May, 2015
Issue #15 - 5 
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Bank of America names BEACON a Neighborhood Builder 

“THE BEACON and its collaborative partners have done so much towards the goal of ending the cycle of chronic homelessness in Houston and we are energized about the transformative work that THE BEACON will be able to do with the unrestricted funding and leadership training as a Neighborhood Builder."

~Hong Ogle, Houston President
Bank of America

THE BEACON is grateful to be a recipient of the 2014 Neighborhood Builder award and recognized among other recent recipients from the Houston area, including the Houston Food Bank, New Hope Housing, and SEARCH Homeless.  We will use the grant to increase our impact on our clients, develop valuable relationships in the community, and help us to leverage additional funding.

The Bank of America Neighborhood Builders program provides grants and leadership development to nonprofits, and helps organizations like us build a stronger presence in our community.  The grant includes $200,000 in flexible funding and comprehensive leadership development training for our executives.  Since Bank of America launched the Neighborhood Builders program in 2004, it has become the nation’s largest philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership development. 

Here at THE BEACON, we are excited about our partnership with Bank of America, especially the leadership training component.  THE BEACON’s Executive Director Charly Weldon recently participated in a week of Neighborhood Builder leadership training in San Diego.  During her participation, Charly made great connections with other nonprofit organizations and picked up new ideas to implement at THE BEACON.  Read more about Charly’s experience in San Diego on her blog post

Volunteer Idea Sharing Conference

THE BEACON Board of Directors Committee on Programming will host the quarterly ideas sharing conference on Wednesday, May 27 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm and on Saturday, May 30 from  4:00pm – 5:30pm. 

This quarter’s meeting will center on the renovations of THE BEACON this summer as well as ideas on ways to ensure we are still reaching the people we set out to reach.  You, our volunteers, will drive other topics.  If you have anything you would like us to address, please email Day Center Operations Director, Jonathan Holland with your suggestions.  Our hope is that this will become a volunteer led meeting that can help THE BEACON identify ways to make our programs and volunteer experiences better.  

We will have light refreshments during the meetings but you should plan on eating a meal before or after.  Please let us know if you plan on attending. 

RSVP to the whichever meeting you would like to attend by clicking the link below:

Wednesday May 27

Saturday May 30



Stories from the Streets

"THE BEACON has been a very positive influence on my life."  
~ James Johnson, BEACON client

It's All in the Details

James first came to THE BEACON on February 29, 2015.  Three days prior, James was given $100, a set of clothes, and a pair of shoes as he exited the criminal justice system after 27 years.  In 1988, James committed an aggravated assault born out of his ongoing battle with substance abuse. 
While serving his time, James became sober, committed himself to Christ, and earned time off for good behavior.  However, like so many others, James experienced a range of emotions upon his release.  James was happy to be out, but scared of the unknown and unsure about what his future would hold. 
Once released, James had nowhere to go; he spent his first night out of prison sleeping in a bus station where his only $100 was stolen.  To make matters worse, James received the wrong medication during his processing out. 
After a couple of days on the street, Metro police dropped James off at THE BEACON where they hoped he could get a bite to eat, take a shower, and get some rest.  James found so much more than that. 
While receiving services James met George Bement, a case manager and program director for The Cathedral Clinic at The Beacon.  George talked with James, got him the right medicine, and helped him walk through the process of getting his social security card.  George also connected James with Search and helped him apply for the SNAP program.  He even helped James find a more suitable living situation at Magnifact House.  
James says he regularly comes to the Cathedral Clinic where he can meet with his ‘mentor and friend’ as well as to receive checkups for his ongoing medical condition.  While incarcerated, James prayed that God would place him in a positive situation.  He believes THE BEACON and George were the answers to that prayer. 
James‘ attitude and gratefulness is infectious.  Everyone that meets James says that they would never guess he had been in prison for the past 27 years.  In the future, James hopes to open a car detailing shop where he says he will offer a discount to any BEACON volunteer. 

Volunteer Corner

April's Service Groups

Alpha Epsilon Delta

Bank of America

Baytex Energy

Calvary Episcopal Church

Carnegie Mellon University Houston Alumni Group


Center for Student Ministries Staff

Christ Church Cathedral Youth Group

Covenant Crossfit

Fall Group

Hassid Dental

Hess Corp

Lakewood Church

Military Veteran Network

Powerhouse Church

Rock of Power Full Gospel Church

Scholars Academy
Society of Petroleum Engineers – Young Professionals Group
Spectra Energy
St. John’s School
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
St. Mary of the Purification Church Teen Group
St. Phillip the Apostle Catholic Church
St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church
The Chapel of t. Basils
The Church of St. John the Devine
Trout Family
United Christian Academy
United Nations of Devry University Houston
Volunteer Houston Young Leaders
Westbury Baptist Church College and Career Group
Wood Group Kenny
Have a group of 6 - 18 people that would like to volunteer? 
Email: for more infromation. 
  • The economic value for volunteering in the US was over $162 billion dollars in 2014.  
  • THE BEACON valued its volunteer support for 2014 at $774,379.54 in 2014.
  • in 2014 THE BEACON had nearly 29,000 volunteer hours served. That equals 19 full time employees.  
  • Those who volunteer regularly are nearly 2/3 more likely to report as being happy and fulfilled as those who do not.  
  • 94% of people who volunteer say that volunteering improves their mood and 76% of volunteers say that volunteering makes them feel better about themselves and healthier.  

April's Top Volunteers

Chanaka Wijayasinha - 71:45 Hours

Norman Butler - 60:07 Hours

Lawrence Kirby-Craig - 46:36 Hours

John Muire - 39:06 Hours

Mike LaPorta - 30:14 Hours 

Program Stats from 
April 2015

2,679 Volunteer Hours Served

598  Unduplicated Volunteers

10,125 Hot Meals Served 

1,895 Loads of Laundry Washed

2,183 Hot Showers Taken

256 Housing Assessments Completed

28 Clients Placed in Housing via The Way Home Program

Volunteer Spotlight

Bank of America - Corporate Volunteers

Supporter and Volunteers Since:
October 2012

Number of Hours Served:
166:43 hours & several outside projects such as toiletry drives and scrubs collections.

Quote about THE BEACON:
"For the last several years, THE BEACON and Bank of America have developed a partnership ranging from our employees volunteering to collaborating and sharing ideas on how to tackle Houston’s homelessness. It is this common vision and passion for providing the essential services to those in need that makes me proud and confident that together with THE BEACON and its collaborative partners, we’ll be able to make great strides in ending chronic homelessness in Houston.”

~David Ruiz
Manager of Community Engagement
Bank of America 

Quote about Bank of America 
“Bank of America was one of our very first corporate partners to commit to volunteering at THE BEACON.  Since their first visit, we have built a lasting relationship that benefits both the organization and our clients.  We are proud to work with such an amazing group of people and look forward to continuing our friendship as we work to end homelessness in Houston.”

~Charly Weldon
Executive Director
Noteworthy Volunteer Accomplishment(s):
Bank of America’s model of community engagement led THE BEACON to offer more corporate volunteer opportunities and pursue new corporate partners to fill the expanding need.  Being able to show that Bank of America has committed to THE BEACON helped to legitimize our corporate volunteer opportunities and is a huge asset when recruiting new organizations.  In 2014, THE BEACON saw a 63% increase in corporate volunteer hours due in part to Bank of America’s support and mentorship.   

About Bank of America's Support and Volunteerism:
Strengthening the communities they serve is fundamental to Bank of America’s future.  As they grow globally, they are committed to remain engaged in local communities.  Investing in and promoting philanthropy as well as helping nonprofits with critical needs is a way that Bank of America actively participates in the community.  Perhaps there is no greater example of this than Bank of America's support of THE BEACON.  

Bank of America recognizes that individuals and families face significant challenges.  One of their focus areas is to increase support of organizations offering basic human services.  This is done by leveraging volunteerism and partnerships that support programs like THE BEACON. 

Quick Hits

Changes to Parking


The parking garage that BEACON volunteers, supporters, and visitors have access to (500 San Jacinto) has recently undergone a transition from a manned attendant system to a fully automated system. 
THE BEACON is happy to be in a position where we can validate your parking.  However, you will no longer be issued validation stickers.  The validation process requires us to use an in-house system, so please remember to bring your ticket with you after you park, and try to keep it in a safe place where it will not get wet, stolen, or damaged.  THE BEACON will be unable to replace any lost tickets, nor will we be able to validate a damaged, lost, or any ticket that is not in your physical possession. 
Here is what to do:
  1. Grab the ticket from the machine when you arrive
  2. Place it somewhere where you can keep it safe
  3. Present your ticket for validation to our volunteer trainer Zachary before or after your volunteer shift
  4. Make sure you have your (validated) ticket upon leaving the facility
  5. Insert the ticket in the machine to lift the arm as you exit the garage
The parking fee has also increased.  The garage now has a flat rate of $15.  If you lose your ticket or if it is too damaged to read, you will be asked to pay the full parking fee.  Also, please note that the machines DO NOT accept cash.  If you do have a lost ticket or experience any other issues, press the help button on the terminal and the command center will provide assistance.
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to give us a call.  Our Day Center Operations Director, Jonathan Holland will be happy to field any questions or issues you may have. 

New & Noteworthy!


Building a Strong Team

Volunteers help us do 85% of all the services we offer here at THE BEACON.  However, our staff works hard behind the scenes to support your volunteer effort and to provide administrative support to the organization. 

Recently THE BEACON underwent some staff changes and we are happy to introduce our new Development Director and update our supports on the status of our employee team:

Julie Falcon started April 13, as our new Development Director.  Julie comes to THE BEACON by way of the HCC Foundation and brings an infectious enthusiasm to fundraising and donor stewardship.  Please feel free to email Julie and say hello.
Coty Booze has been a member of THE BEACON Day Center Staff for over 6 months.  However, as of April 16, Coty has taken over the role of Day Center Intake and Risk Management Coordinator.  In this role, Coty will continue directly supervising the intake desk and volunteers, but will also be our lead staff member working with our security team.  With his background and degree in Criminal Justice, Coty has the experience to support and supervise our security team in their work. 
Mike Puccio’s title has changed to Day Center Program Director, and he will continue to oversee the Day Center Kitchen and laundry programs.  
Jonathan Holland has stepped in to the new role of Day Center Operations Director.  Jonathan will still work to schedule volunteers, but he will also oversee all of the other aspects of the volunteer experience.  He will also be responsible for Day Center Security, HMIS – Coalition Relations, BEACON communications, as well as supervise BEACON Volunteer Trainer Zachary, and the new Intake and Risk Management Coordinator position filled by Coty.

*Jonathan and Mike will work side by side in co-directing the Beacon Day Center.*
  • FEED 500 Days still Available - Celebrate a loved one by feeding all of THE BEACON clients for one day for just $500!
  • Sign up you group to volunteer and receive 12 free Houston Dynamo tickets to an upcoming match when you mention May BEACON Bytes
  • Scrubs needed.  If you have any gently worn scrubs you can donate to THE BEACON they will be much appreciated! 
  • Summer Volunteer Slots are filling up fast!  You can sign up for a volunteer shift up to 6 months in advance, sign up now to secure the days you most want to volunteer!

Donor Spotlight

Volunteers Win Big for THE BEACON 

We were surprised and delighted to receive a $10,000 gift this month because of some hard-working volunteers from GAP Solutions!

Employees from GAP Solutions captured video of their volunteer experience explaining how they served at THE BEACON and the impact the service had on their team.   The video was submitted to and was selected as a 2014 winner among 2,000 teams project all across the country!

This is the first year GAP Solutions participated in the Super Service Challenge. GAP Solutions believes structured, company-sponsored volunteer programs boost employee morale, improve employee retention, strengthen employee relationships and develop leadership skills, contributing to overall success for the company.

"I wanted us to go where we would make a big impact and I found THE BEACON through a web search. It was very rewarding to see all of THE BEACON clients first-hand and know that we were making a difference in their lives that day,” said Kayce McDaniel of GAP Solutions, Inc. “We will definitely be back to volunteer again."
Photo caption: GAP Solutions presents THE BEACON with a $10,000 gift that they won during the 2014 Super Service Challenge.  Left to right: Jonathan Holland of THE BEACON, Aaron Blevins of GAP Solutions, Julie Falcon of THE BEACON, Aundrail Hill, Karen Warren and Kayce McDaniel of Gap Solutions.

Calendar of Events

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