Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) and a humble group of its partners joined together for a night of sweet celebration and barbecue at the home of Jim and Vera Clark in Kingwood, Texas.
The BBQ with CERI Friends annual event was established as a way to say thank you to CERI’s friends and partners and provide an update on the accomplishments of the year. The party began late in the afternoon in the Clarks’ backyard, decorated appropriately for the occasion. Dearing Garner, Director of Pastoral Care, commenced the evening’s festivities with a blessing.
Once the sun set and things cooled down, the event hit its stride as guests settled around the pool where Connie Belciug, Executive Director of CERI, introduced Eileen Purkeypile as CERI’s new Director of Development and Marketing.
Connie then addressed the crowd with a message of appreciation, compassion, and encouragement. “God has built multiple layers of protection and provision around children, so that they would be truly safe and so that their needs would be met,” said Connie. “He created the family to surround children with love, He wrapped a community around the family to provide support, and He situated the community within a nation to uphold the rights of its children and families.”
At the conclusion of the event, Connie thanked all in attendance, as well as the many contributors worldwide who have supported CERI since its inception in 1999. “These are the best gifts you can give an orphan: a path to family here on earth and a path to family in Christ,” said Connie.
CERI and the BCFS System thank Jim and Vera Clark for opening their home for this event, and for their heartfelt hospitality.
To learn more about Children’s Emergency Relief International, visit cerikids.org
Each October, BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio joins organizations nationwide in support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In a country where intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, and where one in four womenhave been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their life, BCFS-Del Rio works diligently to engage the community and share knowledge to identify and prevent domestic abuse.
As part of the month-long movement, a Candlelight Vigil was held October 16 at the Paul Poag Theatre. BCFS-Del Rio joined in honor of those whose lives had been altered or lost to domestic violence. “136 victims passed away in 2017 due to domestic violence,” said Delia Ramos, Director of Community Based Services at BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio, in an interview. “We want to show our community that love shouldn’t hurt – to show how important it is to walk away from a violent situation, and that although it is often very difficult, it’s ok to ask for help.”
Bruno R. Lozano, Mayor of Del Rio, presented a proclamation against domestic violence. In its eighth year, Delia said the Candlelight Vigil remains an effective tool at spreading a message that can prevent harm in the Del Rio community, creating knowledgeable warriors for a worthy cause.
Later in October, a few days after the Candlelight Vigil, local representatives gathered for an interagency meeting. More than 50 individuals from over 11 organizations met to discuss how domestic abuse could most effectively be averted.
“It’s a great time to get to know names and faces of our community organizations,” said Delia, noting that the annual meeting is an important avenue for understanding how entities throughout the Del Rio community can work together to reach common goals.