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Volunteer Helping Houston Homeless

My name is Elizabeth Hatler, Manager of Volunteer Services at Star of Hope.  As a Houston girl, I’ve known about Star of Hope for as long as I can remember.  What a privilege it is to be a part of this mission and work with the many amazing volunteers who come through our doors!  It’s incredible to see how God uses volunteers to meet our needs.  Every day, my heart is touched by volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of Houston’s homeless men, women and children.  Our clients and staff are blessed and inspired by compassionate volunteers who give hope for a better tomorrow.   In this blog, I will share the stories of our volunteers and talk about ways you, too, can reach out to help those who are struggling through difficult times. 

Health Chat with Dr. Rob

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
by Elizabeth Hatler

In February, Dr. Rob Dickinson, Medical Director of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Executive Health, Wellness, and Corporate Medicine Programs, joined the Star of Hope volunteer team. We quickly recruited Dr. Dickinson to work with the ladies in our New Haven program. These are women who cope with mental illness and with the supportive services provided by New Haven, are living independently. Each month, the ladies now have the opportunity for a “Health Chat with Dr. Rob.” The following are excerpts, shared by permission, from emails Dr. Rob sent to Star of Hope staff after those chat sessions. In the coming weeks, Dr. Rob will share his thoughts through his own guest blogs.

Monday, February 25, 2013: We have completed the first two sessions and have been able to provide some useful information to the women who attended. I have been fielding many mental health related questions as well as some such as, "What's this rash?" All are welcome. As I had expected, this really is a lot of fun for me and I appreciate the opportunity to serve your clients.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013: We had a good turnout at Perry last time with a lot of great questions. We almost ran out of chairs! Many brought their meds for review and the discussion was lively. I continue to be humbled by the multiple problems these women have battled in their lives. If you ever had any doubt that Star of Hope makes a difference, you can lay that worry aside. I see the changes in your clients at every session. As they regain their dignity and self-reliance in a safe environment, they are able to manage their mental health issues much more effectively. I'm a pretty happy guy naturally, but I always leave our sessions happier than when I went in. And grateful for the opportunity.

My favorite saying: "Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God" Thank you, Dr. Rob, for helping our New Haven clients experience the presence of God through joyful living and improved health!

Our City ∙ Our Home ∙ Our Mission™
Volunteer Opportunities Houston
Star of Hope Mission

Hopeful about the Future

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
by Elizabeth Hatler

Ever turn on the evening news and wish you hadn’t? Nightly reports, packed with violence, tragedy and heartache, leave little hope for anything but a bleak, catastrophic future. That’s why I wish everyone could see the world through the window in my office!

Every day, I have the incredible privilege of working with hundreds of people - from our city, across the state, throughout our nation and around the world - who demonstrate caring through volunteerism. Regardless of the demands and circumstances in their own lives, Star of Hope volunteers are excited about the opportunity to serve the homeless men, women and children God brings through our doors. They just need to know how to help.

When I see the immense love and compassion, talent and enthusiasm God has placed in Star of Hope volunteers, it is hard to be anything but hopeful about the future! Not just pretty words, but truly love-in-action, people of all ages and backgrounds who are called to serve, ready to help at a moment’s notice. Then, to watch miracles happen as God uses these volunteers to touch hearts and forever, eternally, change the lives of others is the most amazing thing!

So spend the day with me and look out of my window. God’s people are busy reaching out to help those in need. Your heart will rejoice!

Our City • Our Home • Our Mission™
Volunteer Opportunities Houston
Star of Hope Mission

Our Good Samaritans

Friday, April 5, 2013
by Elizabeth Hatler
I am often asked why people should volunteer. Time is pressed and the demands for our attention come from every direction. How is it possible to add one more commitment to an already packed schedule? The answer is easy. It is biblical to volunteer – it’s what Jesus commands all of us to do.
 
When asked, “Who is my neighbor,” Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Remember the story from Luke 10:25-37 that we all learned in Sunday school?
 
A man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was beaten and robbed by a band of thieves. The thieves left him for dead beside the road. When a priest and Levite saw the man, they crossed the road and passed by on the other side. But when the Samaritan saw the man, his heart was filled with tenderness and compassion. The Samaritan ministered to the man, bandaging and caring for his wounds. The Samaritan then sat the man on his horse until they reached an inn, where the Samaritan cared for the man overnight. The next morning, the Samaritan paid the innkeeper to continue caring for the man. (I think it’s significant that it was only after the Samaritan had invested his time and poured himself into caring for the man that he also invested his treasure.)
 
When He finished the parable, Jesus asked which of the three – the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan – was a neighbor to the wounded man. Of course, it was the Samaritan. He was the only one who demonstrated love, compassion and mercy toward a stranger who had been hurt and beaten down by life. Then Jesus commanded, “Go and do likewise.”
 
Here at Star of Hope, our clients often have deep, gaping emotional wounds. Some wounds are caused by circumstance; other times, they are a consequence of bad choices and poor decisions. Regardless, the homeless men, women and children who come through our doors are hurting and they are our neighbors – yours and mine. 
 
What a beautiful example of love, obedience and grace we see in every Star of Hope volunteer! Like the Samaritan, each volunteer ministers to those who are broken and hurt. Whether serving meals, hosting donation drives, teaching classes, painting family apartments or doing one of a million other jobs, our volunteers reach out in love to help our homeless neighbors. When asked why they volunteer, the answer is easy – it’s what Jesus commands us to do.
 
 

 

Volunteers Making a Difference

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
by Elizabeth Hatler

Star of Hope Mission has played a leading role in serving Houston’s homeless population for more than a century. Have you ever wondered how we got started?


Rev. Dennis Robert Pevoto came to Houston in 1900 and spent six years assisting in the growth of Baptist churches. During this time, Evangelist Mordecai Ham (who led Billie Graham to Christ) and the former homeless alcoholic Richard Dowling introduced Dr. Pevoto to the needs of the homeless.

In early 1907, on a ship bound for Richmond, Virginia, Rev. Pevoto was awaken from a very special dream by the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Dr. Pevoto was to open a refuge for men who were lost, homeless, alcoholic. The dream specified a plan for a chapel, dormitory, lunch counter, rest and reading room, and employment bureau. Even the name was given to Dr. Pevoto – Star of Hope Mission. Later that day, Dr. Pevoto shared the vision with his two traveling companions, and the trio began working on the plan.

Through the help of a caring community, churches, and business leaders, the Star of Hope Mission opened on July 1, 1907 in a two-story building at 714 Franklin Street.


Rev. Pevoto never drew a paycheck from Star of Hope. He simply answered God’s call to serve men in our community who were struggling through difficult times. Rev. Pevoto, along with the community, church and business leaders he recruited, were the very first Star of Hope volunteers!

No longer do unkempt men in tattered stove-top hats and string ties stand around plank tables to slurp down a steaming bowl of soup. Today, our mission continues to grow and families are increasingly the new face of homelessness. However, our need for faithful volunteers remains constant and unchanged!

Just as our founder was a volunteer, so is each member who serves on the Star of Hope Board of Trustees. Not only do we have outstanding volunteer leadership, volunteers play vital roles in many areas of our mission. Rather than say, “Volunteers make a difference from the top down,” I like to say, “Volunteers make a difference from the top throughout!” Last year, more than 7,000 volunteers from across our community, nation and around the world touched the lives of Houston’s homeless men, women and children!

This is the week, National Volunteer Week, in which the staff and clients at Star of Hope celebrate the tremendous faithfulness of our incredible volunteers. Quite simply, the work could not be accomplished without volunteers, and we cannot thank volunteers too often for their generous gifts of time and service. Just as Rev. Pevoto answered God’s call more than 100 years ago, we are exceedingly grateful for each volunteer who answers that same call today and forever touches the lives of the homeless in our community!

Volunteer Opportunities Houston
Star of Hope Mission

Sobering Up

Thursday, March 8, 2012
by Elizabeth Hatler
Many Baby Boomers watched The Andy Griffith Show and were entertained by Otis, the town drunk.  He lived from one cheap bottle of wine to the next before staggering into the Mayberry jail to sleep it off.
 

At twenty, I took a sabbatical from my studies at the University of Texas and worked for the City of Houston Municipal Courts.  Every morning I went down to the jail to reconcile the bond money, and then, I worked in the court that handled all of the non-traffic Class C misdemeanors, such as petty theft, prostitution, assault and public intoxication.  Otis would have been right at home – there were lots of drunks.  These men weren’t criminals who purposely hurt other people.  They were alcoholics who had nowhere else to go.  Jail was the only place that met their most basic needs – food, clothing and shelter.  Many of them listed the Houston police trustee dorm as their permanent home address. 

Dressed in their white, numbered coveralls, trustees worked around the jail, courts and police department.  Sometimes they earned a quarter, sometimes fifty cents, for sweeping the floor or shining shoes.  Those quarters added up, and after two or three days in jail, there was the unmistakable jingle as a trustee walked by.  Getting out, the men headed straight to the nearest convenience store for the biggest bottle of wine or malt liquor their change would buy.  But freedom was short-lived.  Just like Otis, they would finish the bottle as they staggered back to the jail, “I’m drunk!  Lock me up!” 

The men were familiar faces in Judge Ann Green’s court.  They marched in each day for the morning docket.   Dirty, disheveled and reeking of booze, it was obvious the night was spent sleeping it off in a jailhouse bunk.  Judge Green was lenient, but jail was often their only home.  “Give me longer, Judge.  I haven’t learned my lesson.”  During the holidays, when Judge Green sentenced them to time served, they were adamant about jail time.  “You need to lock me up, Judge!  For a long time,” they pleaded!

Each wasted life was heartbreaking and I never thought incarceration was the answer.  These men were homeless alcoholics.  Nothing was served by locking them up nor did their lives ever change.  It was a bleak cycle of hopelessness.

That’s why I was so excited when I first learned about Star of Hope’s new partnership with the City of Houston Sobering Center.  People can” sleep it off” in a safe, secure environment, and when one of them reaches out for help, Star of Hope will be there.   Where there once was darkness, hopelessness and bondage, there will now be hope for a better tomorrow.

Alcohol and Drug Rehab Programs Houston
Star of Hope Mission

 

 

 

Have you heard about Volgistics?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Volgistics.  No, it is not an alien species that inhabits some far away galaxy in the latest chapter of Star Trek. It is the awesome new database Star of Hope is using to manage our volunteer program. Volgistics means the Volunteer Services team can better serve our volunteers, programs and clients.

 

All volunteers are now required to register online prior to their scheduled project date. When volunteers arrive for their project, the sign-in process will be faster and volunteers will spend less time in the reception area. Within a few months, touch screen kiosks will also be available for High Impact Volunteers to log in and out.

 

Moving forward, Volgistics will exponentially increase our capacity for information management. Everyone on the Volunteer Services team now shares the same information. If one team member is unavailable, another team member will still be able to help.

 

We receive many calls from volunteers requesting service hours for college applications, resumes and financial records. Once registered in Volgistics, volunteers are able to access the Star of Hope Volunteer Center from any computer to review their contact information and service log. Even if volunteers served as part of a group, hours will be recorded for each individual group member.

 

The bottom line - advanced volunteer registration allows us to better identify every person working in our facilities and provide a more secure environment for all of our clients.  

 

Volgistics has amazing capabilities…the changes are exciting and we are only beginning! But electronic data management will never replace the importance of building strong relationships with all of our volunteer partners. We are grateful for the unique gifts, talents, abilities, interests and compassion of each volunteer and continue to be awed by the way God knits us all together to meet the needs of Houston’s homeless men, women and children.

Volunteer and help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope Mission.
Visit Volunteer Opportunities Houston.

Elisabeth Rush, you're on the air!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Elisabeth Rush planned to spend her morning volunteering in the Spiritual Life department at the Star of Hope Men’s Development Center. As she prepared for the day, she looked forward to a special time of prayer, ministry and fellowship with the homeless men God sends through our doors. She prayed that each man with whom she interacted would understand a little more about Jesus and the amazing plan He has for each of our lives.

 

On this morning, God had a different plan for Elisabeth! When she arrived at the Men’s Center, spiritual life coordinator Troy Williams whisked her away to his car and off they drove to Baytown. Just imagine Elisabeth’s surprise when they arrived at radio station 1360 KWWJ - Keep Walking With Jesus – for a live, on-air interview! 

 

When asked how the station and its listeners could pray for Star of Hope, Elisabeth requested everyone pray that the Holy Spirit change, impact, transform and rejuvenate each man, woman and child who seeks refuge at Star of Hope. “Pray they will be so on fire for the Lord that they will spread the Good News throughout the Houston community,” she said.

 

Later, laughing about the unexpected twist in her morning, Elisabeth said, “I hope I did okay!” You did an awesome job, Elisabeth! We are grateful for you and each volunteer who is willing to go wherever God leads to meet the needs of those less fortunate!

Discover ways to help Houston's homeless men, women and children with Star of Hope Mission.
Visit Volunteer Opportunities Houston today!

The DoubleTree Cookie CAREavan Visits Star of Hope

Friday, July 8, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Double Tree Cookie Cookie connoisseurs know nothing makes the mouth water quite like a scrumptious DoubleTree Hotel signature chocolate chip cookie. From the very first bite to the last tiny morsel, the taste is heavenly.

Thanks to the DoubleTree Cookie CAREavan, clients at the Star of Hope Women & Family Emergency Shelter were surprised this morning with a delicious breakfast treat. The CAREavan is crisscrossing the country to celebrate the signature cookie’s 25th anniversary and included Star of Hope in the Houston leg of their tour.

Perhaps it seems a little strange to include a chocolate chip cookie along with a traditional breakfast. But the warm, melting chocolate chips and crunchy walnuts filled the dining room with big smiles, giggles and happy hearts. Several clients were overheard to say, “I’ve NEVER had a cookie this good before!” What a sweet way to start the day!

God Fits Us All Together to Serve Those in Need

Saturday, April 30, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Isn’t it amazing how God who created the universe give each one of us our own unique gifts, talents and abilities?!? And then, He fits all of those gifts, talents and abilities together so that the needs of those less fortunate are met and He is glorified. I see His marvelous work each and every day at Star of Hope Mission through our volunteers.

 

Although I’ve never met her face-to-face, Sue Cherry is an artist who uses a pair of knitting needles to bless our clients. As the weather begins to get colder, small boxes arrive from Sue every so often. Each box contains maybe eight or ten knit hats and scarves. Sue uses beautiful jewel-tone yarn and weaves intricate textures and patterns into each piece. You could not buy the quality and love that Sue knits into these special hats and scarves.

 

Friday nights find Ric and Marla Hartung serving dinner at the Transitional Living Center. But their work begins long before they arrive at Star of Hope. On Thursday evenings, they race home from work to bake several large trays of homemade goodies - cake, dessert bars and brownies. Friday night dinner is served with something sweet and lots of love.

 

Mark Brockman is a CPA who works in our Finance department. However, Mark came to Star of Hope many years ago as a volunteer GED tutor, and even after joining our staff, remained committed to sharing his knowledge with our clients. Each tax season, Mark volunteers evenings and weekends to assist clients with their returns.

 

Although she ministers during chapel services at the Men’s Development Center throughout the year, Thanksgiving dinner would not be the same without singer and yodeler Charlotte Henson. While the men enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving turkey feast, Charlotte performs holiday favorites, all of the traditional Christmas carols and a few fun numbers like Drop Kick Me Jesus through the Goalposts of Life.

 

I’ve heard volunteer Eliot Young referred to as “the original granola girl”. Elliot gets clients in the Transitional Living Center’s Personal Development classes excited about healthy lifestyles, good nutrition and keeping fit. In her professional career, Rhada Ristau manages portfolios of the very wealthy. As another Personal Development volunteer, Rhada teaches our clients those same basic principles of sound money management.

 

There are stories just like these repeated throughout Star of Hope every day - volunteers who use their unique God-given gifts, talents and abilities to meet the needs of Houston’s homeless men, women and children. We are grateful for each volunteer God sends to minister alongside our staff and pray God will abundantly bless their participation in our mission today and always!


Get involved at Community Service Volunteer Opportunities Houston


Eagle Scout Projects = Tremendous Blessings for Star of Hope

Friday, April 29, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

On behalf of Star of Hope, I would like to extend special congratulations to Mark Camero and Kevin Sweat from Boy Scout Troop 642, which meets at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Few scouts would tackle such demanding projects or set such a high standard of excellence! 


Eagle Scout Project helps homless in HoustonIn addition to constructing large storage units for our Women & Family Emergency Shelter, Eagle Scout Mark Camero collected 1,408 children’s books. Many of the books were new and they all will provide many hours of reading fun and adventure for the children who come through our doors.

 

Eagle Scout Kevin Sweat designed and built a beautiful playground seating area and walkway for the Transitional Living Center. Parents now have the perfect place to watch their little ones and their children feel more secure to play, learn and explore with mom or dad watching over them.

 Eagle Scout Project -  Reeves

What a blessing it’s been for our mission to have an opportunity to work with several other awesome scouts.   This week, David Reeves delivered 15 wide, sturdy outdoor benches for the TLC cafeteria courtyard. Once he decided on a design and built a prototype, he had a small team cut the lumber on Day 1. He organized such a big crew for Day 2 that the project was completed in only two hours! These benches will circle the trees and provide clients with a shady place to enjoy our gorgeous weather.

 

Thomas Perez organized a party for children at the Transitional Living Center complete with Bible stories, crafts and refreshments. Of course, the children had a blast….so did Thomas and his team! Alex Collier also focused on the children and collected more than 800 books for five – thirteen year olds.

 

Our partnership with Eagle Scout candidates isn’t over – we continue to be tremendously blessed by these fine young men! Kendall Bruce is building benches for the Women & Family Emergency Shelter.  And Brian Howell has designed a bench seating area to beautify the Yellowstone side of the TLC campus. His crew will be here in two weeks! 

A variety of project options makes Star of Hope the perfect site for your next scout, corporate or team-building project. Contact the Volunteer Services Department to discuss a project for your group.

Community Service Opportunities Houston

 

 


Star of Hope Volunteers Touch Hearts & Change Lives!

Thursday, April 28, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am so glad you gave.

 

Many of us are familiar with the beautiful Ray Boltz song, Thank You For Giving To The Lord. But here in my office, the song’s meaning becomes far more profound as the lyrics are brought to life by those who were formerly homeless. 

 

My phone rings and I am greeted by a strong, confident voice on the other end. The caller explains that she was once a client at Star of Hope. Perhaps she was homeless as a child and lived at Star of Hope with her family. Or maybe it’s been only a few short years since she was a homeless adult. But life has dramatically changed since leaving our mission. There is now a home. A job. A steady income. Stability. The pain and bondage of homelessness have been broken, and what was once tragic, is now a life filled with joy, hope, peace and happiness. So on this day, she is calling to volunteer, to find a way to give back for the help she received. But what strikes me most is the end of her story. The reason she wants to give back as a volunteer is because it was a Star of Hope volunteer who touched her heart and inspired her to change!

 

In the years I have worked at Star of Hope, I have received similar phone calls from a number of former clients. Each time, I am reminded of the impact our volunteers make on the lives of those who are struggling through dark, difficult times. Regardless of the specific jobs with which volunteers assist, their presence brings new hope to our clients and is a tangible demonstration of Christ’s love. Volunteers remind our clients that they have real worth and value as people; that they are important to others; and that better days are indeed ahead. As I hear over and over from former clients, the investment of time and energy, love and compassion made by our volunteers can have powerful, life-changing results!

 

As we celebrate National Volunteer Month, on behalf of each client whose life has been touched and forever changed by a Star of Hope volunteer, “Thank you for giving to the Lord, we are the lives that were changed! Thank you for giving to the Lord, we are so glad you gave!”

Discover how you can get involved with Star of Hope Mission to touch hearts and change lives. Visit Volunteer Opportunities Houston today!

Exciting Changes for Star of Hope's Volunteer Services Team

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Stephanie McMath joined Star of Hope's Volunteer Services team last fall - just in time to work with all of our holiday volunteers.  From the beginning, we knew her time with us wouldn't be long.  Her temporary assignment was scheduled to end right after Christmas and she already had big plans for the future.  Stephanie, who has lived abroad and traveled much of her life, has a real heart for people of all cultures.  Her dream is to become truly fluent in Spanish while teaching English to the people in Argentina. 

Stephanie did an awesome job during our busiest time of the year and immediately built strong relationships with many of our volunteers.  We were thrilled when she agreed to work a little longer while she prepared to move.  I left work with a heavy heart the day she told me she had purchased a non-refundable plane ticket.  The time passed quickly and tomorrow is Stephanie's last day.  

When asked what memories she will take away from Star of Hope, Stephanie talked about the hearts of our volunteers, "There's a desire to help and contribute that's really inspiring.  It's just so special.  It's going to leave a mark.  You can't work here and not be touched.  God is working here and you can't ignore it."

Although sending Stephanie off on her new adventure is bittersweet, we are very excited to welcome Courtney Hill to our team.  Courtney brings many wonderful gifts, talents and experience to the table, including experience in volunteer program management.  When asked why she enjoys working with volunteers, Courtney said, "Volunteers are the most selfless, giving people.  I love how they restore my faith in humanity."  As our newest volunteer liaison, Courtney joins Julia Peterlin, Billie Tully and me in meeting the needs of our mission through the incredible volunteers God brings through our doors.

Please pray with us as we ask God's blessings on Stephanie's new life in Argentina and Courtney's work here at Star of Hope.  These two amazing women are going to accomplish great things for His kingdom as they joyfully minister to others right here at Star of Hope and in places faraway.

Volunteer with Star of Hope Mission.
Discover volunteer opportunities of interest to you at
Community Service Volunteers Houston.


The 2011 NCAA Final Four Tournament Is Coming to Star of Hope!

Monday, February 14, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Excitement is building as we head toward March Madness and Houston prepares to host the NCAA Final Four Tournament!  Not only will there be lots of memorable, action-filled college basketball, but also special outreaches to those in our community who are less fortunate…..and the kick-off is at Star of Hope!

Feed the Hungry will distribute food to 1,750 Houston-area families during tournament week and donate 250 boxes of food to Star of Hope Mission. A tractor trailer will roll into our Storehouse on March 14th, loaded down with boxes and pallets of food. We need 20 volunteers, age 18 or older, each day on Tuesday & Wednesday, March 15th & 16th, from 9 AM – 3 PM for to assemble and fill 750 boxes.

 

Through a partnership with Samaritan’s Feet, the tournament will give away 2011 pairs of shoes…..and the first 300 pairs will be given to clients at the Star of Hope Women & Family Emergency Shelter. What an awesome experience as volunteers wash and put a clean pair of socks on the feet of each client before they are fitted with new shoes and receive a care pack filled with toiletry items. Through these gestures of kindness and compassion, our clients will learn about their value and worth as individuals; that others care about them; and that better days are ahead. We need more than 80 volunteers, age 21 or older, working shifts from Noon – 7 PM on Monday, March 28th, to unload and set-up, wash feet, change water, greet, clean-up, and be runners. 

 

Don’t miss out on this tremendous opportunity to participate in the 2011 NCAA Final Four Tournament! All volunteers will receive a commemorative 2011 NCAA Final Four t-shirt.

 

Sign-up today by contacting Elizabeth Hatler at ehatler@sohmission.org or 713-440-5322. 

Find other ways to get involved and help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope today at Volunteer Opportunities Houston.

Why Volunteer at Star of Hope?

Thursday, January 13, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Why do people throughout our community volunteer at Star of Hope? Just ask Ann, a retired social worker, about the benefits of volunteering. 

 

Ann began volunteering in the Computer Learning Center at our Transitional Living Center in 2005. Although she loved helping clients who were eager to learn new computer skills, the timing just didn’t fit with Ann’s busy schedule. She moved to our Women & Family Emergency Shelter where she has been assisting with intake and referrals for our overnight guests ever since. Here’s an e-mail she sent to Latasha Smith, the CLC instructor with whom she worked:

 

Hi Latasha,

 

Those lessons you taught me in Excel have come in handy. I am using Excel for a project that I am helping with at the Women & Family Emergency Shelter. Thanks for showing me how to do that! I guess you can count me as another Excel success!  I would not know what to do at all without the lessons you gave me.


Blessings,

Ann

 

A flexible schedule and the opportunity to learn new skills are only two of the benefits that volunteering at Star of Hope can add to your life as you partner with us to serve Houston’s homeless men, women and children.

Learn more at Community Service Houston

Volunteer Gregg Lattier, a Houston Texan Community Quarterback

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler
Gregg Lattier

“Volunteering at Star of Hope is a demonstration of my faith in the LORD,” is how Gregg Lattier explains his ongoing commitment to serve Houston’s homeless men, women and children through his partnership with our mission. Gregg attended one of the first orientation classes I held for perspective new volunteers almost 13 years ago - and he enthusiastically continues to touch hundreds of lives by sharing his compassionate wisdom and love for Jesus Christ.

 

Most Friday mornings, Gregg teaches stress management to clients in the Personal Development program at Star of Hope’s Transitional Living Center.  Several clients describe his class this way:

 

·         “Dr. Gregg Lattier really inspired me when he taught the class on values.  He provide me with information that I have had never heard before.”

·         “Dr. Gregg Lattier has made me think, learn and laugh during his classes….I wish that more teachers were like him!”

·         “What a great stress management instructor!  Mr. Lattier gave us great methods on how to live life stress-less rather than stressful. He teaches people the true meaning of laughter out loud!  He showed me how to embrace what others might think is impossible.”

 

Although Gregg is at home in the classroom, he loves to travel around the globe.  Christmas break found him in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Cameroon and he plans to visit Asia during spring break.  While traveling, Gregg, who teaches business classes at Lee College and is a member of the United States Coast Guard Reserves, has the opportunity to build relationships and share the Gospel while living off of the local economy. He travels light with only a backpack!

 

When the Houston Texans beat the Jaguars during their last home game on January 2nd, Gregg was backpacking somewhere through Africa. However, during the game he was recognized as a recipient of the Houston Texans 2010 Community Quarterback Award and Star of Hope will receive a generous donation in his honor.

 

Congratulations on this prestigious award, Gregg, and thank you for your many years of dedicated service to our mission! We are grateful to you and the many other faithful volunteers God sends through our doors.

 

Read more about Gregg and how you, too, can help the homeless in the Star of Hope's January Newsletter, The Light.

Community Service Houston


Chevron's Human Energy Blesses Star of Hope

Monday, January 10, 2011
by Elizabeth Hatler

Chevron VolunteersRecently, while running errands, my husband pulled the car into a Chevron station. As he filled up the tank, my attention focused on the poster hanging beside each pump, which showcased the many ways Chevron volunteers contribute “human energy” to make our community a better place. Not only was I delighted that local Chevron volunteers were recognized, but also thrilled that Star of Hope was included – both the top, left- and right-hand photos were taken during Star of Hope projects. 

 

We first worked with Chevron volunteers during their 2009 Humankind Week, and thus, a wonderful, new partnership was born. Throughout 2010, volunteers from Chevron’s Black Employee Network assisted in many areas, such as the kitchens at all three facilities and the Christmas Workshop. 

 

During the sizzling-hot, triple-digit, Houston summer, it was a funny sight when several Chevron volunteers arrived for work all bundled up in heavy jackets, knit hats and gloves! But they came prepared to clean the walk-in freezer at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter. While they cleaned the freezer and others assisted with lunch preparations, several more volunteers baked a scrumptious treat. You can imagine the eager anticipation of shelter clients as the aroma of mouth-watering fudge brownies wafted through the air!

 

Chevron Volunteers at Star of HopeIn the fall of 2010, Chevron groups celebrated their Humankind Week by working on major projects at Star of Hope. Volunteers at the Women & Family Emergency Shelter painted several atrium spaces and cleaned out storage areas. Working in shifts over two days, another Chevron group prepped and painted the iron fence surrounding the perimeter of the Men’s Development Center. Thanks to the generosity of Chevron and the hard work of their dedicated volunteers, we will spend less on facility maintenance and have many more dollars to directly help Houston’s homeless men, women and children!

 

We look forward to additional opportunities to partner with Chevron and the many other volunteers in our community who have a heart for the homeless. 2011 will be an amazing year as together we serve those in need.

Learn how you can help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope. Visit Community Service Volunteers Houston.


A Very Cougar Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010
by Elizabeth Hatler

UH Men's Basketball Team serves Thanksgiving Meals at Hard Rock for Star of Hope ResidentsFor the last 20 years, the Hard Rock Cafe has closed its doors on Thanksgiving Day. Although this popular downtown Houston eatery is closed to the public, the kitchen and waitstaff are quite busy. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving with their own families, everyone at the Hard Rock volunteers on their day off to host a gourmet dinner for clients at Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter and the Transitional Living Center. This year, the Hard Rock team was joined by another very special team – Head Coach James Dickey brought the University of Houston Men’s Basketball team to help. The UH players, still in their warm-ups after an exhausting practice session, autographed posters and visited with our families before heading inside to wait tables. 

 

The UH basketball coaches and players weren’t the only Cougars waiting tables for Star of Hope clients during the holidays. UH athletic director Mack Rhoades was joined by his family as they helped serve Christmas dinner at the Men’s Development Center. Rhoades and his family set out desserts and filled drink glasses as they helped make special Christmas memories for men who are often forgotten. 

"It's a very humbling experience," said Rhoades.  "It makes you realize what you have and it's a blessing to be part of this."

 

Thanks to the UH Athletic Department for reaching out to Houston’s homeless men, women and children during the holidays! Merry Christmas and Go Coogs!

Get involved with Star of Hope and help homeless men, women and families in our community. Find opportunities of interest to you at Community Service Volunteers Houston.


What's It Like to Volunteer at Star of Hope? Ask Cornerstone Mortgage Company!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
by Elizabeth Hatler
Cornerstone Mortgage Company at MDCWhat a blessing when ten energetic volunteers from Cornerstone Mortgage Company recently assisted with lunch at the Star of Hope Men's Development Center!  Between 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM, the Cornerstone team enthusiastically worked to prep, serve and clean-up while sharing the Christmas spirit with our clients and staff.

Erich Hoff, a senior graphics designer in Cornerstone's public relations department, describes their experience this way:

"Thank you for allowing our group to volunteer at the Star of Hope, our department really enjoyed being able to help give back to the community.  Your staff was very kind in showing us the ropes and they have a wonderful sense of humor.   It was also wonderful to interact with the clients who are very kind and welcoming.  There’s a lot of love there and it is noticeable when walking throughout Star of Hope.   Have a blessed holiday season, we are looking forward to helping again in 2011."

Thank you, Cornerstone Mortgage, for partnering with our mission!  We look forward to building a strong relationship in the coming year as together we serve Houston' s homeless men, women and children.
 

Get involved with Star of Hope at Volunteer Jobs Houston!


NCL Heart of Texas Chapter Helps Make Christmas Dinner Special

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
by Elizabeth Hatler

Christmas dinner for families at the Star of Hope Women & Family Emergency Shelter will be a little more like home thanks to the girls in the National Charity League Heart of Texas Chapter. The girls didn’t arrive for their volunteer time at the Christmas Workshop empty handed. In addition to wrapping gifts for shelter guests, they made beautiful red felt table runners decorated with Christmas trees to dress up the shelter’s Christmas dinner. 

 

The table runners, which were designed during monthly meetings, are an excellent example of a creative offsite volunteer project.  What a great way for people with busy schedules to still partner with our mission and be a tremendous blessing to those who are struggling through difficult times.

Learn how you and your organization can get involved with Star of Hope and help Houston's Homeless. Visit Volunteer Opportunities Houston.


Beautiful Blankets to Keep Our Children Warm

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
by Elizabeth Hatler

Every child needs a special blanket with which to cuddle – one that makes him or her feel safe and secure. Thanks to three awesome volunteer groups, the children at Star of Hope have blankets made just for them with lots of extra love.

 

When you walk through the doors of Dancewear, etc, (located just west of I-45 South on Fuqua), you immediately enter a world that’s filled with tap shoes, ballet slippers and leotards. But venture beyond all of the spandex and tulle into the back room and you will find several sewing machines and fabric squares used by the ladies with Project Linus to make the beautifully patterned children’s blankets.  Store owner Linda Henshaw has directed this project for several years and just dropped off enough blankets to fill every inch of her SUV - barely leaving enough room for her to drive.

 

Over the years, our friends at ExxonMobil have tackled everything from landscaping and painting projects to huge donation drives and building gazebos. But this was a first – an ExxonMobil group decided to reach out to our children by making fleece blankets. The ExxonMobil Global HR Services team stayed busy cutting and hand-knotting the fabric, and when the project was finished, there were about 250 blankets. Baseballs, basketballs, trucks and tractors for boys. Hearts and flowers and pastel bears for girls. A blanket in every child’s favorite color and pattern!

 

The women in a Memorial-area neighborhood group, Lots of Knots & Books, Too, promote the love of reading and understand the importance of warm, cozy blankets for children.  Working together, they created hundreds of hand-knotted fleece masterpieces for our children. They hope this donation will encourage each child at Star of Hope to curl up with a cozy blanket and set off on the adventure that awaits him or her in a good book.


Learn how you and your group can help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope. Visit Community Service Volunteers Houston.