Dodge Jones Foundation Awards $200,000 to BCFS Health and Human Services’ Abilene Transition Center

The Dodge Jones Foundation awarded $200,000 to BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Abilene Transition Center to expand the facility’s physical footprint and, therefore, it’s capacity to serve more youth and young adults in need throughout the Big Country.
Since opening in 2010, the transition center has quadrupled the number of lives it touches annually. Currently, the center serves approximately 200 youth and families each month, offering support services that include case management; counseling; assistance with education, employment and housing; life skills training; college preparation; and transition planning. It is a “one-stop-shop” for youth in or aging out of foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, or others struggling with challenges such as homelessness, substance abuse, unplanned pregnancy,  and more.
“The growth we’ve experienced in such a short time is truly a testament to the need and effectiveness of the ‘one stop’ model of delivering care,” said Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division.
“The Dodge Jones Foundation has been one of our greatest champions, supporters and partners since opening our doors three years ago,” she continued. “Our shared philosophy recognizes that the investment they are making today is not in BCFS HHS, but rather in the belief that every child in our community, regardless of their past, can be part of the fabric that makes Abilene a safe and prosperous place to call home.”
Collocating with community partners, such as the Texas Workforce Commission and local universities, allows the BCFS HHS center to offer comprehensive – and non-duplicated – services in an effective and cost-efficient manner. Expansion of the center will nearly double its size, making it possible to dedicate more space for partners, as well as bolster the center’s capacity to reach a larger number of youth and families. Construction is planned to begin in January and be completed by springtime.

BCFS Men’s Breakfast is a “Grand Slam!”

Big news was made during the program as President & CEO of BCFS HHS’ parent organization, Kevin C. Dinnin, announced the organization would match dollar-for-dollar – up to $500,000 – all gifts given to complete the capital campaign.

Organization announces $500,000 matching grant to complete the Kerrville Transition Center capital campaign

More than 180 men – and many women too – came together to support the development of Kerrville’s new youth transition center, operated by BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS). The baseball-themed breakfast featured former pro-outfielder and author of Headed Home: A MLB All-Star’s Search for Truth, Glenn Wilson.
Big news was made during the program as President & CEO of BCFS HHS’ parent organization, Kevin C. Dinnin, announced the organization would match dollar-for-dollar – up to $500,000 – all gifts given to complete the capital campaign.
“BCFS is investing in this program because, like many other philanthropic foundations throughout this community, we believe not only in its mission, but in its effectiveness to make Kerrville a safer and more prosperous place to call home,” said Dinnin.
BCFS HHS established the Kerrville Transition Center in 2007 as a “one stop shop” where youth in foster care or those who face the potential of homelessness could 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. Over the years, demand for services at the center exploded beyond original projections. The transition center and its partners now serve more than 4,000 youth, young adults and families annually.
Fueled by a $500,000 challenge grant from the Cailloux Foundation, BCFS HHS has secured more than $1.7 million to build the $2.2 million facility. The organization intends to begin construction of the new facility in early 2014. The new center will be built on a site provided by the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country, and will also house Partners in Ministry-Vision Youth, Families & Literacy, Inc. and Art 2 Heart.
“Supporting the Kerrville Transition Center has at least five-times the impact thanks to all the partners that will use this location to serve those in need,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS HHS Executive Director – Community Services Division. “By leveraging and maximizing our shared talents and resources, our new center will be able to serve more deserving youth and families through even more effective means.”

The Building Blocks of Faith

BCFS Health and Human Services, together with a team of compassionate and handy neighbors in Kerrville, Texas, helps a seventy-seven year old single great-grandmother with sole custody of her three young great-grandchildren expand her home to meet CPS licensing standards.

By:  Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
To say Wanna Runyan has a full house is an understatement. The seventy-seven year old single great-grandmother has sole custody of her three young great-grandchildren: six year old twins, Payton and Paige, and their five year old sister, Kodi. Runyan, who also cares for an elderly family member, could no doubt make a happy home for the girls, but she needed another bedroom in her small Kerrville home to comply with Child Protective Services licensing standards.
Photo: Woman and girls
Runyan and her great-granddaughters loved the butterflies, pink paint and other girlie accents that made their new room feel like home.

How would she ever get a room addition? “It would have to be a miracle,” Runyan said.

Neighbors and friends heard about Runyan’s dilemma. One such acquaintance, a volunteer from Christian Assistance Ministry, contacted Partners in Ministry and the ball started rolling.
“It is indescribable how it all came together,” said Jeff Anderson, Executive Director of Partners in Ministry. Anderson began working with a neighbor, Bob Meader, who drew up plans for the project. TJ Moore Lumber Yard, Home Depot and MG Builders all donated supplies or gave discounts to make the room addition come together.
BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Kerrville Transition Center (KTC) was asked to assist with labor. YouthBuild, a program of KTC, helps young adults who dropped out of high school further their education goals while also learning the construction trade. YouthBuild construction manager, Keith Schoonmaker, said his youth put in more than 120 hours of sweat and hard work, learning to give back to their community.
One BCFS HHS YouthBuild student, Eddy, shared his excitement about the project. “To go from nothing to being a room was amazing,” he said. “I loved the experience and learned a lot.”
“When they started building, I cried,” smiled Runyan. “I could not believe it was happening to me. It was like a dream.”
“When you do not have much money, something like this is like winning the lottery,” she continued.
Runyan’s three great-grandchildren became very fond of BCFS HHS’ YouthBuild youth and staff, looking forward each day to their arrival on the construction site. Schoonmaker and his assistant, Russell Wells, even made the three young kids wear safety goggles and a hard hat when they came out to “help.”
Last month, more than thirty-six friends, staff and volunteers from BCFS HHS, Partners in Ministry and Christian Assistance Ministry gathered for the ribbon cutting and the celebration.
When the doors opened to the pink bedroom, six year old Paige was asked, “Who built your new room?”
“Jesus built this room,” she answered.

BCFS Health and Human Services Awarded Grant to Strengthen Families throughout Texas

BCFS Health and Human Services is launching a new dynamic, community-based parenting program aimed at reconnecting, strengthening and empowering families to create positive environments for their children.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services awarded BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) a five-year contract to lead a dynamic, community-based parenting program aimed at reconnecting, strengthening and empowering families to create positive environments for their children. The program, called Texas Families: Together and Safe (TFTS), will serve more than 2,100 families annually in Bexar, Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces and Kerr counties.

“Being a responsible parent involves making decisions in the best interest of your child. It also means learning from mistakes and making better choices in the future to ensure children feel safe and loved, no matter what,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS HHS executive director of the Community Services Division. “Strengthening communication and learning more about the perspectives of all members of a household are proven ways to mitigate abuse and build an unbreakable bond within a family.”

Families with children ages 3 to17, who do not have an open CPS case or a previously substantiated case of abuse or neglect, are eligible to participate in the program. TFTS’ lessons and tools are beneficial to any parent interested in learning how to bond with their children, while still guiding, supervising and disciplining them when necessary. Classes are especially suited for families with added stressors, like overworked parents, single parents, divorced couples, and foster parents – or anyone interested in learning how to create a healthier home for their child. Parents who participate in the ten-week course will receive wraparound support services, including referrals to other community providers and assistance meeting their basic needs.

The TFTS curriculum focuses on how to best:

  • Reduce conflict and improve family communication
  • Improve behavior problems in children
  • Deal with complicated, strong emotions
  • Validate a parent’s strengths
  • Deal with complex issues like aggression, alcohol and violence

Families interested in participating may visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/TFTS to learn more.

Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation Invest in Youth Transition Center

The Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation Invests $125,000 in Building Kerrville’s New Youth Transition Center

The Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation has awarded BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) $125,000 toward the construction of a new Kerrville Transition Center that serves youth in foster care and those facing other struggles, such as homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, unplanned pregnancies and more. The project has received significant support from many community leaders, organizations and philanthropists passionate about filling an unmet need for youth of the Hill Country.

“Since we opened Kerrville’s original transition center six years ago, demand for services has exploded,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS HHS Executive Director of the Community Services Division. “We are grateful to the Peterson Foundation and all those who have and will invest in the expansion of transitional care services, so we may continue to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and, importantly, non-duplicated care to youth making the transition into independence and adulthood.”

Transition centers bring together under one roof services such as counseling, case management, access to medical care, emergency housing assistance, life skills training, literacy training, educational support, and connections to employment and educational opportunities. The new transition center will continue to be operated by BCFS HHS, while also housing four other non-profits: Art 2 Heart; Families & Literacy; and Partners In Ministry-Vision Youth. In addition, it will provide space on an as-needed basis for other community partners to directly offer services to youth.

The capital campaign was fueled by a $500,000 challenge grant from The Cailloux Foundation to build a new “one stop” transition center on the non-profit block managed by the Community Foundation. The new 16,000 square foot Kerrville Transition Center will provide a robust place where compassion and help will be available to serve more than 4,000 individuals in need each year. Christian Women’s Job Corps and Big Brothers Big Sisters will remain on the campus and offer coordinated services as well.

“We support the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country and BCFS HHS in this capital project and urge others to support it as well,” said Sandy Cailloux Executive Director of the Cailloux Foundation. “Helping at-risk youth and young adults become more responsible and self-sufficient gives them a much better start in life and strengthens our entire community.”

All gifts to the new Kerrville Transition Center are tax deductible. Checks may be made out to BCFS and mailed to 550 Earl Garret Suite 114 in Kerrville or at www.DiscoverBCFS.net/StepUp

Dimas Named BCFS Health and Human Services’ Associate Executive Director

BCFS names Kenia Dimas associate executive director for the agency’s South Texas community-based operations. As associate executive director, she will be responsible for overseeing the growth and success of community-based programs that touch the lives of thousands.

BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS), a global non-profit organization headquartered in Texas with locations from coast-to-coast and on four continents, has named Kenia Dimas, of Corpus Christi, as associate executive director for the agency’s South Texas community-based operations.

“During a time when many organizations and business have struggled, BCFS HHS continues to grow thanks to strategic development and a strong commitment to always deliver what we promise,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS HHS Executive Director of the Community Services Division.

“Kenia has a track record of meeting challenging and sometimes unchartered programmatic and financial goals, while never wavering to put what is right for the youth we serve first. This commitment to getting the job done – and done right – is why I know that she will be a great asset for BCFS HHS as we continue to build our reach across the state.”

Dimas has been with BCFS HHS since 2008 and has more than 11 years of experience working with at-risk children and youth. As associate executive director, she will be responsible for overseeing the growth and success of community-based programs that touch the lives of thousands.

Non-profit Campus Set to Expand

The symbiotic relationship on Kerrville’s non-profit campus saves youth from homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment, crime and unplanned pregnancies. Thanks to the Ruby Stevens Foundation, Hal Peterson Foundation, Sterling-Turner Foundation, Cailloux Foundation and other organizations and individuals in the community, more than $1 million has been secured to expand the campus.

By Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

In 2005, The Cailloux Foundation hosted a community meeting to find out what was going on with former foster youth in our community. Finding resources and accessing assistance is a difficult web to navigate, especially for young adults without parents or other strong support systems to help guide them. That’s when BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Terri Hipps – who lives in Kerrville – presented the idea of opening a transition center.

BCFS HHS helped establish Texas’ first youth transition center in San Antonio in 2000. In a single location, foster youth saw their case manager, received help with their FAFSA, engaged in life skills training, and more. If youth had to travel to different sites throughout the city to access these services, they would never get everything they needed. When providers are all located together, youth receive the comprehensive, coordinated – and non-duplicated – care they need to make the transition into adulthood.

The Kerrville community partners were interested in bringing this kind of “one stop” model to their town. To get started, the Cailloux Foundation provided grant money to the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country with the purpose of establishing a nonprofit campus for Kerrville. The Community Foundation in turn acquired two pieces of property two blocks east of the Kerr County Courthouse where Main and Broadway split. The property had a house (currently occupied by BCFS HHS’ Kerrville Transition Center), a cottage that is home to Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), and a building now home to the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Kerr County (CWJC).

For six years now, the block at 1105 E. Main Street has served as a centralized location where non-profits work together to leverage their resources and better serve former foster youth and other clients. The symbiotic relationship among the agencies was effective in saving youth from homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment, crime and unplanned pregnancies. Each year, the Kerrville Transition Center helps thousands of teens and young adults. Yet, the growth of available services is now spilling out beyond the block and into buildings around town – negating the “one stop” ease that originally inspired the development.

Now, the Cailloux Foundation has again stepped up for foster youth. The organization has issued a $500,000 challenge grant to build a new “one stop” building. The transition center will not only house BCFS HHS, but also Art-2-Heart, Families & Literacy, and Partners In Ministry Vision Youth, and other human services organizations. CWJC and BBBS will also remain on the campus.

“Everyone at the Community Foundation is very excited about this next step in realizing the vision of the campus. The BCFS HHS Transition Center will certainly provide the impetus for fulfillment of our nonprofit campus dream,” said Paul Urban, Executive Director for the Community Foundation. “As a result of BCFS HHS’ efforts, it has given the foundation the opportunity to develop a master plan to attract other nonprofits too.”

Kristin Cook, Branch Coordinator for BBBS said, “I am very excited to see the nonprofit campus planning in its final stages because I strongly believe it will be a true asset to our community. It will enhance communication between these nonprofits which will ultimately benefit clients and the community. All of the resources someone could need will be at an arm’s length.”

Another campus partner stated, “CWJC can only see great benefits with this campus. Many people, regardless of their gender or severity of need, will be able to access the help, training, and aide they require to move forward in their lives. We look forward to having many non-profits easily accessible and working together for the good of the Kerrville community,” said Ann Buck, current CWJC Executive Director.

Thanks to the support of the Ruby Stevens Foundation, the Hal Peterson Foundation, the Sterling-Turner Foundation, the Cailloux Foundation and other organizations and individuals in the community, more than $1 million has been secured to build the new facility. The new 16,000 square foot Kerrville Transition Center will provide a robust place where compassion and help will be available for thousands in the Texas Hill Country.

“We support the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country and BCFS HHS in this capital project and urge others to support it as well,” said Sandy Cailloux Executive Director of the Cailloux Foundation. “Helping at-risk youth and young adults become more responsible and self-sufficient gives them a much better start in life and strengthens our entire community.”

For more information, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (830) 928-9387.

BCFS Commits $225,000 Challenge Grant to Abilene’s “Our House”

Commitment is in addition to $250,000 in capital and construction costs BCFS has already invested in the transitional living home

Last December, BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) celebrated the grand opening of its transitional living home for homeless teens and young adults, called “Our House.” Now, BCFS HHS’ parent company, BCFS, is committing a $225,000 challenge grant over three years to solidly plant the organization’s footprint and mission in Abilene for years to come. The grant must be matched by the community, and is in addition to the $250,000 in capital and construction costs BCFS has already invested in Our House, and the $194,000 contributed by the city and private donors.

“We are investing in the Our House program because we believe in its mission, its effectiveness, and its ability to make Abilene a better place for everyone who calls this city their home,” said Kevin C. Dinnin, BCFS President and CEO.

“With the support of community leaders, private funders, and our sister agencies, Hendrick Medical Center and Hardin-Simmons University, I know the Abilene community has the passion and motivation needed to get our youth off the streets and onto the path of stable, independent and successful lives. Our House is proud to be part of that mission.”

According to the Abilene Independent School District, an estimated 981 students were homeless at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year. Foster youth are especially vulnerable to homelessness. In fact, within 18 months of aging out of the state foster care system, 50 percent of youth struggle to put a roof over their heads.

Our House addresses the issue of homelessness head-on and provides a pipeline into BCFS HHS’ Abilene Transition Center, which houses a comprehensive network of community organizations, as well as private and government partners, that makes accessing resources simple for at-risk youth.

“Comprehensive services, like those coordinated through BCFS HHS’ Abilene Transition Center, are seen as lifesavers when you consider the overwhelming likelihood of foster youth and those in the juvenile justice system becoming homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and involved in crime,” said Johnny Nguyen, Program Director for BCFS HHS’ Abilene Transition Center.

The vision for Our House was sparked by Abilene’s Christian Community Development Corporation (CCDC), whose board members included passionate and influential community members like Randy Perkins and Nancy Capra. At CCDC’s request, BCFS HHS took on the project of bringing Our House from a dream, to reality.

Today, Our House provides a safe haven for males between the ages of 18-23. The decision to serve young men exclusively was based on the higher demand for housing for young men than young women. Plus, there are currently more options available to young women.

“It is critical that these young and impressionable young men have a safe place just for them. Because of the struggles they’ve faced in foster care or as a result of other traumas, they are extraordinarily vulnerable to becoming victimized and influenced by older individuals who are also coping with the issues surrounding homelessness,” said Nguyen.

Some youth may need help from BCFS HHS’ Our House for a month, while another young adult may need to stay for a year. BCFS HHS designs each youth’s transition plan based on their specific strengths and needs. While young adults aren’t charged rent in the traditional sense, they are required to save money. This is put aside in a fund available to them when they leave to use toward a down payment for an apartment. Ultimately, this is just one of many ways BCFS HHS helps stabilize and develop youth toward becoming independent, law-abiding adults who aren’t reliant on government or social services.

BCFS Announces Leadership Changes and New “Community Services Division”

BCFS Health and Human Services’ new “Community Services Division” will lead programs that serve thousands of children, families and communities each year. Terri Hipps will serve as executive director, focusing on on developing best practice service models, and expanding programs and community support.

Effective April 1, BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) will join together the Teen & Youth Services and Community-based Services Divisions to create one unified “Community Services Division.”

The new division will lead programs that serve thousands of children, families and communities each year. Terri Hipps, who has been with BCFS HHS for 10 years, will serve as executive director. In this role, she will focus on developing best practice service models, and expanding programs and community support. Under Hipps’ leadership, three associate executive directors will assist with the management of operations throughout the far-reaching division.

Cindi Garcia, who has been with BCFS HHS for 14 years, will make the transition from executive director to vice president of program operations support for BCFS Community and International Operations. In this role, she will lead the agency’s investments in quality assurance, professional development, systems improvement, research, and other special projects.

“Smart and strategic growth management has ensured the BCFS system has had fortitude needed to sustain and expand our work times of prosperity as well as times of challenge,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President of Community and International Operations. “This new structure will support increased standardization of business processes and shared best practices.”

“Terri and Cindi’s longtime leadership as executive directors has played a key part in making BCFS HHS what it is today,” he continued. “In their new roles, I know they will continue to be strong forces in the development of who we will be in the future.”

Guadalupe Street Coffee Receives $50,000 from Rapier Foundation

“Growing up in a rough neighborhood shouldn’t sentence any child to a life of crime, poverty, poor health or other struggles,” said Catarina Velasquez, BCFS HHS Program Director for Guadalupe Street Coffee. “Thanks to investments made by organizations like the Rapier Foundation, Guadalupe Street Coffee will continue be a force on the West Side that increases school retention and enhances teens’ likelihood of graduation and future success.”

The Rapier Foundation announced a $50,000 investment into BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) West Side community development project, Guadalupe Street Coffee.

Located in the heart of San Antonio’s West Side, the coffee shop provides a safe environment that fosters continued learning and educational opportunities for local students. Most students who come into the coffee shop attend school in the San Antonio Independent School District (SA ISD), which only has a 4 year on-time graduation rate of 60.5 percent. Only 56 percent of local residents older than 25 years of age graduated from high school or achieved a higher level of schooling, and 57.7 percent do not have a high school diploma.

“Growing up in a rough neighborhood shouldn’t sentence any child to a life of crime, poverty, poor health or other struggles,” said Catarina Velasquez, BCFS HHS Program Director for Guadalupe Street Coffee. “Thanks to investments made by organizations like the Rapier Foundation, Guadalupe Street Coffee will continue be a force on the West Side that increases school retention and enhances teens’ likelihood of graduation and future success.”

Guadalupe Street Coffee provides job training to teens and leads educational activities that promote healthy – and affordable – nutrition and daily living for local families. According to SA ISD, per capita income on the West Side in 2007 was $9,925. Within a 2 mile radius of Guadalupe Street Coffee, more than 52 percent of residents live below the poverty level.

Guadalupe Street Coffee has also become a hot spot for the West Side’s cultural scene, hosting poetry nights, movies and dance shows that introduced students to the arts and encouraged positive outlets for self-expression.

In six years, the project has served 10,000 school-age children and provided close to 9,000 hours of free services to at-risk youth, such as homework and financial aid assistance, job training, and lessons on nutritional eating and healthy living.

“We understand the importance of education and see BCFS’ Guadalupe Street Coffee as a viable way to mold the young generation of today toward prosperous futures tomorrow,” said Dr. George and Kym Rapier.

The Rapier Family Foundation was founded in 2006. The Rapier Family Foundation donated more than $1 million annually to various causes, including stay-in-school and youth initiatives, animals in need, seniors and children’s health programs from 2006 until 2010. Beginning in 2011, the Rapier Family Foundation has pledged nearly $30 million to San Antonio-area non-profit organizations. The Trust is named after Dr. Rapier’s late son, Blake.