Earth Day is April 22… And every day!

By Anna Dunbar

Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin and a longtime conservationist, was the one who decided to have an environmental celebration in the spring of 1970. After his announcement, the energy started spreading across the US (without social media!) and ten thousand grade schools and high schools, two thousand colleges, and one thousand communities were involved in that thing that became Earth Day. I recall pretty vividly cleaning up my high school on Earth Day in 1970. We did things like parking lot and curb sweeping and cleaning windows, and it started me down a path that I continue on today!

Over the decades, the spirit of Earth Day has risen, fallen, and risen again. In the US, we began to separate our household trash from recyclables in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  The City of Waco began curbside recycling with a paper collection in 2000. Many Waco companies like Coca Cola, M&M Mars, and Allergan have adopted zero waste or waste reduction and green business practices. Schools and churches have jumped in with efforts to send less waste to the landfill.

Here is what you can do to celebrate Earth Day Monday and every day in Waco:

Pop-Up Saturday: Earth Day, 4/13/2019

Time & Place: Dr. Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute 300 S 5th Street Waco, TX 76701 11 am – 2 pm

Description: Celebrate Earth Day at the Dr. Pepper Museum by making your own Chia pet out of a recycled plastic bottle! You can then take this resourceful craft home to nurture and grow your own Chia pet. This activity is free with general admission and will be located in the Museum courtyard.

On the Web:

Crafty Adults: Upcycled Book Bracelet, 4/13/2019

Time & Place: West Waco Library  2:00pm – 3:30pm

Description: Recycled materials make great jewelry if you put them together just right. Take old book pages, beads and other supplies and make an amazing bracelet. We’ll have everything you need, but if you want to use your favorite book page, bring it with you. Space and materials are limited, so register online.

On the Web:

Drug Take-Back Day

On Saturday, April 28, from 10 Am until 2 PM, take this great opportunity to get rid of unwanted and expired drugs in a safe and secure manner.

Please no needles, inhalers, aerosol cans, hydrogen peroxide, or thermometers.

Worm Composting Class!

Keep Waco Beautiful and Pecan Bluff Farms are teaming up to teach you how you can start harvesting and creating your own compost with Red Wigglers. The class will include all the materials to take home including the worms and a “How to” packet to take with you for your future reference! Sign up today because there are limited slots! Class fee is $20.

Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 2 PM – 3 PM; sign up at

Do the Blue and Green in Waco!

One or two blue curbside recycling carts and one green yard waste cart are included in the City of Waco monthly curbside trash service fee paid by Waco residents.

  • To get a blue cart for recycling and a green cart for yard waste, go to and complete a request form on-line. 
  • You can also call the Solid Waste Services main office at (254) 299-2612 on Monday through Friday from 8 AM until 5 PM.
  • You can also sign up online fir a blue or green cart at: or
  • Para informacion en Espanol – (254) 299-2612

Freon containing appliances are banned from landfill disposal and cannot be recycled until the Freon has been removed.  Waco residents can get the Freon removed at the landfill or the Cobbs Recycling Center for a $15 fee per appliance.  Appliances will be recycled after removal of the refrigerant. Anyone from anywhere can also take Freon containing appliances to the Waco landfill for a fee.

You CAN recycle glass bottles and jars!

At the Cobbs Center, anyone from anywhere can bring household recyclables, including metal containers, plastic containers, cardboard, paper and glass containers to the Cobbs Citizen Convenience Center (Recycling Center). The Cobbs Recycling Center is at 2021 N. 44th Street (between Cobbs Drive and Trice Avenue) on Tuesday through Saturday from 8 AM until 5 PM.

Don’t forget to protect our water quality!

According to a Keep America Beautiful study, storm drains are one of the most littered areas.  Cigarette butts, wrappers, and other litter accumulate in or around storm drains, located primarily in gutters and designed to drain rain from streets, parking lots, and other paved surfaces.  The storm water, which runs off during and after a rain, goes into the storm drain and then through pipes, channels, drainage ways and ditches.  The stormwater carries litter from the curb with it.

While walking the dog or visiting a park, take a bag for doggie doo and a bag for litter too! You can recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans that you find.

Find like-minded people and organize a clean-up. Keep Waco Beautiful can help with supplies for that activity.


Finally, I hear that there is so much to remember and it’s so confusing! I want to remind everyone that there are resources out there to help you:

  • is the City of Waco website.
  • Waco Solid Waste customer service is at (254) 299-2612.
  • Waco Cobbs Citizen Convenience Center is at (254) 751-8536.
  • City of Waco Landfill is at (254) 299-2620.
  • To report illegal dumping, please call (254) 299-2611.
  • Keep Waco Beautiful (KWB) is a local affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful and has fantastic educational and volunteer opportunities available. KWB is at (254) 339- 1077 from 10 AM until 2 PM on Monday through Friday. You can also contact kwacob at

Thank you for all you do to keep Waco clean and green!

Anna Dunbar is the Environmental Program Manager for the City of Waco Public Works. She is responsible for informing Waco residents and businesses about recycling and waste reduction opportunities as well as solid waste services in Waco. Her husband is a Baylor professor and her daughter is a Baylor University alum who works at Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. Anna is an active member of Keep Waco Beautiful and The Central Texas Audubon Society.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email for more information.

Towny Waco: Meet the Legen-dairy Mill-King Dynasty

(Welcome to the Act Locally Waco/Towny blog series. Towny is an app that connects consumers with local businesses for coupons and other great deals. Through this blog series, the folks at Towny will be sharing the stories behind some of our high-quality, local products and helping you get to know some of our energetic local entrepreneurs. For more posts in this blog series, click here: Towny Waco.– ALW)

By Tori Freeman

The history of Mill-King Market & Creamery traces back to 1941, when Arnold and Minnie Miller began raising dairy cattle on their homestead and selling their excess milk at stores in Crawford. Eventually, they began selling to a milk co-op that picked up their milk and delivered it to a milk processor.

Their son Billy began dairying with his parents, and in 2005, Billy’s own son Craig, joined the family business after finishing college. Craig and his wife Rhianna transitioned Mill-King from selling to a co-op to producing and processing their own milk for retail. Rhianna shared with us the what, why, and how of this local farm.

How did you make that transition?

“The economy for the dairy industry got really bad in that period. Craig and I actually struck out on our own with a genetics business dealing with cattle. We worked with beef cattle, beef yards, large dairies, small dairies, and one-cow whole milking families. So, we learned a lot about what all else was out there.

As the economy worsened, we decided that in order to keep going we needed to do something. We couldn’t keep selling our milk to the co-op because at the time dairy farmers were being paid several dollars under the cost of production. So, in December 2010, we got a retail license so we could sell raw milk straight off the farm.

We started doing that, and then we learned about low-temp pasteurization. Throughout 2011 and then into 2012 we built a plant here on the farm ourselves and then slowly started getting our milk out into farmer’s markets, grocery stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, cheese distributors, and other spots.

We process everything that comes off of our own farm, and we basically have a closed herd — that means that we raise our own cattle. So, we have our hand on the process of the milk straight from the birth of the calf all the way to getting the milk to the distributor. At one point, we even got it to the grocery stores and restaurants ourselves, but in order to grow we’ve had to utilize distributors the last four years.”

What makes Mill King different?

“Our milk is different than conventional grocery store milk or even conventional organic milk because ours is low-temp pasteurized and non-homogenized. We pasteurize it at a lower temperature for a longer time, which keeps in the good bacteria and enzymes but it kills anything that could be harmful.

The non-homogenized part—homogenization is basically the process of taking the fat molecules in the milk and shattering the molecular structure so it stays suspended in the milk and it doesn’t separate–we don’t do that. That means our milk has the cream in it and it will rise to the top, so you have to shake it back in.

But that also has some health benefits, as research has shown. A lot of times your body doesn’t know when you’ve manipulated a molecular structure of a food item. It doesn’t then know how to process it, so it doesn’t process it correctly.

Also we don’t add in any additives, no preservatives. We don’t add any defoaming agents in our processing anything like that.

A lot of conventional grocery store milk has different things added into it but, because of our laws, if it’s less than one percent you don’t have to label it. Eventually, if you have one percent of this and one percent of that, how much milk do you actually have left in there? So that’s another factor that makes our milk different.

And then, we are really strict on how our cows are fed. We practice all organic methods even though we’re not certified, because we feel like it’s important that we don’t take any exemptions. A lot of times, organic dairy farms can take exemptions. So, for example, if they can’t find non-GMO cottonseed, then they’ll get an exemption where they can feed up to 25 percent of a product that doesn’t conform to the organic standards.

We feel like it’s extremely important to stay true and as natural as possible, so we feed non-GMO, and our cows are grass-fed as much as possible – no grain, no corn, no soy, no cottonseed, or anything like that. We make sure that it’s local or if we bring it in, we make sure that it is certified non-GMO. We’re really particular on that.

The way our cows are treated, and then the way we treat the milk in the processing plant makes it different from others. On top of that, it’s local. So, all the milk that is going out is from right here in McLennan County.”

You sound very passionate about it now, but was this something you had envisioned for yourself growing up?

“Haha, no. In fact, I have two business degrees. I get to use them, but this is not at all what I thought I would be doing. Even for Craig, this is not necessarily what he thought he would be doing. But when we found this, we found that there was such a need.

We literally started out selling milk out of ice chests out of the back of our car. Then in 2012 we started doing the farmer’s markets in Austin. Our little girl at the time was only six months old. We would spend all day Friday getting ready, and then oh my gosh so early in the morning, ridiculously early in the morning, haul her and everything down there to Austin. Craig and his mom and I would each do a farmer’s market while his dad stayed here at the farm and took care of the cows.

We were able to meet different chefs in the area and get connected with some farm-to-table providers and just slowly grew the business by demand.

It’s not something that’s easy to do. It’s very, very difficult because we literally have our hand on every part of the process. You have to know a lot of things: You have to know about the dairy. You have to know about milk processing. You have to know about logistics and transportation and sales.

And, on the backside of it, you’ve got to be able to your make your money work. We’re connected to agriculture, and dairy specifically, so most banks with that sort of stuff, like, ran away screaming when we brought this idea to them because they thought this is never gonna work.

We had lots of trouble in the beginning. We really thought we’d be able to put a sign out in the yard, sell a ton of raw milk, and sell a ton of raw milk cheese. We even went to New York to learn how to make cheese. We tried all these other things in the beginning, but then we just had to follow where the market led us. So no, no one envisioned what we’re doing right now is what we’d be doing.”

Check out the Mill-King Market & Creamery for a selection of clean, allergy-free, and locally-sourced produce + products + (of course) milk! Isn’t it fun to support locals who support other locals? Find even more local shops (AND earn rewards for your visits) on Towny, the free online and mobile app to exploring Waco!

Tori Freeman is a Colorado native turned Texan and a graduate of Baylor University. She works as a part-time paralegal and creative freelancer with expertise spanning writing, editing, and photography. Tori knows firsthand how local businesses can change lives—she met her husband, Braden, while working at the Hippodrome! They now happily live in Waco with their spoiled golden-doodle and their even more spoiled baby boy.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email for more information.

Press Release: Extraco Banks launches applications for “Extrapreneur” Program, awards inaugural winner

WACO, Texas, April 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Extraco Banks launches its 2019 Extrapreneur Award program, which focuses on providing Central Texas entrepreneurs and small business owners with a $25,000 cash prize along with mentorship and business consultations for an entire year.

PALS Home Health was recognized as the program’s inaugural winner during a press conference held on April 9th. PALS specializes in pediatric home health private duty nursing for children who are medically dependent. Tyler Martin and Natasha James, owners of PALS Home Health, said being awarded this program will positively impact the company’s growth for years to come.

“We feel very blessed to be the first winner of Extraco’s Extrapreneur program. As a small business owner, the financial resources, business consulting and mentorship that is given to the program’s winner are invaluable,” said Tyler Martin, Chief Executive Officer for PALS Home Health.

“We plan to use the $10,000 cash prize to purchase a pediatric ventilator system to train our staff in house instead in the field on patients,” said Natasha James, Chief Operations Officer and Director of Nursing for PALS Home Health. “We are also very excited for the business consulting and mentorship. It is hard to have on staff every area of expertise, such as marketing. Being paired with an Extraco marketing expert for the entire year will significantly make a positive impact on our company’s expected growth.”  

Applications for the 2019 Extrapreneur Award open April 9th and close August 13th. Finalists will be announced on September 10th, and will be paired with an Extraco mentor to help prepare for the “Shark Tank®” pitch event on September 24th. The winner will be announced at a banquet on September 26th.

To apply for the program, applicants must meet a host of requirements including: for-profit, not a franchise, must be a legal entity, owners must be at least 20 years in age, annual revenue not to exceed $3 million, applicants must have at least 20 percent equity in the company, and the business must operate in one of the following counties:  Bell, Brazos, Coryell, Hamilton, McLennan or Williamson.

“Since 1902, we have listened to the needs of our community, and worked to develop and implement innovative, creative solutions to meet those needs,” said Chris Kincaid, Extraco’s Corporate Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy.  “We understand the unique characteristics of entrepreneurs and small business owners, which is why we created the Extrapreneur Award program. This program provides entrepreneurs and small business owners capital and business resources to further grow their business which helps build our communities.”

Extraco is committed to building people, businesses and communities in the Central Texas area. For more information about Extrapreneur and to apply, visit

Extraco Banks | Let’s Build Some Dreams™ (PRNewsfoto/Extraco Banks)

About Extraco Banks®
Extraco Banks and its affiliate companies are dedicated to building people, businesses and communities. Since the Great Recession, Extraco has extended over $2.5 billion in loans to 25,000 customers, while financially supporting over 1,275 community organizations working to create economic vibrancy, job growth and overall quality of life to our communities across central Texas. Founded as a cotton warehousing company, Extraco, at $1.4 billion in assets, is the largest and most comprehensive locally owned bank between Dallas and Austin, serving over 120,000 customers’ banking, mortgage, insurance and wealth & trust needs with creative and innovative excellence. Learn more at:

About PALS Home Health
PALS Home Health is a rapidly expanding Waco based pediatric home healthcare company that provides Private Duty Nursing to children and young adults with special medical needs.  PALS Home Health is passionate about improving the lives of families and children in the special needs community by providing exceptional home healthcare.  PALS Home Health hires great nurses and equips them with the training and support needed to deliver the care their patients deserve.  The goal of PALS is to give every special needs child the opportunity to achieve their full potential for health, happiness and success in life.  Learn more at:

CONTACT:  Libby Cain, Senior Vice President, Mission and Marketing Strategy, Extraco Banks, (P): 254-717-6163, (E):

In the spirit of March Madness … don’t give up on pursuing championships even in life after basketball!

By Krissica Harper

The cliche term of “finding your first love” came through the conduit of basketball for me.

Since the age of 5, that’s what I did. I played it well and played it at a high level. Every athlete who wants to go pro gets told to have a Plan B. I won’t say that they never listen, but it can fall on the ear that is a little resistant to that advice.

 For me, I wanted to play in the WNBA. Now, as a 5’0” point guard, my chances were slim, but I believed it wholeheartedly. Fast forward to my sophomore yr. of collegiate basketball, I go down with my last (and 6th) concussion of my career. I had been diagnosed with a back and petite brain injury that ended my career for good (completely healed now, gratefully).

K. Harper is #30

For 15 years I woke up every morning with the clear purpose of learning and training and struggling towards becoming the best.  Then it was over. I didn’t come close to many of the goals I set out to achieve. I was not only brutally hard on myself; I was depressed. Finding my way, and learning “Krissica” outside of the game of basketball was and is one of the hardest transitions and difficulties of my life.

I choose this story because that was my first experience with “the halt” – that pause in life when you wonder why you exist. You question God and wonder what’s next. I was the basketball girl. I had my plan set. I was in God’s will. Why would this happen to me? I was a 20-yr. old millennial, so I needed those questions answered by the end of the next day! But, God is so intentional and meticulous, and you don’t always learn that until you’re at your lowest point. Through this experience I learned a great deal about the love of God and God’s purpose for my life. The greatest lesson of all was learning to be useful for Christ.

So, “what did I do?” I would say that I didn’t give up on pursuing championships. The championships that arise in all areas of our lives. I continued to believe that God still had a plan for me. I decided that I was going to be useful, and that I couldn’t let the ball stop bouncing.

Now I am given the opportunity to work with students and athletes who struggle through the same transitions in life. We all have the halt… which comes many times over in our lives.

This time, my ball is the gift of empowering students to achieve excellence. I take those lessons and I apply them to my work with young adults in academia. As though I were 20 yrs. old again, waking up before the sun to train, I know I am made for this work. This time I know not by the circumstance of my dribbling or shooting skills, but rather by the pull somewhere in my chest when I am allowed to look at a student during a hard moment, or walk with a student while they are pursuing God’s will.

Lastly, I never lost my teammates; colleagues who are in the same fight for wins for and beside our students and communities. The transition was painful but purposeful, and I am who I am because of it. The journey I embarked on almost 10 years ago give me the strength, patience, and discernment I need to lead students today. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing; I think I found the answer I was looking for so many years ago – this is what I was born to do, too.

To everyone transitioning, questioning, doubting: Keep hoopin’, running, shooting, swinging, throwing… it may not be a ball or what you thought it would be, but God has so much in store for you and you will fall in love with what he has created for YOU to specifically do here on earth!

Krissica Harper is a coach and educator who is passionate about helping students, athletes, and professionals identify and develop their gifts and talents to live their lives in purpose, on purpose.  Krissica is a proud Wacoan (Waco,TX native) and alumna of Henderson State University; and recent graduate of St. Edward’s University, where she completed her Masters in College Student Development.

East Waco Voices: Cultivating Produce and Culture, Channeling Multiple Passions into One

By Khristian Howard

Inspiring hope in the black community is a passion for Kay Bell. She takes this passion into her work as a school teacher and friend, but nowhere else does it play out more practically than with her own nonprofits. Founder of Global Revive, president of the Waco Chapter of National Women in Agriculture Association, and recent playwright, Mrs. Bell is known for ambition. Her ability to combine her passions for healthy living and the arts have created a concrete example for the community of what it means to cling to your dream and to bring positive light to those that may be overlooked in the community.

A New Home

Kay Bell’s life in Waco began eleven years ago, when she and husband, Virgil, bought a house on Taylor Street. Next to this house was an overgrown, vacant lot that Kay would soon transform into a neighborhood attraction. After a call to the appraisal district, and a transaction with the lot’s owner, Kay bought the plot of land and prepared it for a garden. “We cleared off the whole spot, and my brother broke it up. We planted squash, zucchini, and tomatoes that first summer,” Kay remembers. Due to the minerals and nutrients that had composted on that lot over the years, Kay’s first crop was surprisingly hefty – in quantity and size. “I literally had people slowing down in front of my house looking at my garden because of the huge zucchini vines, squash vines, and tomato vines…my squash and zucchini bushes grew about that tall,” Kay stated, holding her hand about five and a half feet in the air.

The surplus she had from her crops that summer led Kay to turn her first profit from the garden. After giving away some of the crop to people in need, she responded to an ad in the paper for the Heart of Texas Farmer’s Market and paid ten dollars to be a vendor. “I went out there with a card table, and all of my squash and zucchini, and I sold out in about thirty minutes…I made $75 dollars in thirty minutes off of what I grew. So, from there I was really inspired to grow gardens more,” Kay shared. The speedy profit was not the only reason Kay continued to garden, she also began learning about the health benefits of eating fresh, local produce. “I began to grow food for financial reasons, as well as health reasons. And that made me feel like, I want everybody else to catch hold to this feeling I have that we should all be growing gardens and eating from [them] as much as possible,” she stated.

A New Organization

Kay’s knack for gardening and promoting healthy living have led her to lead various organizations that build on these initiatives within the community. One of these organizations is Global Revive, a multifaceted non-profit that seeks to promote gardening, the arts, and economic development. Kay says that she started Global Revive to “revive people back to growing gardens, eating natural, and to tap into their creativity and gifts that have gone dormant… So that’s where the art part of Global Revive comes from.”

Blending creativity and the arts into community work is an important part of Kay’s community involvement.  For example, poetry has been a part of the work.  “I’ve put my creativity into poetry,” Kay stated, “I think poetry is a way to express your opinions [that] you can’t say in church, or you may not be able to say in a big public meeting.” She has been able to use her love of poetry to connect with other people sharing a similar interest. She believes that, “When you have a group of people with the same mind, you can get more accomplished vs. one person by themselves.” The art committee of Global Revive has been responsible for creating a new quarterly open mic night for poets in Waco to bring more poets of color together.

A New Venture

That’s not all this committee has been responsible for. Kay and her team recently wrote, directed, and starred in their first sold out play, Born 2 Win, at Jubilee Theater. When asked about her inspiration for the play, Kay recounted the events that sparked the idea. The title, Born 2 Win, was inspired by a book that one of the Global Revive members wrote. After deciding to use the title to pay homage to the 90-year-old writer and Global Revive member, Kay began planning the content. She shared that her husband had been homeless for seventeen years and had provided stories and details that would make up the play. “He often tells me stories of how he lived as a homeless person, and what they had to go through – freezing in the winter, burning up in the summer, in line to eat. So, the play is about homeless people who want to come out of homelessness and be successful,” Kay told us. The characters in the play combine their talents and efforts to form a cooperative that eventually helps them out of homelessness – depicting more of Kay’s zeal for black-owned businesses.

The main takeaway from the play? Everyone can win. Kay sums up her play’s message by saying, “If you’ve been to the bottom, I mean the bottom. There is something inside of you that you have that you can use [to win]. It may not be speaking, it may not be singing, it may not be passing a test. But there is something in you that makes you a winner, because you were born to win.”  For Kay, presenting these messages to the community with a play that casts actors that look like the community was imperative. She shared, “You look at TV and it’s not a whole lot – even in 2019 – of us [African-Americans]. I just feel there are other people out there who should have a great representation.” She wanted people of color to have a positive representation in media, but also in her own surroundings.

Encouragement for Other Dreamers

When asked what advice she would give others who seek to pursue different passions and make positive change in East Waco, Kay’s message was simple and direct. “Don’t quit!” she laughed, “Don’t give up. Keep persisting. Your dream can happen…There’s somebody else out there who sees the same thing you see. You may not find them then and there, you may not get a big crowd, but keep holding on to that dream that you want. Just don’t give up.” Kay Bell has certainly proven herself to be an inspiration for leaders and entrepreneurs who will not fit into a single box. Her commitment to cultivate gardens and art without compromising one for the other shows that it is possible to connect interests that seem difficult to merge…as long as you work together.

Khristian Howard is an Atlanta native and a recent graduate of Georgia State University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has a passion for empowering communities through service, and seeks to connect advocacy to creativity. Currently, she is serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA for Texas Hunger Initiative Waco, where her work focuses on fostering collective impact to improve health and eating habits in East Waco. When she is not working, you may find her sharpening her culinary skills or exploring new poetic and artistic pathways.  

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email for more information.

Mentorship is Everything

By Darius Brown

My goal is to be the person I needed when I was younger.

MENTORSHIP is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. An effective mentor can provide training, advice, motivation and support. I believe in the process of mentorship because It worked for me.

I understand that it’s hard trying to become something that you’ve never seen! Growing up in Waco, I found most of my mentors at church or in the community. Positive relationships create growth, they push you unto your full potential! Mentors are most effective when the mentee is open to change by choice and not by force. Studies show that young people with mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college, 90% more likely to become a mentor, and 130% more likely to hold a leadership position!

In 2016, I launched a non- profit called “Saved and Successful” to benefit at risk youth in Waco. I honestly had very little knowledge about starting an organization, but I had a deep passion for youth.

My passion started with teaching students at the church and seeing families seeking help with disciplinary issues. Being a police officer, I had a positive influence with both children and families, so I used that as an advantage.

The non-profit “Saved and Successful” held monthly gatherings in my apartment lounge for both youth and young adults discussing various topics such as Respect, Love, and Courage. Every meeting was a safe environment for everyone to share over punch and pizza! My first meeting had about 7 people and in a few months we had about 50 people attending our monthly gatherings. We also host community events several times a year to benefit families (Easter, Career Day and Back to School).  

Stepping out in faith allowed us to see great things happen in Waco. Multiple organizations are working together and lives are being transformed. Thanks to our partners we are now able to provide WEEKLY mentoring for boys and girls 4th-8th grade at the Doris Miller YMCA. We also provide incentives, meals, and transportation for youth. Volunteers from colleges and churches committed to one Thursday a week to invest. “Becoming Better Boys” and “Grow Girls” focuses on helping youth to strive for success in academics, attendance, and attitude.

If you would like to volunteer to help with “Becoming Better Boys” or “Grow Girls” contact the Doris Miller YMCA to complete the background form.  Contact Darius Brown by email at or phone at 254-214-9795. 

The programs are open to 4th through 8th grade youth.  If you know a young person who would like to participate, contact the Doris Miller YMCA.  

Darius Brown was born in the big city of Hillsboro, Texas in 1991 but considers himself a native of Waco.  “It’s the heart of Texas, and I love it!” he says. He’s been a police officer for 5 years and is currently employed at Waco ISD Police Department. He’s also a proud product of Waco ISD, Class of 2010.  He enjoys traveling, anything community, and spending time with family.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email for more information.