Scouts at Jane Cizik Garden Place

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On Saturday July 25, 2015, our supportive housing facility Jane Cizik Garden Place’s (JCGP) food pantries benefitted from of months of hard work by dedicated Boy Scout, Michael Sobin. In order to earn his Eagle Scout status, Michael needed to develop and execute a service project that exemplified the skills he has honed in his years as a scout. While researching potential ideas, Michael was connected to The Women’s Home’s former Community Involvement ManagerChau Nguyenby Sobin family friend and The Home’s board member, Julie Mahler. Through Chau, Michael learned that JCGP emergency food pantry, which provides residents in need with nonperishable food items, was urgently in need of restocking and found the basis for his Eagle Scout project.

Michael’s project provided 10 new wire shelving units for the first floor pantry, and five new shelving units each for the second and third floor pantries. He stocked each of these pantries with food items he began collecting through a school food drive in April. Michael’s outspokenness about his project and the impact it would have on the lives of our residents at JCGP, helped him raise roughly $1,300 from family members as well as members of his family’s temple, Congregation Jewish Community North in Spring Texas. Michael also gained an additional $50 in products when purchasing items at a local Dollar Tree after explaining his work to the branch manager.

With the help of fellow scouts he recruited for the cause, Michael brought his project to fruition on Saturday as the group came in to set up the shelving units and loaded them to the brim with the collected food items. His hard work will have months of positive impact on the residents at Jane Cizik Garden place, where having our pantry well stocked can make the difference between struggling between bills and groceries for that month. Michael “found the most rewarding part of this project was looking at the finished pantries. It was months of planning coming together. It was nice to see that before we even left that day someone had come for items to help them out.”

Faith Open House at Jane Cizik Garden Place

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On Wednesday September 17, from 3 to 5 pm The Women’s Home is hosting an open house for congregations and faith communities at our supportive housing community, Jane Cizik Garden Place. The open house will educate congregations and faith communities about the programs and services The Home provides women in the Houston area, as well as introducing our new projects that will enable us to serve women and their families in the Spring Branch community.  The support of faith communities in the Houston area has been an integral part of The Women Home’s success since our founding in 1957, and we want to continue growing our relationships with Houston’s places of worship. Our Volunteer Service Manager Chris Hammond will give a presentation on the volunteer needs of The Home and opportunities for collaborative projects to fill these areas.

If your congregation or faith community is interested in learning more about The Women’s Home and ways to help us empower women to change their lives, please contact us at volunteer@thewomenshome.org.

 

Leaning In and Taking Names September 2015

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The Women’s Home Young Professionals will host Leaning In & Taking Names on Thursday September 24, 2015, a panel discussion on career path insights with renowned community leaders. The panel will run from 6 to 8pm at United Way of Greater Houston and feature Reliant’s Vice President of Customer Care Operations, Bill Clayton; United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Honorable Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod; CEO of Pink Petro, Katie Mehnert; and Methodist Hospital Breast Cancer Center Medical Director, Luz A. Venta, M.D.

These professionals are leaders in their fields, with long and varied careers. They will speak on their experiences and offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions and glean important insights on how to develop and negotiate their own professional opportunities.

William Clayton oversees Reliant’s call center and mid-office operations and is responsible for leading the company’s customer care and service operations for their mass market customers. With a background in political science and nearly two decades of experience in utility and retail electric industries, William has held roles in residential load management, field operation, retail marketing, program development and retail operations.

Jennifer Walker Elrod, was appointed and twice elected Judge of the 190th District Court of Harris County, Texas, before taking her current position. A Baylor and Harvard Graduate, Judge Elrod was in private practice before serving as a judge. She has also taught as an adjunct professor for University of Houston Law Center and served as the M.D. Anderson Visiting Public Service Professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law. She is a member of the Baylor University Board of Regents, an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of the board of the Houston Urban Debate League, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Judges Association.

Katie Walthall Mehnert is the Founder and Chief executive Officer of Pink Petro™, a social media channel designed to connect and support the professional development of women working throughout the energy industry and help close the field’s gender gap. Katie is also the president of Cognovi Communications, a consulting business that helps companies in the energy industry transform culture, improve safety and identify operational risk. Her consultation work is informed by her previous leadership roles with companies like BP and Shell.

Dr. Venta received her first faculty appointment in 1988 as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois. She became an Associate Professor there in 1994. She served as the Medical Director of Section Breast Imaging at the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center of Northwestern Memorial Hospital while at Layola. In 2000, Dr. Venta was recruited to Houston Methodist Hospital to lead the breast imaging group and joined the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine as a Professor of Radiology. In 2005, she received her faculty appointment at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Tickets are on sale for $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Space is limited so purchase yours before they run out by clicking here.  Don’t miss this opportunity to ask these accomplished professionals for insights into their success and advice on building experience.

reNew & reDo 2015

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On Wednesday August 19, 2015 The Women’s Home’s 6th annual reNew and reDo fashion show took the Wortham in style despite the stormy weather. Over the course of the evening, the 500 guests shopped all night, fueled by sweet and savory bites from Lady Lavender Confections and Hungry’s Café and Bistro. Among the crowd were Deborah Duncan, Marie and Nancy Dang, Susanne Glasscock, Yasmine Haddad, Janice Hall, Harriet Hart, Ajay Khurana, Mary Axelrad, and Julie Mahler.

Guests watched as volunteer models including Nancy Almodovar, Nick Anderson, Katy Boatman, Cindy Castañeda, Will Chang, Donae Chromosta, Ianne Fastoff, Tracy Faulkner, Varda Dror Fields, Rita Garcia, Nina Gutierrez-Garcia, Sanaz Harirchian, Quang Henderson, Staci Henderson, Euan Holden, Kenya Hunt, Sippi Khurana, Peta-Gay Ledbetter, Laith Mahmood, Naureen Malik, Kristen McDaniel, Nick Merchant, Shawntell McWilliams, Michael Pearce, Bharat Pothuri, and Rachel Suliburt walked the runway in ensembles styled once again by Lenny Matuszewski and Tamara Bonar from the designer donations to The Cottage Shop.  All menswear was custom made by LUCHO. LUCHO donated a portion of the custom suits’ sales to The Women’s Home and after the show, the runway styles were wheeled onto the floor to join the rest of the designer clothing, shoes and accessories in the pop up Cottage Shop Boutique where the shopping excitement was in full swing as guests purchased top shelf brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Dior and many others for bargain prices.

The event featured a silent auction stocked with clothing, accessory, travel and event packages donated from a number of local and national businesses as well as five dresses donated from the closets of this year’s Fashion Icons Carrie Colbert, Joanne King Herring, Tatiana Masse, Theresa Roemer and Elaine Turner. The icons were acknowledged with applause and their own walk on the runway during the show’s opening. The event raised $130,000 for The Women’s Home.

Couldn’t come to the big event? Head over to The Cottage Shop for a chance to shop all the remaining merchandise from reNew!

A Woman of Substance 2015

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From Left to Right: Barbara Taylor Bradford and Joanne King Herring

On Wednesday April 8, 2015, literary enthusiasts gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel Downtown for afternoon tea with Barbara Taylor Bradford and Joanne King Herring. Among the audience was former first lady and longtime friend of Barbara Taylor Bradford, Barbara Bush. The Women’s Home Board President Brenda White and Joanne King Herring, who is an accomplished diplomat and the granddaughter of The Women’s Home founder, Mrs. Laura Sampson, opened the tea with a few words about The Home’s mission for an audience of familiar and new faces. Ernie Manouse, host of PBS’s InnerVIEWS served as the MC, moving throughout the room taking questions from the audience. Joanne and Barbara entertained guests with anecdotes of their early careers, including Barbara’s recounting of when she first met Mrs. Bush and how a spill down the stairs landed her at the feet of the former first lady. Joanne recounting her time as a news anchor, a position she achieved while promoting The Home to news networks, said it felt like always running quarterback to be heard in a male dominated field.

Among the guests were both long time readers of Bradford’s work as well as new followers, including mothers who had passed the books along to their daughters. Bradford when asked on her writing process, explained she keeps track of her characters using notecards for reference, pinning her main cast to a corkboard in her work space and keeping the rest at hand in a Manolo shoebox. On being asked about how she dealt with the increasingly tricky issue of protecting her intellectual property in the age of the internet, Bradford recounted an extended legal battle she and her husband, Robert Bradford undertook upon learning one of Robert’s film adaptations of her novels was being reproduced without their knowledge in India.

Questions drew to a close on the subject of childhood literacy, when discussion turned to Bradford’s The Write Stuff short story competition for young girls in the UK and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy which provides literacy programs for adults and children across the U.S. Herring brought the tea to a neat finish thanking Bradford and inviting guests to purchase Bradford’s latest novel, The Cavendon Women at the back where Bradford would sign.

Help us Help Houston Women and Families

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As friends and supporters of The Women’s Home, you already know of our successes in changing the lives of Houston women. Many of you have heard about our newest project, an 84 unit apartment complex for families as well as a WholeLife® Service Center in Spring Branch down the street from our first housing complex, Jane Cizik Garden Place, this exciting development will enable us to transform the lives of hundreds of families in the Spring Branch community. We’ve raised over $21 million for these two projects’ capital campaign, but we still have $5 million to raise to meet our goal.

This will be a dynamic year of growth for The Women’s Home as we break ground on these two new projects and expand our operations. We need your support now more than ever. In addition to preparing for the operational needs of our new facilities, we will be adding a couple of key positions to ensure the continued quality of our programs. The new positions include a dedicated volunteer manager and a part time professional committed to continuous quality improvement of all programs. In addition, our administrative staff is hard at work developing programs, procedures and strategic focus for the future. Throughout planning for these new developments, we continue to focus on smooth operations for both our treatment and transitional program and our permanent supportive housing community.
Most importantly, we are changing the future for the women we serve!
We could not achieve this exciting new growth or the lifelong changes it enables for our clients without your help. Every gift supports our work providing our residents with the assistance and training they need to live independent fulfilling lives. With each gift, you make a meaningful contribution essential to rebuilding the lives of desperate Houston women.
Every donation, big and small, helps change the lives of the women we serve, please click the donate button at the top right of our website to make your contribution today.

3,000 Square Feet of Fashion

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Thursday April 16, 2015, a group of fashionistas got an exclusive glimpse at reNew & reDo 2015 Fashion Icon Theresa Roemer’s closet. A towering three stories and 3,000 square feet of clothing, shoes and accessories encased in spotless glass on gleaming white shelves served as the backdrop for the evening as the party carried on unhindered by the evening’s storm. Designer and high fashion donations from guests were piled high in the entryway, the donated clothing, shoes, and accessories will be sorted and stored to go on the runway and on sale at reNew.

Guests were there not only to see Theresa’s expansive couture collection but also to get involved and get excited about our upcoming reNew & reDo style show in August. reNew & reDo is The Women’s Home annual fashion show and high fashion clothing sale at the Wortham Theater Center, the proceeds from which go to support our programs and residents. In 2014, reNew & reDo raised over $130,000 with 21 volunteer models strutting the runway in ensembles composed by design team Lenny Matuszewski and Tamara Bonar for a sold out audience of 600 guests. After the show, the featured fashions were rolled out to join the rest of the boutique merchandise in the pop up Cottage Shop where guests wasted no time in finding and purchasing their favorites.

After our 2014 show’s fantastic reception and performance, we’re determined to outdo ourselves in 2015 and we hope you’ll join us!

Coming in September: The Women’s Home Re:Entry Summit

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Texas has the 5th highest incarceration rate and one of the largest prison populations in the nation, with women making up nearly a third of those incarcerated, a vast majority of whom were charged for nonviolent crimes. One in five of those women will end up in Harris County upon her release. According to a study by the Legal Action Center, all ex-offenders in Texas face over 32 different legal barriers upon reentry, ranging from employment policies to limitations on public assistance.

Women reentering society face additional challenges that are often overlooked including a lack of job skills, need for family housing, and difficulty finding employers offering positions conducive to childcare responsibilities. These challenges combined with a lack of resources and support put women with criminal records at higher risk of homelessness, mental illness, and addiction than their male counterparts.

This obvious need is why The Women’s Home will be hosting a two day summit to show community leaders the faces of those struggling with reentry and connect women with the resources they need. The Re:Entry summit, funded in part by Houston Bar Foundation, will take place September 30th to October 1st at United Way Houston, with a job and resource fair for women with criminal histories at South Main Baptist Church the next day. Partnering with local organizations, the summit will address issues including housing, job skills, the children our incarceration system leaves behind and research supported alternatives to the traditional prison system.

The first day of the summit will have education panels featuring local experts and policy makers who are advocating for fair and accessible resources for those with criminal histories. This portion of the summit will focus on educating service providers, community leaders, and local businesses about the challenges women previously incarcerated face when reentering society. The second day, taking place at South Main Baptist Church will provide women, especially those with criminal records, free access to a job and social services fair as well as a legal clinic tailored to the struggles reentering women face.

“We see these struggles everyday with many of the clients we serve, and we hope this summit serves as a way to address the problems, while directly helping the women who will be attending,” Marcia Tapp, Director of Resource Development for The Women’s Home said.

2015 WholeLife Luncheon

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2015 Laura Sampson Community Award Honorees from Left to Right:

Dr. Sippi Khurana, Elaine Turner, Alden Clark and the Reverend Michael Gott, Jindi Vincent (former President ofThe Women’s Energy Network)

Late on the sunny morning of Friday June 5, 280 guests gathered at the Houstonian Hotel for our 2015 WholeLife Luncheon featuring author Carine McCandless. Emceed by The Women’s Home Advisory Board Member and Great Day Houston Host Deborah Duncan, the luncheon began with thanks to sponsors before recognizing our 2015 Laura Sampson Community Award Honorees. Recognized for their philanthropic dedication to their communities, our 2015 honorees were Dr. Sippi Khurana, Elaine Turner, Alden Clark and the Reverend Michael Gott and The Women’s Energy Network. The Women’s Home Executive Director Paula Paust then announced our 2015 WholeLife® Award Winner, Bryson Blair. The WholeLife Award goes to a graduate of The Women’s Home Treatment and Transitional Housing program who has flourished in her life and recovery. Bryson’s perseverance, bravery and honesty embody what it means to live a whole life.

Carine McCandless took the podium for the final portion of the luncheon, where she told the story of her brother, Chris McCandless also known as Alexander Supertramp, who was first made famous by Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild. Carine explained how the longer she spoke about her brother’s story at engagements and schools, where her candid honesty with students regularly led one in the crowd to come privately to her for help, the more she felt compelled to come forth with the whole story. This led to the writing of her memoir, The Wild Truth, which details how a childhood marked by domestic violence both emotional and physical, deeply shaped both her and Chris’s lives.

Carine explained that while her brother was drawn more and more to the wilderness for refuge from their family struggles, she found herself driven to the city and involved in relationships that mirrored the violence of her family home. When faced with these difficult situations, Carine invoked the image of two roads, one clear, straight and smooth, but somehow unsettling, the other winding and potholed, but with signs of promise for the journey ahead. Carine committed to the harder more rewarding path at each turn in her life and found success.

Carine’s story shows the same determination and indomitable spirit she recognizes in her brother. Time and again she found the strength to leave toxic relationships and the commitment to go through school, to run her own business, and begin a family she never expected to have.

Guests of the luncheon each received a signed copy of Carine’s memoir, The Wild Truth and had the opportunity to speak with Carine and have their book personalized after the program. Guests also bid on silent auction items provided by presenting sponsor Morton Auctioneers & Appraisers, 2015 honoree and bronze sponsor Elaine Turner, and fashion boutique Lucho. Attendees raised over $85,000 that will go towards helping women like Bryson build whole lives.

Donate to The Women’s Home and reNew your Wardrobe!

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Tickets for our 6th annual reNew & reDo Fashion Show and Shopping Event are now on sale! With our biggest shopping event of the year on the horizon we are calling all Houston’s most fashionable men and women to clean out their couture closets for the cause.

Months before the show, we begin gathering the high fashion and designer clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories for men and women from brands including Gucci, Prada, Dior, Chanel, and Michael Kors that will grace the racks and the runway in August. Couture comes from personal closets as well as boutique donations gathered from our friends and neighbors in the community.

If you have gently used designer styles in your closet that are looking for a new life, please contribute to making this year’s reNew & reDo bigger and better than ever by donating them to The Cottage Shop. Have an organization you’re a part of that’s interested in holding a clothing drive? Contact Chau Nguyen at cnguyen@thewomenshome.org or 713-328-1950.