Women Making a Difference: Leader of nonprofit organization helps struggling families
Ruth Githumbi, the executive director of Trees of Hope, has made it her mission to make things easier for children whose families have fallen on hard times. Trees of Hope is a charity that supports children’s programs for Houston-based nonprofit Star of Hope, Houston’s largest mission for the homeless population. Star of Hope’s Women and Family Development Center houses up to 150 families each day and helps victims cope with domestic and substance abuse. In 2016, Trees of Hope helped to provide programs for more than 1,635 children, according to their website. To learn more about Trees of Hope, click here.
Women Making a Difference: Veteran helps women get back on their feet
HOUSTON – Moving from place to place was all Tracey Staff ever knew. It wasn't comfortable, I wasn't happy at work and I would have to move,” Staff said. "The Women's Home is a beautiful organization that helps women get back on their feet, and they're doing it. The Women’s Home is an organization that provides housing and treatment to women who are struggling with homelessness, addiction and mental illness. "(The women) come in and every day they get a little bit lighter, then you see them smile, and then you hear them laughing -- and by the end of it they're on their feet and they're strong and they're working."
Women Making a Difference: Houston Firefighter Dana Brown
HOUSTON – Dana Brown says she has spent her entire career proving people wrong. I just decided I was going to go for it,” Brown said. She’s worked for the Houston Fire Department since 1998, and has climbed the ranks from firefighter to driver and finally to captain at HFD’s hazardous materials station. This is really going to satisfy my need to give back to the community." Now Brown tries to motivate others to follow their dreams -- no matter how big, or who says it cannot be done.
Women Making a Difference: Missouri City officer works to keep her community safe
HOUSTON – Officer Jessica Berry of the Missouri City Police Department always knew she would become a police officer. She's a seven-year veteran of the Missouri City Police Department and is currently part of its motorcycle traffic unit. In 2012, Officer Berry was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for DUI enforcement. "In my opinion, Officer Berry has probably saved as many lives as she has made arrests for DUI,” Sgt. Even though the job can be tough, Officer Berry says she does it to keep her community safe and to keep families together.
Women Making a Difference: 'Bennetts Bears' passing gift to children with illness
"My teddy bear loves to play hide and seek,” Bennett crooned affectionately as he clutched his bear with both arms. Bennett’s bear has seen him through some difficult times -- through things that most young boys or girls couldn’t even fathom. But Bennett’s mother noticed he gravitated to one toy in particular -- a stuffed brown Build-A-Bear. Brande established their own foundation -- Bennett’s Bears -- to further their mission. To learn more about Bennett’s Bears, click here to visit their website.
Women Making a Difference: Teenager creates non-profit to help children learn math
But when Sofia Ivanka was in fourth grade, she wrote the book--literally. "When I was nine I wrote a book for fourth-graders, so it's called Fourth Grade Math Rules,” Ivanka said. “Building Smart Kids,” will supplement their efforts by providing materials to teach children English. To learn more about Sofia Ivanka and her organization, click link to visit her website. To donate to Building Smart Kids, click link here.
Women Making a Difference: Founder of Houston Children's Charity assists local children
She grew up in a large family in Louisiana, and was raised to always look for ways to help others. "Being the second of nine (children), I knew how to take care of children by the time I was 10,” Laura said. Now a longtime Houstonian, Laura harnessed her passion for helping others and helped found Houston Children's Charity in 1996. "We try to address the worthwhile needs and the urgent needs of children that go unaddressed every day,” she explained. Houston Children’s Charity has begun a number of initiatives to help local children, including its “Chariots for Children” program, which has provided wheelchair-accessible vehicles to dozens of local families.
Women Making a Difference: Crime Stoppers director helping victims for more than decade
HOUSTON – We often hear about the immediate impacts of crime -- families left grieving lost loved ones or the search for some stolen article or artifact. Rania Mankarious is the executive director of Crime Stoppers in Houston and has been passionate about spreading the message of public safety. And she has touched the lives of the people her organization has helped -- victims of crime such as Gail Stalarow. "(Mankarious) makes every person feel like the most important person in the room," Stalarow said. To learn more about Mankarious’ work at Crime Stoppers, click link .
Women Making a Difference: NASA scientist teaches students careers in science
HOUSTON – Vanessa Wyche is using her exemplary career at NASA to teach Houston students that they too can have amazing careers in science and technology, no matter where they grew up. Wyche works as the director of exploration, innovation and science at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and has spent her entire life pursuing her love of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. "My brother got a chemistry set one Christmas, and so my brother and I did experiments in the backyard,” Wyche said. She currently assists in planning and creating technology for future space missions, including a prospective mission to Mars. She meets with elementary, middle and high school students to promote science and to discuss her work at NASA.
Women Making A Difference: Helping children battle life-threatening illnesses
HOUSTON – Michele Wright is something like a real-life genie in a bottle for dozens of children across the country. She has volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the past nine years as a “wish granter,” someone who helps grant wishes for children who are coping with life-threatening illnesses. For nearly a decade, Michele has planned, coordinated meetings with celebrities and set up trips for children and their families. Wright said those kind of moments -- seeing children smile -- is what makes all her efforts worthwhile. I mean, it's just one of the best things I've ever done in my life," she said.