Representatives of Houston Community Betterment and Arts Council Inc. and Y.O.U.T.H. were recognized Monday night in a statewide competition. They are pictured at the event held in Columbia. Pictured with Y.O.U.T.H., the student organization, are Elaine Campbell and Shari McCallister. Credit: Submitted photo

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Houston was recognized at the annual Missouri Community Betterment fall conference Monday at the Bradford Research Center in Columbia.

Community Betterment and Arts Council of Houston brought hardware home for “Most Creative Funding Effort” that included “Stuff the Bus” and “Good Neighbor Day.” The youth members were recognized for “Best Youth Led Project” for “Pack a Punch.”

Community members, friends and youth were invited to attend the informative education sessions and the awards competition where winners of the adult leadership, youth leadership, community and community youth awards were presented.

About the winning projects:

Stuff the Bus: Sponsored by the local community betterment group, Simmons Bank and the community, it provided over 300 boxes of tissues to the Houston School District. It included a pool party, snow cones, cotton candy and other prizes. Parents did not have to supply tissues at the beginning of the school. Later, the local group purchased more tissues to allow the district to have an ample supply through the end of the year.

Good Neighbor Day: Is the annual sharing of roses with neighbors. In 2022, the community betterment committee joined with several sponsors, as well as Shari McCallister and D & L Florist, to tie tags on 3,000 roses inviting persons to see the movie, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks. The community betterment group and the Texas County Library joined to sponsor the showing. About 45 attended and were eligible for door prizes.


Don Tottingham Run — Featured 33 runners, walkers and two strollers to honor the late mayor. The $1,500 raised was used to sponsor a $500 HHS senior scholarship and the remainder supporting the Houston High School Y.O.U.T.H. “Pack a Punch” program.

Houston’s delegation at the Missouri Community Betterment Conference Monday at Columbia. At left is Rep. Bennie Cook, R-Houston. (submitted photo)

Daffodil planting — Helped plan 1,000 daffodils in Houston to assist the Community Foundation of the Ozarks celebrate its 50th anniversary. Locally, Houston Community Foundation coordinated the event. It occurred on an extremely cold and snowy November Day.

Polar Express movie — Shown at the Melba Performing Arts Center in downtown Houston, the movie was sponsored by community betterment, Texas County Library, Community Betterment Y.O.U.T.H. and HOSA – Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America. Children were invited to the free movie accompanied by an adult. More than 100 children attended with an adult. They were given a Polar Express bell and enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate at the Lone Star Plaza after the movie. Rep. Bennie Cook lighted the Christmas tree.


Daffodil projects — Ten students on a cold day participated. The students were awarded $1,000 from Houston Community Foundation to pay for their assistance and to use for projects such as “Pack a Punch.”

“Pack a Punch” — It provides food for children for weekends and was recognized with an award. After not being able to prepare the sacks of food since 2019, the students brought back the project. With the help of community donations, food is purchased on Monday and every week students prepare more than 100 bags to be distributed on Friday afternoon.

Attending the conference from Houston were Shari McCallister, Crystal Ford, Elaine and Delbert Campbell, Terry Vandivort, Rep. Bennie Cook and 11 high school students.

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