April is Financial Literacy Month
Tax season is almost at an end! While some filed early (tax refund!) or are waiting until the last minute (got to pay), at the end of the day we all have to stay on top of our household finances in order to avoid financial headaches down the line. Seeing that April is Financial Literacy Month, I am excited to share with you how The Salvation Army of Greater Houston collaborates with the United Way so that our clients have access to a stable financial foundation.
Through our Social Services Department, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston offers a wide-variety of programs including supportive services such as rental/utility assistance and gas cards, to name a few. In addition to these services, we also provide information and referrals, one of them being the United Way’s THRIVE program.
United Way’s THRIVE Center in Fort Bend
The United Way’s THRIVE program is considered a “One-Stop Shop” where the main goal is to offer financial stability by teaching clients how to maintain healthy financial habits, offer job search assistance and provide employment resources.
Here at our Salvation Army Social Services Fort Bend office, the THRIVE program we refer our clients to consists of a four-member team: Olivia Owolope, THRIVE Program Manager; Doug White, Financial Coach; Monee Cheney, Employment Coach; Ruby Canales, Resource Support Coaching. These talented and passionate individuals collectively provide information and referrals, advocacy, employment services, financial coaching, referrals to mainstream benefits and much more.
How Salvation Army clients have received support
Every client that seeks services at The Salvation Army is encouraged to attend the United Way’s THRIVE orientation. *Sheril is one of those individuals we referred to THRIVE orientation. She met with the coaches and was eligible to form part of the program. As of March 1st, she has been employed full-time at a day care. She was needing uniforms for work and the THRIVE employment coach referred her to the Work Force Solutions for assistance. This additional assistance is thanks to the connection she made with THRIVE.
Another individual who has received assistance through THRIVE is *Charles. He had been unemployed for a year and recently began working full-time at a grocery store as a stoker. However, Charles is not settling for this job and continues to meet with the employment coach and financial coach when job leads are available for him to apply.
The United Way’s THRIVE program is a very valuable program that anyone can enroll in. And did I mention that it is FREE? The partnership between The Salvation Army and United Way’s THRIVE program continues to grow stronger, which means our clients are better prepared to overcome the obstacles they are facing and move onward and upward in their lives.
The United Way’s THRIVE Center in Fort Bend is located at 12300 Parc Crest Drive, Stafford, Texas 77477. To learn more about the assistance offered through this program, visit unitedwayhouston.org.
*Clients’ names were changed to protect their privacy.
About the Author:
Guadalupe Ramos is the Case Aide at our Social Services satellite office in Fort Bend. Ramos has been with The Salvation Army of Greater Houston since August 2016.
Men from Harbor Light Center enjoy Pepperoni and Cheese Pizzas
For several years now, Little Caesars Pizza has brought their Love Kitchen to prepare pizzas for the clients staying at our Salvation Army Harbor Light Center & Red Shield Lodge, located near Downtown Houston. This year was no different. The Love Kitchen pulled up to the center around 12:30 p.m. to begin preparing pizzas.
Beginning at 3 p.m., men from our Recovery Program, Veterans Program and emergency shelter began lining up and receiving two slices each -accompanied with spinach, fruit cocktail, and salad. Little Caesars prepared 80 pizzas that were distributed to about 300 men.
Thank you Little Caesars Pizza for cooking this delicious treat for the men in our program!
About Little Caesars Love Kitchen
According to their website, the Love Kitchen travels across the United States to help those in need. They have two trucks in operation so that it can be of service 365 days a year. These restaurants on wheels have served more than three million people.
Little Caesars franchise owners donate the resources necessary to make each Love Kitchen serving a success. An estimated 50,000 franchisees, their employees and corporate colleagues have volunteered over the years to support the program in their local communities.
Women from Family Residence and Sally’s House enjoy three-course meal, tea and Zumba
No matter what your past has been, it does not dictate what your future holds. Only you and God know what your purpose is. Fight for that purpose.
This was the recurring theme at this year’s Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary “Lift & Love” Tea that took place on Tuesday, March 21st, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel.
Every year the Women’s Auxiliary invites women from The Salvation Army’s Family Residence – women and children’s homeless shelter, and Sally’s House – women’s emergency shelter and residential recovery program, to enjoy a three-course meal, hear inspirational words, and drink tea; of course.
Inspirational Words of Hope and Support
This year’s co-chairs were Kathy Goossen and Ginger Blanton. They welcomed more than fifty guests to the tea including members of the Women’s Auxiliary Executive Committee. The Chaplain for the Women’s Auxiliary, Sidney Faust, gave the devotional and was followed by remarks from the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel, General Manager, Jacques Drovencourt, who has been a treasured supporter of The Salvation Army for many years.
After enjoying their meal, guests had the opportunity to hear Bridgett Tyler speak. Tyler spoke about the difficult times in her life, including a six-month stay at the Family Residence. She spoke about her journey and of not letting her past determine what the future has in store for her. Today she has been employed at a bank for over twenty years and she spoke proudly about the success of her two grown daughters. “Ladies, hope will get you through these trying times. I love you and I want you to know that just as I am on this stage sharing my story with you, you too will be on this stage sharing your story in the future.”
To conclude the event, The Salvation Army Associate Area Commander, Major Melody Davis, and Family Residence’s Program Manager, Shirah Villegas, led a four-song Zumba session where guests wore their new headbands, Lift & Love t-shirts, and socks –gifts from the Women’s Auxiliary. Davis and Villegas also spoke about why they became certified Zumba instructors and the importance fitness has had in their lives.
The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary is a volunteer, educational and fundraising arm of The Salvation Army in the Greater Houston Area Command.
On April 18, they will host their annual major fundraiser Reflections on Style Luncheon and Fashion Show. The following day, the Chic Boutique Showroom opens to the general public, from April 19 to the 22nd, at 1111 Uptown Park Blvd. This four-day sales event consist of high-end clothing and accessories at an affordable price.
All proceeds from both events benefit The Salvation Army of Greater Houston’s year-round programs and services.
The Salvation Army Family Stores save lives through the Adult Rehabilitation Center
Spring signifies new beginnings… flowers blooming, gardens colored in lush green. For many, this season also ushers in the annual ritual of Spring Cleaning. Just as winter has made way to a picturesque landscape, so too cluttered homes make way to organized and tidy living spaces.
If you tackled on this project over the weekend or are barely making plans to do so, we invite you to donate items you have removed from your home to The Salvation Army. Not only will you be reducing unwanted or unneeded items, you are also allowing others to reuse it and helping men get rehabilitated.
By shopping at one of our Family Stores you are not only helping save our environment, by reusing items that might have otherwise ended up in a landfill, but you are also saving the lives of men who are battling addiction. Our Adult Rehabilitation Centers or “ARCs,” as we refer to them for their acronym, have been providing residential substance abuse recovery for over 100 years. In fact, The Salvation Army is the largest provider of this type of service in the country.
FREE Substance Abuse Recovery Program
A residential drug and alcohol recovery program can cost thousands of dollars, and for someone who is trying to hold together what little life their addiction hasn’t destroyed yet, this cost can mean the difference between living and existing.
Brian Kelly was born and raised in Santa Fe, Texas, a city located 10 miles from Galveston. Growing up his life revolved around sports. He dreamed of playing basketball at the University of Texas but an injury that required multiple surgeries and pain prescriptions kept him from doing so. Unfortunately, this led to an addiction that lasted about seven years. He eventually graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science but had difficulty holding on to a job. Jobless, penniless and about to be evicted from his home, Kelly sought help at the ARC in September 2014. During his six-month stay in the program, Kelly not only addressed the source of his addiction but he was also able to get his life back on track. He worked as a truck driver for our Family Stores and worked his way up to store manager.
Today, almost three years later, Kelly says life couldn’t be any better. “The Salvation Army helped me turn my life around. I participated in the Chevron Houston Marathon’s Run for a Reason program, on behalf of The Salvation Army, and the running bug bit me. Since then I have ran three half and two full marathons. I am currently training to participate in my first triathlon. I am the healthiest I have ever been!”
Your Item Donations Fund the ARC
The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers do not solicit funding from the government. The ARCs are fully supported by The Salvation Army Family Stores. And our stores are stocked with inventory thanks to the generous support of its local community. Every time you visit a Family Store in your area, you have the guarantee that the money you are spending is helping men get a second chance in life.
As you declutter your home, we invite you to add us to your plans of helping get those items you no longer need off your hands. There are many easy ways to donate these items to The Salvation Army:
- Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK, or 713-869-3551 Ext. 1 if you live in the Greater Houston Area, to schedule a pick up.
- Visit satruck.org to schedule your pick up online.
- Download our app to your mobile phone. Not only can you schedule a pick up but you can also find our Family Store and donation bin locations, as well as get donation receipts.
- Stop by one of our many drop off locations, including our seven Family Stores.
Three Ways You Can Begin Your Journey this Lenten Season
The forty days leading up to Easter is a special time. While Lent is marked by serious reflection of one’s life, this is not the absolute focus of the season. Lent, ultimately, is about blessed preparation toward becoming more Christ-like with God’s help.
One of the first places where Jesus mentions what our lives should look like is in His “Beatitudes.” The Beatitudes are a Christian’s guide for life and teaches us what our attitudes, as believers, should be after this self-reflection.
In Matthew 5:3 the Bible says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)” This is not meant to be a financial or depressive condition. Jesus is teaching us to be conscious of our own sin and realize that we are totally dependent on Him for salvation. The word “blessed” in this context means happy. It is not about sorrow or feeling down, but about joy.
Time of Reflection
During this season of Lent we should be reflecting and rejoicing in the fact that God loves us, Jesus saves us, and the Holy Spirit lives in us. Only by knowing and accepting this dependence on God can we truly embrace Him in our daily living and realize that there is life in Jesus.
Instead of beating ourselves up over what we did not do this past year, take these forty days to learn to depend on God, and to do so with clarity and joy. This is the time to return to God’s Spirit so that our lives are in line with Jesus’ actions and attitudes.
Three ways to begin your journey of Lenten Joy
Recognize your own sin.
Sensitivity to sin does not mean a constant state of despair, but of joy. Only by recognizing our sins do we know that God is speaking to us.
Allow God to melt your heart.
Have you ever cried, or almost cried, when you are watching a movie? This sensitivity is what God wants in your relationship with Him. See yourself for what you are and allow God to help you.
Stretch your response, don’t narrow it.
As you become more sensitive to whom you are, you become more aware of your standing before God. You are more aware of the forgiveness God has provided for you. This awareness also brings a whole new outlook about others, seeing people as someone to love instead of someone to use.
The late William Booth, the Founder of The Salvation Army, wanted to contact his officers and soldiers around the world with a message of encouragement. He sent a telegram but, in order to save money, the telegram read one word, “Others”. This was a reminder to them that we are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others.
If, for you, Lent is a time to serve those who are in need, we invite you to volunteer with us. The Salvation Army has a wide variety of programs that serve children, the elderly, and the homeless. We are always in need of volunteers who would like to provide Christ-like help to those who are most in need.
You Are Invited
We also invite you to join us at one of our five Corps (churches) for Sunday worship. We would especially love to see you at one of our Corps for Palm Sunday, April 9th, and/or Easter service, April 16th.
To learn how you can get involved, we invite you to reach out to the location nearest you or call our main number (713) 752-0677 to learn more.
About the Author:
Major David Feeser is the Officer of our Salvation Army Northwest Corps Community Center. Major Feeser, along with his wife Major Louise Feeser, have served at our Northwest location since 2013.
What is a Corporate Match and how do they benefit The Salvation Army?
Corporate matching gift programs are charitable giving programs setup by corporations in which the company matches donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations. For example, if a donor works for Chevron and donates $100 to The Salvation Army, Chevron will double the donation by also writing a check for $100.
Thousands of companies offer matching gift programs. A few examples include:
- Chevron Corporation – Matches donation with $1:$1 up to $10,000 annually per employee and retiree.
- ConocoPhillips – Matches donations with $1:$1 up to $10,000 annually per employee and retiree.
- Shell Oil Co. – Matches donations with $1:$1 up to $5,500 annually per employee and retiree.
The impact of these programs can be substantial! In 2011, Microsoft matched $48.9 million worth of employee donations to schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Did you know that more than 15 million employees work for companies with matching gift programs?
Want to help The Salvation Army?
Increasing fundraising from matching gifts isn’t rocket science. Last year we raised over $100,000 from matching gifts. We know many of our donors work for companies with matching gift programs and we’ve set a goal of raising $150,000 from these programs. If we meet our goal, we’ll be able to better meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
You can immediately assess your eligibility and gain access to detailed corporate giving information about your employer by searching our database of companies with matching gift programs.
We provide you with as much of the following as possible:
- Up-to-date company policies
- Minimum volunteer hours required
- Printed forms or links to the online submission process
- Our nonprofit’s contact information (Tax ID, address, fundraising contact)
If your company isn’t listed, make sure to check with HR as there are many additional companies out there who offer volunteer grant programs. We wish we could submit the required form for you, but unfortunately the employee must submit it. We appreciate you taking five minutes to double your donation.
Are you ready to double your giving? Click here to get started.
2017 Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet
March 1, 2017
Event Chairs:Rhonda Jones, Debby Leighton, Joella Mach
Youth of the Year
Thanks to sponsors, The Salvation Army has been able to award over a $1 million to over 200 participants for the past ten years. We invite you to help support Bright Futures by becoming a sponsor of our Youth of the Year scholarship program.
Levels of Sponsorship
Summer Camp Assistance
Motivated by the love of God, the Mission of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring Christ-centered citizens.