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.

BCFS Education Services Names Taylor Executive Director

BCFS Education Services has named Jeremy Taylor as executive director. In this role, Taylor will oversee the administration and growth of the organization’s Head Start programs.

Photo: Jeremy TaylorBCFS Education Services has named Jeremy Taylor as executive director. In this role, Taylor will oversee the administration and growth of the organization’s Head Start programs.
“Head Start is a unique program that goes beyond the classroom, focusing on ensuring the whole family has the resources, tools and information needed to start their children’s lifetime of learning off on the right foot,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President – Community and International Operations. “Jeremy’s experience and passion for strengthening families make him a great fit to be our Education Services leader.”
Since joining BCFS in 2007, Taylor has worked extensively with youth and families in need, building a reputation as a statewide leader in services that assist youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as youth in the juvenile justice system make the transition into independent and productive adults. He played a key part in the establishment and growth of BCFS Education Services’ Head Start programs throughout Texas, which today spans six counties and eleven school districts, and serves more than 800 children each year.
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 four decades, Head Start has propelled children from disadvantaged backgrounds toward success. The program focuses on helping preschool-aged children form strong foundations built upon academic excellence and healthy living.
Taylor is a licensed professional counselor and earned a master’s in counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s from Texas Tech University.

Lubbock Men’s “Steak n’ Eggs” Breakfast Raises $70,000 for Local Youth

The inaugural Men’s “Field of Dreams” Steak and Eggs Benefit Breakfast raised $70,000 toward much-needed services for local teens and young adults provided at BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center.

Local community and business leaders – including Representative John Frullo, County Judge Tom Head, Judge Kevin Hart, Judge Kara Darnell, and Juvenile Justice Chief William Carter – gathered for the Men’s “Field of Dreams” Steak and Eggs Benefit Breakfast, hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services. The event raised $70,000, which includes a dollar-for-dollar match by the organization’s parent agency, BCFS, a system of health and human services organizations with locations and programs from coast-to-coast and around the world. The funds raised will be put toward much-needed services for local teens and young adults provided at BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center.
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. Approximately 125 guests enjoyed a steak and eggs breakfast, live music and a viewing of classic cars at the Mckenzie-Merket Alumni Center. Title sponsor, Reagor-Dykes Auto, and  ASCO Equipment Company – who was also a sponsor – helped make the inaugural benefit a great success.
“BCFS is proud to come alongside several private foundations, businesses and individual philanthropists that have invested in the life-changing work happening at our transition center,” said BCFS CEO Kevin Dinnin, surprising the crowd by announcing a match of every dollar raised during the breakfast. “Without question, this center makes a profound impact in the lives of children and young adults who are struggling. In turn, we raise the tide for the community as a whole, making Lubbock and surrounding areas a safer and more prosperous place to call home.”
The BCFS Lubbock Transition Center is a safe-haven for local youth, many of whom are at-risk of homelessness, poverty or other challenges that could inhibit a successful transition into adulthood and independence. The center serves youth in foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, and other young adults who are struggling by providing case management, counseling, mentorships, assistance with education, employment and housing location.
“BCFS is proud to be part of a community that is so in tune with the needs of its youth,” said Kami Jackson, director of the BCFS center. “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 Lubbock community. The men that enjoyed breakfast with us are part of that stabilizing force for the next generation in Lubbock.”
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 Jackson. “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.”
For more information about BCFS Lubbock Transition Center services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Lubbock or call (806) 792-0526.
To support the work of the transition center by donating, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (806) 792-0526, give securely online, or send checks to 125 Chicago Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79416.

Annual event hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services’ Tyler Transition Center

Photo: Group pictureTYLER – On Wednesday August 13th, 80 local youth in foster care celebrated the coming of the new school year at a Back-to-School Bash hosted by the BCFS Tyler Transition Center. The youth, joined by about 20 volunteers, traveled to Amazing Jakes, an indoor amusement park in Plano, for go-karts, laser tag, miniature golf, bumper cars and arcade games.

The event also celebrated the 70th anniversary of BCFS, the global system of health and human service non-profit organizations that operates the Tyler Transition Center and six others like it across Texas.

BCFS Tyler Transition Center hosts the annual Back-to-School Bash to reward youth for staying in school, focusing on their studies, and participating in other BCFS events throughout the year aimed at keeping them on the right path.

Youth in foster care are statistically less likely to excel in school, graduate high school or attend college, so Program Director Carla Sash of the BCFS Tyler Transition Center says the event is also geared towards inspiring the mostly juniors and seniors in attendance to prepare for college.

“On the road, case managers met with kids that had questions about college applications or financial aid, we discussed the upcoming year of events, and asked what types of workshops or services are most helpful for supporting them in their education,” says Sash. “The celebration is our way of saying thank you for participating, and keep up the hard work.”

“Empowering our youth with education is one of the most valuable services the transition center provides – from reducing high school dropout rates to helping first-generation college students graduate,” says Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division. “So to prepare for a new school year, we energize the kids to stay focused and plugged into our programs for support.”

BCFS’ Tyler Transition Center serves youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults facing challenges like homelessness, poverty, or those recovering from physical and emotional abuse. The center is a “one-stop-stop” that provides counseling, case management, and assistance with education, employment, housing location and medical care.

Community partners that supported the Back-to-School Bash through donations or volunteers include BCFS, Chez Bazan, Chuck’s Travel, Amazing Jakes, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

To learn more about the BCFS Tyler Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Tyler or call (903) 526-0882.

Abilene men gather for a hearty breakfast to benefit local youth

Photo: Jimmy Morris

ABILENE – On Thursday August 7th, local men 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 $38,000 for much-needed services for Big Country teens and young adults provided at BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center and Our House transitional home.

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. Approximately 150 guests enjoyed a steak and eggs breakfast, live music and a viewing of classic cars at the Abilene Country Club. Key sponsors that helped make the event possible include Jay and Nancy Capra, Dodge Jones Foundation, Dian Graves Owen Foundation, Hendrick Medical and BCFS.

“BCFS is proud to be part of a community that is so in tune with the needs of its youth,” says Terri Hipps, BCFS’ Community Services Division Executive Director. “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 Big Country community. The men that enjoyed breakfast with us are part of that stabilizing force for the next generation in Abilene.”

The BCFS Abilene Transition Center is a safe-haven for local youth, many of whom are at-risk of homelessness, poverty or other challenges that could inhibit a successful transition into adulthood and independence. The center serves youth in foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, and other young adults who are struggling by providing 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 Our House receive help from the transition center to find employment, save money, and make a plan to become self-sufficient.

Guest speaker Jimmy Morris shared his life story with the crowd, which inspired the movie “The Rookie” where he was played by Dennis Quaid. Growing up, Jimmy dreamed of playing major league baseball, 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,” says center director Johnny Nguyen. “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.”

For more information about BCFS Abilene Transition Center services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.

To support the work of the transition center by donating, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (325) 692-0033, give securely online, or send checks to 1290 South Willis Suite 55, Abilene, Texas 79605.

BCFS to lead Head Start in Guadalupe & Comal Counties

Program promotes academic achievement and school readiness for children ages 3-5

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded BCFS Education Services the competitive grant to lead the Head Start program in Guadalupe and Comal counties beginning this school year. The program, which expands BCFS Education Services’ current Head Start work in Texas, aims to propel children ages 3 to 5 from disadvantaged backgrounds toward academic success and prosperity through the provision of educational, health, nutritional and social services.

Head Start provides education, health and social services to pre-school children to help them build strong foundations for success rooted in academic achievement and healthy living. The program promotes school readiness by enhancing the child’s social and cognitive development, while advocates for the child’s family connect them to helpful community resources.

BCFS has developed partnerships with New Braunfels Independent School District and Seguin Independent School District to operate the Head Start classrooms, and is currently working to form partnerships with other school districts in the two counties.

“Thanks to the support of our community partners and public leaders, we are excited to expand our Head Start program to Guadalupe and Comal counties,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS Education Services Executive Director. “Together, we will ensure children acquire the skills and confidence they need to be prepared for success in kindergarten and throughout their academic career.”

BCFS Education Services currently operates Head Start classrooms in Atascosa, Karnes, Wilson and Kendall counties, serving approximately 340 children each year.

Services for children and families include:

  • Preschool
  • Individualized teaching
  • Degreed teachers
  • Bilingual services
  • Social services
  • Disability services
  • Dental exams
  • Mental wellness
  • Health services
  • Parent trainings
  • Meals and snacks
  • Field trips
  • Bus and ADA transportation
    (not available at all locations)

A child is eligible to enroll in Head Start if his or her family falls in one of these categories: Family is receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Family’s gross income falls below federal poverty guidelines; A family member living with and supported by the child’s family is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Family is homeless; or Child is in foster care. To be eligible, the child must be 3 or 4-years-old on or before September 1, 2014 and live in Guadalupe or Comal County. Children with disabilities may also be eligible.

Families interested in applying in Guadalupe or Comal counties may call (830) 331-8908 for details. Applications are available online at DiscoverBCFS.net/HeadStart, along with a list of necessary enrollment documents.

BCFS Education Services is part of the global BCFS system of health and human service non-profit organizations. To learn more about BCFS Education Services’ Head Start program, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/HeadStart.

Youth in foster care becoming SUPER HEROES

Hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services’ San Antonio Transition Center

Photo: Girl speakingSAN ANTONIO – On Wednesday July 2nd, youth in foster care gathered at the University of Texas at San Antonio for the 15th annual Independence Day youth conference for workshops and informational sessions aimed at preparing them for adulthood and independence when they age out of foster care. The conference, hosted by BCFS’ San Antonio Transition Center, included a college and career fair, four experiential workshops showcasing positions in multiple career fields, and a youth panel of alumni to discuss “Life after Foster Care.”

“For many youth in foster care, aging out of the system can be a scary and uncertain time,” says Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division. “Too often, when they turn 18 years old they’re on their own trying to navigate college, their first job or first apartment without the traditional family support system to lean on. Our annual conference helps equip them for that transition toward independence.”

Approximately 100 youth were in attendance, as well as volunteers and 16 of BCFS’ community partners including UTHSC-UT Health, Metropolitan Health District, and Alamo Community Colleges. The event was sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio, Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) Mexico Center, and Full Force Foundation.

Many of the workshops focused on inspiring youth to pick a career field and commit to working hard to find a good job. Professionals from the fields of healthcare, public service, arts and science came to discuss educational requirements and healthy expectations about joining the workforce.

“During the ‘Life After Foster Care’ panel, several youth who went through the system and emerged successful, spoke about their struggles learning how to stand on their own two feet after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home,” says Tramelle Jones, BCFS’ Texas Workforce Advocate who helps youth find gainful employment. “It inspired the youth to hear they can take control of their future, stay focused, and work hard to achieve their dreams.”

The theme for this year’s conference was “Become a Super Hero,” because according to Gayle Spencer-Davis, the associate executive director for BCFS’ Community Services Division, the youth need to “learn the super power of flying forward towards a successful future regardless of their past.”

BCFS’ San Antonio Transition Center serves youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults facing challenges like homelessness, poverty, or those recovering from physical and emotional abuse. The center is a “one-stop-shop” that provides youth counseling, case management, and assistance with education, employment, housing location and medical care.

To learn more about the BCFS San Antonio Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/SanAntonio.

Graduating Youth in Foster Care Receive a Full “Hope Chest” from  BCFS Health and Human Services’ Lubbock Transition Center

BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center celebrated the high school and college graduations of 19 youth in foster care and those who have aged out of care with a luncheon followed by a shopping spree for the youth to purchase adulthood necessities like towels, bedding and kitchenware. This annual event, called “Hope Chest,” not only recognizes youth for their accomplishments, but equips them with items they need for their next steps towards adulthood and independence.

LUBBOCK – On Wednesday, June 18, BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center celebrated the high school and college graduations of 19 youth in foster care and those who have aged out of care with a luncheon followed by a shopping spree for the youth to purchase adulthood necessities like towels, bedding and kitchenware. This annual event, called “Hope Chest,” not only recognizes youth for their accomplishments, but equips them with items they need for their next steps towards adulthood and independence.

At the Target shopping spree, thirteen high school graduates, each armed with $550 in store credit and a list of practical household items, were accompanied by a staff member or volunteer helping them navigate the store. They had to calculate a 15% discount provided by Target before heading to the register. Six college graduates each received a $1,000 Target gift card.

BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center Director Kami Jackson described the event as emotional and uplifting, filled with lots of hugs and happy tears. “The youth we serve become part of our family, so coming together to celebrate their achievements is a special homecoming – something many of them will remember the rest of their lives,” said Jackson.

Four alumni of the transition center’s programs gave speeches at the luncheon, held at Experience Life church, sharing stories of their time in foster care, inspiring other youth to overcome obstacles to pursue their dreams, and to “rise above the label of foster kid.”

All the high school grads have a plan to go to college, four of whom have already been accepted to Texas Tech University. Nationally, only 2% of youth in foster care ever graduate college, so in a particularly emotional moment at the luncheon, the grads were congratulated for “breaking the mold and beating the statistics.”

At the shopping spree, each youth is given a budget and a list of items to buy. Youth do not have enough money to purchase everything on the list or buy all name-brand items, so it is up to them to decide what is essential and how much they are willing to pay.

“One of the coolest things about our Hope Chest shopping experience is that it teaches youth the importance of money management,” said Jackson. “It’s important for us to create these parameters and give our youth a list to stick to for a couple of reasons. For one, most 18 year olds don’t automatically think of needing to buy sponges or dish detergent. And two, if we didn’t put guidelines in place, I bet every youth would walk out of Target with a big screen TV instead of a shower curtain. The former is obviously not an essential.”

According to Jackson, Hope Chest is made possible by donations from Experience Life church, Betenbough Homes, Diekemper Family Foundation, Community Partners of Lubbock, Big Plate Restaurant Supply, and several local families and individuals.

For teens aging out of foster care, the BCFS Lubbock Transition Center offers more than “one stop” ease to accessing resources and assistance. Similar to the role of a parent or adult mentor, the transition center teaches youth basic life skills, like how to manage a bank account or rent an apartment. They also offer career training and connections, educational assistance, literacy-boosting programs, and more. To learn more about the BCFS Lubbock Transition Center and Hope Chest, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Lubbock.

To support Hope Chest and the work of the transition center by donating, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (806) 792-0526, give securely online, or send checks to 125 Chicago Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79416.