BCFS Receives $200,000 Grant to Update Youth Apartments

The Cailloux Foundation has awarded $200,000 to BCFS Health and Human Services to update and carry out general repairs for the organization’s apartment complex that provides safe, affordable housing to local youth aging out of foster care, and young adults 18 to 25 who are battling homelessness.
This is the second grant BCFS has received from The Cailloux Foundation that addresses the housing needs of Kerrville youth. In 2008, the Foundation awarded BCFS a grant to purchase the apartment complex.
Current work is being done by Kerrville-based Anderson Steadham Construction, Inc., and will include sheetrock and air conditioning repair, as well as electricity updates, and upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms. Each unit will be able to house one young adult, or a single mother with her children.
“The apartments provide so much more than just a safe roof over our residents’ heads,” says BCFS Development Officer Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie. “The youth work with BCFS case managers to save money and create a transition plan to get out on their own. Renovating the units helps them take pride in the facility and ultimately in themselves.”
Tenants at the drug and alcohol-free facility are provided case management, counseling, and help with education and employment. For more information about BCFS’ work with youth in the Hill Country, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House receives $15,500 Community Foundation of Abilene Grant

The Community Foundation of Abilene has awarded $15,500 to BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House, which serve local youth aging out of foster care and those struggling with homelessness, poverty and other issues. The grant provides discretionary funds to be used for operational costs, transportation expenses and GED testing fees.

ABILENE — The Community Foundation of Abilene has awarded $15,500 to BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House, which serve local youth aging out of foster care and those struggling with homelessness, poverty and other issues. The grant provides discretionary funds to be used for operational costs, transportation expenses and GED testing fees.
The BCFS Abilene Transition Center provides youth with case management, counseling and assistance with education, employment and housing. Many of the youth have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect and spent time in foster care, or have been involved in the juvenile justice system. Other young adults make the center their “home away from home” to have a safe place to study after school, and mentors to keep them on the right path.
BCFS’ Our House provides young men struggling with homelessness a safe, stable living environment. Our House residents plug into services at the transition center to work towards self-sufficiency, finish high school or earn a GED, find a job, save money for their own apartment, and apply for college.
“The Community Foundation of Abilene is proud to support the tremendous work of BCFS Health and Human Services’ Abilene Transition Center,” said Community Foundation of Abilene President and CEO Katie Alford. “Local teens and young adults now have a resource that simply didn’t exist here, and it’s truly making a difference in our community.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to partner with the Community Foundation of Abilene to serve youth in need in the Big Country,” said BCFS Development Officer Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie. “The foundation continues to bless young men and women working with BCFS to become successful, contributing members of the Abilene community.”
For more information about the BCFS Abilene Transition Center, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.

BCFS’ International Arm Assists Sri Lanka Flood Victims

Heavy rains and flooding have affected about one million people in Sri Lanka, and killed 30 people with many others missing.The international arm of BCFS, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), is sheltering and feeding flood survivors in Sri Lanka, where it operates foster care and child sponsorship programs.

BREAKING NEWS:

Heavy rains and flooding have affected about one million people in Sri Lanka, and killed 30 people with many others missing.The international arm of BCFS, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), is sheltering and feeding flood survivors in Sri Lanka, where it operates foster care and child sponsorship programs.

Update from shelter: December 31, 2014

Photo: Men and boyWe thank our Almighty for today is a blessed day for us to give valuable service to people who are in need. Every parent was very comfortable to move in with other parents at the shelter. They spent their time talking and relaxing. Children were playing some indoor games and mostly spent time making friends. We provided meals. It seems they are happy to be here with us.
We also visited other homes to assess the damages from the flood. We asked the people what they needed, and listed out items that were damaged. I plan to gather and distribute items the families need next week.

Update: December 29, 2014

Photo: Room of peopleCERI Sri Lanka staff have been able to locate and account for all of our foster families and children. All families who lost their homes or whose homes are currently uninhabitable have been picked up by our personnel and are in a shelter provided by CERI. With the use of high-profile 4-wheel drive vehicles, food and water have been delivered to foster families who were able to stay in their homes but isolated due to  flood waters.

BCFS’ Emergency Management Division had a response team on standby to travel to Sri Lanka had it been necessary, but with the superb job CERI Sri Lanka staff is doing the response team has been ordered to stand down.

In the days ahead, CERI will begin assisting foster families who lost their homes with recovery. BCFS will continue to provide emergency funds as necessary to assist in these efforts. At the peak of the flood event, more than 100,000 people were reportedly evacuated.

“After they reached the shelter we provided lunch to them with immediate action. They ate happily. Lunch made them very emotional because they had not eaten properly since the flood.”      

CERI Sri Lanka National Director, Anita Ramesh

 

 

 

BCFS Names Wolpers to Lead New Parenting and Child Abuse Prevention Programs

BCFS has named Jeff Wolpers as Director of Community Based Services over its family-centric parenting education programs in Harlingen, called Healthy Outcomes Through Prevention & Early Support (HOPES) and Fatherhood EFFECT. In his new role, Wolpers will oversee the administration of these programs aimed at reducing child abuse and building strong families in the Harlingen community.

HARLINGEN – BCFS Health and Human Services has named Jeff Wolpers as Director of Community Based Services over its family-centric parenting education programs in Harlingen, called Healthy Outcomes Through Prevention & Early Support (HOPES) and Fatherhood EFFECT (Educating Fathers for Empowering Children Tomorrow). In his new role, Wolpers will oversee the administration of these programs aimed at reducing child abuse and building strong families in the Harlingen community.
“HOPES and Fatherhood EFFECT provide families with education and parenting techniques that can turn a chaotic household into a loving and peaceful one – all while helping meet the families’ most basic needs, like food and clothing, to alleviate some of the environmental stressors that can lead to child abuse or neglect,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President – Community and International Operations. “Jeff’s experience in community-building and one-on-one work with families will be invaluable in the programs’ outreach.”
HOPES is a community-based child abuse and neglect prevention program for families with children younger than 5 years old. It provides parenting education, case management, crisis intervention, counseling and parent support groups.
The Fatherhood EFFECT  program is a parenting education course for households where a father figure is the primary caregiver for a child or children under 17 years old. The curriculum teaches families how to resolve conflict, improve communication, and overcome issues of aggression, alcohol and violence.
Both programs are offered in English and Spanish, and help participating families meet their basic needs like food, diapers, clothing, transportation and even childcare assistance. HOPES and Fatherhood EFFECT are funded by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Before joining BCFS, Wolpers served as a supervisor for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. He has more than 20 years of experience in the operation and management of human service programs, including client advocacy, counseling and case management.
To request family support services or learn more about HOPES and Fatherhood EFFECT, call (956) 230-3849.

Youth gather for a “Frozen” Christmas party hosted by  BCFS Health and Human Services’ San Antonio Transition Center

“Let it go,” from Disney’s “Frozen,” resonates with youth overcoming complicated pasts

Photo: Sunset Station

SAN ANTONIO – The BCFS San Antonio Transition Center hosted a Christmas celebration for youth in foster care, those who aged out of care, and other young adults overcoming issues like homelessness, poverty and abuse. Over 300 guests packed into Sunset Station on December 17th for the “Frozen” Christmas party, inspired by the hit Disney movie.

The youth received Christmas stockings stuffed with toys, ornaments and gift cards, and posed for photos with BCFS’ guests of honor – Santa Claus and Ana, Elsa and Olaf from “Frozen.” Guests enjoyed a Christmas feast with all the trimmings, and Christmas classics like hot cocoa.

“Christmas can be an especially difficult time for youth who have an unhealthy home life or lack a traditional family support system,” says Gayle Davis, BCFS’ Community Services Division Central Associate Executive Director. “Many of the youth we serve have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect. We work with them to overcome their past and build a bright future. Our Christmas celebration is the perfect time for BCFS and the San Antonio community to remind them they are loved and appreciated.”

Guests included youth who rely on transition center services, young adults who are alumni of the center’s programs, and BCFS’ community partners including UTSA, UT Teen Health, and Restore Education.

A group of nine youth gave a spirited performance of the “Frozen” theme song “Let it go,” belting out those now famous lyrics: “It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all!”

The “Let it go” performers were decked out in costumes provided by Art 2 Heart, a youth leadership program, and hair and makeup services were provided by Career Point and the National Council of Jewish Women. Gifts and stockings for the youth were donated by Christian Family Church. Rosemary’s Catering donated the Christmas feast, and Williams’ Confectionary provided the dessert bar.

The BCFS San Antonio Transition Center is a safe-haven for local youth including those in and out of foster care, youth in the juvenile justice system, and other young adults struggling to transition to adulthood and independence. The center provides case management, counseling, mentorships, and assistance with education, employment and housing location.

For more information about BCFS’ San Antonio Transition Center, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/SanAntonio or call (210) 733-7932.

“Christmas Dreams” Come True for Lubbock Youth at BCFS Health and Human Services’ Lubbock Transition Center

Photo: Mom and babyThe BCFS Lubbock Transition Center hosted its 9th annual Christmas Dreams celebration this week for youth formerly in foster care and their children. At the party held Wednesday December 17th, the youth and their guests enjoyed a Christmas meal, a visit from Santa, and over 200 donated gifts were distributed to young people in need.
“There are many youth in Lubbock who aged out of the foster care system at 18 years old to find themselves alone and discouraged without a traditional family support system,” said Kami Jackson, program director for the BCFS Lubbock Transition Center. “For these kids, Christmas can be an unwelcome reminder that they don’t have family to turn to – but we believe every child should be able to open a gift on Christmas and be surrounded by folks that love them.”
At the Christmas Dreams party, 51 youth who are clients of the transition center received gifts, as well as 25 of those young adults’ children. A total of 228 gifts were distributed, donated by First Christian Church, Betenbough Homes, Superior Healthcare, Covenant Children’s Hospital, Cynthia Shrader, the BCFS Lubbock Transition Center Advisory Council, and other generous donors from the Lubbock community.
Every year, clients at the transition center create a wishlist of three gifts they’d like to receive, including one household item, one personal item like shoes or jeans, and a restaurant gift card. If the youth has a child of their own (as is common among young people who spent time in foster care), their children also receive three gifts each.
BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center is a one-stop-shop for youth in or aging out of foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, and others in need of a helping hand to make the transition into adulthood. The center provides case management, counseling, life skills training, and education and employment assistance. For more information about BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Lubbock.

Men’s Breakfast Speaker Hits It Out of the Ballpark!

Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris has lived a life of inspiration; which made him the perfect speakers for BCFS Health and Human Services’ annual Men’s Breakfast hosted in Kerrville.

The sky was dark and the air was crisp in Kerrville. The thoroughfares seemed empty, but the community turned out in a show of early morning support for BCFS Health and Human Services’ Kerrville Men’s Breakfast. The event, which raised funds to help complete the organization’s new Texas Hill Country Resource Center for children, youth and families, featured uplifting words from former Major League Baseball pitcher Jimmy Morris.
Morris was a high school baseball coach who preached to his team to always follow their dreams, and to be undeterred by naysayers.
There are two types of people: those that want to see you fail, and those that want to see you succeed. The people at BCFS want you to succeed,” he said to nearly 200 community and business leaders, supporters and youth as day broke in the Texas Hill Country.
Morris coached baseball at Reagan County High School in the 1990s in Big Lake, Texas, a west-Texas oil drilling community. When his team challenged him to follow his own message of never giving up on your dreams, they made a friendly wager: If his team won district, he would try out for the majors again, reigniting a dream extinguished ten years prior due to injury.
Believing in his own hard work and his grandfather’s encouraging words, Coach Morris gave the big leagues another shot and, at age 35, made his rookie debut as a starting pitcher with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999. While his major league career only lasted a few years due to persistent tendonitis, , Morris became a living testament for having a can-do attitude and following your dreams. His memoir, The Oldest Rookie, led to yet another first – his Hollywood debut – inspiring the 2002 feature film “The Rookie,” starring Dennis Quaid.
Having fulfilled his dream of playing major league baseball, Morris returned to his passion of working with youth and inspiring others to live out their dreams. Thanks to Morris’ support, more than $31,000 was raised for the new BCFS center, which will impact the lives of thousands each year.

Kerrville Men Gather for a Hearty Breakfast, Raising More Than $31,000 for Local Youth

Nearly 200 local community and business leaders gathered for the Men’s “Field of Dreams” Steak and Eggs Benefit Breakfast, hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services. The event raised more than $31,000 toward furnishing BCFS’ new Texas Hill Country Resource Center, which will house multiple local non-profits with a common mission to serve youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system; families that are struggling; and those facing other challenges, like homelessness, substance abuse and unemployment.

Guest speaker Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris, whose life inspired the book and movie The Rookie, attended the breakfast to share inspirational words about not giving up on your dreams. Guests enjoyed a steak and eggs breakfast, live music and a viewing of classic cars at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Several major sponsors helped make the second annual event a great success, including Cecil Atkission Motors; Family Practice Associates; Trade-Mark Air Conditioning; The Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country; and the Kerrville Public Utility Board.
“BCFS is proud to be part of a community that is so in tune with the needs of its youth,” said Kevin Dinnin, BCFS President & CEO. “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 the entire Hill Country community. The men that enjoyed breakfast with us are part of that stabilizing force for the next generation in Kerrville and beyond.”
Thanks to the support of many private foundations, individual philanthropists, and BCFS Health and Human Services’ own parent company – BCFS – the organization is building a new “one stop” resource center that will serve thousands of children and families annually and house several additional non-profits, including Art-2-Heart; Families & Literacy, Inc.; and New Hope Counseling Services.
The new “one stop center,” which will open its doors in 2015, will be a safe-haven and comprehensive place for resources that help local children, youth and families, many who are at-risk of homelessness, poverty or other challenges that could inhibit a successful transition into adulthood and independence. The center will provide case management, counseling, mentorships, assistance with education, employment and housing location.
Morris shared his story – brought to the big screen starring actor Dennis Quaid – recalling how he dreamed of playing major league baseball growing up, but injuries and life got in the way. Ten years after he walked away from the minor leagues, became a father and a high school baseball coach, he told his team if they won their local championship he would try out again for the big leagues. When he kept his word and tried out, he finally achieved his Big League, childhood dreams at the age of 35.
“Many of the youth we serve have suffered some kind of abuse or neglect in their past,” said Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, BCFS Director of Development. “So Jimmy’s advice to never give up really resonates with our youth. This event will go a long way towards helping us continue our work with young people who are struggling.”

To support the work of the transition center by donating, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (830) 928-9387, give securely online, or send checks to 550 Earl Garrett Suite 114, Kerrville, TX 78028.

BCFS Names Martinez Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance

BCFS has named Ivette Martinez its new Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance, focused on programs led within the agency’s Community Services Division and Education Services entity. In this role, Martinez will develop, apply, measure and maintain quality standards and best practices for local, state and federal programs that serve children, families and communities across Texas.

BCFS has named Ivette Martinez its new Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance, focused on programs led within the agency’s Community Services Division and Education Services entity. In this role, Martinez will develop, apply, measure and maintain quality standards and best practices for local, state and federal programs that serve children, families and communities across Texas.
“BCFS is committed to operating with the highest level of integrity and reliability,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President – Community and International Operations. “With fifteen years at BCFS, Ivette knows what right looks like and demonstrates a keen awareness for the most effective methods to achieve successful outcomes. As our organization continues on a robust path of growth, her expertise will ensure BCFS delivers top quality services that meet – and exceed – our contractual responsibilities and, most importantly, the needs of those we serve.”
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, Southeast 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, 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.
Martinez has excelled during her 15-year career in the BCFS system, leading a diverse portfolio of programs focused on strengthening and rebuilding families that are struggling. She holds a master’s degree in Adult Education from Texas State University and is pursuing her PhD in Adult Education.

Construction Underway for BCFS’ Texas Hill Country Resource Center

If you’re stopping by the 1100 block of Main Street anytime soon make sure you have on your hard hat. Construction is moving full speed ahead on Kerrville’s new center, known as the “BCFS Health and Human Services Texas Hill Country Resource Center.”

If you’re stopping by the 1100 block of Main Street anytime soon make sure you have on your hard hat. Construction is moving full speed ahead on Kerrville’s new center, known as the “BCFS Health and Human Services Texas Hill Country Resource Center.”
The building, which will open its doors in 2015, will serve more than 4,000 children and families annually and house several different non-profits. The nearly 20,000 square foot center will be the centerpiece of the non-profit block, constructed by Kerrville-based JM Lowe & Company.
“It’s exciting to see the center begin to take shape,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President – International and Community Operations, who is overseeing the project. “The ripple effect this facility will have once completed is profound, lifting up not only youth and families in need but the larger Hill Country community as well.”
BCFS’ new Texas Hill Country Resource Center will serve youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system; families that are struggling; and those facing other challenges, like homelessness, substance abuse and unemployment. The shared space model emphasizes accountability in the youth it serves, ensures non-duplication of existing services, and promotes efficiency through the leveraging of shared talents and resources. In the new center, teens, young adults and families will be able to receive counseling, case management, access to medical care, emergency housing assistance, life skills training, literacy training, educational support, and connections to employment and educational opportunities all under one roof.
The “one stop” service model that was first established by BCFS Health and Human Services in Kerrville in 2007 no longer exists due to program and partner growth, as well as a significant increase in demand for services. To reestablish the efficient and effective “one stop” model, The Cailloux Foundation set forth a $500,000 challenge grant to build a larger center. Several private foundations and individual philanthropists throughout the Hill Country contributed to the capital campaign, including BCFS – the parent company of BCFS Health and Human Services – which committed $1.3 million. The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation also contributed $300,000 to complete the center, in addition to major gifts given by the Ruby and Perry Stevens Foundation and Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation.
For more information about BCFS’ resource center services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.
To support the work of the resource center by donating, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (830) 928-9387, give securely online, or send checks to: 550 Earl Garrett, Suite 114, Kerrville, Texas 78028.