Way back in June we gave a grant to an aspiring Eagle scout for a project to revive the courtyard at Star of Hope Transitional Living Center. Mr. Kimmel took a tired courtyard and gave it new life. Check out the pic’s he sent us. Congrats on a job well done! We love getting updates from projects and seeing our good will in action.
This summer has been busy! We have been seeing more and more applications come in each month. We have been struggling to keep up with you Houston! We are very excited and please keep those applications coming in! If you don’t win the grant the first time, don’t be shy! Apply again if your project is not time sensitive.
The May grant was a tough choice! We narrowed it down to Write Click and Yellowstone Academic Stars. The trustees struggled a bit with two such awesome ideas, but ultimately Yellowstone’s Academic Stars won the vote! Yellowstone Academy is a private PK3-8th grade school for children living in extreme poverty. They were looking to use the $1000.00 to purchase trophies for academic achievement to be given at a school wide end-of-the-year awards ceremony. Their goal is to give academic achievement the same (or better) recognition than sports and fine arts. You can learn more about Yellowstone on their website and check out our Awesome Foundation chapter page for deets on their project.
Write Click is a very cool project as well – if you have some time check our their website and fan them on Facebook.
On to June! Oh my goodness, we had so many applications for June and we were so excited to learn about all the awesome ideas Houstonians have out there! Keep ‘em coming! June was incredibly tough. We sat around my living room talking about each one and then voting. Eventually we decided to help fund an Eagle Project by an Eagle Scout. His plan is to revitalize the courtyard at Star of Hope Transitional Living Center. We are looking forward to posting “before and after” pictures after his work is completed.
Close in line though behind the Eagle Project, after narrowing down through so many awesome ideas, were projects for a non-profit called Skills for Living and another non-profit ministry program, Emmaus Ministries Houston. We strongly encourage you take a look at these two amazing non-profits and the work they’re doing in Houston. It’s pretty amazing to see how caring the Houston community is when you take a closer look at us!
We’ll be deciding on July’s grant soon so stay tuned! By the way, we only have a couple spots left open for trustees so if you want to become a part of Awesome Houston let us know what you can bring to the chapter!
Hey y’all! Been a while since our last update, but now it’s time to talk about February’s grant winner!!
February’s grant goes to an awesome program called “Evenings with Genetics” led by the Director of Genetic Outreach in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, Susan Fernbach.
Susan has been involved in the care and education of families with genetic conditions for the past 28 years. Evenings with genetics started a few years ago with a goal to dimish the knowledge gaps for families as well as, highlight local and national resources, and aid with family-to-family networking. Many families struggle to understand not only the genetic evaluation process and the medical care issues, but also the social and emotional component of this information.
The grant money will go directly to a transmitter and headsets so that these programs can be simultaneously translated in Spanish for 2012, with hopes to also translate in Vietnamese in the future. Susan explained in her application that “Houston has a wonderful multicultural community and we are trying to reach out to Spanish-speaking families as well. We have offered simultaneous translation to Spanish at many of our seminars with the expertise of medical translators.” She also noted that currently they have to rent this equipment which is costly and not always available. This grant will help them with making the translations a reality for each seminar.
To get a feel for what these evenings are like, a few of the Awesome trustees attended one of the seminars last week. We had a great time speaking with those in attendance over light refreshments, and then learned a lot about childhood dental care and health.
Here we are with Susan delivering the money before the presentation, the money in a nice little Awesome envelope!
Susan promised to keep us up to date on future seminars, but you can check it out on your own on the Baylor College of Medicine’s website: www.bcm.edu/eveninggenetics
Have an awesome idea? Need some additional $$ for some aspect or the whole idea? Apply!! Click the Apply button on our website and get started today. You could be next month’s grant winner!!
January’s grant goes to a young artist, Carrie Schneider for her project Hear Our Houston. We couldn’t resist funding this unique project, especially for our city’s challenge in the “walking” department. We all know that walking is unbearable in the hot summer months, but the rest of the year, except those two weeks of 30 degree weather, the city is a nice place to walk and take in the sights.
Well, with Hear Our Houston you can pick a place, a perspective, a subject, and get an audio walking tour from the Hear Our Houston website narrative by a local creative. Oh and it’s FREE to download your chosen tour!
We met up with Carrie last Thursday to deliver the grant and to chat about her project. Carrie explains each audio tour as a chance to “walk a mile in another person’s shoes. Hear Our Houston is a hub of public generated audio walking tours that should be amplifying more of our city’s incredibly diverse and fascinating voices. All sorts of folks record their thoughts, stories, memories, and knowledge while taking a walk.”
“In a place where walking is nearly a radical act, Hear Our Houston is excavating some of our hidden gems, layering meaning into geography, preserving our oral history, and celebrating our common sense of space.” What is so unique about Carrie’s project to us is that she’s creating an experience for the listener and strengthening the value Houston has to offer. We also hope that those who take part in these audio tours feel a renewed love for the city and work to strengthen it’s neighborhoods to preserve for our future little Houstonians!
Over the holidays I saw many of my friends and family who I don’t see on a regular basis. Of course the general discussion is just plain old catching up. “How is your job?”; “Are you enjoying living in Texas?”; “How hot is it really?”; “What have you been up to lately?” Most of my family lives in the Northeast so of course the weather is always a hot topic, but this year I was excited to talk about Awesome and what we’re doing here in Houston. While not a terribly large investment is required, and our efforts to make this happen have been pretty minimal, the conversation often lead to “So what are you getting out of this Awesome thing?” Why would I want to give $100 a month to a stranger to do something awesome with it? That’s your hard earned money you’re just giving away and not getting anything back on your investment.
Well, true. We are not getting anything back monetarily, no rights to the idea, and essentially no credit for the grant. What we are getting I believe far out weighs those returns: The chance to see an idea grow into something real. Helping a noble cause with a project that may be otherwise unsurmountable. Becoming more a part of our community. Building our community in a new and innovative way. I see the benefits in what we’re doing and it feels pretty amazing, so I get that out of it too!
While micro-funding and micro-lending aren’t necessarily “new” ideas, there aren’t that many people doing what we’re doing and in that respect it feels new and innovative. And it’s working. It’s working here in Houston, it’s working in other parts of the world and also if you check out www.kickstarter.com you can see it working there too.
What’s working? The bigger picture is being realized. Those creative, innovative, and intelligent ideas are getting funding and becoming a reality. The bigger picture is that the sum is greater than it’s parts. If we are able as a society to support awesome ideas (including the arts, sciences, and social good) and give them what they need to grow, we better ourselves as a whole. We provide a better place for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our community.
Do you think we’re nuts for not expecting anything in return? Let’s us know what you think about Awesome Foundation – Houston.
“Get me out of here” is all I thought when we toured the facility for Treat ‘em Right Rescue this past Saturday, but not for the reasons many people encountering barking dogs may have. Actually, my fear was quite different. I was afraid my husband and I would fall for one of these lovable and adorable dogs and be taking one home with us. Would that be such a bad thing?
We received many kisses and few hugs while we were there, not from our human hosts, but rather their canine charges! The dogs were great and it was wonderful to see what this small non-profit is doing for the dogs. Treat Em Right Rescue is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, and other bully breeds. All of their dogs come from high-kill shelters, police raids, and confiscations resulting from animal cruelty cases.
They often take in dogs that have been victims of indescribable abuse and neglect. We heard a few of the dog profiles while we were there. Some left to die after gun shot wounds, others pulled out fight rings close to death. They provide these dogs with the medical attention that the dogs need to heal physically and the love and attention that they need to heal emotionally. It is their mission to find each of these dogs a loving home, promote responsible ownership, and educate the public about the gentle, affectionate, and loyal nature of the American Pit Bull Terrier. Through these education and advocacy initiatives, Treat ‘em Right Rescue believes that the reputation of a breed that was once America’s favorite dog can be restored. The rescue is one of only a few in the state that not only accepts this breed, but actually prefers it.
The grant money for November will help them develop the warehouse space we toured with them Saturday. Six months ago, they moved their kennel to a large warehouse in Klein. While the space was large and open, it was empty and needed a lot of work. They have been able to do some construction, but they are still in great need of completing the project due to money constraints. Currently, the warehouse space houses 30 of some 80 dogs in the program at this facility (the others have been placed in foster homes). How could we pass up this chance to help fund a project like this? The dogs are well taken care of and it shows in how friendly and lovable they are with people. We’re pleased to be able to lend a hand for such an Awesome cause.
If you’re interested in volunteering, fostering, or just plain learning more check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TreatEmRightRescue And they also have a link up for adoptable pooches http://www.adoptapet.com/shelter79737-pets.html And of course feel free to contact us if you’re still unsure of where to look!
We are pleased to announce that the October grant went to Avondale House in Houston to fund horse back riding for one of their group home residents. Kelvin is a 29 year old man whose life has been severely affected by autism. Unable to live at home with his family, he has lived at one of Avondale’s group homes for almost 20 years. He experiences seizure disorders, has an intellectual disability, is non-verbal, and is profoundly autistic. On top of all that, Kelvin suffers from cerebral palsy; so much so, that he walks essentially “bent in half,” looking at the floor. To overcome his severe muscle and joint contracture, his doctors have recommended therapeutic horseback riding.
For the last year, Kelvin has been riding horses at the Sienna Stables in Missouri City, operated by SIRE, a therapeutic equestrian center. Joelle Devlin, his instructor, comments, “It took Kelvin very little time to learn how to crest mount the horse, and then just a few weeks to learn basic horse commands. He was a little shaky at first and required constant adjustment on the saddle.”
“Now, as he rides each week, I have seen Kelvin straighten inch-by-inch in the saddle. He is smiling and excited when he arrives at the stable, and has almost perfect alignment on the horse — from ear to shoulder to hip to back-of-the heel.” Kelvin has not been miraculously cured — he still has spinal curvature, but his horseback riding activities have helped his mobility and balance.
“He seems so content on his horse,” says Patti Kelly, Avondale House’s Program Director. “He has a little better posture and does not stumble as often. He cannot verbally tell us, but he really seems to enjoy the sessions. Plus, it is so important to keep him active, so that Kelvin does not ever become wheelchair bound, a circumstance that might cause him to be placed in a different group home setting. He is happy to live here, and we want to keep him here at Avondale House.” The therapy has no funding, so Awesome Houston is pleased to be giving our October grant to pay for Kelvin’s riding for the next 15 weeks to help elongate his mobility and happiness.
We first learned that Avondale House existed from one of our trustees, Andrew Limmer, volunteering to clean up the yard at one of their group homes. Andrew explained what Awesome was about and encouraged an application for any projects they may have and fit our awesome criteria. Philip Golden, Director of Development, was instrumental in explaining to us what they would use the money for as well as setting up a meeting so that a few of our trustees could tour their main facility where they have day time academics and activities for their clients. We’re looking forward to seeing more photos of Kelvin enjoying being a cowboy and getting some much needed therapy! It is awesome to know we’re contributing to bettering the life of another person and helping a great organization here in Houston.
Two Awesome things joining forces: Noah’s Kitchen meets Awesome Foundation – Houston. We are thrilled to announce our inaugural gift to Noah’s Kitchen for the Sleep Out event!! We are proud to support our community by helping to fund this event that will bring greater awareness to homelessness in our city.
The Awesome Foundation – Houston is a group of people that have come together to donate $1000 to community events, local artists, or anything awesome in Houston that is going on.
We’re just a bunch of individuals who give a little, but it adds up to a whopping $1000.00 grant each month. The month of September was great with several applicants which made it difficult to choose where the $1000 would go, but after a couple tough rounds of eliminations the vote was unanimous for the Sleep Out. In fact, several of our trustees will be taking part in the event!
Noah’s Kitchen is a non-profit organization that helps feed the homeless on the streets of Houston. Led by Amber Rodriguez, volunteers work incredibly hard to prepare food and pack meals for the homeless. You can find more information about volunteering, donating, and attending their event via their website and Facebook page.
When I met with Amber today to hand over the moola we discussed the reality of homelessness here in Houston, specifically how someone you know may be homeless or has been homeless in the past, but you may never know.
Kicking off the National Homelessness Awareness week, the goal of the Sleep Out is to bring people together, away from the luxury of home to sleep outside for one night, and to bring first-hand awareness to homelessness. They held this event last year to solely raise awareness, but this year they’re also hoping to raise funds. We thought this was Awesome! We are hopeful Amber can secure the facade at city hall to host this awesome event!
We are pleased to be able to help in our own small way. It’s pretty cool what a small group of people can do with a little money from their own pockets. Imagine if everyone just gave little, whether it be time or money? Oh the things we could do! If you’re interested in being a trustee let us know – there’s a couple of spots open and believe me, it’s an amazing feeling being a part of Awesome!
Good Luck Amber! We’ll see you November 12th!
It is the end of August and we’ve seen some major strides over the last two months. We have 8 trustees, one of whom just had a baby! Woot! Our goal is for about 10 or so trustees to make this ship sail so if you’re interested in joining us, send us an email, direct message us via Twitter, send a smoke signal… Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with our meeting schedule and opportunities to meet with us.
Our bios should be up on the website soon as everyone is working on them now. We have also seen 3 applications for micro-funds from Houston area folks and organizations come through the website! And I’m pretty sure we’re a household name! Ok, maybe not, but at least people know we’re here and looking to do great things for Houston.
We need your help. Talk about us. Think it’s cool? Think it’s crazy? Think it’s AWESOME!? Help us get the word out. We’re looking for great ideas for Houston to better our community; the more people know this the better! So hit the street kids and help us build this city.
We are pleased to announce we have 7, count ‘em, 7 trustees! There is room for more however and if you’re interested in becoming a part of our group please let us know. We have a diverse group and we are ready to move into the next phase of this awesome project.
Our next meeting is being scheduled for the beginning of August, and I’m hopeful that some ideas and projects will be on the docket to review and discuss together – check out our new “Apply” page! We are also hoping to find the last few new members then as well so we can be in full fledged action!
I’m hopeful we can award our first gift in August, maybe that’s too ambitious, but wouldn’t it be awesome?! So if you’re reading this and know of a person or project or non-profit or something looking for $1000.00 for their great idea that could spread joy, goodwill, or better the Houston community in almost any way possible, forward them a link to the Apply page and perhaps we can help them make a difference.