Houston Youth Celebrate at World Youth Foundation Appreciation Brunch

ABOVE: Some of the children awarded during the World Youth Foundation “Seeds of Gratitude Appreciation Brunch” on Saturday, August 5 at the Wortham Theater (Photo: Garry Rose, VE&I)

This past Saturday, August 5, the seeds of hard work, dedication and passion blossomed as Houston area children and teens were celebrated at the Wortham Theater for the 10th annual “Seeds of Gratitude” brunch, hosted by local nonprofit, World Youth Foundation (WYF).

Federal, state and city leaders, such as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board President Wanda Adams, were on hand to cheer on the youth in the mentoring program, and to encourage those in attendance to support World Youth Foundation in any way they saw fit.

“This celebration is the conclusion of our Youth Innovative Incubator Program, a 12-month leadership & mentoring program that will start up again on September 9,” said Karen Franklin, founder of WYF. “We want to award the children and their parents on their commitment to win against all odds and to the dedication to this program. At the same time, we’re showing our sponsors and community partners how their contributions are sowing seeds into these kids from across Houston and beyond.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board President Wanda Adams (Photo: Garry Rose, VE&I)

World Youth Foundation handed out several awards to students and community leaders. Students 16 years old and up were awarded as Points of Light VISTAs, based on the completion of their ServiceWorks project. ServiceWorks is a groundbreaking, national program that uses community engagement and volunteer service as a strategy to help underserved youth and young adults develop the skills they need to reach their college and career goals. Participating youth were also awarded for the completion of the modules for example like, “Me in Me”, learning tools designed by Points of Light. The program teaches children how to set goals, to apply critical thinking and learn how to network. Students are also introduced to the “Capstone” method on project management. They must identify a problem, create a solution and roll out a plan that addresses the needs of the community. This year, students did various projects that focused on enhancing their communities.

The Darryl King Paving the Way Award, which is the highest award WYF hands out annually, was given to Joi Beasley, President and CEO of GOGO Business Communications & Alabaster Business Development, Inc. The award recognizes small business owners who invest in their communities, by making it a better place to live, play, and work for youth and families. The impact of their conviction & dedication helps to: “Rewrite the Story for our Next Generation of Leaders: Compassion, Intelligence, Wisdom & Love!”

“This award allows children to see what they can become,” said Darryl King, CEO and Principal, PPG Global LLC. “When children can see people, who look like them, as business leaders in the community, it encourages them to dream bigger and see themselves as future entrepreneurs. This also invites other Houston business owners to invest and engage in the future of these kids.”

World Youth Foundation will begin the 2017-18 mentoring season on September 9, 2017, at the Judson Robinson, Jr. Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004. Registration is available on the website listed below. There, parents can register their kids, potential mentors can sign up to participate, and business owners can donate funds or supplies that will help the nonprofit continue to feed and educate the children in WYF.

To become a mentor or contributor, please contact WYF at www.worldyouthfoundation.org.

World Youth Founder, Karen Franklin; Houston District Attorney, Kim Ogg and Raynese Edwards, Program Director, Youth Innovative Incubator Program, at the nonprofit’s “Seeds of Gratitude Appreciation Brunch,” Saturday, August 4 at the Wortham Theater (Photo: Garry Rose, VE&I)