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.
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.
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.
TYLER – 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 – 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.
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.
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.
Hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services’ San Antonio Transition Center
SAN 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.
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.
In every parent’s mind there runs a continuous ticker of nagging questions, like how do I get my teenager to follow curfew, do their chores, or be kind to their siblings? Or what will make my young child act appropriately in public, stop interrupting, or do their schoolwork? Some parents call friends or family for advice, others search the internet for parenting tips – but some local moms and dads are turning to new support groups that use an evidence-based curriculum and strategies to answer their questions.
These free parenting support groups aimed at strengthening families, called Texas Families: Together and Safe (TFTS), meet weekly to discover how to improve communication, manage stress and resolve conflict within the family. The groups are led by BCFS Health and Human Services’ Kerrville Transition Center.
“Every parent wants to see their child succeed in their education, personal relationships and overall well-being, and many parents look for ways to improve their skills so their child can truly excel,” says Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division. “The moms and dads who participate in our groups learn a lot from one another’s experiences, gain confidence and see that they’re not alone in the struggle to maintain a loving, nurturing home environment.”
Program participants are included in drawings to win prizes that include an Xbox One gaming console worth $500, and assorted packages worth $150 each including a Samsung Galaxy Tab Lite, a Samsung digital camera and digital frame, and a family gift bag of games and movies. Door prizes including gift cards are given away weekly at each group meeting.
“Too often it can be a thankless job to raise a family. So we want to reward families who take the initiative to participate in the meetings by offering prize giveaways that help family members come together for fun, bonding experiences,” says Hipps.
BCFS’ Kerrville Transition Center serves local youth, helping them transition to adulthood and independence by providing case management, counseling, mentorships, assistance with education, employment and housing location, and transitional living apartments. Youth served at the center are in the foster care system, juvenile justice, or at-risk of issues like poverty, homelessness or dropping out of school.
In recent years the transition center rapidly outgrew its small facility, so in early April community leaders gathered on Main Street to break ground on a brand new 20,000 square foot building set to open in early 2015. The new center, named the BCFS Health and Human Services Hill Country Transition Center, will house five non-profits and is expected to serve more than 4,000 children and families annually.
For more information about parent support groups through BCFS’ Kerrville Transition Center, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 928-9267.
To support the work of the transition center by donating, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (830) 896-0993, give securely online, or send checks to 1105 East Main Street, Kerrville, Texas 78028.
Over $4,500 in donations presented by Hendrick Medical Center
ABILENE – At an Alice In Wonderland-themed Mad Hatter party, BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center gathered with local youth, community partners, other non-profits, and Hendrick Medical Center to celebrate the transition center’s third anniversary of serving youth in foster care, those aging out of care, and those at-risk of serious issues like homelessness and substance abuse.
At the event Friday June 6th, staff led tours of the transition center and its programs, donned in Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes, and held a hot dog eating contest, a silly string fight, and a playful game of “water war” with community partners. A ceremony was held to celebrate the achievements of several of the transition center’s youth, and one young man gave a speech about how he turned his life around with the help of the center’s juvenile justice program.
The BCFS Abilene Transition Center is a safe-haven for local youth, helping them transition successfully into adulthood and independence. The center serves youth in foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, and other young adults by providing case management, counseling, mentorships, assistance with education, employment and housing location, and transitional housing for young men called “Our House.”
Hendrick Medical Center presented the BCFS Abilene Transition Center with a check for $2,055 from their Run For Our Youth 5K fundraising event held in April, and surprised the center with gift cards and donations worth another $2,500 to help the youth buy professional clothing for job interviews, pay GED fees, buy bus passes and get state identification cards. Maribeth Jenkins, Elyse Lewis, Michelle Mauldin, and Janice Reeves of Hendrick Medical Center were in attendance.
“We are grateful for the generosity of Hendrick Medical Center, and their gifts demonstrate they truly understand the needs and struggles of our youth,” said Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division. “Too often, young men and women come to us with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and we strive to act as their support system and help them see a brighter future. Partners like Hendrick Medical Center help make this life-change possible in youth who have nowhere else to turn.”
Attendees included youth who utilize the center’s services, as well as representatives from Taylor County Juvenile Probation Department, Providence Service Corporation, Betty Hardwick Center/MHMR, Serenity Foundation, 2-1-1, and the Hendrick Medical Center.
The party marked the BCFS Abilene Transition Center’s 3rd anniversary and the 70th anniversary of BCFS, the global system of health and human service non-profit organizations that operates the Abilene Transition Center and six others like it across Texas.
The transition center will host their inaugural Men’s Field of Dreams Steak & Eggs Breakfast on August 7th at the Abilene Country Club. Men from the Abilene community are invited to enjoy breakfast, live music, a classic car-viewing, and guest speaker Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris, who inspired the book and movie “The Rookie.” All proceeds will benefit the BCFS Abilene Transition Center and Our House. Registration information is available at DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene.
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.
LUBBOCK – The BCFS Health and Human Services’ Lubbock Transition Center has received a $4,800 grant from the Lubbock Area Foundation (LAF) to fund the Court Improvement Project which changed the way local youth in foster care participate in hearings that impact services they receive and their quality of life.
BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center is a safe-haven for local youth, helping youth in foster care, those aging out of care and those at risk of homelessness, poverty or other challenges transition successfully into adulthood and independence. The center – which serves approximately 600 youth each year – provides case management, counseling, mentorships, and assistance with education, employment and housing location.
When BCFS began partnering with Judge Kevin Hart to hold youth hearings at the transition center rather than the intimidating environment of the courthouse, they saw a positive increase in youth’s active participation in hearings, the youth’s satisfaction with the outcomes, and creative collaboration between participants like case workers and family members.
The Lubbock Area Foundation grant will be used to support the Court Improvement Project and pay for things like technology costs for hearings held remotely, transportation costs to ensure youth attend, food and snacks, and other efforts to keep the hearing environments comfortable and inclusive to better serve the youth.
Lubbock Area Foundation is the community foundation for the entire South Plains area and exists to help people who care about the Lubbock area to invest – at any level – in its future. The Foundation provides an easy and effective way for generous people to create permanent charitable endowments for the benefits of this area. Grants are awarded from endowments based on the interest of the donor or through an open competitive process that is responsive to the changing needs of our community.
BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center is hosting their annual Hope Chest luncheon Wednesday June 18th to honor youth in foster care who recently graduated high school and college, and equip them for their next steps toward independence with Target store credit or a shopping spree for necessities like bedding, towels and hygiene supplies.
For more information about BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Lubbock. 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.