CERI Names Constanta Belciug Executive Director

Dr. Dearing Garner named CERI Ambassador Emeritus

Photo: Connie BelciugSAN ANTONIO – Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) has named Constanta “Connie” Belciug as Executive Director. Headquartered in San Antonio, CERI is a Christian health and human services organization focused on bolstering indigenous foster care – equipping countries to take care of their own – as well as teaching teens aging out of orphanages the life skills they need to live independently and avoid falling victim to human traffickers. The organization is supported through child sponsorships, and spans beyond basic humanitarian assistance with the goal of instilling a lifestyle of resiliency, determination, and hope for the future in each child it serves.

Belciug has been a part of CERI for nearly 10 years. As National Director of the organization’s office in Moldova, she was part of the leadership team that designed and implemented CERI’s operations throughout Eastern Europe; touching the lives of thousands along the way – including many U.S.-based supporters who travelled abroad for CERI mission trips.

As Executive Director, she will strengthen existing programs and lead the organization to branch into new regions of the world where children and families face injustice, poverty, and a deplorable lack of resources.

She is taking the place of Dr. Dearing Garner, who is beginning his second retirement, though continuing to carry the role of CERI Director of Missions & Ministry/Ambassador Emeritus.

“Connie brings to the table not just a mastery of international affairs and child welfare, but also an unmatched passion and zeal for our work,” said Asennet Segura, Executive Vice President/COO of Community, International & Residential Operations. “Without question, she is the right leader for our organization today, leading efforts to fulfill our critical mission of caring for children in need throughout the world, in addition to strategically elevating and growing our organization so that we can reach farther and make a more profound impact in the world.”

Belciug earned a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages from Moldova State University, and a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), with an emphasis on Studies of Childhood and Children’s Rights. She earned a second MSW from the College of Theology and Education in collaboration with Baylor School of Social Work.

In 2013, Belciug moved from Moldova to Texas to pursue her doctoral degree from the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. For the past several years, she has devoted herself to expanding her skills and knowledge about fighting poverty in developing nations; intervention methods that best serve marginalized populations; and program development that brings positive social and economic opportunities to children and families in need.

For more information about CERI, visit www.CERIkids.org.

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Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) is a Christian health and human services organization that brings hope to children living in extreme poverty through one-on-one sponsorships and mission trips. The international division of BCFS, a global system of non-profit organizations with expertise in health and human services, CERI employs a one-of-a-kind approach to child sponsorships with an emphasis on social services. Spanning beyond basic humanitarian assistance, the goal for each child is a lifestyle of resiliency, determination, and hope for the future. CERI teaches youth aging out of orphanages how to make it on their own and avoid becoming victims of human trafficking, and helps orphaned children find safe, loving homes.

BCFS Hosts Thanksgiving for San Antonio youth

Thanksgiving luncheon for youth from foster care and foster families hosted by BCFS

The luncheon, held Tuesday November 24 at Sunset Station, brought together approximately 200 youth from foster care, foster families, and BCFS’ community partners including the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS).

The “family-like” setting for the luncheon, complete with long banquet tables and a football game in the background on projector screens, was a big hit with guests.

Two youth from foster care spoke to the crowd, sharing how thankful they were for BCFS Health and Human Services’ PAL program, among other blessings.

The PAL program, or Preparation for Adult Living, helps youth from foster care prepare for life on their own by teaching life skills like budgeting, healthy relationships, and how to access critical resources.

The youth played games with BCFS staff and mentors, like a football toss, giant outdoor Jenga, and card games.

Turkey Giveaway in Del Rio

Del Rio Families Receive Free Thanksgiving Meal from BCFS Health and Human Services’ family program, STAR

Photo: A family recieving a free Thanksgiving meal

DEL RIO – More than 100 Del Rio families received a free Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings this week. As they gather around their tables Thursday, they have more to celebrate than just the good food and fellowship – each family received the meal to congratulate them for completing the STAR program operated by BCFS Health and Human Services, which provides counseling, trainings and other services to unify and strengthen families.

Last month, BCFS Health and Human Services announced the organization would provide Thanksgiving meals to families who completed three STAR sessions before the holiday. As a result, BCFS Health and Human Services helped 160 children and youth in November, and gave out 133 Thanksgiving meals.

Services To At Risk Youth (STAR) helps Del Rio families create stable, loving home environments by providing free counseling, training for youth and parents, and help reducing family conflict and delinquent behaviors in youth, like truancy and running away from home. The STAR program serves families with youth 17 years old and younger.

Interim Director Delia Ramos says BCFS Health and Human Services will be there to serve Del Rio families in times of celebration and crisis.

“Many of the families we serve live paycheck to paycheck, or are struggling with unemployment, so putting a full Thanksgiving spread on the table is a burden, or completely out of reach,” says Ramos. “We wanted to help families enjoy a holiday meal with loved ones, but also leave a more lasting mark on their lives through the STAR program.”

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services’ work in Del Rio, call (830) 768-2755, visit 519 Bedell Avenue, or go online to www.DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

BCFS awarded $15,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation

KERRVILLE – BCFS Health and Human Services has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to support the Youth Averted from Delinquency (YAD) program. YAD serves youth in the juvenile justice system to decrease the incidence of recidivism for juvenile offenders, particularly those who have committed violent and serious offenses, and increase the number of truancy cases that are successfully resolved by the youth’s return to and completion of school.

YAD has served more than 500 youth over the past six years, providing intensive, wrap-around services to adjudicated juvenile offenders and youth with truancy cases. Youth in the YAD program receive individualized, in-home assistance from a therapist or case manager, case planning, and individual and family therapy. Nearly 90% of YAD youth successfully complete the program.

In addition to these home-based services, BCFS Health and Human Services provides life skills training, parenting training, educational assistance, tutoring, and other critical support services.

“The teens and young adults in YAD are a special group of people that need guidance and support. Many of them caved to peer pressure or the influence of negative role models, started down the wrong path and made poor choices – but at BCFS Health and Human Services we believe in second chances,” says Brenda Thompson, Director – Community Services for BCFS Health and Human Services in Kerrville, who oversees the YAD program.

For five decades, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to charitable organizations across Texas. The devotion of its founders and continued Fellow support has made the Texas Bar Foundation the largest charitably-funded bar foundation in the nation.

“We are honored to partner with the Texas Bar Foundation to help these young men and women work hard and turn their lives around,” says Thompson. “This grant represents a significant investment in our community from the Texas Bar Foundation and the Board of Trustees.”

BCFS Health and Human Services helps local families and youth from the foster care and juvenile justice systems, as well as those at-risk of homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, unemployment and other challenges. The organization will open the new BCFS Hill Country Resource Center next month, which will house multiple nonprofits in the nearly 20,000-square-foot facility on Main Street. In the new center, Hill Country residents will have “one-stop” access to counseling, case management, emergency housing assistance, life skills training, educational support, literacy training, and much more.

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services’ work in the Hill Country, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

BCFS Names Ashley Krimmel Vice President – Philanthropy

SAN ANTONIO – BCFS, a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations, has named Ashley Krimmel Vice President – Philanthropy. In this role, Krimmel will be the driver of several donor-based initiatives to support key philanthropic efforts throughout the agency. She’ll give special focus on connecting U.S.-based sponsors to children living in dire circumstances in Eastern Europe and Moldova through the system’s overseas entity, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI).

Established in 1999, CERI has a mission of connecting children who are orphaned or separated from their families with safe, loving foster families. The agency believes in investing in indigenous foster care systems that care for children in their home communities and countries, offering care that spans beyond basic humanitarian assistance, with the goal of instilling resiliency, determination, and hope for the future in each child.

Support for intensive case management, medical care, counseling, foster family connections, job and life skills trainings and other CERI programs are supported entirely by sponsorships and philanthropic contributions. CERI is an ever-growing, global organization committed to meeting the needs of children and families in poverty around the world.

Joining BCFS more than 11 years ago, Krimmel most recently served as Assistant Vice President of Program Development and was the Director of Annual Fund Development and Marketing, expanding the system’s reach to those in need through government and private foundation grants and contracts.

“With her passion for our mission, zest for innovative new ways to communicate our story, and incredible institutional knowledge of our entire system, I know Ashley is going to bring more people from around the country to the table, ready to make a real difference in the lives of children and families in need,”  stated Krista Piferrer, EVP – External Affairs.

For more information about BCFS, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

Family Events Hosted by BCFS & Head Start

Family Fun Events to Feature Superheroes, Firetrucks and Free Thanksgiving Turkeys in Fredericksburg, Johnson City and Beeville

Family Fun Events to Feature Superheroes, Firetrucks and Free Thanksgiving Turkeys in Fredericksburg, Johnson City and Beeville

200 FREE turkeys to be given away each day, in each city

BCFS Education Services Head Start invites children and families in Beeville, Fredericksburg and Johnson City to free family events this weekend, November 21st and 22nd.

The first 200 families to sign up each day will receive a free Thanksgiving turkey from BCFS (limit 1 per family). Kids will enjoy face painters and balloon artists, plus the chance to meet some special superheroes and princesses – and check out a real firetruck. Grab some free grub at a food truck, served fresh from 11 AM to 3 PM while supplies last. Enter in hourly drawings to win $100 gift cards (you must be present to win), and grab a free goodie bag to take home. BCFS’ partners in the local fire departments and police departments will also be at the event.

BEEVILLE

Saturday & Sunday
November 21 and 22
Beall’s parking lot
College North Shopping Center

Featuring:

  • Ninja Turtle
  • Elsa from Frozen
  • Free hotdogs & hamburgers
  • Learn more

FREDERICKSBURG

Saturday, November 21
11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Walmart parking lot
1435 E. Main Street

Featuring:

  • Ironman
  • Cat In The Hat
  • Free chicken & waffles,
    and grilled cheese & tots
  • Learn more

BEEVILLE

Sunday, November 22
11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Lowe’s parking lot
405 US 281

Featuring:

  • Elsa from Frozen
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Free chicken & waffles,
    and grilled cheese & tots
  • Learn more

Event prizes, giveaways and attractions will be provided by BCFS, a global system of health and human service nonprofit organizations and the parent organization to BCFS Education Services.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about BCFS Education Services’ Head Start program, which provides free Pre-K and early education services to 3 and 4 year olds. BCFS Education Services is enrolling students now for their Head Start classrooms in Harper, Johnson City, Beeville, Skidmore, Refugio and George West.

Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children by providing educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families.

For more information about BCFS Education Services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/HeadStart.

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BCFS Education Services is part of a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations led by BCFS, focused on boosting educational readiness and outcomes in the classroom, as well as ensuring families have the resources, tools and information needed to start their children’s lifetime of learning off on the right foot.

 

November is National Adoption Month

Let BCFS Help Your Family Grow!

November is National Adoption Month, an opportunity for families to consider opening their hearts and homes to children in the U.S. foster care system. For prospective adoptive parents, BCFS Human Health Services is here to help navigate the process and celebrate the value of stable, supporting environments for kids.

In the United States, there are 402,378 children in foster care — and 107,000 available for adoption, according to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (2013). For Texans, BCFS provides matching services to connect the right children with loving homes.

“Growing up in a safe, loving home is something every child deserves to experience,” said Sonya Thompson, executive director of residential services for BCFS Health and Human Services. “Whether someone is becoming a parent for the first time or for another time, adding to a family through adoption is one of the most heroic and rewarding things a person can do.”

According to the 2013 National Adoption Attitudes Survey, about 84 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion on foster care adoption, but only 24 percent consider adoption in any form. If just 2 percent of the many millions considering adoption followed through, every child in the foster care system would have a home. Unfortunately, negative misconceptions persist.

Children who enter foster care do so through no fault of their own, often as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Nearly 30 percent of children exit foster care by age 18 without having found a permanent family.

BCFS is honored to act as a liaison on parents’ behalf to facilitate adoption in the San Antonio, Texas region. Contrary to popular belief, foster care and adoption are neither complicated nor costly. The State of Texas provides a streamlined, transparent process that offers financial support to many adoptive families. This includes waived court fees, Medicaid health coverage, free college tuition to public Texas universities, and monthly stipends for those that adopt siblings or older children.

“Many people don’t realize just how easy it is to adopt,” said Thompson. “If your heart is in the right place and you’re capable of making a child part of your family, BCFS can help get the puzzle pieces in order from there.”

If your puzzle is missing a vital piece — one you believe could be filled by an addition to your family — please feel free to email fostercare@BCFS.net or adoption@BCFS.net for more information, and spread the word on adoption’s many benefits to families and children across the nation.

BCFS Names Reyna EVP-Public Affairs & Communications

Photo: Marilu Reyna

SAN ANTONIO – BCFS has named Marilu Reyna as Executive Vice President − Public Affairs & Communications. In this role, Reyna will oversee government relations, media, communications, global branding, marketing and development for BCFS − an international system of health and human service non-profit organizations that serve children, families and individuals in need across the U.S. and abroad.

Reyna is taking over for Krista Piferrer, who is stepping down to spend more time with her family and young children after leading the agency’s public affairs and media efforts for more than seven years.

“BCFS charges forward, with great urgency and without hesitation to fill voids and address the unmet needs – whatever they may be – of children, families and communities in need around the globe. With this mission, it takes a quick, strategic thinker and keen communicator to be able to tell the story of our diverse work to audiences that span from children and families in the neighborhoods we serve, to local, statewide and national media outlets, to congressman and senators and beyond,” says Kevin Dinnin, BCFS President & CEO. “Krista spearheaded important efforts that defined and refined the image of our BCFS system, and I look forward to Marilu bringing this work to the next level.”

Reyna joins BCFS with more than 25 years of communications, marketing, and development experience in non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education. Most recently, she served as the Associate Vice President for University Communications and Special Projects for Texas A&M University-San Antonio, where she directed and supervised the institution’s public relations, media relations, advertising, branding and visual identity, university website, social media, publications, and special events.

Reyna holds a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from St. Mary’s University and is certified in nonprofit management.

For more information about BCFS, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

BCFS hosts 3rd annual Men’s Breakfast in Kerrville

On Thursday, November 12, BCFS Health and Human Services brought Kerrville men (and women) together at the third annual Men’s Breakfast, featuring a classic car show, pro-football player, live music and steak and eggs – all to benefit Hill Country youth and families in need.
Tyrone Smith, former NFL defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers and former Baylor University Cornerback and Team Captain, led the keynote address entitled Know Your Purpose. The Tivy High School varsity football team was among the 220 guests. The George Eychner Quintet performed while guests perused a classic car show at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. A hearty steak and eggs feast was on the menu as well, catered by Rails.
Several youth from foster care and the juvenile justice system who are in BCFS Health and Human Services’ programs attended the breakfast to personally thank donors and sponsors for their support.
The breakfast raised more than $30,000 to benefit Kerrville youth and families served by BCFS Health and Human Services. Major sponsors for the breakfast included Trade Mark-Carrier, JM Lowe, Kerrville Public Utility Board, Family Practice Associates and Camp Mystic.
“When we provide young men and women with educational and economic opportunity, and serve as a stabilizing force in their tumultuous lives, it’s good for our entire community,” said Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, development director for BCFS Health and Human Services. “The men and women who enjoyed breakfast with us are part of that stabilizing force for the next generation in the Hill Country.”
BCFS Health and Human Services helps youth from the foster care and juvenile justice systems; families with young children and teens; and young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and unemployment. The organization provides counseling, education and housing assistance, mentorships, case management, parent support groups, child abuse prevention programs, and life skills trainings.
“We are so proud to be part of a town that sees value and potential in each and every life. It’s wonderful to see time-and-time again how invested our community members are in making sure we reach out our hands to help everyone who wants to work hard to reach their dreams – regardless of the challenge,” said Brenda Thompson, BCFS Health and Human Services’ local director.
For more information about BCFS’ work in the Hill Country, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.

BCFS Names Segura and Tatro Co-Chief Operating Officers

BCFS, a global system of six separate 501c3 non-profit organizations, has named Asennet Segura EVP/COO – Community, International & Residential Operations, and Kari Tatro EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations for the growing system headquartered in San Antonio.

Photo: Asennet Segura

Segura has been with the organization for more than 18 years, and as EVP/COO of Community, International & Residential Operations she will oversee all aspects of the agency’s residential system. This encompasses emergency shelters for children who have been abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families; foster care and adoption services; medical services; early childhood education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Since joining the organization in 1997, Segura has been one of the chief drivers of the growth and expansion within the agency, overseeing the development and implementation of significant programs from coast-to-coast and around the world.

Photo: Kari TatroKari Tatro is an 8-year veteran with the BCFS system and one of the nation’s foremost experts on inclusionary planning to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs during disasters. As EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations, Tatro will oversee several internal agency functions including information technology, resource and asset management, procurement, property management, and personnel learning and development. Tatro will also manage multiple external-facing programs including BCFS Education Services, which provides early education services to ready young learners for academic achievement and success in school, as well as BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division – a national leader and partner of local, state and federal government entities in preparedness and response efforts.

Under Tatro’s guidance and supervision, the agency maintains a multidisciplinary all-hazards Incident Management Team comprised of more than 200 highly-trained and experienced emergency management personnel throughout the nation, a 200-person Disaster Medical Staffing Team and a 250-person Disaster Case Management Team. Additionally, Tatro provides oversight of disaster response resources and assetts including a robust fleet of emergency response vehicles ready to deploy at a moment’s notice with two state-of-the-art mobile command platforms, medical mobile units, shelter support units, advanced satellite communications and cellular equipment, and a massive supply of cached resources warehoused by BCFS EMD with an exceptional logistical supply chain to meet all incident needs.

“When an organization is as far-reaching as BCFS, operating in high-stakes environments on a daily basis, ensuring continuity of operations and quality control is not just critical, it’s a no-fail charge. That is the level of commitment, management and leadership Segura and Tatro bring to the table every day, 24/7,” said Kevin Dinnin, President and CEO of BCFS. “Both of these individuals take an ‘owner’s attitude’ in everything they do and have a proven ability to manage complex programs, a large workforce, sizable budgets, and – most importantly – they have my full trust and confidence in their ability to manage and guide our organization.”


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.