Year’s.
Your donations will make a big impact – for every $1 donated to the Houston Food Bank, they can provide 3 full meals to a child, family or senior in need. Simply select a card type, pick your favorite design, and place your order.
Card types to choose from:
Honor Cards – minimum donation of $10 each
Make a donation in someone’s honor and the food bank will personalize and send a printed 5” x 7″ card on the donor’s behalf. Honor cards are printed with, “In the true spirit of the season, a gift has been given in your honor to the Houston Food Bank by”, personalized with your name or company name. To expedite, please complete order details right away or food bank can mail cards directly to you, just select which mode.
Tribute Inserts – minimum donation of $5 each
Already have a holiday card picked out? Include a 4×6 tribute insert with your cards to let your recipients know a gift has been made in their honor. Tribute inserts are printed with, “A gift in your honor is helping the Houston Food Bank provide food and hope to thousands of hungry people this holiday season.” Tribute inserts will be mailed directly to the purchaser/donor.
To see design options and place an order, visit www.houstonfoodbank.org/holidaycards. Please allow 10 days for processing and delivery so that recipients receive cards in a timely manner. To expedite your Honor Card order, complete your order details as soon as you place your order.
For questions and additional information, please contact Abby Trahan, annual giving coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-369-9220.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston members celebrate Jackie Robinson Day and 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues Baseball
Event spearheaded by Bank of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston (BGCGH) gathered to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day and the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues with special programming culminating in a live virtual event on YouTube with ESPN called “Courageous Conversation,” in collaboration with Bank of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Club members, many of them teens, participated in “Courageous Conversation,” which dovetailed with the teen social and racial justice initiative launched by BGCGH this summer, “Be the Change You Want 2 See.”
The discussion, moderated by Clinton Yates of ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” featured Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Chris Archer, Pittsburgh Pirates™ player and Del Matthews, VP of Baseball Development for MLB™. There were special appearances by former and current MLB™ players who spoke to the next generation in an open dialogue about the intersection of baseball and race and the role sports can play in advocating for change and furthering the cause of social justice and racial equality in America. The discussion was particularly poignant given recent events, reinforcing why it is important for all ages to engage in candid conversation about diversity and inclusion.
The event is part of Bank of America’s recently launched Let’s Rally program, an effort in partnership with MLB™, that benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of America and complements Bank of America’s $1 billion commitment over four years to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, with a particular focus on helping create opportunity for people and communities of color. Boys & Girls Clubs in eight cities from coast to coast, including Houston, were invited to join in the activities honoring Jackie Robinson and the Negro Baseball Leagues.
“We are honored to be one of the cities chosen to participate in this national event that recognizes sports icon Jackie Robinson and addresses important questions and issues surrounding racial equality in sports, as well as in America,” says Kevin Hattery, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. “Our Club members and staff who participated in ‘Courageous Conversation’ and other related programming were truly uplifted by the positive dialogue and the promise of a more just and equitable world. Social justice is a value of ours, which is why we launched our program for teens in June, ‘Be the Change You Want 2 See.’”
“Sports have long served as a platform for racial justice, and as part of Bank of America’s commitment to advancing racial equality, economic opportunity and social justice, we’re excited to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston on Jackie Robinson Day and the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues in professional baseball to inform our youth and provide meals and activity kits for families and Club members,” says Hong Ogle, Houston Market President, Bank of America.
In addition to the ESPN event, Club members at several Boys & Girls Clubs in the Houston area were able to take a virtual field trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame where they learned about the impact of cultural diversity on baseball. They will build upon the learnings with take-home activity bags. The kits include:
- Jackie Robinson Activity Sheets: Educational materials, including a Jackie Robinson fact sheet, writing prompt and word search
- Negro Leagues History Resource Guide to learn about the significant contributions of the Negro Leagues
- Branded Popcorn Box with Baseball Card: Each student received a branded box of caramel popcorn with a Negro Leagues Baseball card inside
- Branded foam baseball keepsake
- The activity bags, which were scheduled for widespread distribution at Houston area Club locations this week, will now be available to members and their families the week of Aug. 31. The delay is due to the anticipated effects of Hurricane Laura. Other Club events planned include a viewing of the classic movie “The Sandlot” and a baseball-themed lunch for members, courtesy of Bank of America.
For more information about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston programming and its mission, visit www.bgcgh.org.
Michael Heckman Named Acting President & Chief Executive Officer at Houston First Corporation
Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed Michael Heckman to the position of Acting President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective August 6, 2020. Heckman will oversee full operations of the corporation and will guide Houston First through its next growth phase.
Heckman was recently appointed Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Initiatives, charged with developing a new strategic direction for the corporation. Prior to that he served as the Senior Vice President of Partnerships and Event Development, most notably developing Comicpalooza, Texas’ Largest Entertainment and Pop Culture and serving as the President and CEO of the 23rd World Petroleum Congress. He has been a part of the Houston First Corporation for six years and prior to that, spent five years with the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Michael has the experience and ability to lead Houston First as we conduct a national search for a permanent president and chief executive officer. During his leadership, I want Houston First to continue moving forward and start reimagining itself to promote Houston throughout the world. We cannot wait until the pandemic is over. I know Michael will serve well in the interim position,” said Turner.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to lead the team at Houston First. We are a unique organization with an awesome responsibility to market and brand Houston. As we all know, the tourism and meetings industries are facing historic challenges as a result of the pandemic. Fortunately, we have the best of the best selling and marketing Houston in all areas. My associates and the Board are keenly focused on reimagining our business operations. The team will focus on developing new, innovative strategies that drive growth and stability while continuing to support our hospitality stakeholders,” said Heckman.
CRISTINA VETRANO NAMED NEW CEO OF RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE HOUSTON
The Ronald McDonald House Houston (RMHH) Board of Directors announced the appointment of Cristina Vetrano as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organization, effective August 17, 2020. A highly respected leader with more than 25 years of nonprofit experience, Vetrano joins RMHH from CanCare where she served as President and CEO.
“Ronald McDonald House Houston is thrilled to welcome Cristina Vetrano as our new CEO,” said Maggie Stacy, president of the board of Ronald McDonald House Houston. “We were impressed by her thoughtful leadership at both CanCare and Kids’ Meals, as well as the invaluable experience she brings from her 13 years with the American Red Cross. Cristina is a highly-accomplished leader with a proven track record that will be critical in leading our organization forward in its mission.”
Vetrano is a leader in the Houston nonprofit community having most recently led CanCare in its efforts and prior to that, serving as Executive Director of Kids’ Meals. Her work with CanCare included strategic planning, fundraising, and project development. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vetrano oversaw the creation of the CanCare Support Phone Line and Email System, which connects cancer patients and their caregivers to a volunteer for one-on-one support during this time of social distancing.
“I am honored to join Ronald McDonald House Houston as their next CEO,” said Vetrano. “I look forward to finding new and meaningful ways to apply what I have learned over my career to enhance our ability to welcome and support families with critically-ill children seeking treatment in our Texas Medical Center. I am impressed and inspired by what Ronald McDonald House Houston has accomplished and am eager to continue building on those successes.”
Vetrano also spent 13 years with the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., where she held multiple positions and ultimately served as Director, Project Support. Her time with the American Red Cross involved working in the technology, disaster services, and health and safety departments. Notably, she led the implementation of the organization’s learning management system to its more than 600 nationwide chapters. With approximately 5,000 users and comprising over 5 million records, this launch marked the fastest nationwide technology deployment in the organization’s history.
Vetrano also served in the Peace Corps as a small business volunteer in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where she designed a business curriculum and trained teachers at a local college. She is currently a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum program. Vetrano earned her MBA from the University of Iowa and her Bachelor of Science in Finance from San Diego State University.
“THE LANE AT WATERWAY” IS NAME OF THE NEWEST MULTIFAMILY RESIDENCES IN THE WOODLANDS®, DEVELOPED BY THE HOWARD HUGHES CORPORATION®
Positioned within walking distance to The Woodlands Waterway®, the 179,338-square-foot project will offer 163 new residences with one-, two- and three-bedroom plans as well as townhomes with direct street access.
Currently under construction, the seven-story urban luxury multifamily community will feature walk-up townhomes as well as apartments in The Woodlands Town Center®, set on 1.67 acres at the southeast intersection of Six Pines Drive and Timberloch Place.
The urban development will feature impressive contemporary finishes with quartz countertops, simulated wood flooring, stainless appliances, walk-in closets and nine-foot-plus ceilings. Nest Themostats and keyless entries are among the features of these new residences.
Co-working spaces for those residents who work from home will be a unique and convenient amenity to this multifamily community. Private offices will be offered to residents at an additional monthly charge.
“The unique elements of these multifamily residences, coupled with walk-up townhomes, which are available for lease, make The Lane at Waterway a terrific complement to our portfolio,” said Crystal Bledsoe, National Multifamily Asset Manager for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “With its resort-style amenities and access to the beautiful walkable setting of The Woodlands Waterway, this new community is designed to promote health and wellness within a convenient lifestyle. We are excited to debut The Lane at Waterway later this year, and we are currently taking inquiries from interested parties.”
With an abundance of amenities to indulge a healthy and fit lifestyle, The Lane at Waterway will include a clubroom, state-of-the-art fitness center, third-floor amenity deck, outdoor cooking areas and bike storage, all within a walking setting to The Woodlands Waterway, an award-winning, 1.8-mile water amenity, transportation corridor and linear park highlighting a mixed-use urban center. The Lane at Waterway is also within walking distance to shopping and dining and entertainment at Waterway Square®, The Woodlands Mall, Market Street and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
Additional amenities include a gated entrance to the residential parking garage as well as a pet-friendly environment.
Lone Star College-Houston North and Comcast team up to provide free internet access to students and families during pandemic
Lone Star College-Houston North and Comcast’s Houston Region have announced a business partnership to provide free internet access to approximately 200 LSC-Houston North students and families in need. The new agreement will ensure these students can continue their education through the school’s distance learning offerings as many in-person options are on hiatus.
The college is partnering with Comcast’s Internet Essentials, a program designed for low-income families and individuals to acquire access to the internet. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast is offering two free months of internet access to qualifying low-income families through the end of the year. The college is purchasing an additional four months of service, enabling six months of free internet access.
“We are here to help our students any way that we can, whether that is in the classroom or outside of it,” said Dr. Quentin Wright, LSC-Houston North president. “When COVID-19 caused us to close our buildings it was apparent that some of our students would not be able to finish the semester – not because of lack of desire and intellect but because they did not have the technological resources at home. We are thankful for our partnership with Comcast because we were able to fill that gap and help our students persist with their educational career.”
“During this unprecedented time, it is vital for Houstonians to stay connected to the internet – for education, work and personal health reasons,” said Comcast’s Ray Purser, vice president of External Affairs, Houston Region. “We’re proud to partner with Lone Star College-Houston North to help keep their students connected through our Internet Essentials program.”
“Thank you Lone Star College-Houston North for helping me get Comcast Wi-Fi for school, my anxiety was at ease with your help,” said Montoya Thomas, Lone Star College student. “It helps me a lot with my schoolwork and continuing being successful in my career. Thank you so much.”
Fall registration is underway. Visit LoneStar.edu to more learn more about all the opportunities Lone Star College has to offer.
Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected 396,000 low-income households in the Houston region. The regular cost for Internet Essentials is $9.95 per month. Those that qualify for a broad range of federal assistance programs including Pell Grants, Medicaid, HUD-assisted housing, SNAP and SSI, among others, are eligible to apply for Internet Essentials. Interested students and families are encouraged to learn more at www.internetessentials.com and talk to their school counselor about enrolling.
LONE STAR FLIGHT MUSEUM NOW SERVING AS AN OFFICIAL FLAG DEPOSITORY LOCATION
Friendswood Eagle Scout candidate, Jacob Alford donates depository to the museum
Jacob Alford focused his Eagle Scout project on raising money to purchase and design an official American Flag depository, which he has now donated to the Lone Star Flight Museum, making the museum an official flag depository location. An official presentation of the depository and flag retirement ceremony took place at the museum on June 14, Flag Day.
The United States Flag Code states, the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
As an official flag depository location, residents are encouraged to bring their worn/retired American flags to the museum and place them in the depository during normal museum hours.
Friendswood Scout Troop 445 will periodically collect the flags and conduct safe and appropriate offsite ceremonies burning the flags. It is not required to purchase a museum ticket to deposit a flag, nor does depositing a flag including entry to the museum hangars or exhibits.
The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency Announces 6th Annual Barbara Devetski Scholarship Essay Contest Winners
The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency, a nonprofit providing Houston area women and girls with the tools needed to be advocates for their health, has announced Spring High School graduate Sarah Elizalde and Lamar High School graduate Emma-Sophia Notzon as the two winners of its 6th Annual Barbara Devetski Scholarship Essay Contest. Elizalde and Notzon will each receive a $2,500 scholarship towards tuition for the 2020 fall college semester.
“The Women’s Fund is proud to award scholarships to two individuals who understand the importance of resiliency,” said Linda Rhodes, Executive Director of The Women’s Fund. “Both recipients have used tools to work through personal difficult situations and overcome their challenges.”
Elizalde struggled with weight loss and when she overcame her stubbornness and other challenges along the way she learned how to live a healthy lifestyle. She will adapt her resiliency skills to her studies when she attends Texas A&M in the fall and majors in Kinesiology. Notzon’s journey to self-love wasn’t easy, but with determination and the help of her support system she was able to gain resiliency and a positive lifestyle. She plans to maintain resiliency as she enters the animal science department with a focus in veterinary medicine at Texas Tech.
The scholarship was created in loving memory of Barbara Devetski, the organization’s first Executive Director who served in that capacity for over two decades. The Women’s Fund received a record number of entries from Houston area, college-bound, graduating high school senior girls, who plan to enroll in a minimum of nine college credit hours in the 2020 fall semester. Each participant was asked to submit an essay that included the importance of resiliency, a time or situation in which the applicant was resilient, and explain what they learned from the situation and how it has prepared them for college. The winners were announced on The Women’s Fund Facebook Page in a live presentation on Monday, June 1, 2020.
For 41 years, The Women’s Fund has educated girls and women in the Houston area through classes, workshops, lectures and publications that teach resiliency skills and relate those skills to current health risks. Dedicated to ensuring positive health outcomes for individuals and communities, The Women’s Fund serves close to 12,000 women and adolescent girls and distributes 9,913 publications each year.
Howard Hughes Corporation Members and The Woodland Hills Show Appreciation for Frontline Workers
Team members from The Howard Hughes Corporation® (NYSE: HHC) and its master planned community, The Woodlands Hills®, recently delivered lunch to over 550 daytime medical personnel and frontline team members at HCA Houston Healthcare® Conroe. The lunch from Sorriso Modern Italian Kitchen in The Woodlands was to show appreciation to the medical personnel and was part of the HHCares initiative of The Howard Hughes Corporation.
The George Foundation Awards Special Grants to Non-Profits
The George Foundation recently awarded special grants totaling over $1.3 million to support nonprofit organizations serving Fort Bend County residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Trustees directed an initial round of funding of $195,500 to provide technology enhancements to fifty (50) local nonprofit organizations to support the evolution of their operations and the adaptation of how they continue to serve the community in the challenging environment of social distancing.
A subsequent round of funding of over $1.1 million was released to twenty-one (21) nonprofits currently providing critical services to Fort Bend County residents experiencing crisis due to COVID-19. The Trustees prioritized funding to support the increased demand for immediate basic needs including food assistance and financial support for rent and utilities. Additionally, investments were also directed to nonprofit partners serving our community’s most vulnerable residents experiencing abuse, neglect, and mental health conditions, which regrettably, have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
The George Foundation encourages all Fort Bend County residents to join the COVID-19 relief effort by supporting the dedicated network of nonprofit organizations serving our community with your time, talent, or financial resources during these difficult times. The George Foundation was established in 1945 by Albert and Mamie George with the mission to partner with the community to leverage the Foundation’s resources to positively impact Fort Bend County and its residents.
Since inception, the Foundation has invested in excess of $220 million in our community.
Lone Star College student receives prestigious scholarship
Lone Star College student Humberto Leal Acosta was awarded the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship. The grant makes it possible for Acosta to complete his bachelor’s degree at a selective four-year college or university.
“Receiving the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is an incredible accomplishment,” said Dr. Stephen C. Head, LSC chancellor. “I congratulate Humberto and wish him the best as he continues his education.”
Acosta is one of 50 students nationwide who will receive up to $40,000 per year for up to three years to cover a substantial share of educational expenses including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees. Acosta will also receive all-inclusive educational advising from foundation staff to guide him through the processes of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing him for his career.
“Since I was little, I’ve dreamed about making new discoveries. I want to specialize in research to develop technology that improves human well-being,” said Acosta, LSC-CyFair and Honors College student. “Bioengineering is a relatively new field with many mysteries to uncover. So far, we have discovered ways to allow paraplegics to run, the blind see, the deaf hear and we can do so much more.”
Acosta is the fourth LSC-CyFair student to win this national undergraduate scholarship. Previous winners include Thanhphuong Le in 2012, Rey Laurencio in 2016 and Michael Aguilar in 2018. In all, 22 LSC students have been awarded the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship since 2012.
“We could not be more proud of Humberto for being selected as a recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship,” said Dr. Seelpa Keshvala, LSC-CyFair president. “This achievement is a testament to his hard work and determination. We at Lone Star College-CyFair are thrilled to have been a part of his academic journey.”
This year, Acosta led the LSC-CyFair C.R.A.T.E.R. (Cultivating, Retrieving, Analyzing and Testing Experimental Rocks) team to a first-place wins in the Top Design Team category at the Texas Space Grant Consortium Fall 2019 Design Challenge. In addition, his team placed first in three of the four categories in the Spring 2020 Design Challenge. The Texas Space Grant Consortium is funded through a NASA Training Grant.
“We know this is a very uncertain time for many students and their families. We remain deeply committed to supporting high-achieving community college students to ensure they have the resources to reach their full academic potential,” said Seppy Basili, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation executive director. “We are excited to welcome this new class of Cooke Transfer Scholars to our community and looking forward to seeing the many amazing things they do as they continue on their transfer journey.”
Incarnate Word Academy Takes Its Prom Online
Houston Arboretum’s Tapas on the Trails was most successful to date, raising $48,000 for Arboretum programs
Houston Arboretum’s annual “Tapas on the Trails” on Feb. 15 welcomed more than 500 people for a romantic, post-Valentine’s evening getaway where they enjoyed a softly-lit walk through the Arboretum’s 155-acre nature sanctuary.
This unique and highly popular event, which was sold out, allowed guests to pause along a beautiful, mile-long trail to indulge in four delicious courses and a few other treats from Cotton Culinary, paired perfectly with carefully selected wines and Saint Arnold’s beers. Ticket proceeds netted $48,000 for the Arboretum’s conservation and education programs.
The evening ended at the large, newly remodeled Event Lawn, where guests enjoyed vermouth spritzers, dessert, a coffee bar provided by partner Katz Coffee and the opportunity to meet a live owl. Each guest received a commemorative Arboretum glass to take home.
Photo: By Anthony Rathbun
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston elects Julius Young, Jr. as Chairman of the Board of Directors
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston (BGCGH) announced that Julius Young, Jr. is the new Chairman of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit.
Young, who is Market Executive for Wells Fargo & Company within Government and Institutional Banking, is the first African American as well as the first former “Club kid” to serve as board chairman in BGCGH history. He was a Club member at a Boys & Girls Club when he was growing up in California.
“Julius Young, who has been an invaluable member of our board and executive committee, will be a strong and steady leader for our growing organization,” says Kevin Hattery, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. “His business acumen, his passion for our mission and his vision for our youth make him ideally suited to assume the chairmanship of this organization.”
“Being a Club member during his youth, Julius brings a unique perspective to what we are all about and why we say “Great Futures Start Here.’” Hattery continues. “We know that Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston is in the best of hands with Julius charting the course for our Board.”
As Chairman, Young will lead the Board and the Executive Committee in carrying out their governance functions, ensure overall sound management of the organization and partner with the President and CEO to ensure the Board’s directives, policies and resolutions are carried out. Additionally, he will serve as an ambassador of the organization and advocate its mission to internal and external stakeholders.
“For a kid who once leaned on this organization for support, to now be in a position to lead one of its flagship regions is an extremely humbling opportunity with emotions that are indescribable,” says Young. “I’m excited for the future of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and our ability to make an ever-increasing impact on the kids that need us most.”
In his professional life, Young leads a team of industry professionals at Wells Fargo (in an 18-state region) to support the comprehensive banking needs of government entities. In addition to his current role, he has a diversified financial services background covering Corporate Banking, Middle-Market, International, Financial Institutions and Asset Management. Young has served as region leader of Wells Fargo’s Global Banking business, credit officer within Corporate Banking and senior credit officer of Global Financial Institutions.
Originally from Los Angeles, Young holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Oregon State University, where he also played football. He currently lives in Houston with his wife, son and twin daughters. He has previously served on the Board of Regents for Oregon State’s Honors College.
To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, please visit www.bgcgh.org.
2020 CHAIRMAN’S GALA: HIGHWAY TO FORT BEND HONORED LEADERS AND VOLUNTEERS OF FORT BEND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The 5-Star Accredited Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce held the Chairman’s rock-n-roll Gala on Friday, January 31, 2020, in the Infinity Ballroom at Safari Texas Ranch. The annual event paid tribute to the leaders and volunteers of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce who served the chamber in 2019 and welcomed the new leadership for 2020.
Immediate Past Chair, Rehan Alimohammad, Partner of Wong Fleming, presented the Community Spirit Award to retiring City Manager, Allen Bogard who has served the City of Sugar Land since 1995. Mayor Joe Zimmerman accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Bogard and made kind and heartfelt remarks about his tenure with the city. Mr. Bogard has seen the city more than double in population, with his implementation of the City Council’s vision for Sugar Land resulting in numerous state and national recognitions, including “Best Place to Live” and “Safest City.” The City of Sugar Land now boasts more than 66,300 jobs and is home to high-profile regional and international corporations.
The Chairman’s Award was presented to Lane Pearson, a fifth-generation Texan, and native Houstonian and long-time Fort Bend county resident with a track record of exceptional support for our chamber. Lane Pearson with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene has been a champion of the chamber for decades.
The awards continued with Alimohammad acknowledging the leadership and service of immediate past Chairman, Malisha Patel (SVP and CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital); retiring Board Members, Raj Basavaraju (Principal – Transcend Engineers & Planners, LLC); Khori Hunter (Business Director – Sweetpea Smiles); Linda Huynh (Doctor – Sugar Mill Chiropractic and Acupuncture); Jessica Jia (Senior Associate – Traffic Engineers, Inc.); Cindy Picazo (Senior Vice President – BancorpSouth); and Jana Williams (Financial Representative – Dearborn & Creggs); and retiring Division Chairs, Dee Koch (Lifetime Member); Christy Medlin (Business Development Director – Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sugar Land); and Rob Thompson (Owner/Founder – TruCore Business Development).
Photo: Toman Imagery
THE WOODLANDS HILLS® HONORS ITS FIRST 50 FOUNDING FAMILIES at
FOUNDERS CLUB TREE DEDICATION CEREMONY
The Howard Hughes Corporation® recognizes first 50 founding families with a tree in their honor,
complete with a plaque bearing the family name
The Howard Hughes Corporation® honored its first 50 founding families in The Woodlands Hills® during a dedication ceremony held on Saturday, December 7, with a tree dedicated in their honor, complete with an individual plaque bearing the family name.
The Woodlands Hills is Houston’s newest master planned community in Conroe and Willis, located 13 miles north of The Woodlands®. The Woodlands Hills joins The Woodlands and Bridgeland® as one of the award-winning master planned communities in the portfolio of The Howard Hughes Corporation.
“We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to honor the first 50 founding families who chose The Woodlands Hills as their new community and home,” said Heath Melton, Executive Vice President of Master Planned Communities, Residential, for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “These very special Founders Club members have established a solid foundation for future neighbors to form connections, or rather to ‘meet their neighbors’ as this wholesome community continues to evolve.”
The Founders Club was established to honor the first 100 families.
An additional dedication ceremony honoring the next 50 residents with be held in the first quarter of 2020. With trees dedicated to these first families, the 17-acre nature-laced park bears the name Founders Park.
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR J.L. PHILLIPS CELEBRATES BOOK LAUNCH
Readers Joined Local Author at Release Party for “Power Lies” at Scout & Molly’s West U
Over 50 of Houston’s avid readers gathered at Scout & Molly’s West U to celebrate the release of author J.L. Phillip’s first-ever fiction novel, Power Lies, a captivating thriller about power lines that kill and a corrupt industry that knows it.
Power Lies was released on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, by Amazon.com, and reached number one International Bestseller in six categories, including Teen & Young Adult Technology, Adventure & Adventurers, Politics & Government, and Business & Economics in the US and Mystery Reference & Nature in AU.
Before the night was over, Phillips read a passage from the novel and shared her heartfelt thanks to the crowd and those that have supported her through her writing journey, including her editor and publishing team at Elite Online Publishing.
Photo credit: Daniel Ortiz
2019 TRAFIGURA RUN FOR THE HOUSE RAISED MORE THAN $622K FOR RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE HOUSTON
Ronald McDonald House Houston (RMH Houston) 2019 Trafigura Run for the House raised $622,785 for RMH Houston thanks to a $300,000 match from The Trafigura Foundation. The 10th annual Trafigura Run for the House, held on Saturday, December 7 at Sam Houston Park in downtown, welcomed more than 1, 054 charitable runners, volunteers, families and dogs for a morning of fun, family-friendly activity.
After the conclusion of the USATF-certified 5K/10K race, the celebration continued at the Mogie After-Party, where everyone enjoyed free activities, such as cookie decorating, games, food and more.
The annual event celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Race which includes over $4M funds raised since the beginning. At the after-party, attendees had the opportunity to celebrate with Ronald McDonald and many of his friends.
All proceeds, with the Trafigura Foundation generously matching dollar for dollar up to $300,000, will help support RMH Houston’s mission of providing a home away from home for families with seriously ill children receiving treatment in the Texas Medical Center.
For more information please visit www.rmhhouston.org.
Photos courtesy of Ronald McDonald House
2019 Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, Clara’s Dream Hosts Hugely Successful Year
That’s a wrap! More than 107,240 shoppers made their way to NRG Center for the 39th annual Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. With merchandise sales exceeding $20.4 million, it was another exceptional year for the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. The 2019 Nutcracker Market was chaired by longtime Houston Ballet supporter, Sara Wright Parr.
The four-day holiday shopping extravaganza hosted large groups of shoppers donning matching holiday themed outfits sipped on the signature Nutcracker Market mimosa while perusing the more than 540,000 square feet featuring more than 260 merchants from across the nation.
In its 39th year, the Nutcracker Market continues to provide support for the Houston Ballet, its Academy and scholarship programs. Eleven percent of merchandise sales and proceeds from ticket sales directly benefit the Houston Ballet Foundation. Since its inception in 1981, the Nutcracker Market has contributed more than $74.2 million for the Houston Ballet Foundation, including the $5.4 million contribution from the 2019 Market.
Photo credit: Fulton Davenport, PWL Studio
Lone Star College officially broke ground on its newest location, LSC-Houston North Fallbrook.
“This partnership between Lone Star College and Fallbrook Church is a shining example of what can happen when institutions work together,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “I want to personally thank Pastor Michael Pender for his commitment to provide accessible higher education in this community.”
LSC-Houston North Fallbrook, which is scheduled to open fall 2020, will be part of LSC-Houston North, the newest college in the Lone Star College system. LSC-Houston North incorporates four locations consisting of LSC-Houston North Fairbanks, LSC-Houston North Greenspoint, LSC-Houston North Victory and LSC-Houston North Fallbrook.
“This will benefit many generations for years to come,” said city of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Thank you Lone Star College for your vision and for bringing education where the students are.”
LSC-Houston North Fallbrook joins its sister locations, bringing highly-developed programs to each site in addition to core courses to earn Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees.
“This is a direct result of Lone Star College and Fallbrook Church working together in spirit and with a vision,” said U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee. “You are making sure our young people have access to education.”
LSC-Houston North Fallbrook students will have the opportunity to take courses in morning, afternoon or evening block schedules as well as weekend programs that will allow them to complete degrees with classes Friday afternoon, Saturdays and online.
“This is a great day, not only for Lone Star College, but for this community as well,” said Quentin A. Wright, Ed.D., LSC-Houston North president. “These students will be able to take advantage of small class sizes with no class having more than 20 students.”
Lone Star College, University of Texas Petroleum Extension to launch collaborative relationship
Lone Star College and The University of Texas at Austin Engineering Executive Education, Petroleum Extension (UT-PETEX) announced a reciprocal agreement to further advance each other’s services for customized training in the oil and gas upstream, midstream and downstream industry.
“Lone Star College is the preeminent workforce training institution in the greater Houston area,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “We look forward to working with UT-PETEX in this new endeavor to help companies maintain a trained workforce.”
UT-PETEX, a unit of The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, is headquartered at the university’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin and has been at the forefront of global learning solutions powering the oil and gas industry.
“We train industry professionals at all experience levels around the globe in new technologies, cutting-edge equipment, and current industry standards and practices that help build a more competent, prepared workforce,” said Eric A. Roe, Ph.D., UT-PETEX executive director. “This concerted effort between our institutions will help address the substantial workforce needs in the oil and gas industry.”
The collaborative relationship also includes UT-PETEX leasing office and instructional space at LSC-University Park.
“The synergy between Lone Star College and UT-PETEX will pave the way to a stronger energy workforce which will lead to greater energy independence for our nation,” said Head.
TEXAS-BASED, SAFE 2 SAVE APP REWARDS SAFE DRIVING HABITS
Redeem rewards at area restaurants and retailers
After a student lost his life from a driver texting in College Station, TX, Marci Corry decided to make an impact on safe driving in communities throughout Texas. After researching behavior change and observing that her young children responded well with positive reinforcement, Corry decided to encourage people in a positive way to stay off their phones while driving. She founded SAFE 2 SAVE in October 2016.
In just a short time, the app has gained a lot of popularity with over 200,000 users. Businesses on the app are in many cities throughout Texas, with plans to expand across the entire state of Texas and go nationwide in 2019.
SAFE 2 SAVE continues to share about safe driving initiatives through conferences, schools, businesses and various organizations. To book a speaker, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
Joining the app is easy! Create an account or Login with Facebook.
Fill out your information to create your register your account and start earning rewards.-
HOW TO EARN POINTS: Two points are earned for every minute of safe driving starting at 10 mph. Click on the star icon to view accumulated points.
HOW TO REDEEM YOUR POINTS: Click on the present icon and then select your favorite business. Choose a reward, click yes and then employee selects, “Cashier Accept.”
HOW TO ORGANIZE A COMPETITION: Who can drive the safest? Competitions are great ways for communities to be engaged in non-distracted driving. Points are earned in the competition alongside family, friends or co-workers.
Incarnate Word Academy Student Named a Semifinalist in the 65th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program
Ursula Buchwald, a senior from Conroe, is the sole IWA student named to the list
Buchwald, an excellent student, is active in extracurricular activities such as Falcon Theatre program and competing with the school’s Quiz Bowl club at events around the state. She is one of 16,000 students from across the country to be given the honor, and will go on to compete for one of the coveted National Merit Scholarships that will be offered next spring.
More than 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools across the U.S. entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
“I’m so very proud of Ursula’s achievement,” said Sister Lauren Beck, C.V.I., president of Incarnate Word Academy. “She is a dedicated student, a kind young woman and an emerging leader. She is co-directing our fall play with one of her fellow students, stepping up to a tremendous challenge. Ursula has brought her great gifts to IWA and is a true Woman of the Word. We’re thrilled to see her recognized in this way.”
photo courtesy of IWA
MEADOWLAKE CELEBRATES A DECADE FULL OF FURRY FRIENDS
Premier Pet Resort & Training Center Reflects on 10 Years of Outstanding Pet Care
Meadowlake Pet Resort & Training Center Pearland is celebrating 10 years of the highest-quality care for Houston-area pets. After a decade of improving people’s lives through top care for their furry friends, founder and president Carroll Robertson Ray reflects on what makes Meadowlake so unique and unlike any other pet resort.
“I grew up riding bikes and playing in my neighborhood with all the other kids on my block. The mothers of Meadowlake Street constantly made sure we were well fed and kept us out of trouble,” said Ray in reference to how she came up with the pet resort’s name. “That’s the exact feeling I created through Meadowlake: a fun place for pets to play in a ‘neighborhood fun zone’ surrounded by good, caring people.”
Since its inception in 2009, Meadowlake Pet Resort & Training Center has continued to grow. Meadowlake’s $700,000 expansion at the Pearland location in 2016 doubled the previous indoor play area, increased play yards significantly and added amenities such as splash pads and slip resistant flooring.
Recently, the pet resort officially opened its second location in the Galleria area in January 2019. Now with two locations and over 19,000 clients and 27,000 dogs in their database, the pet resort prides itself on its team spirit and exceptional services.
Meadowlake continues to create happy, healthy, active and social pups through their Dog Daycare program, and the center has earned several accolades including Houston PetTalk’s “Best Lodging Facility,” “Best Doggie Daycare,” and “Most Friendly Staff” and is recognized as an accredited business by the Better Business Bureau.
Ray’s interest in the pet care industry began shortly after watching her husband’s daughter graduate from vet school. What started as a mere idea to help her stepdaughter open her own vet clinic became a reality after Ray’s interest was piqued at the thought of opening a pet resort.
Although she had no experience in this industry, Ray proceeded with her plans and thus Meadowlake Pet Resort & Training Center was born. Now, 10 years later, Meadowlake is home to over four acres of land for dogs to run freely. The staff proudly boasts a combined 100 years of animal care experience and is known for reaching beyond their required duties to help wherever needed.
“Pets bring something into our lives that is so needed in this world,” said Ray. “They fill our hearts and homes with unconditional love and pure joy. Every pet deserves the best care available, and that’s what we will always strive to give at Meadowlake.”
photo by Meadowlake Pet Resort and Training Center
American Heart Association’s 2019 Shop a With Heart Card Campaign a Huge Success
All the guilt-free shopping using American Heart Association’s Shop With Heart Card paid off!
This year, the heart healthy organization broke their record for the number of cards sold at 2,650. The sixth-annual Shop With Heart Card campaign raised $166,186 and counting, beating out last year’s total funds raised by more than $16,000.
100 percent of proceeds from Shop With Heart Card sales go directly to AHA’s mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
This year, Houston shoppers helped raise critical funds that will go directly toward research, education and community programs right here in Houston.
Texas Wetlands debuts just in time for Summer at the Houston Zoo
Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands at the Houston Zoo the Texas Wetlands, which brings together three native Texas species—bald eagles, whooping cranes, and American alligators—in a lush wetland habitat. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the efforts of Texans, these three species, once close to extinction, now thrive in the Lone Star State.
In the heart of the zoo on the site of the former duck pond, the Houston Zoo has created a true wild wetland. Designed with living plants to filter the water for the Texas Wetlands’ animal residents and to flood and slowly release water to the bayous during heavy rains, the habitat demonstrates the importance and resilience of this valuable environment.
Guests will be able to enjoy a boardwalk stroll and experience a close-up view of these beautiful animals that Texans have helped save from extinction.
More information, go to www.houstonzoo.org.
Arms Wide Adoption Services Celebrates Families Fulfilled At Annual Luncheon
A crowded Houston ballroom learned about what it takes to be an adoptive parent
The 2019 Fulfilling Families Luncheon benefiting Arms Wide Adoption Services started with a crowded Houston Country Club ballroom listening to KPRC-TV Channel 2’s Chief Meteorologist, Frank Billingsley, talk about the importance of family. Billingsley, an adoptee who recently defeated prostate cancer, spoke intimately about the importance of family, especially during trying times. There are more than 7,200 children in the Texas foster care system waiting to be adopted, who have no one to turn to.
Keynote speaker was Dr. Jay Tarnow, M.D., a board-certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Tarnow spoke on the importance of attachment, how mothers and infants form this emotional bond, and its implications on the development of personality, future relationships, and society as a whole. Guests walked away knowing that in the absence of biological bonds, adoptive parents must mold to their adopted children’s needs to help them feel safe and nurtured. As Dr. Tarnow noted, this takes a special person who can be selfless, incredibly empathic, and can persevere no matter the challenges.
The fifth annual luncheon raised more than $125,000 in support of the organization, thanks to the leadership of Co-Chairs, Michele Mendenhall Buckley and Emily Kelley, and the Luncheon Host Committee. The funds raised will allow Arms Wide Adoption Services to finalize at least 10 adoptions and celebrate more families fulfilled.
Trees For Houston 25th Anniversary Root Ball
Excitement was in the air as 480 Trees For Houston supporters toasted to the organizations’ 25th anniversary Root Ball on April 4. Coming full circle, chairmen Kyle and John Kirksey Sr., and Joanie and John Kirksey Jr.–who also chaired the first Root Ball event in 1994–returned to chair the special event alongside Shawn and Bill Jackson.
The event raised a record breaking $470,000 to support Trees For Houston’s mission to plant, protect, and promote trees throughout the Greater Houston area.
THE THEATRE UNDER THE STARS 50TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON GALA WOWS ATTENDEES AND RAISES A RECORD $1.37 MILLION
Welcome to Theatre Under The Stars 50th Anniversary Season Gala, an incredible and intimate celebration this past Saturday, March 23rd with Broadway star Idina Menzel and more than 600 TUTS family and friends. Many guests said it was the “best gala” they had ever attended.
The gorgeous event designed by Taylor DeMartino of Blooming Gallery not only turned The Post Oak Hotel grand ballroom into a supper club “under the stars” that night, but guests experienced the magic of live musical theatre while supporting a great cause.
A private meet and greet with Menzel was given to top sponsors along with gifts donated by David Peck. This historic event raised more funds than any other Gala in TUTS history – $1.37 million for “Houston’s Home for Musical Theatre.”
The magic continued as musical theatre icon Idina Menzel (known as the voice of “Elsa” from Disney’s Frozen) took the stage. She not only wowed the crowd with her hits, but involved audience members, creating an immersive theatrical experience.
photos: Priscilla Parish Dickson
Wheeler Avenue Inner City Visions, Inc. – Women’s Guild Embraces Vision with Style While Raising Sizeable Scholarship Funds for High School Seniors
For decades, the Women’s Guild of Wheeler Avenue Inner City Visions, Inc. has uplifted their community through service, including fundraising to send graduating seniors to college.
This year, The Women’s Guild celebrated 56 years of service at the 2019 Audrey H. Lawson IMPACT Awards Luncheon & Fashion Show. Named after its beloved founder, Audrey Hoffman Lawson, the iconic, SOLD-OUT event took place March 23, 2019 at the Hilton Americas-Houston.
This year’s IMPACT Awards Luncheon exceeded its fundraising goal, raising over $100,000 in scholarship and community service funds. Men, women, and families from all over the city comprised of a diverse group of nearly 1,100 attendees, including business professionals, community leaders and partners, dignitaries and external partners for an afternoon like no other.
Included were top-notch vendors, a delectable three-course, chef-prepared meal, musical selections by world-renowned jazz guitarist and music educator, Joe Carmouche, culminating with an exciting style show featuring fashions from Dillard’s Post Oak.
2019 ANNUAL LUPE TORTILLA CLAYS CLASSIC RAISED $165,000 FOR VETERANS
Tex-Mex Favorite Partnered with Camp Hope to Spread Awareness of PTSD at Annual Tournament
Lupe Tortilla, founding sponsor of the Clays Classic, hosted its annual fundraiser for the fourth consecutive year on February 5, 2019 at the Greater Houston Gun Club and raised over $165,000 in proceeds.
Owners Judson and Peter Holt hosted guests for some friendly competition for a good cause, and the day was locked and loaded full of shooting games and multi-course clay shooting competition.
Since its inaugural year, the Clays Classic has raised over $750,000 for the PTSD Foundation of America and Camp Hope, an outstanding organization dedicated to helping veteran’s and their families find healing and hope through mentoring programs for PTSD.
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation names 21 Lone Star College students semi-finalists for prestigious scholarship
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has named 21 Lone Star College students as semi-finalists for its Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Students who receive this scholarship are able to complete their bachelor’s degrees at a selective four-year college or university. The finalists will be named in April.
“This is an amazing accomplishment,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “Lone Star College had three times the number of semi-finalists compared with other Texas community colleges. This is a testament to the incredible work our faculty does to prepare students for success.”
Each scholarship recipient will receive up to $40,000 per year to cover a significant share of educational expenses including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees.
In addition to the monetary award, recipients will receive all-inclusive educational advising from foundation staff to guide them through the processes of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing for their careers. In addition, they will also be eligible to apply for $50,000 annually for graduate school.
Many of the students recognized as semi-finalists attend the, which offers a wide range of opportunities for honors students—from incoming freshman wanting to graduate with an Honors Associate of Arts or Honors Associate of Science degree.
“The Lone Star College Honors College really prepares high-achieving students seeking to improve their college transcripts and transferability with challenging coursework provided across a broad range of disciplines,” said Katharine Caruso, Ph.D., LSC associate vice chancellor, Honors and International Education. “Honors College students also have access to develop new skills with opportunities to travel, attend off-campus educational and cultural events, conferences and special seminars.
“Lone Star College has worked extremely hard to increase the amount and quality of targeted honors related resources, including significant additional undergraduate research and International Capstone Project opportunities,” said Brian Kyser, LSC lead director, The Honors College.
THE WOODLANDS HILLS® MARKS FIRST COMMUNITY IN CONROE AND WILLIS TO OFFER DEDICATED BIKE LANES ON MAJOR CONNECTORS
Progress Continues on New Amenities in The Woodlands Hills with
Highly-Anticipated Activity Center to Open in Spring 2019
The established bike lanes are a major milestone in the progress of new amenities including the highly-anticipated Activity Center, set to open this spring. The Woodlands Hills will continue to add lanes throughout the neighborhood connector roads as future development unfolds.
NEW PENGUIN CHICK ARRIVES AT MOODY GARDENS
There is a new chick in town at Moody Gardens whose arrival has made an important statement.
The King Penguin proud parents are Everest, one of Moody Gardens original King penguins and Mother, Simone.
The new chick is doing just fine and is Moody Gardens first hatch of the season. “Our staff is very excited to start the new year with a new penguin chick,” said Assistant Curator Diane Olsen.
Every successful hatch that Moody Gardens has adds to the mission of education, conservation, recreation and research that the organization values.
“Every chick that is hatched at Moody Gardens adds to the sustainability of penguins in zoo and aquariums all over the world,” said Olsen.
Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States.
In addition to the King penguins, five other species including Gentoo, Chinstrap, Macaroni, and Rockhopper penguins also call the South Atlantic Exhibit home.
For more information, visit www.moodygardens.org.
Ronald McDonald House Houston Raises $970,000 at 2018 Boo Ball at Hilton Americas-Houston
The “Hocus Pocus” themed soiree brought together and celebrated the generosity of more than 700 of RMH Houston’s biggest supporters for a spooktacular evening that raised $970,000 for the House.
Longtime RMH Houston supporters Stephanie and Anthony Milam served as event chairs, while KHOU Channel 11’s Chita Craft emceed the festivities. The night’s event called for black tie or Halloween-inspired attire.
Funds raised through the 2018 Boo Ball will support RMH Houston’s mission to provide a home away from home for families of seriously ill children being treated in the Texas Medical Center.
For more information on RMH Houston, go to https://www.rmhhouston.org.
Photos by Dave Rossman
The Periwinkle Foundation and Texas Children’s Hospital team up with H-E-B to release limited-edition reusable shopping bags
The tote bag will feature Making A Mark artwork created by pediatric cancer patients to help raise childhood cancer awareness
The Periwinkle Foundation and Texas Children’s Hospital have teamed up with H-E-B to offer limited-edition reusable shopping bags featuring original Making A Mark artwork created by children touched by cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.
Just in time for the holidays the bags will be sold in various H-E-B locations in the Houston and McAllen area as an effort to help raise awareness about childhood cancer.
The one-of-a-kind shopping bags highlight artwork from past Making A Mark artists, Bethany and Blanca. Lost in the Sunflowers by Bethany (age 12) showcases a young boy in a cowboy hat admiring a vibrant sunflower in a sea of rich foliage while Untitled by Blanca (age 15) depicts the different outlooks on life by showcasing the positive and negative through bright and dark colors.
These limited-edition bags will be available for sale at more than 30 H-E-B locations across Houston while supplies last. For more information, please visit www.heb.com.
2018 MPAC Film Festival Awards Special Recognition to National and International Filmmakers in Houston
Theme this year was ‘Intersections of Entertainment & Activism’
Independent filmmakers from around the world gathered for the Festival October 11-13, 2018 witha kick off by Grammy-Nominated Award-winning Singer, Songwriter, Pianist Marsha Ambrosius.
“MPAC is dedicated to performing artists and aspiring talent in Houston by bringing in established entertainment professionals to share their path to success and expertise. It’s a unique educational and inspirational organization that positively contributes to the cultural fabric of our community,” Rick Ferguson, Executive Director, Houston Film Commission.
Films chosen as the best films at the 2018 MPAC Film Festival are:
- Best in Fest, Best Suspense/Thriller, and Best Director: David, by Lakisha Lemons (Texas)
- Best Student Short: Snack List, by Alyce Rogers (Florida)
- Best Family Film: Connected, by Christopher Satola(California)
- Best Foreign Language Film: Fifo, by Sacha Ferbus(Belgium)
- Best Documentary Short: Him by Daniel Montoya (Texas)
- Best Original Screenplay: The Salvation, by Christopher Satola (California)
- Best Comedic Short—Romantic Comedy: Mixed Signals, by Tracie Laymon (Texas)
- Best Comedic Short—Dark Comedy: White Pickett Fence, by Jacqueline King-Howell (Texas)
- Best Dramatic Short: Tapferkeit, by Joseph (Tim) Quinn (Utah)
The Festival gives three special recognition awards to films themed around race relations and social awareness. Those films were:
- MPAC Activism: Documentary Him by Daniel Montoya (Texas)
- First-Time Filmmaker: Gloomy Green, by Forouzan Jalail(Iran)
- Young Filmmaker Spotlight: Beast Factor, by Michael Myles Hayes, 9-year-old writer and director (Texas)
Real Beauty Real Women (RBRW) celebrates the official launch of the RBRW Innovation Hub located inside the Social Graces Social Club’s clubhouse
Celebrities and entertainment executives lend their support
Real Beauty Real Women (RBRW) celebrates the official launch of the RBRW Innovation Hub located inside the Social Graces Social Club’s clubhouse. The venue is one of the newest additions to GreenStreet, a more than 500,000-square-foot complex located in the heart of downtown Houston.
Celebrities and influencers included:
- Award-winning Hollywood actor Luis Guzmán
- United Nations ambassador for sex trafficking, Tiffany & Co. spokesperson, and supermodel Farah Zulaikha.
- TV personality and former foster child Ashlee Ray who appears on Shade 45, the popular SiriusXM uncensored hip hop music channel
- RBRW Innovative Impact Creators Awards honorees include:
- Anti-sex-trafficking activist Kathryn Griffin-Griñán
- Bishop James Dixon
- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
- Anika Jackson Redick
- Filmmaker Jerri Duddleston Moore
- Talk show host Dr. Shellie Hipsky
- NBA legend Tracy McGrady and wife CleRenda
- Constable Alan Rosen Precinct 1
Real Beauty Real Women director, Jacquelyn Aluotto founded the event space along with RBRW VP, Anika Jackson Redick. The Social Graces Social Club was started by Redick as a way to connect civic-minded social entrepreneurs who believe in the collective and collaborative power of working together to create change.
RBRW Foundation, a subset of the RBRW brand, creates direct community impact with a focus on poverty, civil rights, domestic violence, and anti-trafficking work. The RBRW Innovation Hub hosts free workshops with community partners to teach women and children to look at the world through fresh perspectives and hope for their futures.
For more information, go to www.rbrw.org.
2nd Annual Gala Kick Off Party Benefiting A Place for Peanut Draws Huge Support
A Place for Peanut, Inc. and its supporters saddled up for the 2nd Annual Gala with a kick off party hosted by Lori Hood and Kathy Griffin on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
Co-chair Christine Johnson along with Honorary Chair Michelle Maresh welcomed more than 100 guests to a private home in Bellaire to celebrate the upcoming horse sanctuary and equine therapy foundation’s 2nd Annual Gala on August 17, 2018 at Kirby Ice House.
A Place for Peanut Founder and President, Megan Cardet, shared the story about how she found Peanut, a 29” miniature foal, in a Texas kill pen. Newly orphaned, Peanut inspired a new foundation that has saved more than 150 horses and donkeys since it was established in January 2016.
The fun-filled evening will honor Michelle Mantor for her work as an animal activist. Mantor is the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Houston PetTalk Magazine, where she has been publishing and participating in Houston’s vibrant pet community for more 15 years.
For ticket information, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/second-annual-gala-benefiting-a-place-for-peanut-tickets-46508272495.
photo credit: Daniel Ortiz
Houston’s Becker’s Books Now Has Inventory Online at Amazon
4th Annual Houston Astros George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit Kick Off Party
It was a home run as SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young opened its 4th season in Houston with the Houston Astros George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit Kick Off Party on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Co-chair Lara Bell and Honorary Co-chair Dr. Carolyn Farb, h.c., welcomed over 50 supporters at Masraff’s restaurant in the Uptown District to celebrate the upcoming main attraction – the 4th Annual George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit, which will be held on Sunday, July 8, 2018 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Bowlmor Houston.
Bell encouraged the crowd of fans to load up the bases and join Co-chair Melissa DeAyala, Junior Chair Matthew DeAyala for a memorable evening of bowling with Springer, fellow Astros and other professional athletes and local celebrities.
George Springer, a Houston Astros Outfielder, 2017 World Series Champion and MVP, is a person who stutters and is the national spokesperson for Camp SAY, a life-changing and empowering summer camp for young people who stutter. The annual benefit supports the George Springer Kids Fund.
The event will take full swing with a cocktail reception followed by bowling fun with fellow Astros and celebrity lane captains, with an open bar and dinner. The Bowling Benefit will also feature sports-themed items, experiences, and memorabilia in a silent auction.
To join Springer for his All-Star Bowling Benefit, visit www.say.org/springer.
photo credit: Gabby Garcia
The Great Age Movement 2nd Annual Jazz Luncheon Honors Buzz Aldrin, Mercedes Ellington and Joanne King Herring
Houston philanthropists, artists, designers, and loyal supporters attended the Great Age Movement’s 2nd Annual Jazz Luncheon on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston.
More than 200 guests helped the Great Age Movement pursue their goals this year to help fund senior playgrounds in green spaces and develop programs led by volunteers who will promote health, learning and socialization.
Great Age Movement Founder Fritz J. McDonald shared a few words about the organization’s commitment to mobilizing the senior population through sustainable community projects in Houston and surrounding areas. Honorary Chairs were Dr. Carolyn Farb, hc and Peter Martino along with Co-chairs, Staci Henderson and Barbara Reyna.
International socialite, global political activist and Honoree, Joanne King Herring, former astronaut, Buzz Aldrin and Mercedes Ellington, a legendary choreographer and granddaughter of Duke Ellington, were honorees of The Great Age Movement for their example to inspire, lead by example, and live with purpose.
Mercedes Ellington and Antonio Conde of River Oaks School of Dancing dazzled the crowd with a special ballroom dance performance which left everyone on the edge of their seats.
For more information on The Great Age Movement, go to www.thegreatagemovement.org.
photo credit: Quy Tran
Aggreko Houston Donates Time and Money to Ronald McDonald House Houston
60 members from Aggreko’s Houston office visited for a day of service and activities
Aggreko volunteers helped with outdoor landscaping, made and served lunch and dinner for families staying at RMH Houston’s flagship facility, Holcombe House, as well as provided entertainment with bingo and ice cream. Additionally, volunteers delivered meals and helped move families at Texas Children’s Hospital West Tower PICU into newly constructed rooms at Legacy Tower PICU.
To further support RMH Houston’s mission to serve families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving treatment in the Texas Medical Center, Aggreko presented RMH Houston with a $4,500 donation.
Photos courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Houston
UNICEF GALA HOUSTON HONORS HOUSTON COMMUNITY MEMBERS
Susan and Fayez Sarofim honored with Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award
Linda and Jim McIngvale receive Global Community Hero Award
On May 4, 2018, the Southwest Regional Office of UNICEF USA hosted the fifth annual UNICEF Gala Houston at the Post Oak Houston.The event, emceed by Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan, celebrated UNICEF’s lifesaving work and honored Susan and Fayez Sarofim with the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award. Linda and Jim McIngvale received the Global Community Hero Award.
More than 320 guests attended the gala raising more than $900,000, which will support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world. Notable attendees included Margaret Alkek Williams, Buzz Aldrin, The Honorable Joanne King Herring, Rosanette Cullen, Maria and Neil Bush, Sara Beth and Pierce Bush, and Jeff Bagwell (Former Astros Player).
Over the course of the evening, guests enjoyed remarks from theUNICEF USAManaging Director, Southwest Region Nelson Bowman and Chair of Southwest Regional Board Susan Boggio. Special guests included Mayor Sylvester Turner and Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn’s granddaughter and UNICEF advocate, both of whom spoke about their personal connection to UNICEF USA.
Gala Chairs include Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Leticia and Stephen Trauber and Ileana and Michael Treviño.
Huddle Up with Coaching Legends, Mack Brown and Gene Stallings Dinner Raises More Than $400,000 Benefiting Camp Aranzazu
Tuesday Night Lights were ablaze during the “Huddle Up with Coaching Legends Mack Brown and Gene Stallings” dinner on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at the Post Oak Hotel. The evening recognized Brown and Stallings for their legendary work as football coaches and as clear advocates for people with special needs and chronic illnesses.
Emcee Ed Clements from KLBJ Newsradio in Austin welcomed more than 365 guests who helped to raise more than $400,000 to help underwrite the cost of attending Camp Aranzazu, which is located in Rockport, Texas. The camp has provided therapeutic recreation-based programming to more than 22,000 campers since it opened in 2006.
Brown and Stallings answered questions from life at the gridiron, to why they are advocates of camps and programs for people with special needs and chronic illnesses.
Brown and his wife, Sally, have earned numerous honors for their significant efforts to improve the health and education of children. Stallings co-wrote A Coach’s Story of Raising an Exceptional Son, which details life as the father of a son who was born with Down syndrome and a serious heart defect. Stallings and his wife, Ruth Ann, are strong supporters and advocates for people with special needs.
Stallings touched the crowd when he spoke of his late son, Johnny, who was born with Down syndrome. Stallings said: “When he was younger I prayed to God that He would change Johnny. That He would make him right. But you know what God did? God changed me. That happens every once in a while.”
The HUDDLE UP dinner was supported by many individuals, community partners and generous underwriters.
To learn more about Camp Aranzazu, visit www.camparanzazu.org or call 361-727-0800.
photos by Dave Rossman
Casa de Esperanza’s 36th Annual Gala raises close $1 million to help children and families in crisis
The Casa de Esperanza Building Hope for Children Gala raised just under $1 million to support their mission, which is to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect for at-risk infants, children and their families, by providing comprehensive residential and aftercare programs that transform people and communities.
Over 650 attended the event at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on April 22, 2018.
Casa de Esperanza has been serving the needs of children in crisis from the greater Houston area for the past 36 years.
The State of Texas, and Harris County in particular, have among the highest rates of childhood risk factors in the nation – infant homicide, infant mortality, infants prenatally exposed to drugs, infants born to mothers who were HIV-positive or at risk, low-birth weight infants and child and family homelessness.
Monies raised from the evening’s events directly support the programs provided by Casa de Esperanza to care for the children. Casa de Esperanza does not charge fees for any services and does not receive government funding.
PHOTOS BY ALEXANDER’S FINE PORTRAIT
STCL Houston Celebrates 95th Anniversary with Illuminations Gala
Over $300,000 Raised for Student Scholarships
South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston), which opened its doors in 1923 with seven part-time instructors and 34 students, recently celebrated its 95th anniversary as the first and only law school in downtown Houston at its Illuminations Gala.
Hosted at the Ballroom on the Bayou, more than 300 guests attended, including 152 alumni, 21 faculty and staff members, 16 judges, and two city officials. The evening raised more than $300,000 toward student scholarships.
STCL Houston President and Dean Don Guter presented alumnus and former board member Richard Anderson ’82 with the 2018 Dean’s Medal – the highest honor awarded by a South Texas dean in recognition of an honoree’s outstanding contributions to his or her community, the legal profession, and the law school. Anderson was the 2010 recipient of the law school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in honor of his lifetime service to STCL Houston.
In his remarks, Guter recounted key historical moments in the law school’s history, including the fact that early classes were held in the basement of the downtown YMCA – with wooden ceiling fans to battle the Texas heat – as the city’s first airconditioned building came later in 1923. He shared that tuition at the school’s outset was $85 a year.
Guter shared with attendees that South Texas was the first law school in the state to offer the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree. He also noted that the first African-American student graduated from the law school in 1968, and today, minorities comprise approximately 44 percent of the student body – leading the National Jurist in 2016 to name STCL Houston as one of the most diverse law schools in the country.
“Perhaps the school’s most impressive achievements, however, occur on a one-on-one basis,” Guter said. “I’m speaking, of course, of the tremendous impact of our 19 Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics. Our students – under the direction of faculty and staff attorneys – daily improve the lives of families in need while gaining real-world lawyering skills along the way.”
He noted that, over the past year, approximately 270 South Texas students contributed more than 35,600 hours of direct client service in the Clinics – equating to nearly $1.8 million of pro bono legal representation. And – for clients in the Civil Practice Clinics alone – the school obtained more than $1.23 million in benefits in the last academic year.
PHOTO BY JOHN EVERETT
Student success shines bright at LSC Foundation StarGala 2018
The Lone Star College Foundation raised more than $490,000 during StarGala 2018, its annual signature event
“StarGala is a wonderful opportunity for supporters of the Lone Star College Foundation to see firsthand the powerful impact they have on student success,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “I was especially moved in hearing the story of our featured scholarship recipient Rachel Perez.”
“My biggest dream is to help those that face horrible diseases,” said Perez, LSC-CyFair student and LSC Promise Scholarship recipient who will graduate this May. “Thank you for taking the time to help me reach my goals and for being a piece of my puzzle.”
Perez, who is majoring in biology with the goal of becoming a pediatrician or an emergency room physician, was presented a scholarship certificate to attend the University of Houston-Downtown (UH-D).
This year’s event, held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, included more than 600 guests in attendance.
“These funds will go a long way in helping to make a college education possible for many hard-working and deserving students,” said Head. “In many cases 20 or more students will apply for just one scholarship so every dollar raised is important.”
Founded in 1991, the Lone Star College Foundation has expanded its initial investment of $20,000 into an extensive portfolio of over $27 million. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $13 million in scholarships to nearly 13,000 students, as well as more than $4 million in program support.
Visit www.LoneStar.edu/Giving for more information.
THE HOWARD HUGHES CORPORATION® OPENS THE FIRST MODEL HOME IN HOUSTON’S NEWEST MASTER PLANNED COMMUNITY
Chesmar Homes’ Model is Now Open in The Woodlands Hills with Models Coming Soon from Five Additional Homebuilders
The Howard Hughes Corporation® announced the opening of the first model home in The Woodlands Hills, a new master planned community located 13 miles north of The Woodlands® in Conroe and Willis. With the opening of its decorated model, Chesmar Homes is now selling single-family homes in The Woodlands Hills.
“The Woodlands Hills is being designed as a community that grows with each and every person and inspires neighborly connections. We invite the community to visit The Woodlands Hills, to tour the Chesmar model and discover the beginning stages of how this amazing new community is taking root and growing to become a wholesome place to live and enjoy,” said Heath Melton, Vice President, Master Planned Communities, Residential for The Howard Hughes Corporation.
Blue Plate Special Kickoff Party for The Thread Alliance Aims to End Cycle of Child Abuse
A strong thread of love was created to fight against child abuse at The Thread Alliance’s Blue Plate Special Kickoff Party on Monday, April 2, 2018. The Thread Alliance Founder Sheila Aron welcomed more than 30 attendees eager to end the cycle of child abuse at Houston’s new hot spot Emmaline restaurant.
Guests were inspired to join the 6th Annual Blue Plate Special, a month-long and citywide fundraising campaign bringing child abuse to the forefront during the month of April 2018, which is child abuse prevention month. During the month of April, participating top Houston restaurants will feature an exclusive “Blue Plate Special” dish or drink and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Thread Alliance.
The Thread Alliance is dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse. The Blue Plate Special is The Thread Alliance’s citywide public awareness and education campaign encouraging Houstonians to take action against child abuse and towards healing. Local restaurants support the cause by offering a “Blue Plate Special” during the month of April, and donating a minimum of 20 percent of the proceeds to The Thread Alliance.
For a complete list of participating restaurants and more information on The Thread Alliance, go to www.thethreadalliance.org/blue-plate-special.
Young professional groups, RedBuds and Flock plant 40 trees and herbs for animals at Houston Zoo on March 31
Trees For Houston and Houston Zoo’s young professional groups got an early admission to the Zoo to plant 40 native trees and a variety of herbs to feed the animal residents. Gorillas, elephants, and many of their zoo neighbors will benefit from the trees and herbs which include chives, basil, stevia, lemon verbena, patchouli, rosemary, banana peppers, and for those who prefer a kick of spice, jalapenos. Following the planting, the volunteers enjoyed an educational tree tour of the Zoo led by Trees For Houston.
Trees For Houston young professional group, RedBuds, is a group of environmentally conscious Houstonians committed to aiding in the reforestation of the city’s urban spaces through volunteer plantings and partnerships. Redbuds is proud to partner with Houston Zoo’s young professional group, Flock, to plant additional foliage and herbs that will benefit Houston’s lovable animals.
Flock is the Zoo’s donor club for young professionals and philanthropists, ages 21 and up, and encourages involvement for Zoo enthusiasts. Flock members enjoy exclusive events at the Zoo each year, including the annual Beastly Brunch. Each event provides a unique opportunity to connect with the Houston Zoo and learn more about animal care, education and wildlife conservation programs.
9TH ANNUAL KEELS & WHEELS UNCORKED EVENT GETS COMMUNITY IN PHILANTHROPY SPIRIT
Philanthropy went into overdrive Thursday night at the 9th Annual “Keels and Wheels Uncorked” event benefitting Today’s Harbor for Children, formerly known as The Boys & Girls Harbor at Post Oak Motor Cars.
Famed businessman, lawyer, public servant and guest of honor, Bill King, alongside the Master of Ceremonies, Sam Malone, joined over 300 guests to help raise funds for children and families in crisis while enjoying a variety of classic car and boat inspired gourmet hors d’oeurves and exceptional wine.
Six of Houston’s top restaurants tested their head chefs’ creativity by requesting custom dishes and wine pairings to complement a classic vehicle or boat to be featured in the upcoming Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance May 5-6 at the Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, TX.
All six restaurants, car and boat owners were recognized for their tremendous efforts and generous contributions to the event.
photos by Kim Coffman
Meet the 2018 Board of Directors for The Ronald McDonald HouseSally Bell Rutherford, Marilyn Mogas, Lesha Elsenbrook, Gary Wilson, Lawrence M. Hanrahan. M.D., Agatha Brann, Debbie Bauer
STCL Houston Named a Top Law School for ADR and International Law by preLaw Magazine
South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston) is known historically as a national leader in Advocacy training, but a recent ranking by preLaw magazine – a National Jurist publication – names the school’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and international law programs among the best in the country.
The magazine graded law schools on the breadth of their curricular offerings to determine this ranking.
“We were delighted to learn that one of the nation’s preeminent publications for pre-law students ranks South Texas as a national leader in ADR and international law,” said Don Guter, president and dean of South Texas College of Law Houston. “Our ADR teams, representing the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution, continue to accrue national championships – with three in the last year alone, and 14 national and international wins in the past five years. And our faculty comprises some of the nation’s most distinguished scholars in international economic law, national security law, and public international law.
For more information about ADR, international law, and other key areas of legal training at STCL Houston, please visit www.stcl.edu.
THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE® IS NOW OPEN IN NORTH SPRING, TX
The Learning Experience®, one of the nation’s fastest-growing Academies of Early Education for children six weeks to six years old, announced that its newest center in Texas is now open at 30016 Aldine Westfield Road in Spring.
“We are excited to serve the families of North Spring and surrounding community by offering quality early education to our littlest citizens,” said Qudsia Taqvi, Center Director of The Learning Experience in North Spring.
The Learning Experience brings to North Spring its one-of-a-kind L.E.A.P.® (Learning Experience Academic Program) curriculum and enrichment programs that have been developed from more than 30 years of experience in the early childhood education industry. For more information, visit https://thelearningexperience.com/our-centers/tx/spring/north-spring.
THE HOWARD HUGHES CORPORATION® WELCOMES FIRST HOMEBUILDERS, RAVENNA HOMES AND WESTIN HOMES, IN THE WOODLANDS HILLS
Ravenna Homes and Westin Homes are the first homebuilders to be announced in The Woodlands Hills, a new master planned community located 13 miles north of The Woodlands®. The Woodlands Hills joins The Woodlands and Bridgeland® as the newest development in the portfolio of The Howard Hughes Corporation.
HOUSTON BCYCLE ROLLS OUT NEW STATIONS ON RICE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS AND OFFERS $25 STUDENT MEMBERSHIPS
With bike share stations at Rice University, HCC and UHD, and more coming to University of Houston and TSU, Houston BCycle now offers $25 per semester Student Memberships.
Houston Bike Share, City of Houston Planning & Development and Rice University have partnered together to bring bike share to the Rice University Campus. In late October, Houston BCycle stations were installed at Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, West Lot and Greenbriar Lot.
Five additional stations will be added to the Rice University campus in the coming months, along with stations at the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. With so many new campus stations, Houston BCycle has rolled out Student Memberships for only $25 per semester. Student memberships allow unlimited access to Houston BCycle’s 400 bikes across 51 stations, 24 hours a day.
Details at https://houston.bcycle.com.
First phase of Museum of Fine Arts Houston Campus Project opens in May 2018
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston announced that the first phase of the MFAH campus redevelopment project will open in May 2018. The school will be inaugurated in June with summer classes for the Junior School. Classes for all Glassell students, including the Studio School, start in the fall.
The opening of the Glassell School of Art, its BBVA Compass Roof Garden, and the adjacent Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, brings the first public access to the newly imagined Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus, slated for completion in early 2020.
Destination Moon now open at Space Center Houston
In a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit, see the Apollo 11 command module as part of Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. The Apollo 17 command module and other artifacts from the last mission to land astronauts on the moon are in Starship Gallery and part of Space Center Houston’s permanent collection.
Space Center Houston is the first of four stops of the new Destination Moon exhibit and marks the first time the Apollo 11 command module from the first mission to land astronauts on the moon has left the Smithsonian on a national tour since 1971. Houston is where the Apollo astronauts lived and trained for their missions.
The new exhibit dives into the rich history of the Apollo program. This rare tour showcases more than 20 one-of-a-kind Apollo 11 artifacts, some of which flew on the first moon-landing mission including the crew module hatch, the Saturn V F-1 rocket engine injector plate, a lunar sample return container, astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s extravehicular visor and gloves, astronaut Michael Collins’ Omega Speedmaster Chronograph watch, a star chart and survival kit. This incredible display features stunning, interactive learning experiences for space enthusiasts of all ages.
The center also is featuring an array of Apollo artifacts such as training spacesuits worn by Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise and Apollo 9 Astronaut David Scott as well as a flown toolkit, a lunar module controller and more. Guests will see new detailed images of the landing sites for Apollo 11 and 17.
Tickets at https://spacecenter.org.
Lone Star College welcomes record number of students
Lone Star College opened its doors to a record 89,413 credit students for fall 2017, representing a 4.4 percent increase in credit student enrollment over fall 2016.
“Education is even more critical today as our area continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “We are honored so many students selected Lone Star College for their higher education needs.”
LSC has grown its student population from 49,267 to 89,413 over the past 10 years, representing a 81 percent increase. Enrollment figures are recorded each fall on “Official Day,” 10 days after the start of fall semester classes. This year’s official day numbers were impacted by Hurricane Harvey due to LSC-Kingwood delaying the start of fall semester classes at that campus.
LSC-Montgomery and LSC-University Park recorded the largest percentage of increase – 10 percent – welcoming 15,914 and 13,273 students respectively. LSC-CyFair continues to be the largest LSC with 22,125 students enrolled for fall 2017 classes.
LSC-Kingwood, which had six of its nine buildings destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, registered a 5 percent increase year to year, helping 12,950 students start close and go far.
The Thread Alliance Donates $15,000 to Rebuild Texas Families
The Thread Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse and founded by Sheila Aron, has awarded $15,000 to organizations that are rebuilding Texas families in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
In efforts to support communities devastated by the recent hurricane, The Thread Alliance donated $10,000 to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s Rebuild Texas Fund. The Dell’s are both Texas natives and have been helping children and families across Texas for more than 18 years. Through the coming years, the Rebuild Texas Fund will be supporting the communities along the coast of Texas on the road to recovery.
To help local families recover from physical and emotional damage, The Thread Alliance awarded $5,000 to Jewish Family Services, a non-profit human service agency for people of all ages and all walks of life. The non-profit’s goal is to provide light, hope and help to individuals struggling with life challenges.
Wondering Where to Take Your Harvey Relief Donations?
The Harvey Relief Hub, a “one stop shop” for those who need help and those who want to help. Donation intake and distribution. Volunteer coordination and deployment. Information and resources.
Taking ALL volunteers and ALL donations. Offering direct, hands-on assistance to those in need in the entire region. With the capacity to store donations for days, weeks, months and transport them to shelters in need.
Centrally located at 2500 Summer Street, drop off is located on Crockett St, just next to Target Stores.
Email email@example.com or call 281-635-4387 whether you need help or want to help. You can also drop your donations off at Studio Fitness Gym at 2215 Lawrence.
THE WOODLANDS® AND BRIDGELAND® TAKE HOME SEVEN AWARDS AT THE 2017 TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF BUILDERS STAR AWARDS IN DALLAS
The Woodlands took home the top award for “Best Mixed-Use Community” in the multifamily category for Hughes Landing® while Bridgeland won for “Best Social Media Marketing”. The Woodlands also won awards for “Best Landscape Design”, “Best Email Message”, “Best Online Advertisement” and “Best Direct Mail Piece” while Bridgeland rounded out the evening with “Best Special Promotion.”
The awards also come as Bridgeland, which has won TAB’s Grand Award for “Developer of the Year” three times (2010, 2011 and 2016), introduces the next chapter of living in the award-winning community with Parkland Village, which will carry forward Bridgeland’s focus on community and neighborhood connections, maintaining the overall theme of locating a park no more than a quarter-mile from every home in the community.
STERLING STAFFING SOLUTIONS WINS GOLD STEVIE AWARD AS PART OF THE 2017 AMERICAN BUSINESS AWARDS
Greater Houston Area Health Care Group Takes Home Prize For Top Minority Owned Business; Joins Past Winners Apple, Procter & Gamble, Samsung
Sterling Staffing Solutions in Sugar Land announced it has won one of the world’s most coveted prizes in business – the Gold Stevie Award – in the category of Minority Owned Business.
Sterling Staffing Solutions was recognized in one of the Stevie Award’s seven international categories in The 15th Annual American Business Awards.
“It is an honor to be among such a high caliber of business winners,” said Stephen Carter, CEO and partner of Sterling Staffing Solutions.“The Stevie Award is special for us. Our existing clients speak highly of our work, and now the Stevie award gives us a platform to expose potential clients to our quality services.”
The Stevie Award trophy is one of the world’s most coveted prizes. Since 2002 the Gold Stevie Award has been conferred for achievement in business to organizations and individuals in more than 60 nations.
Sterling Staffing Solutions provides contract employment opportunities for physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, nurses and social worker positions throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership Announces Launch of Buffalo Bayou East Sector Master Plan
Revitalizing the waterway east of downtown from US 59 to Port of Houston Turning Basin
Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is launching a major planning effort along Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector that will continue the non-profit organization’s legacy of transformative parks, trails and open space. In revitalizing the waterway east of downtown (from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin), BBP seeks to establish a pioneering precedent where green space can be a catalyst for inclusive growth and community development.
“At its heart, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is about creating parks, trails and bridges to bring Houstonians outdoors,” says Tom Fish, BBP Board Chair. “Here in the East Sector, we have an opportunity to bring together communities north and south of Buffalo Bayou that have long been disconnected from the waterfront and each other.”
BBP is committed to a plan that is based on:
- Authenticity –Creating unique park spaces that reflect the cultural and industrial legacy of the east sector
- Connectivity – Rethinking how parks and neighborhoods interact, activating and connecting the waterfront and surrounding neighborhoods
- Inclusivity – Establishing a pioneering precedent where green space can be a catalyst for inclusive revitalization.
“We not only want to reinvigorate the waterfront, but bring equitable revitalization opportunities to the East Sector neighborhoods,” said Anne Olson, BPP President. She also pointed out that the Second Ward has been designated one of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s “Complete Communities.”
More information is available at www.buffalobayou.org.
MODERN WIDOWS CLUB OPENS NEW CHAPTER FOR NORTHWEST HOUSTON/KATY AREA
Houston Nonprofit Celebrates Three-Year Anniversary with Three Area Chapters
The nonprofit Modern Widows Club (MWC) has announced the opening of a new chapter serving women in the Northwest Houston and Katy areas. This brings the number of chapters in the Houston area to three, with one in central Houston and another in The Woodlands. Modern Widows Club Houston celebrates its three-year anniversary, having been founded here in 2014.
Modern Widows Club Houston is part of a national organization which provides widow mentoring, leadership and empowerment through member services, active social media sites and an inspirational blog. The organization aspires to be a bridge of understanding, comfort, compassion and positive change between a widow and her community and is non-denominational.
The Northwest Houston/Katy chapter of MWC will meet the third Wednesday of every month at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 15015 Memorial Dr. near Eldridge Road at 6:30 p.m. Women of all ages, faiths and backgrounds are invited to attend.
“Modern Widows Club serves to empower widows to lean into life, build resilience and make a positive difference in society,” says Natalie Lancaster, Regional Leader over the Houston chapters of Modern Widows Club. “We welcome women of diverse backgrounds and beliefs into our organization. It’s not a grief counseling group, but women find comfort and solace in sharing their stories with others, in building fellowship and even in job networking.”
Lancaster explained that education is an important aspect of the Modern Widows Club, especially in the area of finances.
“Money and money management can be big issues for many women, and now they no longer have the husband’s income to support them,” says Lancaster. “Guest speakers can help educate on financial topics. We also brainstorm jobs and new careers that women might consider if they are returning to the work force after a long absence.”
The MWC chapter for central Houston meets the second Tuesday of each month at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church at 2450 River Oaks Blvd. Meetings for The Woodlands chapter are held the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at The Canopy in Memorial Hermann Woodlands Hospital, Medical Plaza 1, 1120 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 250 in The Woodlands.
MOODY GARDENS WELCOMES HARBOR SEAL SIKU TO THE AQUARIUM PYRAMID
Moody Gardens welcomed a new addition to the North Pacific Exhibit this month with the arrival of harbor seal Siku, who comes to Moody Gardens from the Milwaukee County Zoo.
After his 1,230 mile trip, 2-year-old Siku settled into his new home in the Aquarium Pyramid, joining harbor seal Porter and two California sea lions, Squirt and Sam.
“Harbor seals are very social animals. We’re excited to have Siku join Porter, Squirt and Sam in the North Pacific Exhibit. His arrival will now give us two harbor seals for guests to see and learn more about,” said Diane Olsen, Moody Gardens assistant curator of seals and penguins.
Harbor seals, also known as common seals, are found throughout the arctic and temperate marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. They are often found along rocky shores in small groups.
Guests can see Siku in his new habitat at the Aquarium Pyramid, but also on the live seal cam at www.moodygardens.com/sealwebcam/ which is available 24 hours a day seven days a week. For more information please visit www.moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.
photos courtesy of Moody Gardens
George Springer and SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young hit the ball out of the park at the George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit
The Benefit, held on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at Lucky Strike Houston hosted Springer along with fellow teammates, other celebrities, Co-chairs Lara Bell and Melissa DeAyala, Junior Chair Matthew DeAyala, Honorary Chair Dr. Carolyn Farb and almost 300 fans to raise more than $150,000.
Proceeds from the event will send children from families-in-need to Camp SAY, a life-changing summer camp for young people who stutter.
Springer, a person who stutters, hosted the Bowling Benefit to provide financial aid help and ensure that children from all socio-economic backgrounds have access to Camp SAY.
Springer, national spokesperson for Camp SAY, stepped up to the plate to voice his support for young people who stutter welcoming the kids in attendance and all kids who stutter to become a part of his team.
He encouraged them to embrace their stutter and find their voice, and was followed by special performance by Director of Programming Travis Robertson and an inspiring speech from SAY teen Reuben Polanco.
For more information on Camp Say, go to www.campsay.org.
photo credit: V. Sweeten
HOUSTON’S BUD LIGHT BREWERY CELEBRATES 35 YEARS IN TEXAS AND SHOWCASES EMPLOYEES BEHIND THE SCENES
Off the I-10 highway, the magic of brewing Bud Light continues to satisfy the thirst of beer drinkers throughout Texas and beyond.
The Bud Light Brewery, opened in 1982, continues to thrive with their employees’ dedication to their crisp, clean light lager and customers.
See their story here on YouTube at youtube.com/watch?v=D6WVmtk10lg&feature=youtu.b. For more information on a Bud Light Brewery Tour, go to http://www.budweisertours.com/locations/houston-texas.html.
EVELYN’S PARK NOW COMPLETED IN BELLAIRE WITH GARDENS, TRAILS, CAFE AND EVENT BUILDING
Linbeck Group announces the completion of the Evelyn’s Park, a project that transformed Teas Nursery, Bellaire’s very first business, into a beautifully designed iconic green space.
Named after the late longtime Bellaire resident and philanthropist Evelyn Rubenstein, the five- acre park located at 4400 Bellaire Boulevard is now a blend of community spaces, gardens, trails and an event building and cafe.
During construction, Linbeck sought to develop the Park’s new identity while respecting the history of the site and scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood. A house from the 1900s that was occupied by the Teas Nursery is now a cafe/restaurant, and the firm constructed a new event building and office adjacent to an event lawn.
In keeping with its technology-driven methodologies, Linbeck Group applied BIM 360 to the Evelyn’s Park project to track any construction issues, distribute drawings to the field, and create and manage punch lists.
“Evelyn’s Park is both historically referential and iconic,” said Carolyn Carona-Ireland, Senior Project Manager, Linbeck Group. “With the completion of this project, Bellaire has state of the art facilities for recreation and events with restored green space rich with native trees and flora.”
The Evelyn’s Park Design Team consisted of award-winning architecture firm Lake Flato based in San Antonio, and internationally known landscape architecture firm SWA.
Sugar Land ‘Best City’ Award for Tourism
The Texas Travel Counselors awarded the city of Sugar Land with the “Best City” award, tying with popular tourist destination Galveston in a vote of top cities along the upper coastal region of Texas during Texas Travel Counselors Conference in Amarillo, Texas.
Texas Travel Counselors — an organization of industry professionals from the Texas Travel Industry Association and the Texas Department of Transportation — selected Sugar Land and another popular tourist destination, the city of Galveston, after a five-day tour of 12 Texas cities along the upper Gulf Coast.
The tourism and travel professionals recognized Sugar Land with the prestigious award after action-packed visits to Sugar Land’s historic locations, the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, Constellation Field and a behind-the-scenes tour of Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land. The attendees also enjoyed Sugar Land’s local eateries like Jupiter Pizza & Waffle in Sugar Land Town Square.
“It’s an exciting time in Sugar Land,” said Bob Phillips, Texas Travel Industry Association’s consultant, whose father started the site visits more than four decades ago. “Sugar Land offers an impressive mixture of old and new with the historic Imperial refinery and the new performing arts center. With city hall being located in the downtown development, it’s a testament of the city’s commitment to business.”
Sugar Land’s economic development and tourism initiatives enable the City to provide quality services while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates. As an example, the newly opened Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land is projected to provide an annual benefit to the community of $26.1 million while Constellation Field is projected to provide a return of $169 million to the local economy over 30 years. No general fund dollars were spent to create either project.
“We’re excited to showcase Sugar Land’s rich history, family-friendly attractions and global culture,” said Tourism and Destination Services Administrator Teresa Preza. “The award from the Texas Travel Industry Association and the Texas Department of Transportation is a real honor and validates the outstanding work that’s occurred in Sugar Land to promote tourism.”
Theatre Under The Stars Raises Nearly $700,000 with One Night Only 2017 Gala
The Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) One Night Only 2017 Gala, which honored Margaret Alkek Williams for her many contributions to the arts community in Houston, was held on Saturday night at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The evening raised nearly $700,000 with all proceeds from the evening benefiting the TUTS Education and Community Outreach Programs.
TUTS One Night Only gala and Grand Finale after party was supported by longtime partners who provided items for the evening’s festivities including Zadok Jewelers, Elaine Turner, Kendra Scott, Van Cleef & Arpels, Gillman Automotive Group, West U Travel and Katz Coffee.
photo credit: Priscilla Dixon
International Mothers Day Soiree Kick off Party announces 12 Houston women to be honored at May 11 event
Neiman Marcus in the Galleria hosted LCA Houston’s 5th Annual International Mothers Day Soirée Kickoff Party on Wednesday, February 22nd. Host/ Founder, Ruchi Mukherjee, along with Stacey Swift put on an amazing event ahead of what is sure to be a spectacular Soirée.
2017 Honorees include Merele Yarborough, Dr. Monira Kundi, Toni Tate, Denise O’Brian, Ishwaria Mohan Subbiah, Shabnam Shaikh, Jill Shull, Carrie Brandsberg Dahl, Brigitte Kalai, Jane Seam, Ping Sun and Rekha Muddaraj.
Spotted at the kick off: Bashar Kalai, Vipul and Geeta Anand, Howard Tate, Nancy Marcus Golden, Tracy and Harry Faulkner, Ella Markovsky, Rebecca Brinkley, Mario Gudmundsson, Darin Davis, Dr. Monica Patel, Brian McCulloch, Carl Hahn, Sobi Qazi, Colin Gildroy, Stephanie Von Stein.
LCA Houston’s International Mothers Day Soirée will be held at the Asia Society Texas Center on May 11, 2017.
photos courtesy of LCA Houston
Lone Star College and Sam Houston State University form partnership to create program to program agreements for students wishing to transfer between two institutions
“Sam Houston State University is one of our closest partners,” said Dr. Stephen C. Head, LSC chancellor. “This agreement provides a clear pathway for students to start at Lone Star College and finish at Sam Houston State University.”
The newly signed agreement allows the institutions to create program to program agreements, affording students the opportunity to transfer credit hours in a variety of different programs such as nursing, business and criminal justice. The partnership also helps eliminate the risk of taking unneeded courses which could slow down completion.
More than 1,900 LSC students transferred to SHSU in fall 2015, ranking it as the third largest transfer partner.
LSC has agreements with many other universities in Texas and nationwide to create seamless transition from a LSC associate degree to bachelor’s degrees. For more information go to www.LoneStar.edu/academic-programs-transfer.htm.
MOODY GARDENS LAUNCHES EARLY-STAGE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM WITH ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION®
Moody Gardens is hosting “Growing Together, ” the first of a seven part series, this week at the Moody Gardens Education Center to help people living in the early-stage of Alzheimer’s remain mentally and socially active post diagnosis.
“We are very excited to debut a program like this at Moody Gardens,” said Jennifer Lamm, Education Curator, who added what the impact of this series will symbolize. “It’s important to build a sense of community and we’re eager to do so by having participants engage in the many resources we have right here on property.”
The Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Social Engagement Program offers a fun and comfortable way for people in the early-stage of the disease to get out, get active and get connected with one another through a variety of community-based activities and events. This month’s activity will focus on the biology and characteristics of various bird species found all over the world via presentation by a Moody Gardens Biologist. Participants will then engage in a painting session to create a self-portrait of which bird most defines them.
Participants in last summer’s pilot programs indicated a high level of satisfaction and interest in joining in these types of programs again. Early-Stage Social Engagement Program participants commented, “The group provided me with a feeling of acceptance and a sense of normalcy” and “The focus isn’t on our illness or being a caregiver; just having fun.”
Programs will be held on the first Tuesday of every month beginning on October 4, 2016 and ending on April 4, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to coincide with Senior Tuesdays at Moody Gardens.
Senior Tuesdays offers guests 65 and older $5 admission per attraction including the Rainforest Pyramid, Aquarium Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and movies at both the 3D and 4D Theatres. Additional details at http://blog.alztex.org/alzheimers-early-stage-programming-every-tuesday-moody-gardens.
TUTS and The River Celebrate Disability Awareness Month
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration of The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is celebrating National Disability Awareness Month with special events and a public fundraising campaign.
20th Anniversary & River Background Story: This year marks the 20th Anniversary of The River, which began in 1996 when a three-year-old girl named Samantha wanted to take ballet lessons, but was denied access because she has cerebral palsy which affects her vision, balance, speech and movement. Samantha’s mother, Cathy Binstock – who was also a clinical social worker – took it upon herself to see that no child would ever be denied access to arts education because of a disability.
“The River believes in the power of the arts and inclusion. We see ability and use the arts to share it with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It’s amazing what individuals with disabilities can accomplish when the bar is set high,” said Eileen Edmonds, Assistant Director of Education at The River.
With the help of arts instructors and other friends, Binstock, started with one Creative Movement class for seven little girls and The River was born. To date, The River has provided fine arts education for more than 25,000 children with special needs and their siblings.
In 2010, TUTS merged with The River to achieve a common goal of extending arts access to children of all abilities. To learn more about The River, contact Eileen Edmonds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The River Celebration : On October 27th, The River will celebrate its 20th anniversary with its annual gala – The River Celebration. This year’s honorees will be Bob and Cathy Binstock. The gala will be chaired by Michele Womack with Robin and Danny Klaes as honorary chairs. This year’s Sammy Award recipients are Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien and his wife, Colleen. The event will be emceed by Sunny 99.1 DJ, Dana Tyson.
In addition to dinner, there will be live and silent auctions. The evening will also feature a dynamic musical program by students in The River’s Performance Troupe and Humphreys School of Musical Theatre. Tables and Tickets are still available. Contact Katie White Wisian at email@example.com for details.
No Boundaries Program: In addition to all the things happening throughout October, TUTS is also happy to introduce a new accessibility initiative – the No Boundaries program. Through the No Boundaries program, TUTS is providing unique and inclusive ways to enhance musical theatre for individuals with disabilities. The program includes touch tours, rhythm, dance and voice workshops, as well as Audio Described, Open Captioning and American Sign Language Interpretation performances. To learn more about the No Boundaries program, contact Elizabeth England at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FamilyTime hosts sixth annual Purple Ribbon Luncheon
Community members have joined hands to help committee chair and FamilyTime board member, Kathy Adkins, make the sixth annual Purple Ribbon Luncheon a huge success. The annual event, hosted by FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center, will be held on Friday, October 14 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Kingwood Country Club located at 1700 Lake Kingwood Trail, Kingwood, Texas. The Purple Ribbon Luncheon is held each year in October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in honor of FamilyTime’s Women of Achievement 1990-2015.
The featured speaker at this year’s Purple Ribbon Luncheon is slated to a powerful message on the implications of domestic violence. FamilyTime provides services and shelter to victims of domestic and sexual violence. It is also a resource and safe haven for victims of human trafficking. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the speaker’s compelling story. Tickets for the event are available online at www.familytimeccc.org or can be purchased by e-mail at email@example.com.
The individual tickets to the luncheon are $60. Individuals can also be a “Friend of FamilyTime” and reserve a table of 10 for $600.