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Inaugural festival celebrates solidarity, diversity, strength and womanhood

 

The NetworkedIt group is proud to announce the inaugural launch of International Women’s Day Houston Fest #IWDHTX taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center on March 8.

 The theme for this event is Femme Forte, French for Strong Woman, and women make history coming together in solidarity, celebrating diversity, strength and womanhood in an action packed setting.

 “We wanted to make this an empowerment program in a festival atmosphere bringing in speakers, dancing, breakout sessions, entertainment and more,” Angela Frederick said, founder of the NetworkedIt group. “This is not a business seminar. This is all about building-up women in every way possible with women from all types of backgrounds and experiences.”

 The group encourages social clubs, sports teams, church groups, women-owned businesses, educational organizations and the like to turn out to make this inaugural event a celebration of women.

 “We will have vendor booths to bring in local and international flair for attendees,” Frederick said. “And the speaker line-up is nothing short of mind-bending. They are going to rock the house. Everyone will leave with something that enhances their life. No one will leave unchanged from the day.”

 NetworkedIt is offering special incentives for parties of ten (10) or greater and promises the best in empowerment, fitness/health, fashion, food, makeovers, shopping, dancing and prizes. Corporate sponsors are encouraged, as well as vendors.

 “Of course, we are going to entertain with an incredible fashion show,” Frederick said. “We are women after all, and we are going to cater to all the facets of womanhood with everything from fitness to fashion to focusing on building a compelling future.”

 Everyone is welcomed to the International Women’s Day Houston Fest and those interested may register by going to www.EventBrite.com or by calling Angela Frederick at (832) 515-4590.

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            St Isidore Episcopal Church in Spring, TX has been awarded a grant of $49,650 to enable its minister to participate in the 2019 National Clergy Renewal Program. St Isidore Episcopal Church was selected to participate in this competitive grant program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. Established in 2000, the grant allows Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.

            Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite including travel, study, rest, prayer and immersive arts and cultural experiences.

Through the National Clergy Renewal Program, congregations apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support renewal programs for their pastors. Collaborative in nature, the program allows congregations to partner with their ministers in developing experiences that address their unique renewal needs and aspirations. Recognizing that ministers’ families are subject to the stress and demands placed on pastoral leaders, the program encourages pastors to involve their families in renewal activities. Congregational needs during the minister’s renewal experience also are considered. Since the National Clergy Renewal Program’s inception, more than 2,800 congregations have participated in the program, including the 150 congregations receiving grants in 2019. Texas churches received 6 Endowment grants this year.

            As part of his sabbatical requirements for study, contemplation and personal time every 7 years, the Endowment grant will support St Isidore’s minister and his family’s participation in an 6-week total immersion Spanish culture and language program in Costa Rica to enhance their ability to minister to the growing Hispanic communities in the South Montgomery County area served by St Isidore Episcopal.

            “Pastors play an important role in nourishing the spiritual lives of individuals and in guiding the work of the Christian congregations they serve,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Through these grants, we seek to honor pastors for their extraordinary service and enable them to engage in a brief period of rest and renewal. We have learned that such experiences invigorate the leadership of pastors and bring new vitality to their congregations as well.”

            The Rev. Dr. Robert Saler, research fellow and director of the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs, noted that the National Clergy Renewal Program integrates key attributes of healthy congregations, including a mutual respect for the renewal needs of both ministers and the congregations they serve.

“The program provides an opportunity for congregations to express appreciation for their ministers’ service and leadership,” Saler said. “At a time when leaders are often praised for their pace of innovation and productivity, the National Clergy Renewal Program pays homage to the timeless wisdom embedded in the practice of reflection and renewal.”

Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis directs the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations and a second program for congregations across the United States through its Center for Pastoral Excellence.

To find out more about St Isidore and its services, volunteer opportunities and missions, please visit Isidores.org or Facebook.com @ SaintIsidores.

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            St Isidore Episcopal Church in Spring, TX has been awarded a grant of $49,650 to enable its minister to participate in the 2019 National Clergy Renewal Program. St Isidore Episcopal Church was selected to participate in this competitive grant program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. Established in 2000, the grant allows Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.

            Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite including travel, study, rest, prayer and immersive arts and cultural experiences.

Through the National Clergy Renewal Program, congregations apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support renewal programs for their pastors. Collaborative in nature, the program allows congregations to partner with their ministers in developing experiences that address their unique renewal needs and aspirations. Recognizing that ministers’ families are subject to the stress and demands placed on pastoral leaders, the program encourages pastors to involve their families in renewal activities. Congregational needs during the minister’s renewal experience also are considered. Since the National Clergy Renewal Program’s inception, more than 2,800 congregations have participated in the program, including the 150 congregations receiving grants in 2019. Texas churches received 6 Endowment grants this year.

            As part of his sabbatical requirements for study, contemplation and personal time every 7 years, the Endowment grant will support St Isidore’s minister and his family’s participation in an 6-week total immersion Spanish culture and language program in Costa Rica to enhance their ability to minister to the growing Hispanic communities in the South Montgomery County area served by St Isidore Episcopal.

            “Pastors play an important role in nourishing the spiritual lives of individuals and in guiding the work of the Christian congregations they serve,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Through these grants, we seek to honor pastors for their extraordinary service and enable them to engage in a brief period of rest and renewal. We have learned that such experiences invigorate the leadership of pastors and bring new vitality to their congregations as well.”

            The Rev. Dr. Robert Saler, research fellow and director of the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs, noted that the National Clergy Renewal Program integrates key attributes of healthy congregations, including a mutual respect for the renewal needs of both ministers and the congregations they serve.

“The program provides an opportunity for congregations to express appreciation for their ministers’ service and leadership,” Saler said. “At a time when leaders are often praised for their pace of innovation and productivity, the National Clergy Renewal Program pays homage to the timeless wisdom embedded in the practice of reflection and renewal.”

Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis directs the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations and a second program for congregations across the United States through its Center for Pastoral Excellence.

To find out more about St Isidore and its services, volunteer opportunities and missions, please visit Isidores.org or Facebook.com @ SaintIsidores.

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How to meet the needs of a Special Needs adult/child in an emergency evacuation

 

For those living in the Houston area, they know all too well the looming threat of hurricanes during the months of June to November. Many know the drill: flashlights, water, canned goods, manual can openers, etc. However, when it comes to Special Needs individuals the hurricane preparedness list runs broader and longer.

“Because special needs individuals process differently, parents and guardians, also need to think differently about how to plan and prepare during such emergencies,” Rachel Jelks said, Executive Director of TEAM Abilities. “We compiled a list of 11 additional steps that can be added to the traditional ‘necessities’ list.”

Jelks knows what she is talking about when it comes to serving special needs individuals. TEAM Abilities, an acronym for Together Everyone Achieves More, serves low- to high-functioning special needs adults through Day Hab programs and Group Home care. The agency has two day habilitation locations in Montgomery and Harris county and seven group homes in the Spring/Woodlands area.

Jelks shared, “For our Team Members we make sure that we prepare items such as Sensory Toolkits that they can take along with them in case of evacuation. This way they have the tactile items needed to feel focused and safe as they flee to a new location. Many of our special needs members have special dietary requirements so we make sure to plan meals ahead and pack the meal in a cooler in case of a power outage or evacuation. No matter what, we will have that members food or formula needs on hand.”

The TEAM Abilities 11-Step Preparedness Plan consists of:

  1. Rehearsing
  2. Make a list of Necessities
  3. Plan Meals
  4. Comfort Items
  5. Remain Calm and Confident
  6. Pattern Interrupt
  7. Give them a job
  8. Sensory Toolkit
  9. Curiosity
  10. Low-tech Fun
  11. Positive Attitude

 

Rehearsing: Take special needs individuals in the car during high-traffic times so that they know what traffic feels like. During past hurricanes, freeways were jammed shut. Kids had a very difficult time understanding what was happening.

Necessities: It is important to make a long list of necessities and then begin packing certain items like prescription drugs in baggies so they are easy to get to as well as being protected. Make a list now so when the threat of a hurricane is approaching the list is already completed.

Plan Meals: As mentioned, some individuals have special dietary requirements and in case of a power outage or evacuation, a parent might not be guaranteed a store will be available with what they need. Pack a cooler of meals for a day or two just to get by.

Comfort Items: A child/adult might need a certain favorite stuffed animal, a video game (which helps them to focus and relax), or a blanket. Be sure to put these items on the Necessities list because these items can be easily forgotten.

Remain Calm and Confident: Special needs individuals take their cues from a parent or guardian. If a parent is visibly upset or anxious it is likely a special needs child/adult will take on those emotions.

Pattern Interrupts: Special needs individuals are creatures of routine. They know Tuesday is pancake breakfast and Thursdays they eat tacos. Before the storm it is important to interrupt that pattern and talk about why they are having cereal on pancake day. This helps the special needs individual to better understand and to be flexible. Likely, they won’t like it, but it is necessary for everyone to get along during the potential crisis.

Give Them a Job: Put the child/adult in charge of something like carrying the Sensory Toolkit or to make certain they have their favorite stuffed animal. This helps them to feel more part of the solution instead of just standing by while everyone works.

Sensory Toolkit: Packing a bag of sensory items ensures the special needs child/adult can better cope in an emergency. One can pack a bag of video games with back-up batteries and sensory items like balls which any discount store sells. Soft, furry, fluffy objects are the objective or items that one would need to focus on intently. Include headphones to block out the noise of thunder, chattering, music etc. to help calm them whether in the car or in an evacuation shelter.

Curiosity: High winds can sound scary and so can hard pelting rain. Safely involve the child/adult by taking them outside to feel what high winds feel like and how rain or even sleet can feel. This takes the mystery out of the weather event. Of course, never take a child/adult out in weather when lightening is present.

Low-Tech Fun: Whether the family has evacuated or is staying home, it is good to have some low-tech fun that does not require batteries or electricity like card games, board games etc. Time to unplug and enjoy some family time!

Positive Attitude: By having a positive attitude or including humor in the situation helps to make everyone in the house feel better. Yes, emergencies are stressful so the parent/guardian needs to take it upon themselves to lead the family in a light and positive way. It can be done!

For more information on TEAM Abilities call 832-965-5549 or go to www.MyTeamAbilities.com.

Photos: TEAM Abilities Sensory Toolkit with items showing how to help special needs children/adults feel safe, focused and calm.

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TEAM Abilities, an organization which serves low- to high-functioning special needs adults, recently participated in National Lemonade Day. National Lemonade Day is a nonprofit that teaches children and young adults the powerful impacts of entrepreneurship. TEAM Abilities trained their Team Members according to the Lemonade Day curriculum and held their first Team Member Owned and Operated business event, The TEAM Abilities Lemonade Stand. With the gracious support of businesses in the Old Town Spring area, TEAM Abilities set up their stand and served customers the entire day. 

For more information on TEAM Abilities Day Habilitation programs or Group Home care, go to www.MyTeamAbilities.com or call 832-965-5599.
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TEAM Abilities, an organization that provides Day Habilitation services and Group Home care to special needs adults, has launched a new dance exercise program that even those wheelchair-bound can participate.
 
The new program is called REFIT and is provided by Sara Tracey, a certified REFIT instructor since 2016. Tracey currently teaches free, open classes at Tomball United Methodist Church and holds classes for both teens and adults with different abilities at other locations.
 
"It brings me such joy to see the happiness on their faces," Tracey said. "So many special needs adults have been told they cannot do certain things and they come to believe that. It's wonderful to see their faces light up realizing they absolutely can do dance and exercise in their own unique way."
 
The REFIT instruction engages everyone at different levels.
 
"TEAM Abilities is known for accepting low- to high-functioning adults so everyone's skill level is different," Rachel Jelks said, Executive Director for TEAM Abilities. "To know that everyone can engage in exercise at their own comfort level is awesome to watch."
 
TEAM Abilities, an acronym for "Together Everyone Achieves More", is devoted to creating fun events, field trips and in-house curriculum.
 
"Every Wednesday we have a field trip to get our Team Members out of the facility and to socialize with others. We go to local venues, Houston venues and even have plans to go to the Texas State Fair this year," Jelks said. "In addition, we volunteer at NAM and the Food Bank, we go to the library twice a month, have Splash Day at the Shadowbend YMCA, we go to the movies once a month, have our Adopt-A-Park program thru The Woodlands Township and we participate in Special Olympics. This is all in conjunction with our daily curriculum. So our Team Members definitely do not sit here and watch TV all day that's for sure," Jelks said.
 
TEAM Abilities is an HCS and TxHml provider providing Day Habilitation, Group Home care, Respite services and After-School programs. The organization has two locations: The Woodlands on 1092 Pruitt Road and Houston on 14300 Cornerstone Village Drive off FM 1960. For more information on TEAM Abilities, go to www.MyTeamAbilities.com or call Jennifer Hernandez at 832-965-5549 ext. 1002. 
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This weekend Kendra Scott will be hosting Lemonade Day stands at some of their Houston locations in support of Lemonade Day Houston.

Kendra Scott, CEO and Philanthropist, has created a billion-dollar fashion brand loved globally and with a core value system of: Family, Fashion and Philanthropy.

“The Kendra Scott company maintains a focus on its customers and the causes close to their hearts, abiding by the mantra ‘What Matters to You, Matters to Us.,’ Hilary Wetmore said, Houston Marketing & Philanthropic Manager.

Kendra Scott is one of numerous businesses supporting Lemonade Day Houston, namely: H-E-B, Amegy Bank, Telemundo Houston, Houston Business Journal, Cadence Bank, IBC Bank, Frost Bank and others. Schools, businesses and community partners are hosting Lemonade Day stands supporting young entrepreneurs.

“The idea behind Lemonade Day Houston is to empower children to become entrepreneurs one lemonade stand at a time,” Gaye Jackson said, City Director for Lemonade Day Houston. “What is amazing about Lemonade Day is that we have reached over one million kids since 2007 and of those kids, 64 percent walk away expressing that one day they will invent something that will change the world. This why we do what we do. It’s a ‘good for the world’ experience with huge impact.”

National Lemonade Day is a nonprofit organization, the brainchild of founder Michael Holthouse back in 2007, whose goal it was to teach kids the power of entrepreneurship through a fun, experiential program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their very own business - a lemonade stand.

The Kendra Scott locations participating in Lemonade Day Houston are: Houston Rice Village, Houston City Centre, Woodlands Market Street, Friendswood Baybrook and Sugarland First Colony. Each location is offering certain in-store discounts for those patrons purchasing lemonade.

“We are grateful to add Kendra Scott to our list of sponsors and participants,” Jackson said. “I see very long relationships with our community-minded partners.”

For more information on Kendra Scott philanthropy, go to www.KendraScott.com. For more information about Lemonade Day Houston go to www.lemonadeday.org/Houston.

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THE WOODLANDS - Ann Engelbrecht, owner of Sprout Fine Floral Concepts, has been putting smiles on people's faces for years and at last, a nationally recognized magazine returns the favor awarding her the title of Best Reception  in the magazine’s Picture Perfect Wedding Showcase.

For 20 years, Florists' Review Magazine has been the guidebook for operating a successful floral businesses. As the industry's only independent magazine, its goal is to inform and inspire professionals at all levels, including traditional florists, and high-end trend-setters.  The magazine editors look for a wide range of interpretations of design categories, giving their readers a glimpse into recent trends, nuances and creativity in the world of weddings. They awarded Englebrecht’s  opulent black and white winter wedding reception first place of many national applicants.

“I was overjoyed that I won Best Reception! A win like this is the  Academy Awards in the floral industry,” Engelbrecht said. “My designs have been in the publication many times, yet taking home the prize for Best Reception is quite a professional  accomplishment for me. ” 

Sprout Fine Floral Concepts  specializes in unique floral creations.  Engelbrecht's  award winning designs are picture perfect ‘fine floral concepts’ as the company name suggests. For more information on Sprout Fine Floral Concepts go to www.allaboutsprout.com or call (281) 203-5040.

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THE WOODLANDS - Ann Engelbrecht, owner of Sprout Fine Floral Concepts, has been putting smiles on people's faces for years and at last, a nationally recognized magazine returns the favor awarding her the title of Best Reception  in the magazine’s Picture Perfect Wedding Showcase.

For 20 years, Florists' Review Magazine has been the guidebook for operating a successful floral businesses. As the industry's only independent magazine, its goal is to inform and inspire professionals at all levels, including traditional florists, and high-end trend-setters.  The magazine editors look for a wide range of interpretations of design categories, giving their readers a glimpse into recent trends, nuances and creativity in the world of weddings. They awarded Englebrecht’s  opulent black and white winter wedding reception first place of many national applicants.

“I was overjoyed that I won Best Reception! A win like this is the  Academy Awards in the floral industry,” Engelbrecht said. “My designs have been in the publication many times, yet taking home the prize for Best Reception is quite a professional  accomplishment for me.  It's fantastic to see my work on the pages of a publication that inspires floral designers including myself. ”

The venue was as unique as Engelbrecht's floral creations.  George and Linda Turek, residents of The Woodlands and generous donors to many Veterans causes, opened up their West Wing charitable party venue to celebrate their dear friends wedding day.  “This local replica of the world’s most famous house has everything you can thing of including an Oval Office, Rose Garden and a Reflecting Pool with dancing fountains.”

The venue was beautifully transformed with the most opulent wedding florals by lavishly draping a 60 foot long floral garland upon the main dining table where an actual U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet hovered above. Using over 700 hydrangea blossoms, hundreds of roses and dozens of exotic orchids in white gave this space the dignity it deserved.  “The entire event was stately, as if it were in the real White House.” Engelbrecht said.

“The recognition is, of course, fabulous,” Engelbrecht admits. “What has truly touched my heart is the outpouring of calls, texts, cards and letters.  I received a beautiful note from my teacher and mentor Mr. Jim Johnson AIFD  full of so many superlatives I'm going to have to frame it.” Johnson is no ordinary teacher. The recently retired Director of Texas A&M University's Benz School of Floral Design, Johnson is a highly accredited designer and author of two floral industry iconic floral design books. 

Sprout Fine Floral Concepts  specializes in unique floral creations.  Engelbrecht's  award winning designs are picture perfect ‘fine floral concepts’ as the company name suggests. For more information on Sprout Fine Floral Concepts go to www.allaboutsprout.com or call (281) 203-5040.

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It’s every parent’s nightmare to learn of an active shooter in their child’s school. The FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security state that the average time of an active shooter or hostile intruder in a public school is 11.5 minutes. The average police response time is 12 to 18 minutes. Past school scenarios show numerous casualties occur before the police have a chance to arrive, so what are staff members and students left to do to fend for themselves?

“This is where we are focused,” Charles Costenbader said, Chairman of the Multi-County Crime Stoppers. “The BEARACADES Door Control System deploys quickly on any interior classroom or office door to effectively barricade the door in the event of a hostile intruder. We are hosting an upcoming event so that we may purchase 500 or more additional BEARACADES to keep our schools safe.”

The event Costenbader is referring to is the Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Concert happening Saturday, May 4 at 8pm at the Crighton Theatre.

 “We are hoping for a good turnout on the May 4 concert so that we may purchase additional BEARACADES units so that our schools are safe and that parents have the assurance that their child can safely attend school,” Costenbader said. “The Gatlins are always a good draw and this event promises funds raised will go towards safer schools. It’s a win-win for all.”

To purchase tickets for the Multi-County Crime Stoppers May 4 event featuring Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers happening at the Crighton Theatre in Conroe, go to www.crightontheatre.org. To become a sponsor or to obtain more information on Crime Stoppers, contact Chairperson Garry Plotkin at 713.818.2301 or gplotkin@glpconsulting.us.

 

The Montgomery County Crime Stoppers, Inc. dba Mufti-County Crime Stoppers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping Montgomery Liberty and San Jacinto counties a safe place to live, work and play. The mission of Crime Stoppers is to work with area law enforcement agencies, the news media and members of the public to publicize and gain intelligence on felony crimes occurring in the Tri-County area and to assist in the apprehension of felony fugitives, wanted or residing in this area.