The Salvation Army awards $79,000 in scholarships to 15 youth from Greater Houston Area

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston celebrated its annual Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet on February 20, 2018, where $79,000 in scholarship money was awarded to a total of 15 recipients. In the last twelve years, The Salvation Army has awarded more than $1 million to 160 participants through the Youth of the Year program.

The 2018 Youth of the Year overall winner is Maya Barnes, from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Garden City Branch. Barnes competed in the 14 and older age division and received the top prize of a $12,000 college scholarship.

Barnes is currently in ninth grade at Cypress Springs High School. She excels at school and is an avid softball player, forming part of elite teams such as the Houston Astros regional team and Softball Factory national team. Barnes also received the MVP award from the Cy-Fair Intruders softball team. At the banquet, Barnes said, “As for my future aspirations, I plan to be an OB/GYN and plan to come back and work with other children so that they too have access to the opportunities that I have been blessed with.”

The 2018 Junior Youth of the Year winner is Caleb Smith, from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs – Irvington Branch. Caleb competed in the 12 & 13 age group division, winning a $3,000 scholarship.

Smith is a seventh grader at Hamilton Middle School. Active in school sports, Smith is part of the basketball and track teams and is a percussionist in his school band. Outside of school, he has been named the local champion of the NFL’s “Punt, Pass & Kick” competition and recently joined the Houston Astros Inner City baseball program. Speaking about his experience in the Youth of the Year program, Smith said, “This was something outside of my comfort zone but with practice and determination I have proven to myself that I can succeed at this too. I am evolving into a young leader and I am proud of where my achievements are taking me.”

 

 

Older Division Scholarship Recipients

1st – Maya Barnes – Garden City Club – $12,000

2nd – Kahleah Chandler – Garden City Club – $10,000

3rd – Wallace Jones, III – Northwest – $8,000

4th – Maria Slater – International Corps – $7,000

5th – Deon Jackson – Irvington Branch – $7,000

6th – Jacob Chacon – Pasadena Branch – $6,000

7th – Yanna Mouton – Aldine Westfield Branch – $6,000

8th – Breanna Boyd – Aldine Westfield Branch – $6,000

9th – Jewel Fletcher – Garden City Branch – $5,000

10th – Myiesha McCardell – Irvington Branch – $5,000

Younger Division Scholarship Recipients

1st – Caleb Smith – Irvington Branch – $3,000

2nd – Carra Randle – Garden City Branch – $1,000

3rd – Aldo Aguilar – International Corps – $1,000

4th – Hilda Jeronimo – Irvington Branch – $1,000

5th – Omar Escobar – Garden City Branch – $1,000

 

The Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet event was chaired by Sara B. Wise. David Brady, public address announcer for the Houston Texans, served as the event’s master of ceremony.

Participants in the local Youth of the Year competition are members of The Salvation Army Youth programs, including The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs and TRIO Upward Bound Math Science program. The competition is divided into the following age groups: 10 to 11, 12 to 13, and 14 and older. The Youth of the Year program is a national Boys & Girls Clubs initiative, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. In the end, one club member will be selected as the National Youth of the Year winner.

To learn more about The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs, please click here.

The Salvation Army and Texas Local Disaster Recovery Squad Join Forces to Assist Harvey Survivor

The Salvation Army of Greater Houston and Texas Local Disaster Recovery Squad (TX LDRS) will come together on Saturday, February 24 for the final stages of mucking and gutting the property of Houston resident and Hurricane Harvey survivor Asha Ramraj. In addition, The Salvation Army and TX LDRS, along with five other Houston area nonprofits working in disaster relief, are working together to fundraise for her next home.

Asha Ramraj’s Story

Ramraj’s home was devastated by a fire in 2015 and during her efforts to rebuild the structure, her beloved husband, Dhanraj, died suddenly from a heart attack in 2016. Later that year, grief-stricken and alone, she did her best to save her home in the Tax Day Floods, and the belongings that remained were flooded and washed away by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

The Salvation Army and Ramraj cross paths

The Salvation Army first came across Ramraj while distributing donations in the Aldine area. She had been living in the remains of her utility room with only a rusted piece of metal for a roof. The Salvation Army provided financial assistance to help her pay past-due bills. “Mrs. Ramraj’s resilience and determination is the embodiment of what it means to be ‘Houston Strong,’” said Melanie Pang, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston’s Manager of Emergency Services. “Mrs. Ramraj is not just rebuilding her property, she’s rebuilding her life, and we are all honored to be a part of that journey.”

Enter TX LDRS

In order to continue to assist Ramraj with her property, The Salvation Army reached out to TX LDRS who began the process of clearing her property of hazardous materials. Among TX LDS past and ongoing efforts to assist Ramraj: recruit volunteers and donate 40 yard dumpster for initial and upcoming muck and gut, cut down trees impinging on neighbor’s yard, and provided a truck load of care packages.

“Being able to meet Asha and understand the tremendous heartache and loss she has experienced changes you,” said Melissa Vivanco, Vice President of TX LDRS. “Asha has been surviving with little to nothing, yet still manages to smile big. She deserves a second chance and it would mean everything to me to see her have a place she can call home again.”

It takes a village

With the goal to continue to meet Ramraj’s needs, a community-wide collaboration has formed. BakerRipley has assisted with care packages and other support. SBP is working to find her next housing solution, while The Alliance for Multicultural Community Services will continue to support her with case management services. Texas Q has helped to sponsor meals for volunteers and Houston Police Explorers – Central Post 2061 assisted with massive cleanup at the start of the project.

How you can get involved

For those interested in donating to help build Ramraj’s next home, please click here.

To become a trained volunteer with The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team, click here.

Community Coffee Co. Partners with The Salvation Army to Support Texas Flood Relief

On February 20th, Community Coffee Company presented a $125,000 check to The Salvation Army to benefit its ongoing flood and hurricane relief efforts in Texas.

The donation is the result of funds raised through the sale of all Community® coffee products from September through October, and will help support those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We can’t thank Community Coffee enough for their generosity,” said Major Kent Davis, area commander of The Salvation Army of Greater Houston. “Many families are still recovering from the damage and flooding, and this donation will make a huge difference in helping them rebuild their lives.”

Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts

The Salvation Army’s rapid and immediate response to Hurricane Harvey was the largest scale disaster response effort since Hurricane Katrina. More than 100 Salvation Army mobile kitchens were deployed throughout Texas serving almost 1 million meals and providing cleanup kits, comfort kits and practical and spiritual support in communities left devastated by the storm.

In the months since, The Salvation Army has established 10 warehouses as Points of Distribution in affected areas. Through these locations those affected have received 31,945 food boxes, 67,652 packs of cleanup supplies, more than 80,000 orders of infant supplies, and 97,675 hygiene kits. Additionally, Salvation Army caseworkers have delivered more than $1.35 million in direct financial assistance to individuals and families.

“After providing 372,000 cups of Community coffee and equipment to flood evacuees and first responders, we knew we wanted to do more to help Texas communities get back on their feet,” said David Belanger, president & CEO of Community Coffee Company. “We’re honored to partner with The Salvation Army and ensure local families are continuing to get the support and resources they need.”

Belanger awarded a total of $125,000 to The Salvation Army at the organization’s Greater Houston disaster warehouse.

About Community Coffee Company

Now in its 98th year, Community Coffee Company houses the largest family-owned and operated retail coffee brand in America, and four generations of the Saurage family have operated the company since its inception. Founded in 1919, Community Coffee Company is an importer, roaster and distributor of the highest-quality premium coffees and teas, using only 100% Arabica coffee beans. For additional information, visit CommunityCoffee.com.

Salvation Army Youth are Slaying Stereotypes

Overcoming Stereotypes

I believe everyone has stereotypes and preconceived notions that others use to define them. These harmful labels ensure that that person doesn’t live up to their fullest potential. I have been afflicted by these caricatures all my life, however, whenever straight As appear on my report card or whenever I win a debate tournament, I am defying these stereotypes of myself. This is precisely what the Upward Bound program has taught me to do. To challenge and confront stereotypes.

Faces of the Upward Bound Program

Upward Bound is a remarkably unusual program. We have students from all walks of life; coming from all corners of the world. Each unique in every single way, except one, all Upward Bound students are united in the fact that we are all outsiders. The Pakistani girl who fled an arranged marriage in her home-country, whose parents discouraged her from finishing high school, but now passionately pursues higher education. The Hispanic boy who refuses a life as a construction worker or as a gardener but who one day aspires to become an aerospace engineer. The 6 ft 5 in African American student who hates football and hates basketball but already knows how to code and one day hopes to become a computer scientist. I pride myself on being an outsider. I pride myself in defying stereotypes. I pride myself on being a devoted member of the Upward Bound program.

Higher Education a Reality

It is through this same program I was able to apply for, get accepted to and attend Pomona College with a full-ride scholarship. Were it not for the guidance and support offered to me by my mentors at the Upward Bound program, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Besides the countless weekends I spent getting tutored for the SAT or attending college application workshops, the scholarship award given to me by The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year program made it possible for me to attend my dream school, which is in a state entirely different from my home, 2,000 miles away. I owe all the success I have to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs and the Upward Bound program, and all the people in it that sought to believe in me and to make my potential a reality.

Message to Youth of the Year Participants

To all those applying for the scholarship, I want to commend you on your efforts. I want to let you know that you are a role model for younger friends, your younger siblings, your younger cousins, your younger nephews, and everybody in your neighborhood. Slowly but truly we are making our communities a better place… and The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs, the Youth of the Year program, and Upward Bound are all we have to thank for it.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tesfamichael Negussie was The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year 2017 overall winner, receiving the top prize of $10,250. Negussie participated in The Salvation Army’s Upward Bound Program at Wisdom High School. Currently, he attends Pomona College in Claremont, California.

Negussie is an Ethiopian immigrant who came to the United States at the age of two. During his high school career, he excelled academically and participated in community service activities, including founding the Young Ethiopian Council.

Annual Youth of the Year Scholarship Banquet to be held February 20, 2018

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston is proud to announce that this year’s Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet will take place Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 6 p.m., at the Briar Club, located at 2603 Timmons Ln, Houston, TX 77027.

Every year, The Salvation Army awards thousands of dollars in scholarships through this program. Since its inception, The Salvation Army has awarded over $900,000 to more than 140 participants. Last year, 24 youth received a total of $64,000.

Scholarship Participants

Participants in the Youth of the Year competition are members of the following The Salvation Army Youth Programs:

  • The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston: Aldine Westfield Branch, Garden City Branch, Irvington Branch, Northwest Branch, and Pasadena Branch
  • Upward Bound college preparatory program: Wisdom High School, Yates High School
  • International Corps Community Center

This year the Youth of the Year scholarship competition was divided into two divisions:12 & 13 years old, 14 & older. The winners from both will deliver their inspirational speeches at the banquet.

How You Can Help

The Awards Banquet is a fundraising event open to the public by ticket purchase or sponsorship. Individual tickets are $175 and levels of sponsorship range from $1,500 to $25,000. The proceeds raised through this year’s banquet will be used for college scholarships and summer day camp. Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased by contacting Erika Green at 832.201.8026 or via e-mail, erika.green@uss.salvationarmy.org.

About Youth of the Year

The Youth of the Year program is a national Boys & Girls Clubs initiative, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members and with one club member being selected as the National Youth of the Year.

About The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs serves over 3,000 children annually with a majority of the Club members coming from disadvantaged circumstances, single parent homes, and some even homeless. Your generosity provides a pathway to “Bright Futures” through strong Christian beliefs and hard work.

To learn more about The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, please call 832-201-8077 or click here: SalvationArmyHouston.org/youth.

A Christmas Miracle for the Montemayor Family

Assistance Falls into Place to Help Family of Eight Days Before Christmas

It was a few days before Christmas and it was not looking bright for the Montemayor family. Pablo Montemayor works hard but the money he makes only covers the necessities for his family of eight. As he watched the local evening news, he heard  that The Salvation Army was distributing gifts to families in need for Christmas. The next day, he rounded up his wife and six children, ages 4 to 17, and drove to the nearest Salvation Army location to see if they could receive assistance.

At the Northwest Corps Community Center, it was the final day of distribution and a staff member was outside directing traffic of the families picking up their Angel Tree bags when she met Pablo. Moved by his efforts, and with the officer’s blessing, she asked the family to come back the following day for some items from the toy reserve. It would not be much but she wanted to offer them something.

Fire Department to the Rescue

That same day, the Northwest Corps was getting ready to close for the day when a fire official with the Cypress Creek Fire Department walked in and asked if the Corps would accept a fire truck’s worth of toy donations. They did and the Corps now had a classroom filled with about a hundred toys! When the Montemayor family returned the following day, the children were able to personally pick out toys and stuffed animals from the items the fire station had donated.

Meant to be

When Angel Tree registration closes in October, families who reach out afterwards are referred to the United Way’s helpline in order to be connected with non-profit organizations who are still registering for Christmas assistance. But sometimes things just fall into place and are meant to be, just like it did with the Montemayor family.

As for Pablo Montemayor and his family, they were overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness they received that Friday before Christmas. His message to everybody who donated to the Angel Tree program, “Thank you for putting a smile on children’s faces and especially for the help you give parents through these donations. We are very grateful.”

Sign up to be a bell ringer

The bell ringing season officially kicks off nationally on Thanksgiving Day and runs through Christmas Eve, when the red kettles are packed away for the season.

Thanks to our bell ringers, every year The Salvation Army of Greater Houston is able to raise over a $1,000,000  through our Red Kettle campaign. All the money raised in the Greater Houston Area stays in our community, helping fund our year-round programs and services.

Want to be a Bell Ringer?

The Salvation Army of Greater Houston has six (6) Corps Community Centers that spearhead our Red Kettle Campaign. Each of our Corps Community Centers is in charge of different areas of our city. The best way to volunteer as a bell ringer is to find the Corps Community Center closest to you or to the store you’d like to ring bells at.





History of Red Kettle Campaign

A Salvation Army Captain in San Francisco had resolved in December of 1891 to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor. He remembered his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England where the boats came in, he saw a large pot into which charitable donations were thrown by passersby. This is how his idea of placing a pot in a conspicuous area for donations came about.  By Christmas 1895, the kettle was used in 30 Salvation Army locations in various sections of the West Coast area.

Today, donations to The Salvation Army kettles at Christmas help support the nearly 30 million people served by the Army and can be found in many foreign countries such as Korea, Japan, Chile, many European countries and Australia.

Community Thanksgiving Meals at The Salvation Army

The Greater Houston Area has been through a lot these past two months. During Harvey -and now after- our community came together to helped each other out during our greatest time of need. There is a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of giving thanks and coming together to help those who have hit hard times, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston is inviting the community, especially those affected by Hurricane Harvey, to join us this Thanksgiving Day at three of our homeless shelters.

Harbor Light Center

Our homeless shelter for men, Harbor Light Center, located at 2407 North Main, will be serving meals to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Family Residence

Our Family Residence, a homeless shelter for families, located at 1603 Mc Gowen, will open its doors at 12 noon, serving until 3 p.m.

Conroe’s Center of Hope

For those living in Montgomery County, we are excited to announce that our Salvation Army Conroe Corps will be bringing back the Thanksgiving Feast, in collaboration with the Friends of Conroe, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at our new individual and family homeless shelter: Wayne Bergstrom Center of Hope, 301 Avenue E.

Pasadena Corps

Volunteer staff from The Cheesecake Factory in Friendswood will once again join our Pasadena Corps Community Center to host the annual Thanksgiving Day Feast with The Salvation Army. From 10 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving Day, staff volunteers from the restaurant will prepare a full-service, sit-down meal that includes freshly roasted turkey with all the trimmings and The Cheesecake Factory’s famous seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake. Tickets to the annual Thanksgiving Day Feast have been distributed in advance.

 

In addition to the Thanksgiving feasts we will be hosting for both our clients and the public at these locations, our other program locations will also be hosting private Thanksgiving activities for our clients and members.

2017 Mall Angel Tree Program

Support The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, which provides Christmas assistance for disadvantaged children and senior citizens. Select a child or senior who registered in our gift assistance program at any of the participating malls below. For questions about the Mall Angel Tree at a specific mall, please contact the Corps Community Center in charge of that location.

Can’t make it out to the mall? Adopt an Angel Online! Click here to get started.

Easy as one, two, three!

  1. STEP ONE: Select an angel tag off our “Angel Tree” at the mall.
  2. STEP TWO: Shop for your angel.
  3. STEP THREE: Bring back the unwrapped gifts to the Angel Tree at the mall.

Participating Malls

The Galleria Mall
5085 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77056
 

2nd floor near Play Area

Contact:

International Corps

713-988-5201

Start date: Fri., November 10, 2017

Deadline: Wed., December 20, 2017

Monday – Saturday: 10am-8pm

Sunday: 2pm-7pm

Willowbrook Mall
2000 Willowbrook Mall
Houston, TX 77070
 

Nearest Store: Sears

Contact:

Northwest Corps

832-200-4620

Start date: Fri., November 24, 2017

Deadline: Mon., December 11, 2017

Monday – Saturday: 9am-9pm

Sunday – 11am – 7pm

Memorial City Mall
303 Memorial City
Houston, Texas 77024
 

Near the food court, beside the carousel

Contact:

Temple Corps

713-692-0522

Start date: Sat., November 18, 2017

Deadline: Sun., December 17, 2017

Monday – Saturday: 10 am- 8pm

Sunday – 12 noon – 6pm

Deerbrook Mall
20131 Highway 59 North
Humble, Texas 77338
 

Drop gifts off at mall office

Contact:

Aldine Westfield Corps

713-694-5688

Start date: Mon., November 20, 2017

Deadline: Fri., December 15, 2017

Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

(Unmanned Tree)

The Woodlands Mall
1201 Lake Woodlands Dr
The Woodlands, Texas 77380
 

Downstairs main entrance, by courtyard and valet parking

Contact: Conroe Corps

936-760-2440

Start date: Sat., November  4, 2017

Deadline: Sat., December 16, 2017

Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m.

For a printable flyer with this information, please click here. 

Major Dan “Noonan” Rooney Inspires at The Salvation Army’s 2017 Annual Luncheon

Click on picture to view photo album of event.

Kicking off the holiday season, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston hosted its largest fundraising event of the year, the 2017 Annual Luncheon, on Tuesday, November 15th, 2017 at the River Oaks Country Club. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and supporters, including the 400 people in attendance, the Army raised over $570,000, which benefits the programs and services offered throughout the year in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

A tradition at The Salvation Army, the Annual Luncheon is hosted every year by The Salvation Army of Greater Houston Advisory Board. Joe Cleary, Advisory Board Chairman, thanked the luncheon co-chairs Beth and Jeffrey Early for their time and dedication to the event, despite having been directly impacted and displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

2017 Honorees Sally and William Slick, Jr.

Jeff Cleary, serving as both luncheon Co-chair and Master of Ceremonies, presented Sally and William Slick, Jr. as this year’s honorees. Bill is a lifetime member of The Salvation Army of Greater Houston Advisory Board, having served on the board since 1973, and emeritus member of The Salvation Army National Advisory Board. Sally is a Founding Member of The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Houston. Reflecting on how attendance by Army supporters has increased over the years, Bill Slick commented, “I used to see a lot more blue uniforms (Salvation Army officers) seated at the tables during these luncheons. That’s changed over the years. We’ve come a long way.”

The Salvation Army’s Response to Hurricane Harvey

Major Kent Davis, Area Commander for The Salvation Army of Greater Houston, also took the stage to thank the attendees for their continued support of the Army, especially during Hurricane Harvey. Davis spoke about how, during Hurricane Harvey, not only did the city come together to help their fellow neighbors but also how The Salvation Army from several Texas cities and states came to Houston to serve as one.

Major Dan “Noonan” Rooney Inspires

To round out the event, United States Air Force Pilot and PGA Golf Professional Major Dan “Noonan” Rooney inspired attendees as this year’s keynote speaker. Rooney spoke about volition, the power of choice, and moving from an “I won’t” or “I can’t” mentality to “I’ll try,” “I can,” and “I will.” Rooney said, “It is up to you to overcome challenges in your life. Those challenges shape you into who you are. Do not let ‘experts’ or your own fears get in the way of your dreams.”

The Upcoming Holiday Season

The Annual Luncheon gives way to The Salvation Army’s busy holiday season. Next week, several Salvation Army locations will host special Thanksgiving events, including serving Thanksgiving meals for those in need at Family Residence, Harbor Light Center and the Center of Hope in Conroe. The Red Kettle Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign of the year, will kick off citywide on Friday, November 25th.