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Around The Bend December 2017

(L to R): Keesha O’Brien, Wesley Kocian and Brandy Winner.

(L to R): Keesha O’Brien, Wesley Kocian and Brandy Winner.

Exchange Club Of Rosenberg Donates To Lunches Of Love

The Exchange Club of Rosenberg donated 1,000 juice boxes to Lunches of Love following a successful Juice Box Drive, enough juice to pack an SUV. Exchangites Wesley Kocian and Jasmine Scott also surprised volunteers Brandy Winner and Keesha O’Brien with a check for $200 from the annual fundraiser.

In August the club members decided to dedicate a meeting to decorating lunch bags for Lunches of Love. To make the project a little more special, the members produced certificates which were randomly placed in six lunch bags for the lucky recipients to claim an Exchange “Time Out Teddy.” At the same meeting they decorated collection boxes for the juice drive, but then Kocian decided he wanted to make the drive bigger and went to the Exchange Club of Sugar Land’s meeting to ask the members to support the drive. He returned with nearly $300.

The National Exchange Club is a service organization with 700 clubs and approximately 22,000 members throughout the United States. For more than 100 years, its volunteer efforts have supported the needs of the country and of local communities, making it the country’s oldest American service organization operating exclusively in this country. The Exchange Club of Rosenberg is unique because all of the members have an intellectual disability, however, everything they do is just like all the other clubs in the U.S. – making the community a better place through volunteerism and donations.


Joanna Cyrus-David (left) and Rotary Richmond President Larry Pittman.

Joanna Cyrus-David (left) and Rotary Richmond President Larry Pittman.

Rotary Club Of Richmond Awards College Scholarship

The Rotary Club of Richmond had a past-scholarship recipient at this week’s program when Joanna Cyrus-David visited to share her experiences at Cambridge University this past summer. Joanna had been a Lamar Consolidated High School scholarship recipient several years ago from Rotary Richmond’s annual scholarship award program. She is now studying at Rice University in the pre-med program and had the opportunity for summer studies at Cambridge University.

Cyrus-David approached Rotary Richmond Club with her proposal, and because the scholarship program is the top priority for the Rotary Richmond Club, Cyrus-David won the club’s support and was awarded a scholarship. Johanna promised to visit the club to share some of her experiences once back at Rice University.

The Rotary Club of Richmond, part of Rotary International, is one of the largest service organizations globally with motto of Service Above Self. Richmond Rotary Club’s top initiatives are its annual spring scholarship awards to high school kids in the Richmond community; annual commitment to OakBend Medical Center’s Vision 2020 Program; continued support to Access Health, T.W. Davis YMCA, Youth In Philanthropy (YIP); Fort Bend Women’s Center (including the annual serving of the Thanksgiving meal to the residents); Fort Bend Regional Council, Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, Parks Youth Ranch as well as TSTC and WCJC funding support.



Harvest Green has launched its resident Farm Club, allowing residents to farm their own plots on the community’s Village Farm.

Harvest Green has launched its resident Farm Club, allowing residents to farm their own plots on the community’s Village Farm.

Farm Club Takes Root In Harvest Green

Harvest Green residents have developed more than a taste for the fresh produce grown on the community’s Village Farm. They have developed a taste for farming, which can now be indulged with the launch of Farm Club on Oct. 21.

Houston’s first farm-focused community offers many avenues for bringing the farm to the table, including a weekly on-site farmers market, the option to install backyard vegetable gardens and front-door delivery of produce through a CSA program. Farm Club allows residents to take a more direct approach, however.

“Farm Club is a fantastic way for residents to get a true taste of agriculture in a community setting,” said Ryan Moody, Farm Educator for Harvest Green. “They will be able rent their own growing plots on the Village Farm and learn how to grow their own food utilizing the technical expertise of farm educators like myself.”

Membership in the club is $50 per month and includes access to four 15-foot long growing beds, hand tools, organic fertilizers, seeds and transplants, classes, guest speakers and Farm Club member events. Before the official launching, Harvest Green residents attended informational meetings during which they could ask questions about the club, general agriculture and the farm’s livestock.

Members will be growing cool weather crops such as cabbage, kale, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips to start with. Farmers will be providing seeds and some live starts for transplanting. Members are free to grow what they want and are not required to follow any plan, but Farm Educators are happy to make season-appropriate and cultivar recommendations to improve success. More than 40 families have already signed up for the club, which has space for 80. Increased space will be made available as membership grows.

In addition to Farm Club, residents are welcome to assist the farmers with farm chores during Farm Fun Days where they perform activities such as planting seedlings, building homes for resident chickens and harvesting produce. For more information about Harvest Green, visit harvestgreentexas.com.



Child Advocates Of Fort Bend Recognized At Statewide CASA Conference

Of the 71 CASA Programs in the state of Texas, only a handful are able to match all of the children in foster care in their region with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to advocate for their needs. However, there is only one program in the entire state that serves 100 percent of the children in foster care with 100 percent volunteers — Child Advocates of Fort Bend. During the recent Texas CASA Conference in Galveston, Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs recognized Child Advocates of Fort Bend for its ability to match every child with a volunteer CASA to advocate for their best interests.

“As an agency, Child Advocates of Fort Bend has been committed to making sure we never turn away a child in need of our services,” said Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford. “We are so fortunate in Fort Bend County that people are steadfast in their obligation to ensure the welfare of the children of the county, are generous with their time and are committed to volunteering because, if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to match every child with a volunteer.”

Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s CASA Program trains volunteers throughout the community to provide a voice in the courtroom for children who are in the care of the child welfare system. These CASA volunteers advocate for the child’s “best interests” and ensure that his/her needs are being met throughout the time the child is in foster care.They also provide stability and a positive role model. Volunteers are trained to serve children in each age group. Each of these services (Infant and Toddler, N.E.S.T. and WINGS) incorporates strategies to help the children develop healthy lifestyles, provide mentoring and guidance, equip the children and volunteers with specialized resources, implement educational enrichment workshops and help the children find the path to a bright future.

The agency’s Christmas Home Tour is critical to funding these programs. Slated for Dec. 8-9, the $25 tour ticket enables guests to view five private homes that have been professionally decorated for the holidays. Tickets allow access to each home once during the tour hours. Ninety-four percent of the proceeds from this event go directly toward programs and services. For more information on the Christmas Home Tour, how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets for the tour, go to cafb.org or contact Lisa Moore at lmoore@cafb.org.


Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen plays on the washboard while Step Rideau (center) and Majic 102.1 FM’s Robert “Bassman” Washington, right, entertain the crowd at Community Night Out.

Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen plays on the washboard while Step Rideau (center) and Majic 102.1 FM’s Robert “Bassman” Washington, right, entertain the crowd at Community Night Out.

Missouri City Residents Enjoy Community Night Out

Hundreds attended the second annual Community Night Out on Oct. 7-8 to celebrate the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and to give residents a venue to enjoy live entertainment, a health fair, a cultural celebration and other recreational activities in their own backyard.

“We dedicated this year’s two-day festival to our citizens not only to recognize their incredible efforts in rebuilding our community but also to provide them a chance to further strengthen their community pride,” City Manager Anthony J. Snipes said.

Saturday’s lineup featured Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws, country artist Coffey Anderson, jazz saxophonist Kim Waters, who was joined on stage by fellow musician Kyle Turner, and artist Ange Hillz of Visual Paint. Also on-site throughout the day were radio partners KTSU 90.9 FM and Majic 102.1 FM.

Sunday’s lineup featured four-time Grammy award winner Wayne Toups, jazz violinist Karen Briggs, the Conrad Johnson Orchestra and the inaugural Health Fair & Cultural Festival. On the culture front, guests enjoyed performances by Studio Mudra School of Dance, The ARTZ, Mariachi Rebelde, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and the Pakistan Association of Greater Houston inside the Community Center.

On both days, residents also enjoyed a variety of food trucks, bounce houses, a rock wall, merchandise from community vendors and a health pavilion.

“This event’s success and growth is a testament to our residents’ dedication to community unity and their support for the city,” said Snipes. More information is at missouricitytx.gov.




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