Great watch party. Here’s Ron with City House ED, Sheri Messer and Tracy McClain, Transitional Living Manager.
Great watch party. Here’s Ron with City House ED, Sheri Messer and Tracy McClain, Transitional Living Manager.
“Some people here, not all, but some are convinced that we don’t have a problem with homelessness. That’s because there is growth here and affluence, homes with community pools, and walking trails, that we don’t have a problem. We do.”
– City House-Frisco via Courtney Gilmore NBC5 NBC DFW #NBCDFWNow
Welcome New Transitional Living Program Manger, Kristi Flanders!
More exciting news! We are delighted to announce a very key appointment to our Transitional Living staff.
Please welcome Kristi Flanders, TLP Program Manager. Kristi comes to City House with 14 years of experience in the social service and non-profit arena, particularly in the areas of Family Violence, Child Abuse, and Managing Residential Programs. After graduating from University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Kristi worked as a Campus Manager for Communities in Schools, providing social services to elementary aged children in McKinney ISD. She then moved on to Genesis Women’s Shelter Support in Dallas, where she spent the past 12 years of her career. Starting out as a Case Manager, she eventually spent time as the Special Events Coordinator, and then became their Director of Residential Services. Within this role she oversaw the operations and advocacy services for the emergency shelter and the Transitional Living Program. Kristi earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2016.
Her collective expertise will make for great collaboration across all facets of the growing programs and services we provide at City House for the at-risk population we care for.
Sharing this succinct and informative read from Covenant House. In particular the, University of Pennsylvania study on child trafficking among homeless youth. Astounding. And a reason why City House will be building out our individual and family counseling services.
As parents and as an agency we must stay ahead of the struggles and issues our youth are having. We do not want anyone leaving home because they were misunderstood or not tolerated. We are dealing with these kids everyday right here in Collin County and North Texas. Please read when you have a second. Thank you.
On the heels of our City House staff attending a QPR (Question.Persuade.Refer) training this week on 3 basic steps to take when talking to someone with thoughts of suicide, our Programs Director, Jennifer Lajoie shared her thoughts on the Netflix Original Series “13 Reasons Why.”
The series gives an in-depth, at time extremely graphic look at the 13 Reasons “Why” a high school student took her own life. For Jennifer, it sparked the question, “do our clients at City House House know about this?” She than took the opportunity to have an honest conversation with our youth and young adults about suicide, and she made it important that our youth and young adults lead the conversation and hear first-hand what they are saying about the subject.
Geeze, remember when the three mandatory conversations were the birds and the bees, warning your kids to not talk to strangers or take drugs?
On Saturday, September 10, City House hosted its annual Gala at the InterContinental Hotel. This year’s title sponsor was Albertson’s and Tom Thumb; and Platinum sponsors AdvoCare, Classic BMW, and Toyota of Plano. Over 850 attendees demonstrated their generous support of City House.
This year our event chairs were former Dallas Stars greats, Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco and their wives, Anne-Marie Morrow and Kelly Turco, and CBS radio, 98.7 KLUV’s, Jody Dean, effortlessly entertained as Master of Ceremonies and as a total surprise to him was honored with the 2016 Invisible Thread Award.
Upon arrival our guests were handed a complimentary Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktail, and many participated in the Tito’s bottle ring toss. The putting green contest had a steady line for those vying for the fewest strokes, and the two Wheels of Fortune spun nonstop with winners walking away with restaurant gift cards and a number of valuable prizes for adults and families.
The silent auction was immense with every possible find imaginable, from mystery bags to exquisite hand-picked jewelry pieces from Jalin Jewelers. Signed memorabilia was hot and included an Adele signed music sheet of Rolling in the Deep, a framed Frank Sinatra, signed by the artist Leroy Neiman, a 55” SONY 4K donated by sponsor, Best Buy, along with nearly 350 items to fit every budget.
The event drew many local sports and media celebrities including former Dallas Cowboys tight end, BJ DuPree, and longtime City House supporter, former Dallas Stars defenseman, and pre-post game analyst, Craig Ludwig. Collin County City officials included Frisco’s Mayor Maso, and Police Chief, Gregory Rushin hosted a table full of Plano’s finest. Health & Wellness Sponsor AdvoCare had twenty guests and hosted Jody Dean, and his daughter Maddie, along with Jay Creswell of CBS.
Fuzi Fine Wines in Plano generously donated a wonderful 2012 Vintage Chardonnay from their own Sonoma, vineyard. Equally as generous Tom Thumb provided a very impressive Cabernet.
City House Executive Director Sheri Messer showed a very moving video that spoke of our mission, and ended with a transition from our Youth Center ribbon cutting where a young resident, Ron Bultongez, performed hallelujah, to Ron singing live on stage where the song had left off. There was not a dry eye in the room, including his.
Our City House appeal for the night was strictly to raise funds for the most needed necessities for our shelter and homes. Clothes, food, paper goods, medical supplies, transportation maintenance and funding for our resident enrichment program.
The live auction truly featured once-in- a lifetime custom experiences created for City House. The most coveted included tickets to the sold-out Adele concert at Madison Square Garden that garnered $16,000. A hotly contested Everlast boxing glove autographed by Mohammad Ali, with a very rare “Thrilla in Manilla” framed photo and ticket, for over $8 grand. Other chart toppers included dinner in the home of Iron Chef Kent Rathbun for eight that brought in $22,000, an incredible Game of Thrones filming site trip to Belfast, Ireland donated by Arts World Travel, collectively brought in $15,000. The most entertaining offering came about when Marty Turco and Brenden Morrow came on stage to auction off the Cowboy Legend Dinner for 12-people at Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine bar with greats Tony Dorsett, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Drew Pearson and Randy White. They brought DuPree up to help make the pitch and ended up recruiting him for the dinner, too.
The lively bidding ended at $10,000. A small price for what will surely be a big night out.
The Capital Grille’s managing part ner, Greg Cavanagh was in the crowd and he was determined not be out done by Flemings’s chef Herbert, or Chef Rathbun. He incited a bidding frenzy when he spontaneously offered up a private dinner and wine pairing for a large group expertly prepared by their outstanding Chef in either the winner’s home or at the restaurant. It was heated and crazy and it ended up selling a couple times for over $8,000.
The evening entertainment was a Tribute to the Legendary Sounds of Motown, and the band, Motor City Revue delivered on that promise. Motown, hit after hit and it appeared impossible for the people to remain in their seats. The crowd overflowed from the dance floor onto the carpet, and the dancin g went on to the very last song.
From all accounts it was a very successful night for City House. All in all, we love laying out the red carpet for all our incredibly generous supporters and sponsors, and really strive to create a great night out for our supporters and guests and deliver an experience that will have everybody coming next year. To be precise…
Next year’s gala is scheduled for September 9, 2017 and will be moving back to the Embassy Suites and Conference Center. For information on business sponsorships please contact Chey Reynolds, 972-424- 4626.
Goddi never knew his dad growing up. He and his mom lived in several different states before settling in North Texas.
“It was rough; I remember there was always a lot of stress in our house,” Goddi said. “My mom wanted me to be the man of the house since I was the oldest. But she was in and out of jail and I would spend a lot of time with relatives I didn’t really know.”
When Goddi was 17 and 18, he and his mother were living in Garland and they were doing the best they could. But Goddi had to drop out of high school to watch his little brothers. He had no high school degree and no plan. But he knew what he wanted.
“I didn’t know what to do or what steps to take. All I knew is that I wanted to get out,” he said. “So I just left one night. I packed a bag and left. I was homeless for about four months. I ended up living at The Bridge shelter in Dallas for a while.”
Goddi was doing whatever he could. He went to Promise House he tried the job corps. Nothing clicked. Then his CT manager told him about City House and he decided to check it out.
“I went to the Youth Resource Center and talked with some of the staff and ended up filling out an application. I moved into the boys house the next week. I liked it a lot and thought it was very helpful.”
Goddi appreciated being around other young men who had dealt with their own challenges in life. He listened and learned a lot from his peers.
“It was great having the counselors and staff to talk with,” he said. “But the other guys in the house were very positive and we bonded. They were inspirational to me because they each were so determined. We bonded and I’m still friends with most of the guys.”
Never a problem with work ethic, Goddi just needed some direction and guidance.
“When I didn’t have any place else to go, City House gave me a place. Growing up, I never really had much guidance and had to learn a lot for myself. When you turn 18 you unfortunately don’t automatically just know how the world works. City House helps you focus on what you want to do in life.”
Goddi started working at Samsung while at City House and has kept steady work as he’s moved on. He’s since gotten back together with his mom and they are working through things while trying to help each other. Currently he works at the Dallas Museum of Art.
“I’m saving up my money right now,” he said. “I want to get a car and I’m always trying to get more hours. My ultimate goal is to have my own business. I wouldn’t mind working in a place like City House and helping people. I have a lot of interests and I’m excited about what the future holds.”
That’s what it comes down to for Godi and so many other young people – focus.
“Distractions have always been a problem for me and City House helped me understand how to focus on what you want to do in life,” he said. “I feel like you can do anything in life you put your mind to; you just need to focus. City House gives you the tools to think for yourself and learn about life. It certainly was a positive experience for me.”
Impressive Effort by Hunt, Scoggins and Pioneer Heritage Middle Schools in Frisco ISD
By Mary Murphy & Rob Scichili
Three years ago, Girl Scout Troop 8737 worked with Hunt Middle School in Frisco, TX to put on the first-ever City House Frisco Thon fundraiser. The next year, Scoggins Middle School joined the effort as a second school to participate. This year, for the spring of 2016, Thon expanded to three middle schools in Frisco ISD, held on April 8. Pioneer Heritage joined in as the third school in three years, and it was a night of success, all the way around.
Frisco Thon is a six-hour dance-a-thon (and all things fun) for middle school students that is modeled after the Penn State Thon that has been around for years in the name of cancer research. The event raises money and awareness for City House and their cause – helping at-risk youth for abuse, neglect and homelessness in Collin County.
All together, the three schools combined to raise more than $32,000 for City House as part of the 2016 Frisco Thon!
“I think that Frisco Thon was an amazing opportunity for our staff, students and community to come together for a great cause,” said Scoggins school counselor Christine Combest. “The students were excited to donate and support a cause that is very close to home. It is relatable for these students since it helps other youth in the Collin County area. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the opportunity to get up and move for six hours in the name of City House.”
The students were certainly moving, kept busy by a full itinerary that included pie-eating contests, lip-synching contests, faculty-student basketball games, a dunk tank (at Pioneer Heritage), limbo contests, and of course, dancing.
“Frisco Thon brought our school and community together in so many ways,” said Keleigh Compton, teacher and sponsor at Pioneer Heritage. “We had students, teachers, parents, and other community members doing everything they could to make Frisco Thon fun and successful! I think that seeing everyone work together for such a great cause will have a lasting effect on these kids for years to come!”
Current City House clients Mario and Christina, who are residents in the organization’s Transitional Living Program, came to all three schools to talk with the students and thank them for their efforts.
“It’s your dedication to give back and participate in an evening like this that makes a huge difference,” Mario told the students at Hunt. “City House has done so much for me. I can focus on what is next for me instead of where I am going to sleep tonight. Thank you all so much for raising money for City House.”
Christina went on to explain how the program has helped her immensely and now she is pursuing her goal of studying to be a cosmetologist.
Pranav Chelat, a student at Pioneer Heritage said, “Frisco Thon really helped me realize that there are actually people struggling just to get a good home and to live a decent life. I now realize that Frisco also has homeless people. Frisco Thon helps those people in need with the money that we donate and also guarantees the fun all the kids had. The event is a combination of fun and charity helping.”
Sumedha Bhagavatula, also a student at Pioneer Heritage added, “Frisco Thon has brought the kindness out of me and allowed me to do a great service for the greater good of my city and school.”
The students and volunteers enjoyed Raising Cane’s chicken fingers for an early meal during the event, with pizza being served in the latter hours. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of food and drink!
Although City House has been around for 27 years, many teachers and students still aren’t aware that the local nonprofit organization is there to help.
Plano teachers Nancy Boyd and Kay Goodman founded City House in 1988 after they discovered several of their students living out of lockers. City House began as a six-bed teen shelter and has grown into a 48-bed multi-faceted organization. They now have an emergency care center, My Friends House, for ages 0-17, three Transitional Living Program (TLP) homes for ages 18-21 and outpatient counseling services. They also have a Youth Resource Center in Plano, where young adults can take life skills classes, get help finding jobs, and more.
Money raised from previous Thons have helped City House finance the TLP program in Frisco and overall in Collin County.
“Frisco Thon has helped City House reach more people, both in awareness and impact,” said Rob Scichili, communications manager for City House. “Parents are also made aware of the issue of teen homelessness, and many become more involved once they learn of the issue. This great event helps unite the students on a very fun night that benefits a worthy cause.
“All of us at City House would like to thank the students and staff for all of their dedication and hard work. Raising over $32,000 is pretty darn impressive. We will put every penny towards helping the kids we serve. It was a very fun night and we appreciate these young people for stepping up for their community.”
City House’s Frisco Thon fundraiser began in 2014 with the help of Girl Scout Troop 8737, whose members were 8th grade students at Hunt Middle School at the time. Troop members Madison Gray, Brianna Royer, and Samantha Buckalew learned about City House while donating boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to Samaritan Inn, a homeless shelter in McKinney, TX.
“We decided to work with City House because the young adult age group is often underserved, and we wanted to target real people that needed our service and that we could work with personally,” said Madison Gray, now a sophomore at Frisco High School. “It very easily could have been myself or one of my Girl Scout sisters in that same situation. Because of that, we knew we had to help.”
Troop 8737 worked with Hunt Middle School’s Student Council to plan and carry out the first-ever Frisco Thon. The fundraiser was a great success and nearly $12,000 was raised for City House.
Hunt, Scoggins and Pioneer Heritage simply went out and tripled that number in 2016.
“Students loved the fact that they were raising money for teens and students that they may go to school with or see every day, which touched everyone on a personal level,” said Maria Lawson, sophomore at Frisco High School and former Hunt student council president who helped make Thon a reality in 2014. “It was eye opening for everyone to understand that there were people in their community the same age as them that were less privileged, so everyone wanted to help make a change.”
Thank you to all of the great sponsors that partnered with the three schools to raise money for a great cause!