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.

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.