A special event last month in Houston recognized many people making a difference in the community.
Hosted by Associate Ciruit Judge Doug Gaston, the gathering on Dec. 23 at the Texas County Justice Center included law enforcement officers, foster families and sheltered workshop participants. It also honored many people who have come through juvenile court and whose lives have been changed.
At the beginning of the program, Gaston introduced the Petersons, a foster family from Cabool. There are many foster families in Texas County providing temporary homes for at-risk children.
“Foster parents are nothing short of angels in the lives of young people,” Gaston said.
“The Petersons are a special foster family. Rebecca Peterson not only fosters children, but mentors their parents, striving to reunite families. Reunification is not always possible, and the Petersons have just adopted Tessa, whose eyes fill with tears at her new place in the center of a loving family.”
Recognized next was Opportunity Sheltered Industries, managed by Sharon Tyger. Employees of the workshop were honored for their hard work in the face of personal challenges, and surprised with a Christmas gift.
The day served as the venue to announce this year’s Bringing Educational Leadership by Investing in and Expecting Victory in Every Student (BELIEVES) recipient. A unique program in its fourth year, BELIEVES shows at-risk children that someone believes in them. The program provides an opportunity for Texas County citizens wanting to make an investment in the future of youth, the ability to sponsor at-risk children via contributions to a college savings account and ongoing contact and encouragement.
The finale of the event was the announcement of this year’s BELIEVES child and sponsor. Marci Mosley, Texas County Circuit Court clerk, is sponsoring 12-year-old Tiana Mason. Already a straight-A student, Tiana aspires to be a guardian ad litem.
The ceremony concluded with a benediction delivered by Bob Green, followed by the entire group singing Christmas songs.
BELIEVES founding members include Gaston, Marj Harper, Gary Hassell, Sharon Horbyk, Milladeen Huff, Julia Shoemake, Tara Volk and Susan Warkentin. Those wishing to be involved should contact Gaston at the justice center.