Christmas Masquerade Ball hosted by BCFS

Youth from foster care deck the halls at Christmas Masquerade Ball

Annual Christmas dinner hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services

SAN ANTONIO – Sunset Station in San Antonio transformed into a winter wonderland for local youth from the foster care system, Thursday, December 17 at the annual Christmas dinner hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services.

Approximately 250 young adults from BCFS’ Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program donned formalwear and gowns donated by the National Council of Jewish Women, plus colorful masquerade masks for this year’s festive theme, Christmas Masquerade Ball. Nearly 400 guests – including PAL youth plus BCFS’ community partners – enjoyed a Christmas dinner and handmade desserts. The youth received backpacks, gift cards, and stockings stuffed with small gifts.

“Christmas can be an emotional time for the youth we serve from foster care, many of whom are separated from their families,” explains Miriam Attra, BCFS Community Based Services Director. “The Christmas Masquerade Ball gives these youth a chance to celebrate with their BCFS ‘family’ and friends – giving them an unforgettable experience that would otherwise be out of reach.”

The choir from Christian Family Church performed classic Christmas carols, and Alamo City Improv brought the laughs with improvisational comedy sketches featuring several youth from BCFS’ PAL program.

Grace Point Church donated the backpacks, and the THRU Project, a mentorship program for youth aging out of foster care, distributed the backpacks filled with school supplies. Christian Family Church donated stockings, gift cards, hygiene products and sweet treats. Christmas dinner was catered by the RK Group and desserts were donated by Gigi’s Cupcakes and Claire’s Sweet Treats.

The BCFS Health and Human Services’ center in San Antonio is a safe haven for local youth including those who spent time in foster care, youth in the juvenile justice system, and other young adults struggling to transition to adulthood and independence. BCFS Health and Human Services provides case management, counseling, mentorships, and assistance with education, employment and housing location.

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/SanAntonio.

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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.

 

 

 

Annual Christmas celebration helps struggling youth and families make merry

BCFS Health and Human Services hosts annual Christmas gathering

Photo: An excited young adult with a present

ABILENE – For youth from foster care and young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty or family conflict, Christmas can be an unwelcome reminder that they don’t have a traditional family support system. For parents struggling to make ends meet, piling gifts under the tree and providing a full Christmas dinner can be a challenge.

Every year, BCFS Health and Human Services hosts a Christmas celebration for Abilene teens, youth and families in BCFS programs that provide life skills, parenting education, and temporary shelter. On Wednesday, December 9, about 40 teens, youth and parents from around Abilene gathered to exchange gifts, play games and fellowship at the BCFS Health and Human Services center. Guests and BCFS’ community partners made gingerbread houses, played games to compete for prizes, and lucky door prize winners took home gift cards and electronics.

“Each of the folks in our programs received a gift package donated by our generous partners at Wylie Christian Church,” said Martin Pittman, program lead for the BCFS Abilene center. “Each package included journals and notepads, gloves, pens and pencils, a Christmas ornament, snacks, hygiene products, plus jewelry or scented soap for the gals, and a flashlight or portable radio for the guys.”

BCFS Health and Human Services in Abilene is a safe-haven for youth, including those in foster care, those aging out of the system, youth in the juvenile justice system, and any young adult struggling to transition to adulthood and independence. The center provides case management, counseling, mentorships, assistance with education, employment and housing location. BCFS’ Our House is a transitional living home for young men ages 18 to 23 struggling with homelessness. Residents of BCFS’ Our House receive help from the transition center to find employment, save money, and make a plan to become self-sufficient.

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.


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 Rhodes VP – Communications

Photo: Yvonne Paris RhodesSAN ANTONIO – BCFS, a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations, has named Yvonne Paris Rhodes Vice President – Communications. In this role, Rhodes will will manage various internal and external communication systems for BCFS and its entities including multiple nonprofits and social service programs.

Rhodes manages BCFS’ online and digital communication including several websites, email marketing, and social media; press and media coverage; community relations; advertising; and messaging across all the organization’s marketing collateral from fact sheets to the annual magazine.

“With her education, extensive experience and passion for our mission, Yvonne has developed an impeccable and genuine way to communicate our story,” said Marilu Reyna, EVP – Public Affairs & Communications. “In this new leadership position, Yvonne will continue spreading the BCFS story to the world, helping to make a difference in the lives of children and families in need.”

Before serving as BCFS’ Director of Communications, Rhodes served as Account Executive with an advertising agency in Austin – formerly MDS Advertising, now V2G Interactive. As Program Director at Southside Community Center in San Marcos, she helped manage the nonprofit’s community relations and marketing efforts, as well as operations at the homeless shelter and social service programs for low-income families.

Rhodes earned her Master’s degree from Texas State University with a focus in Strategic Communication.

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.

 

Kerrville Celebrates the Grand Opening of the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center

Photo: BCFS Resource Center building

It was standing room only today at the celebration to mark the grand opening of the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center. The 20,000 sq. ft. facility on Main Street is the cornerstone of the city’s non-profit block, offering comprehensive, “one stop” services to local children, teens, young adults and families in need.

The event was hosted by BCFS and featured Kerrville family physician and longtime BCFS board member Dr. David Sprouse as the master of ceremonies, entertainment by the Tivy High School Marching Band and lunch catered by Don Strange. The celebration also included a dedication of the building in honor of Babs Baugh, a passionate advocate for children’s causes, who was named “BCFS Chairman of the Board Emeritus.” Dr. G. William (Bill) Nichols, a nationally recognized artist who lives in the Hill Country, was commissioned to paint a portrait of Baugh that was unveiled following the ribbon cutting ceremony and will hang in the building’s entryway.
For years, Sandy Cailloux dreamt of creating a non-profit block of community organizations where, together, agencies could leverage their combined talents, resources, passion and compassion to generate a powerful force for good. Nearly four years ago, The Cailloux Foundation, who had been a longtime supporter of the transition center model operated by BCFS Health and Human Services, launched a $500,000 challenge grant to build a new center.
The facility will now house several area non-profit organizations, including Art2Heart; BCFS Health and Human Services; Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, Inc.; Families & Literacy, Inc.; Goodwill Industries of San Antonio; Hill Country Ministries, Inc.; and New Hope Counseling. BCFS Health and Human Services’ transition center will also offer free space to organizations on a daily, weekly, monthly or as needed basis; making important resources efficient and easily accessible, without duplicating services already available in the community.
“Today, the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center stands tall as a beacon of hope and healing for anyone needing help. It offers efficient access to critical resources for those who are struggling; bolsters the community’s ability to quickly intervene during crises; and instills a strong sense of personal responsibility in youth and families by creating an environment of accountability for turning their lives around,” stated BCFS President Kevin C. Dinnin.
The center is open to anyone in need, including youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty, truancy and substance abuse. Under a single roof, individuals have access to counseling, case management, literacy and educational support, job training and placement with local businesses, housing location and more. The center also offers programs that strengthen families, providing parenting support groups and classes that help open communication and teach innovative, healthy ways to set boundaries and discipline; as well as creative art therapy and counseling for individuals of all ages.
For more information about BCFS’ work in the Hill Country, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.

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.