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Around The Bend June 2017


(L-R): Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Sam Wang, Rachel Wang, Terri Wang and FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre. Michael Tollestrup

(L-R): Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Sam Wang, Rachel Wang, Terri Wang and FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre. photo-Michael Tollestrup

GRANT-A-STARR FUN RUN RAISES $40,000

On April 1, novice and experienced 5K runners, high school students and athletes, parents, children, and many more from Sugar Land and the greater Houston area came together to #RunLikeAStarr for the 9th Annual Grant-A-Starr Foundation Fun Run.

Grant Starr was just a a young boy when he lost his life to an elusive and undefined virus. In loving memory of his life, more than 400 participants came out on a bright and chilly morning to pack the race course start line on University Boulevard. The Clements High School drumline spurred runners at the finish line, followed by a post-race party and awards ceremony.

Checks in the amount of $20,000 were presented to Texas Children’s Hospital and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital respectively. One hundred percent of the funds raised support projects dedicated to the development of rapid diagnostic testing. Since the Founda­tion’s inception 10 years ago, more than $1 million dollars has been donated to the two hospitals.

A unique component of the event is that it is managed and operated by a Teen Board comprised of Fort Bend area high school students.   The Foundation was particularly proud of the leadership demonstrated by Rachel Wang, a senior at Clements High School. Through her efforts, supported by a strong and dedicated group of high school Teen Board of Directors, more than $40,000 was raised to support the cause.

Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman and FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre were in attendance to support the efforts of the Foundation and the Teen Board. Quail Valley Elementary had the most attendance and won the school challenge. Platinum and Gold sponsors were Texas Children’s Hospital, The Starr Family, HexaGroup, CHI St. Luke’s Health, TGS, Nectron International, Sugar Lakes Family Practice and CJG Engineers.

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(L-R): John Robson, COO of Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse; Payal Patani, coalition coordinator FBCPC; Lauren Ibekwe, coalition specialist FBCPC; Andrea Ortiz, chair for FBCPC; and U.S. Congressman Pete Olson, District 22.

(L-R): John Robson, COO of Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse; Payal Patani, coalition coordinator FBCPC; Lauren Ibekwe, coalition specialist FBCPC; Andrea Ortiz, chair for FBCPC; and U.S. Congressman Pete Olson, District 22.

FORT BEND DRUG SYMPOSIUM BRINGS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED EXPERTS AND MORE THAN 200 GUESTS TO THE GULF COAST REGION

The Fort Bend Community Prevention Coalition (FBCPC) held its second annual Fort Bend Drug Symposium at the Missouri City Community Center on April 20, or “4/20,” a date that both marijuana smokers and non-smokers recognize as a national holiday for the cannabis culture. FBCPC wanted to put a positive spin on this day by convening national speakers to address marijuana, synthetic drugs, and cutting edge prevention strategies.

The symposium’s opening remarks came from, U.S. Congressman Pete Olson. He shared the need for community collaboration to effectively prevent substance abuse. Ed Shemelya, coordinator, National Marijuana Initiative, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), presented on the impacts of marijuana legalization on public health and safety. Dr. Arlo Weltge, clinical professor at the University of Texas Medical School Houston, spoke about the medical and psychological effects of synthetic drugs. Sierra Castedo-Rogers, The University of Texas –Austin, discussed prevention science and community solutions.

The event was hosted by the FBCPC, a program of Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse (FBRC) and co-sponsored by the Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). Community Prevention Partners included: Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Missouri City Police Department, Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center (PaRC), and Westpark Springs.

Coalition coordinator Payal Patani said, “The FBCPC serves a vital role in protecting the health and welfare of all people in our larger community. Our volunteers are dedicated to reducing substance use among youth.” The FBCPC seeks community-level changes that result in fewer young people becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.

For more information, visit fortbendcpc.org.

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(Back row, l-r): Christen and Dave Johnson, Mark Anthony Martinez, Eunice Soto, KK and Scott West, Amy West and Julissa Duran; (front row): Marji Strohmer, Cari Middaugh, LaDonna Marie, Debbie and Marvin Marcell, Dan and Amy Johnson, Jill and Jim Gibson and Doug and Susie Goff.

(Back row, l-r): Christen and Dave Johnson, Mark Anthony Martinez, Eunice Soto, KK and Scott West, Amy West and Julissa Duran; (front row): Marji Strohmer, Cari Middaugh, LaDonna Marie, Debbie and Marvin Marcell, Dan and Amy Johnson, Jill and Jim Gibson and Doug and Susie Goff.

COUTURE FOR THE CAUSE SET FOR OCTOBER

In 2009, The American Cancer Society was looking for a way to bring a different funding event to Fort Bend County. They already had a ball and a golf tournament; this one needed to be more community driven. Behind the leadership of chairs Scott and KK West, Couture for the Cause was born.

The highlight of every Couture for the Cause event is the fashion show, featuring couture models — many of whom are cancer patients or survivors — seizing their own opportunity to give back. For many years, this fashion show has been produced by Lenny Matuszewski with hair by Mark Anthony, his sister Eunice and team of Milagro Salons, makeup by LaDonna Marie of Sugar Land Face & Body, and clothing by Dillards. Most years the event has been held at a private residence, which means months of measuring and preparation, building a fashion show set (usually over a swimming pool), and then a party of 300-400 at someone’s house.

This year’s event will be themed “Garden Glitz,” and the event will be held on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. with the fashion show at 8 p.m. at the Farmhouse in Richmond’s Harvest Green–Houston’s first farm-centric community by Johnson Development. Time honored favorites, including the fashion show and food stations from area restaurants are part of the plan. Plus a wine pull (make a donation, draw a cork, win a bottle of wine!), Big Board Auction, and “Baubles & Bubbles” raffle sponsored by Marlene and Samir Dharia of Plaza Jewelers. Visit the Couture for the Cause Facebook page and vote for your favorite 3D image of a custom bauble to be made and raffled off the night of the event. 2017 chairs are Monique Bossett, Susan Ley-Novosad, Debbie Marcell, Michelle Royster, Margot Sayre and Gina Pizzini.

Event tickets are $125. All of the proceeds benefit The American Cancer Society and their mission. For more information, call 713-706-5635 or email hannah.hogan@cancer.org.

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(L-R): Melissa Wilson, Fox 26; Joe Freudenberger, CEO OakBend; and LaDonna Gatlin, keynote speaker.

(L-R): Melissa Wilson, Fox 26; Joe Freudenberger, CEO OakBend; and LaDonna Gatlin, keynote speaker.

OAKBEND MEDICAL CENTER VOLUNTEERS HOST POWER OF THE PUR$E FUNDRAISER

On April 6 the Volunteers of OakBend Medical Center held their second Power of the Pur$e fundraiser to raise money to help with the renovation of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit.

The event, held at Safari Texas, included lunch and a silent auction of 31 purses ranging in value from slightly less than $100 to over $1,000. The keynote speaker for the event was LaDonna Gatlin, Texas humorist, singer and songwriter, motivational speaker and sister to the Gatlin Brothers. LaDonna sang a couple of songs and spoke about each of the attendees having a song in their hearts. She encouraged them to find that song and live their life to the fullest.

“This is the second year for this event,” stated Donna Ferguson, VP and COO of the OakBend Medical Group and volunteer liaison, “and one of the largest fundraisers the volunteers sponsor. This event adds a new dimension to their fundraising efforts and brings lunch and shopping together for a fun reprieve in the middle of the day.”

With more than 100 attendees, the event took in almost $14,000.

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Members of Fluor’s Golf for Greater Houston Selection Committee and representatives from Child Advocates of Fort Bend and the other agencies selected as beneficiaries.

Members of Fluor’s Golf for Greater Houston Selection Committee and representatives from Child Advocates of Fort Bend and the other agencies selected as beneficiaries.

GOLF FOR GREATER HOUSTON SELECTS CAFB AS GRANT AWARD RECIPIENT AND PRIMARY BENEFICIARY

Golf for Greater Houston, a project of Fluor Corporation, recently selected Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) as a primary beneficiary of its 10th annual charity golf tournament. The tournament and related celebrations will run Sunday, Sept. 24 through Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Black Hawk & Shadow Hawk Country Club in Richmond.

Funds awarded to CAFB will be used to support the STEM education component of CAFB’s WINGS program designed to prepare youth who are about to age out of foster care. The program equips teens with year-round support, life skills development, career direction, help graduating high school and enrollment in college. CAFB is the only agency in Fort Bend County exclusively dedicated to providing critical services, all free of charge, to abused and neglected children. For more informationor to register your team, go to golfforgreaterhouston.org. CAFB is seeking tournament players to sign up for teams since all event proceeds will be divided among the benefiting charities.

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Fort Bend ISD librarians.

Fort Bend ISD librarians.

FORT BEND ISD LIBRARIANS PROVIDE NEW WAYS TO SUPPORT STUDENT LEARNING IN DIGITAL AGE

Gone are the days when a library only housed books. Fort Bend ISD school librarians provide a wide variety of services and resources, both print and electronic, to meet the needs and interests of their students who are growing up in a digital age. They empower students and staff to become effective users of ideas and information to help them acquire 21st century learning skills.

“Libraries are more than a book room. They are more than a place to use computers,” said FBISD’s coordinator of library/media services
Suzanne Lyons. “Libraries encompass all
aspects of learning.”

Dulles Middle School Librarian Dana Cox changed the name of the school’s library to better reflect what the learning space offers. The DMS Library Learning Commons provides students with individualized, small group and classroom instruction where they can collaborate on projects in person and virtually.

“Old school library programs were centered on housing books and teaching students to find and use print resources. Now our program is so much bigger,” said Cox. “Kids are overwhelmed with the information they have access to and it’s our job to help them navigate. We still teach them to love and use print, but we also have digital resources.”

Many of the District’s librarians also sponsor special events such as author visits, reading and poetry competitions and more. Earlier this year, Cox’s students Skyped with a Disney animator and a successful designer.

 

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(L-R): Susan Farb Morris; Emily Nelson, Houston Symphony manager of education and community programming; and award recipient Carolyn Vandiver.

(L-R): Susan Farb Morris; Emily Nelson, Houston Symphony manager of education and community programming; and award recipient Carolyn Vandiver.

AUSTIN HS DIRECTOR OF ORCHESTRAS RECEIVES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The Houston Symphony honored Fort Bend ISD music educator Carolyn Vandiver during the annual Spec’s Charitable Foundation Salute to Educators concert on April 26, which is a tribute for outstanding teachers in Greater Houston and their contributions to the community.

Vandiver received the 2017 Aubrey and Sophia Meyer Farb School Bell Award for Lifetime Achievement. She has served as director of orchestras at Stephen F. Austin High School in Fort Bend ISD since the school opened in 1995. Austin opened with 16 string students but now has 198. Her orchestras have earned sweepstakes in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition for 38 consecutive years and have been awarded more than 100 Sweepstakes awards. Austin HS has performed three times at the Midwest Clinic (Chicago), Carnegie Hall (New York City), and in Europe (Vienna, Salzburg, Prague). They were the first orchestra to play at a National League baseball game, performing for the Houston Astros. More than 140 AHS Orchestra students have been accepted and performed in the Texas All-State Orchestras.

Vandiver was a founding member and manager of the elite chamber orchestra, “Virtuosi of Houston,” that celebrates its 21st season this year. She frequently gives region and recruiting workshops, orchestra presentations for music conventions and teacher in-services. The Houston Texans football team and First Community Credit Union selected her as one of their 12 “Stars in the Classroom” last year.

Previously, Vandiver served as the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) vice president and orchestra division chair. She is the current state chair of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society. University Interscholastic League awarded her the title of UIL Outstanding Sponsor in Texas; this included both academic and elective teachers. She also serves as a UIL Orchestra Contest Adjudicator for the state.

Vandiver also is co-conductor of the String Orchestra of the Houston Youth Symphony, a position that she has held for 19 years. She delights in watching the growth of so many incredible young musicians. One of her greatest joys in life is assisting students to transitioning into adulthood and helping them become responsible young people with stellar character and a remarkable work ethic. Many of her former students are now professional musicians and orchestra directors. All four of her children played in orchestra (HYS), and her three daughters are professional musicians and graduates of the New England Conser­vatory

of Music. She has been married to Jack L. Vandiver, a high school choir director, for 42 years.

The event at Jones Hall also featured the talented musicians of the Houston Youth Symphony performing with the Houston Symphony.

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Jill Norwood, left, and Huggins principal Janice Harvey.

Jill Norwood, left, and Huggins principal Janice Harvey.

ROSENBERG VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS’ K-5 TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Huggins Elementary music teacher Jill Norwood is the Rosenberg Veterans of For­eign Wars’ K-5 Teacher of the Year. Hug­gins Assistant Principal Kayla Hoth nominated Norwood for her service to the community.

“Ms. Norwood volunteers her time to lead a school choir and trash can band each year,” Hoth wrote. “Both of these groups of students perform at various community events throughout the year including the Mayor’s Breakfast, Fulshear community parades and special events. The two groups also visit local nursing homes to perform for residents. Through these events, students learn what it means to give back to the community they live in by performing and volunteering at the events.”

Norwood received the honor April 3 at the Rosenberg VFW.

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(Front row, l-r): Virginia Scarborough and Jess Stuart; (second row): Debbie Fash, Judi Vernon, Jane Goodsell, Ana Alicia Estrada; (back row): Kathy Kubelka, Keely Knipling and Shereen Sampson.

(Front row, l-r): Virginia Scarborough and Jess Stuart; (second row): Debbie Fash, Judi Vernon, Jane Goodsell, Ana Alicia Estrada; (back row): Kathy Kubelka, Keely Knipling and Shereen Sampson.

A SOUTHERN GARDEN PARTY AT THE FORT BEND MUSEUM

The Fort Bend Museum’s second annual Southern Garden Party was held on May 13 from at the historic John and Lottie Moore Home and featured delicious food, signature cocktails, live music and other outdoor festivities. Honorees were Virginia Scarborough and Jess Stuart.

“Both Scarborough and Stuart have familial ties to the first settlers in Fort Bend County, and both are passionate about the history of the area and have spent years keeping history alive through their research and advocacy,” said Shereen Sampson, site director for the Fort Bend Museum. “We were excited to honor two people who are so respected and loved in the community.”

Funds raised at the annual event go toward the restoration of the 1883 Moore Home. The Museum is currently restoring the home room-by-room to its Edwardian-era appearance; last year, the Museum refurbished the informal parlor to reflect how it would have appeared in 1905.

“Our goal is to bring to life what the interior would have truly looked like during the Edwardian period in the Moore Home, at the time when John Moore was elected to Congress and the house was re-designed in its current Classical Revival style,” Sampson said. “The next anticipated restoration work will focus on the kitchen, which was remodeled sometime during the 1940s. The Museum intends to restore it back to an original 1905 appearance, adding unique items that would have been found in a kitchen run by domes­­tic help catering to a very large household.”

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Ellen Catoe, senior manager, Texana Children’s Center for Autism accepts the donated bean bags from Eagle Scout Spencer Reitz.

Ellen Catoe, senior manager, Texana Children’s Center for Autism accepts the donated bean bags from Eagle Scout Spencer Reitz.

EAGLE SCOUT AWARDED BRONZE PALM FOR TEXANA PROJECT

Texana Center was delighted to receive the news that Spencer Reitz had not only earned his Eagle Scout Award but also received the Bronze Palm. To earn this distinction the scout must be active in their troop for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout and earn five additional merit badges beyond those required for the Eagle Scout Award which requires some 21 merit badges.

Reitz, who belongs to Troop 1631, chose Texana Center for his Eagle Scout Project. The project was to enhance an existing playground area at the Children’s Center for Autism. He was asked to paint a track around the play area for bicycles and scooters, a basketball semi-circle by the basketball hoop and also to include several games; hopscotch, hangman, tic-tac-toe and four square. Reitz had to use a lot of math to work out distance, size and symmetry. Texana also requested that these be painted in bright primary colors, so he went to Sherwin Williams who donated one gallon of paint for every gallon he purchased and also gave him a discount on the paint he bought.

Reitz came to Texana many times, as he first had to power wash the area and fill in several cracks in the concrete before beginning the painting. The weather did not cooperate and he was rained off a few times but he persevered. When everything was finished, he held a Grand Opening for the play area, bringing refreshments for the children and presented Ellen Catoe, senior manager of the Children’s Center for Autism, with chalk and bean bags for the games.

Children with autism may enjoy playing, but they can find some types of play difficult. It is common for them to have very limited play skills; playing with only a few toys, or playing in a repetitive manner. Play often does not come naturally to them, so they have to be specifically taught these very important play skills that seem to come easily to most typically developing children. The Children’s Center for Autism uses applied behavior analysis to carefully assess each child’s individual skills and then develop a program to specifically teach these important activities. They are taught to ride bicycles, scooters and play games, so the new painted playground is perfect for this task.

“It was a pleasure working with Spencer, and we are delighted with the way playground turned out,” Catoe said. “It is bright, colorful and very helpful for teaching the children with autism how to play, which is often the first place we learn many skills.”


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