Thursday, October 29, 2009

Former Dallas Cowboys' Celebrate Salvation Army Comets' Homecoming

A few blog posts ago, we highlighted The Salvation Army Cedar Crest’s football and cheerleading program.

This past weekend, the program celebrated homecoming. In honor of the event, former Dallas Cowboys’ players Charles Haley (1992 -1996); Kelvin Edwards (1987-1988); Erik G. Williams (1991-2000); Russell Maryland (1991- 1995); and Dixon Edwards (1991-1995) signed autographs and took pictures with the children.

Haley, the only man in the world with five Super Bowl rings, says the sports program teaches children how to work as a team and develop leadership skills.

“Without sports, children miss out on what teamwork and friendship really means,” Haley said.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nordstrom Rack Giving Back!

A group of employees from the Nordstrom Rack in Plano spent Monday, October 19th at The Salvation Army in Plano, creating Angel Tree kits. This activity is part of their United Way community service contribution. Each year, Nordstrom stores across the nation spend one day giving back to their local community by volunteering.

The Plano Nordstrom Rack assembled 2,500 Angel Tree kits, including a bag to hold the gifts and an Angel Tree information sheet.

Nordstrom Rack Store Manager, Casey Aur, says she has personally participated in the Angel Tree program each year by adopting an angel, but she never knew what all is needed to make it successful. She found the volunteer opportunity inspiring.
“Nordstrom is known for exceptional customer service and this starts by having your employees work together as a team. That is what makes our store successful,” Aur said.

“It’s exciting that today, that a group of our staff can come together as a team and give back to The Salvation Army. It’s amazing how much volunteer work we will do today that will benefit Angel Tree.”

This year, The Salvation Army will assemble an estimate 60,000 angel tree kits. Salvation Army Angel Trees will be available, on November 13, in 10 malls: Collin Creek, Golden Triangle, Irving, NorthPark, Valley View, Hulen, Northeast, Ridgmar, Grapevine, and including Galleria this year!

Thank you Nordstrom Rack for giving back!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Comets Football at The Salvation Army Cedar Crest

The Salvation Army Cedar Crest, located in Southeast Dallas, helps children score big in many ways. The center provides a well known football and cheerleading program. Not only is the program successful in teaching children skills on the field, but it also is great at teaching children life skills.

For many children growing up in this neighborhood, a life exposed to drugs and gang (street) violence is all too common. Some of the children do not come from a stable background. By offering football and cheerleading practice three times a week, and football games on Saturdays, children and their parent’s can easily become involved in a more positive experience. On any given Saturday, more than two hundred people come to the community center to participate or watch the football games during football season.

Sergeant Rodney Hinkle, officer at The Salvation Army Cedar Crest, says the program is a win for the parents and the children. The coaches mentor the children and keep in communication with the parents. Over the past few years, the sports program has developed into a successful community tradition. “Parents in this area know that we offer the best alternative activity that will keep their children safe and teach them skills they can use on and off the field.”

Meet seven-year-old Jederek, who plays on The Salvation Army’s Comets football team.

Jederek, who aspires to play like Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber, knows that grades matter. The program's rule is, no pass no play. “We check their grades,” assistant coach for the Comets said. “If a child is not passing his classes, then we are quick to help him with his grades." Jederek says he understands the importance of getting good grades. “I am getting good grades and it makes me happy to play."

Next, meet Salvation Army’s Comets cheerleader, Tyranisha.

Tyranisha’s mother, Tiffany, is a single mother living in the Cedar Crest neighborhood. She says her daughter looks forward to the weekly practices and cheering for the Comets. “The program teaches my daughter about team work which is an important skill, plus she has fun,” Tiffany said. Tiffany’s oldest daughter was once a Comets cheerleader, too. “My girls love cheerleading here. This program is definitely known in the community,” she said.

Because of the success of this program at The Salvation Army Cedar Crest Community Center, the lessons Jederek, Tyranisha, and other children are learning will help them and hopefully change their community. The Salvation Army is teaching the young, aspiring football players and cheerleaders how to be disciplined and how to work with other people. “These skills will help the players throughout their lives,” Hinkle said.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VHA's back...

Round two! Employees from VHA, a nationwide network community-owned health care system, came back this year to volunteer again at The Salvation Army in Irving. Volunteers planted flowers, tidied up the children’s playground, and sanitized toys. VHA, headquartered in Los Colinas, commits one day a year to volunteer at a local community nonprofit for “VHA Community Day.”

Lorraine Jenks, VHA employee and coordinator for the volunteer project, says VHA Community Day is a way for the company to give back to the community and was excited to be back at The Salvation Army. “Volunteering at The Salvation Army and other non-profits, shows that VHA cares about the community and we want to make a positive impact,” Jenks said.

Check out the story on Neighborsgo.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Field Trip to the Kimbell Art Museum

Children attending the Northside Community Center’s After School Program have a distinct learning advantage by participating in the center’s cultural program. Each month a cultural activity is offered. Through this opportunity the children can continue to increase their knowledge while outside the classroom.

Recently, the children and staff ventured down to the cultural district in Ft. Worth. Their destination: the Kimbell Art Museum. The museum is an exceptional place for the children to visit and learn interesting things, while in a new environment.

After being greeted by the museum’s docents, the children began their tour. Their first stop was the Asian exhibit.

Inside the Asian exhibit, the children watched a film installation called, “Arhat Taming the Dragon” by Phillip Haan. Several children did not understand why they were watching a movie in an art museum. Joann, the museum docent, explained that the movie is a piece of art about art.

Next, Joann led the children to the Egyptian exhibit, were they studied Egyptian mummy sculptures. While looking closely at Pharaoh Amenotep II, the children learned why ancient Egyptians made mummies. Joann explained that Egyptians believed that if a person was wrapped like a mummy after dying, the person could still spiritually live and later come back in another life.

The final observation was paintings by Henry Raeburn and Frederic Lieghton. To quiz the children, the docent asked what they noticed about the people in the paintings.

Henry Raeburn

Frederic Lieghton

The children immediately guessed, “They have fancy clothes on!” Their thinking caps were on, and the children had learned that in the seventeenth century, only wealthy people were able to afford portraits.

Surveying the children’s faces, each child had learned something new that day. Their knowledge of art and culture had been expanded. Here’s what three children said about what they learned.

Paityn, eight years old, says, “I liked the Mummies! They were really old.”

Noah, ten years old, liked the paintings. “I learned something new and it was really cool.”

Zanadra, eight years old, enjoyed the Asian exhibits. “In the movie, the dragon means it will be a storm. It is helpful to the people.”

Closing the tour, Larry Logger, another docent said it best about their trip. “The children not only learned about different cultures, but they learned that in art, an artist is always telling a story, and the viewer is to look for clues - unusual clues.”

What a fantastic learning experience for the children at the Northside Community Center!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Graduations Matter

At The Salvation Army DFW, we believe that graduations matter. It is important to celebrate a person's recovery and the progress made in their life.

This past week, The Salvation Army in Fort Worth honored three individuals for successfully completing one of three programs: First Choice, a residential chemical dependency rehab for mothers with children; the Simon Program, a program for men and women with a dual diagnosis of chemical dependency and mental health issues; and START, an intensive residential case management for single, homeless men and women.

By reaching this milestone, the graudates have demonstrated that they are now ready to re-enter society. They will be moving into their own apartments free of drugs, alcohol and homelessness with the tools to help them remain stable citizens of Fort Worth.

Meet graduate Tanya Phillips and read her story.

Tanya Phillips' six-month-old son was removed from her custody by Child Protective Services due to her drug addiction. Three days after enrolling in The Salvation Army’s First Choice program, CPS reunited Tanya with her son. In the First Choice program, she received group therapy, individual counseling, transportation assistance, and child-care, as well as a room of her own and meals. On April 16, Tanya began school to become a medical assistant. On August 28 -- one year to the day from when she regained custody of her child -- she signed a lease and began moving into a two-bedroom apartment. "The Salvation Army helped me build up a support network, rebuild my family relationships, and believe in myself," Tanya says. "They helped me to strive for success and achieve my dreams.”

It was great to see many people attend and celebrate this special occasion.