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

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. 


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. 


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 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 and talk to their school counselor about enrolling.


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

Coronavirus might have cancelled an in-person celebration for Incarnate Word Academy’s senior prom, but the students there still found a way to host this rite of passage for high school students everywhere. Members of the school’s student council planned an online “Pajama Prom,” hosted on Zoom. 
Students held a trivia game about their four years at IWA, awarded prizes for best pajamas, best prom snacks and best Zoom background, and even crowned a prom queen. Kennedy Trahan ’20 was selected as IWA’s 2020 Prom Queen.
IWA’s dean of students, Mrs. Leslie Flickinger, and athletic director Rick Perez, clad in masks and gloves, and carrying roses and a tiara, made a surprise visit to Kennedy’s home to crown her. All of it was live on Zoom, Instagram and Facebook Live. 
“I was so lost for words [when Mrs. Flickinger and Coach Perez arrived], I had no idea what to say except thank you,” Kennedy said. “I almost cried because I was so overwhelmed with emotions because they care so much about the students, and it just made me realize how much I will be missing IWA next year.”


Following her IWA graduation, Kennedy is heading to the University of North Texas to study sport management and business.

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.

Henrich Perez photo

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


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 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.


Readers Joined Local Author at Release Party for “Power Lies” at Scout & Molly’s West U

Melanie Johnson,  & Jana Laird Phillips

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, 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


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

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 breaks ground on LSC-Houston North Fallbrook

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.


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


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.

Photo credit Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design

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.

This cause hits home for many Americans as heart disease and stroke are the number one and number five killers in both men and women.  
“Nearly every person can think of a loved one, friend or acquaintance that has been affected by heart disease or stroke,” said Roz Pactor, 2019 Shop With Heart Card honoree.  “The Shop With Heart Card gives Houstonians the chance to do good and support something bigger while they are simply out shopping or headed for a bite to eat. It starts a conversation and gives people the opportunity to educate others and spread awareness about the organization and its mission.”

 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.

photo: Houston Zoo

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

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.

Dr. Jay Tarnow, Vikki Finley, Michele Mendenhall Buckley, Emily Kelley, Frank Billingsley

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.


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.


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.

Kies Solutions Team
photo by Leah Wilson Photography

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 LSC Honors College, 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.


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.

“Dedicated bike lanes provide a segregated lane for cyclists,” said Heath Melton, Vice President of Master Planned Communities, Residential for The Howard Hughes Corporation.  “The Woodlands Hills promotes an active, healthy lifestyle and those who cycle as a hobby or serious athletic sport can enjoy peace of mind along a beautiful and peaceful nature-laced setting. These are a great complement to the nine-and-a-half miles of leisurely hike-and-bike trails. Moreover, The Woodlands Hills is one of the only communities in the area to feature dedicated, protected bike lanes for cycling.”



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

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  

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

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)

Learn more about MPAC and view full list of winners and honorable mentions at  For more information about MPAC’s founder, visit

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.

Luis Guzman,Sheila Jackson Lee and Jacqueline Aluotto
*photo courtesy of Jacqueline Aluotto

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

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 

photo credit: Daniel Ortiz

Houston’s Becker’s Books Now Has Inventory Online at Amazon

Becker’s Books, who sells used/rare bookstore on 7405 Westview Drive in Houston with over 90,000 titles, now has items available on Amazon at    All orders placed will be fulfilled by Ann Becker or her boss, Dan. 
For more information on Becker’s Books, go to or visit on Facebook at!. 

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

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.

Mercedes Ellington, Carolyn Farb, Fritz McDonald, Joanne King Herring

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.

Joanne King Herring, Buzz Aldrin, Anka Faur

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

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


Susan and Fayez Sarofim honored with Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award 
 Linda and Jim McIngvale receive Global Community Hero Award 

Honoree Susan Sarofim, Rose Cullen, Margaret Alkek Williams, honorees Linda McIngvale and Jim McIngvale (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for UNICEF)

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).

(L-R) Sippi Khurana, Brigitte Kalai, Margaret Alkek Williams, Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer, Rose Cullen and Susan Boggio (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for UNICEF)

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.

Gene Stallings, MC Ed Clements and Mack Brown at “Huddle Up with Coaching Legends Mack Brown & Gene Stallings” at The Post Oak Hotel

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.

From left: David Eller Gene Stallings, Jackie Sherrill and Mack Brown

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 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 Moore Family

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.

Michael and Lucia Cordua, Jeb Bashaw

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.


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.


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

Pictured (left to right): Faiza Khoja, Ph.D., UH-D associate vice president of Academic Affairs; Rachel Perez; and Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor.

“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 for more information.


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

Sheila Aron, Founder of The Thread Alliance
photo by Daniel Ortiz

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

Young professional groups, RedBuds and Flock plant 40 trees and herbs for animals at Houston Zoo on March 31

photo by Randi Koening

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. 

For additional information about RedBuds click here. For additional information about Flock click here.



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


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

The Woodlands Hills, Houston’s Newest Master Planned Community, is located 13 Miles North of The Woodlands®

courtesy of Westin Homes


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.


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 

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

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 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®, two award-winning Texas developments received a combined total of seven wins at the 2017 Texas Association of Builders (TAB) Star Awards in Dallas on August 3.

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.


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. 

photo courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership

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 


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.

For more information, go to or email


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 which is available 24 hours a day seven days a week. For more information please visit 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

photo credit: V. Sweeten


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 For more information on a Bud Light Brewery Tour, go to


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

photo credit: Priscilla Dixon

Bart & Becky McAndrews, Margaret Alkek Williams & Paul-David Van Atta

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.

Shawntell McWilliams and Ruchi Mukherjee

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


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.” IMG_20161030_131752961_HDR.jpg

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

TUTS and The River Celebrate Disability Awareness Month

River -PreP 2016-735.JPG

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

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 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

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  or can be purchased by e-mail at

The individual tickets to the luncheon are $60. Individuals can also be a “Friend of FamilyTime” and reserve a table of 10 for $600.

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