Clays for Kids 2024 Breaks BEAR Record

Wow! What an amazing event!! On Thursday, May 16th, the Greater Houston Sports Club, supporters gathered for the annual Clays for Kids fundraiser. This year, the event achieved unprecedented success, making it the biggest Clays for Kids event in BEAR’s history. With a record-breaking number of teams participating, we doubled the turnout from last year, which just goes to show the growing community support for BEAR and its mission in the greater Houston area!

The funds raised from Clays for Kids 2024 will go a long way in supporting BEAR’s initiatives, providing crucial resources and support for local at-risk and CPS-involved children.

A Heartfelt Thank You

This event’s success would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors and contributors. A special thank you goes out to:

  • TailorMade Tumblers LLC
  • Dolce Niente
  • CastAway Rods
  • Kendra Scott
  • Mr. Margarita The Woodlands
  • Tyler Hodgson-Music
  • Island Breeze Party Rentals
  • Eureka Heights Brew Co
  • Milam & Greene Whiskey
  • M&R Liquor
  • Bonnie Pinkerton Thomas
  • Mac DeLaup
  • Ayman Najjar
  • Ray Golden

Your contributions and efforts have made a significant impact, and we are profoundly grateful for your involvement.

Thank you to everyone who participated, sponsored, and volunteered. Your generosity and dedication are the heart of BEAR’s mission, and we couldn’t do it without you!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL EVENT PHOTOS

Tide Cleaners Places Permanent Heart Gallery Exhibits at 33 Houston Area Locations

A BIG shoutout to Tide Cleaners for teaming up with BEAR to shine a light on the journey of children in foster care searching for their forever families! With Tide Cleaners’ incredible support, we’re able to spread awareness through 33 permanent Heart Gallery exhibits across greater Houston.

The Heart Gallery of Greater Houston is one of BEAR’s core programs, dedicated to finding permanent homes for children in foster care. These exhibits feature stunning professional photographs of children who are waiting to be adopted, capturing their personalities and giving the community a chance to connect with their stories.

Why the Heart Gallery Matters: The Heart Gallery is more than just a display of photos; it’s a powerful tool for advocacy and awareness. Each image tells a unique story of resilience, hope, and the urgent need for loving, permanent homes. By bringing these faces into the public eye, we aim to inspire families to consider adoption and provide these children with the stability and love they deserve.

Tide Cleaners’ Support: With Tide Cleaners’ partnership, we’ve been able to expand our reach and impact. Their support has allowed us to set up 33 permanent exhibits in various locations across Houston, making it easier for the community to engage with the Heart Gallery. By hosting these exhibits, Tide Cleaners is helping us bring attention to the needs of children in foster care and encouraging more people to get involved.

Find a Location Near You: We invite you to visit one of the Heart Gallery exhibits near you. Witness the beautiful faces of these resilient kids and learn about their stories. Each visit is a step towards raising awareness and supporting the journey of these children as they search for their forever families.

Thank You, Tide Cleaners: A heartfelt thank you to Tide Cleaners for being an invaluable part of our community! Your dedication and support are making a significant difference in the lives of children in foster care. Together, we’re creating a brighter future for these kids, one exhibit at a time. 🧡🧸

For more information on the Heart Gallery of Greater Houston and to find an exhibit location near you, visit Tide Cleaners Locations.

A Day of Fun and Giving Back: Cornhole and Crawfish with BEAR

On Sunday, May 5th, the Young Professionals of BEAR hosted the 2nd annual Cornhole and Crawfish event, and it was a hit! From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Memorial Trail Ice House was packed with excited attendees ready for a day of fun, food, and community spirit.

Event Highlights:

  • Cornhole Competition: The Cornhole tournament was a blast! Teams and solo players competed with enthusiasm, and the friendly rivalries added to the excitement. Cheers, high-fives, and victory dances were everywhere.
  • Delicious Crawfish: The crawfish station was the star of the show! Perfectly seasoned and cooked, the crawfish were a huge hit. Attendees couldn’t get enough of the tasty spread.
  • Drink Specials: Great drink specials kept the good vibes going. There’s nothing like a cold drink to go with spicy crawfish and good company.
  • Community Impact: Every ticket sale and donation directly supported BEAR’s mission to help at-risk and CPS-involved children in the greater Houston area. Knowing our fun day also made a positive impact on vulnerable children’s lives made it even better.

A huge thank you to everyone who came out and made this event so special. Your enthusiasm, generosity, and community spirit made it a day to remember.

What’s Next?

We’re already planning our next event, and we can’t wait to see everyone there! Stay tuned to our social media channels and website for updates on upcoming events. Your support is crucial, and together, we’re making a big difference in our community.

If you missed this one, don’t worry—there’s always next time! We’re excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to share more fun and impactful moments with all of you.

Join Us for YP of BEAR’s 2nd Annual Crawfish and Cornhole Event

Calling All Competitors

Are you ready for a day filled with friendly competition and camaraderie? The Young Professionals of BEAR invite you to join us for our 2nd Annual Crawfish and Cornhole Event at Memorial Trail Ice House on May 5, 2024.

Tournament Details

Date: May 5, 2024
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: Memorial Trail Ice House
Team Registration/Check-In: Begins at 10:30 AM
Tournament Start: 11:00 AM
How to Participate:
Team registration and check-in will start promptly at 10:30 AM, so be sure to arrive early to secure your spot in the tournament. Teams can register through our partner, SportsKind, using the link provided below.

CLICK HERE for Team Registration Link

General Admission

Tickets for general admission are available through Eventbrite for just $5. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.

We’ve added options for additional donations if you’d like to contribute even more to BEAR: Be A Resource for CPS Kids. All ticket sales and donations directly support BEAR and its mission to provide hope and help for at-risk and CPS-involved children in our community. Your generosity goes a long way in making a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children.

Can’t Make It? You Can Still Help!

If you’re unable to attend the event but still want to show your support, you can make an individual donation directly to BEAR through our website by CLICKING HERE.

Every contribution, big or small, makes a difference in the lives of children in need!

 

April: A Time to Stand Against Child Abuse with BEAR

April is more than just the beginning of spring; it’s a critical time to shine a light on a sobering reality that affects far too many children: child abuse and neglect. As we observe Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s imperative to raise awareness about this issue and renew our commitment to safeguarding the well-being of our youngest generation.

At BEAR, we strive to provide hope and support to at-risk and CPS-involved children, as well as the dedicated caseworkers who tirelessly advocate for them through the Heart Gallery of Greater Houston, our newest program which just expanded to 13 counties.

HOW BEAR HELPS HOUSTON KIDS

Across Texas, over 32,000 children are in foster care, facing uncertainty and longing for stability. Heart Gallery of Greater Houston’s powerful, mobile exhibit featuring portraits of children in foster care, beautifully captured by volunteer professional photographers. These portraits not only showcase the unique personalities of each child but also challenge stereotypes, reminding us that these children deserve love, stability, and a chance to thrive just like any other child.

Since its launch in October 2021, the Heart Gallery has been instrumental in facilitating over 40 children finding their forever homes. This traveling exhibit has graced various venues across Houston, from museums to shopping malls to libraries, sparking conversations and breaking down barriers that hinder these at-risk children from finding permanent loving families.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT

However, addressing child abuse and neglect goes beyond finding permanent homes for foster children. It necessitates a collective effort from the entire community. During Child Abuse Prevention Month and beyond, we implore everyone to take action. Whether it’s volunteering your time, donating resources, or advocating for policies that prioritize child welfare and support families in crisis, every effort counts.

At BEAR, we firmly believe that every child deserves a safe and nurturing environment to thrive. Our mission is clear: to ensure that every child, regardless of their circumstances, has the opportunity to reach their full potential. As we stand together against child abuse and neglect, let us reaffirm our commitment to creating a brighter future for all children.

Heart Gallery of Greater Houston Expands to 13 Counties

“Every child deserves a loving family and a place where they belong. The expansion of the Heart Gallery of Greater Houston is not just about spreading awareness; it’s about igniting action and fostering connections that can change lives forever.” 

– Tammy Hetmaniak, Executive Director of BEAR

We are excited to share that our newest program, Heart Gallery of Greater Houston, is growing exponentially, now reaching 12 additional counties. The Heart Gallery is a powerful, traveling photographic exhibit created to ignite awareness and help find forever families for children in foster care.

In Texas alone, over 30,000 children are under the care of Child Protective Services (CPS), with more than 6,000 eligible for adoption. Many of these children, particularly those of color, older youths, sibling groups, and those with special needs, face steeper odds and graver futures. Without families, their prospects are bleak, with high risks of homelessness, substance abuse, and incarceration post-emancipation.

The successful expansion of The Heart Gallery of Greater Houston is possible in no small part to BEAR’s valued donors and partners, including key contributors Jim and Cathy Anderson, Spindletop Community Impact Partners, and Brookfield Properties, who were just recently named BEAR Champions due to their commitment and support of the Heart Gallery program.

Nationally, the implementation of a Heart Gallery in other cities has increased the adoption rate for these children from a mere 1% to over 60%. Locally, the expansion to additional counties, which include Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Brazoria, Matagorda, Wharton, Colorado, Austin, Waller, Montgomery, Walker, Liberty, and Chambers counties, is a call to action for residents to engage, host exhibits, and change lives of children in foster care in our communities.

Event organizers, businesses and other organizations in the 13 counties are encouraged to participate by hosting a Heart Gallery exhibit – whether there’s space for just one photo or to fill an entire room. BEAR delivers the photos and assists in setup for either temporary or long-term displays. In turn, each Heart Gallery provides invaluable support in raising awareness and assisting in the search for families for these deserving children.

Here’s how you can help:

Visit a Gallery 
Host a Gallery 

Last Chance! Support BEAR in Birdies for Charity Before Time Runs Out

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

We’re excited to share our participation in an incredible fundraising event – Birdies for Charity®. This unique program is part of the Texas Children’s Houston Open, and it presents a fantastic opportunity for us to make a significant impact in the lives of children we serve.

What is Birdies for Charity?

Birdies for Charity® is more than just a fundraising campaign; it’s a community effort uniting various charities and schools with the common goal of supporting local causes. The program operates by encouraging one-time donations, and here’s the best part – 100% of these donations go directly back to the participating organizations.

Why BEAR is Participating

At BEAR, our mission has always been about making a tangible difference in the lives of children, especially those in the foster care system. By joining Birdies for Charity, we are not only raising essential funds but also increasing awareness about our cause. It’s a chance to connect with the broader community and share the importance of our work.

There’s an exciting element to this campaign: If BEAR becomes one of the top six charities in terms of donations or is selected in a random draw, we’ll get a day in the Birdies for Charity® booth at the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

How You Can Help

Participating is simple! Visit this link, click on “donate now,” and make your contribution. No amount is too small, and every donation we receive through Birdies for Charity goes straight to supporting our programs and initiatives. Whether it’s providing essentials for children in care, supporting educational and recreational activities, or facilitating the adoption process, your contributions play a vital role.

The Deadline

We have until February 8, 2024 to make our mark on the leaderboard and until March 31 to raise funds. So, we encourage you to act fast and spread the word. Remember, your support is not just a donation; it’s a lifeline to the children who need it most!

BEARing Gifts 2023 Serves More Than 26K Children Over Holidays

As we start a new year, we are taking a moment to reflect on the incredible outpouring of support and generosity that made BEARing Gifts 2023 a resounding success over the holiday season. With the help of our dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and compassionate community, we were able to make a significant impact on the lives of children in the Greater Houston area.

BEARing Gifts: A Season of Giving

BEARing Gifts is one of BEAR’s flagship programs, and it embodies the true spirit of the holiday season. Our mission is simple yet profound: to provide brand-new holiday gifts to at-risk and CPS-involved children who may not experience the joy of the holidays otherwise. We believe that every child deserves to feel special and loved, especially during this magical time of year.

To see the full scale of our impact, just look at the numbers:

  • Children Served: This year, BEARing Gifts reached an astounding 26,623 children in the Greater Houston area. Each of these children received the gift of hope and happiness, thanks to your support.
  • Volunteers: A total of 1,214 volunteers generously gave their time and energy to make this program a reality. These dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that every child felt valued and cherished.
  • Toy Drives: A total of 307 registered Toy Drives added an extra layer of generosity to our program. These drives, organized by businesses, schools, and individuals, collected an abundance of gifts to brighten the holidays for countless children.

Looking Forward to the Future

While BEARing Gifts is a seasonal program, our commitment to supporting at-risk and CPS-involved children is year-round. We are deeply grateful for the trust you place in us and the unwavering support you provide.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the opportunities and initiatives that lie on the horizon. BEAR remains dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our community, and with your continued support, we can achieve great things together.

Thank you for sharing in our mission, and we can’t wait to see the positive changes we’ll make in the year ahead. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to get involved.

To learn more about BEAR and our programs, including BEARing Gifts, please visit the BEARing Gifts webpage.

Celebrating Our BEARing Gifts Volunteers!

The holiday season is a time for giving, and this year, BEAR had the privilege of working with an incredible army of volunteers who dedicated their time, energy, and hearts to make BEARing Gifts a phenomenal success!

From individuals and community groups to corporate teams, we’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness. Our gratitude knows no bounds, and we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our holiday heroes!

Our Holiday Heroes: 

Special shout-outs to some remarkable partners who joined us in spreading joy this holiday season:

KSBJ – Your unwavering commitment to our mission and the countless volunteer hours you’ve put in have made a world of difference for the kids we serve.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center – Thank you for sharing your spirit of giving and for the amazing support you’ve shown throughout our BEARing Gifts program.

Kinetik – Your partnership, both in terms of financial contributions and volunteer dedication, has truly touched the lives of many.

Tide Cleaners – Your generous offer of drop-off locations and the incredible staff who have championed our cause have played a crucial role in the success of BEARing Gifts.

But the support doesn’t end there! We’d also like to express our deepest appreciation to all the other partners who have been part of our BEARing Gifts journey:

  • IKEA
  • Coca-Cola
  • PO&G Resources
  • JJO Charities
  • Rotary Club
  • Cactus Wellhead
  • Colliers
  • Primeway Foundation
  • UH Law
  • And many more, whose contributions, big and small, have collectively made a tremendous impact.

 

The Volunteer Tree 🌳

One of the most heartwarming moments this season was our Volunteer Tree. Here, our dedicated volunteers had the opportunity to write their names, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts and our mission.

Every name on that tree represents an individual or group who chose to make a difference in the lives of children in need. It’s a symbol of love, compassion, and the power of community coming together.

 

Our Photo Gallery 📸

We invite you to explore our photo gallery showcasing the incredible volunteers who dedicated their time and passion to make this holiday season unforgettable for more than 23,000 children. These photos capture the joy, camaraderie, and the true spirit of giving.

CLICK HERE to Explore our full Volunteer Photo Gallery.

 

Get Involved!

As we close this incredible chapter of BEARing Gifts, remember that BEAR’s mission expands beyond the holidays, helping children every single day of the year through our four key programs:

Thank you, our amazing BEARing Gifts volunteers, for being the holiday heroes these children deserve. Your kindness has made the season brighter for so many, and we are deeply grateful.

Giving Tuesday: Embrace the Spirit of Giving this Holiday Season

This Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of children in need. Join BEAR in spreading love, hope, and joy to at-risk and CPS-involved children and their caretakers in the greater Houston area.

One of the most heartwarming traditions at BEAR is our BEARing Gifts program. Last holiday season, we served over 23,000 children, and this year, we aim to make an even bigger difference. Here are several ways you can participate:

  • Sponsor a Child: Make a child’s holiday dreams come true by becoming their sponsor. Your support provides essentials and holiday magic.
  • Shop the Amazon Wish List: Shopping for gifts has never been easier. Visit our Amazon wish list and choose gifts that will bring smiles to little faces.
  • Donate: Every contribution, no matter the size, helps us provide essentials and holiday joy to thousands of children. Your kindness goes a long way.
  • Host a Toy Drive: Rally your community, coworkers, or friends to collect toys. Together, we can make a significant impact.
  • Volunteer: Give the gift of your time and witness the magic unfold as you help us prepare for this heartwarming program. Join our volunteer team.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!

 

While Giving Tuesday is a significant day for philanthropy, our commitment to making a difference doesn’t end there. BEAR works tirelessly throughout the year to improve the lives of children in need. Whether you choose to sponsor a child, shop our Amazon wish list, make a donation, host a toy drive, or volunteer your time, your contribution matters and can brighten the lives of those who need it most in the greater Houston area.