How to manage stress in college

By Diego Loredo

I know how stressful college can be! It can go from one week of relaxing and not having any work to having a huge amount due in such a short period of time. It can all be overwhelming, and sometimes it’s just too much to handle.

I’ve had numerous experiences of being stressed out during the time I’ve been at UNT so far. I was already stressed out early into this semester when I had to do a communications audit for a nonprofit. The nonprofit ended up not being able to work with me, and I had to find another one and do the audit in a really short period of time. Luckily, I managed to get it done in time. I’ve tried a few things to help manage my stress and here’s a few that I found to be particularly helpful.

Exercise

I usually play soccer with my friends whenever we can all get together. Whether it’s through intramurals or just getting together and kicking a ball around, it always helps clear my mind. It doesn’t have to be soccer though, it can be working out, playing other sports, or just going for a run.

Go out with friends

I know this is pretty obvious but that’s why it’s such a good method to relieve stress. Take time to go out with people that you’re comfortable with. Don’t just stay inside all the time; go out and experience new things. Whenever my friends and I go out, we usually go out of town and find new things to do. These include playing Top Golf, going to the outlets in Allen, or going to a FC Dallas game. Take some time to stop doing so much work and have fun with those close to you.

Manage your time efficiently


Don’t push everything off to the last minute. Try to get it done early or at least a few days before it’s due. Not only will you be stressing out because you procrastinated so much, but it will also affect your grades because you didn’t put as much time into it as you should have. Mark down all of your due dates on the calendar or go to the library once or twice a week to do work. Just make sure you manage when you do school work well.

I know college can be hard and I know sometimes it can be too much to handle. Honestly, it’s just one of those things that comes with going to college. There are going to be stressful days and there are going to be times when you just want to give up. I know how it feels and I’ve been close to giving up several times. Luckily I’ve encountered people who have become close to me and helped me through it all.  Also I’ve learned new ways to manage my stress. I’m still learning how to manage my stress well and I hope these tips can help any college student relieve their stress.


diego loredo - 2Diego Loredo is a junior at the University of North Texas and is majoring in public relations. He graduated from University High School in 2014. He plans on working in sports PR or for a nonprofit. He loves to play soccer and is a huge FC Dallas fan. Have something that you would like Diego to write about or have a problem that you would like to ask him? Shoot him an email at dloredo123@gmail.com.

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 ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

 

Local arts scene makes us unique and fun to visit!

By Terry Roller

Waco recently received a Cultural Arts District designation from the State of Texas. To many, it is a great thing. To others it is too esoteric, elitist, and a waste of “their” money.

Let me share a brief story as to why I think it IS a big deal and is deserving of support and nurture, why it brings value to all citizens.   My wife is originally from Springfield, Illinois. Her family is still there. I will have to say that over much of the thirty-six years she and I have been married, Springfield, especially being the capital of a state as significant as Illinois, wasn’t much of a place to visit multiple times. There didn’t seem to be much to do once one had done all the obvious Lincoln sites. But for a number of the nearly thirty-four years I have lived in Waco, Springfield had one thing that Waco did not have: a certain department store that shall remain nameless. I really liked the merchandise selection, and the prices, especially sale prices. That gave me something to look forward to when we visited.

Well, in the intervening years, the same department store came to Waco—so much for an incentive to visit Springfield other than visiting in-laws of course. Now, having the same store close to home takes some of the shine off the experience of shopping there. Convenience breeds complacency. This is something I have heard referred to as the “Six Flags effect” which says that if one lives very near Six Flags, it really isn’t a big deal. Even the Bible gives an example in the story of the prophet in his own hometown.

So what does this have to do with the Waco Cultural Arts designation? Large corporations have edged out the mom and pop shops and other small businesses in cities and small towns throughout the country, including Waco. Cities and towns have come to look more and more alike, with the same retailers and restaurants, with the same logo-branded clothing, with the same architecture-as-logo buildings, the same non-descript metal buildings built for economy over aesthetics or style.  One remaining unique characteristic that can and does make one community different from others is its local arts scene including, visual and performing arts, music, regional architecture, cultural and historic museums.

Anyone can participate in the arts at whatever level they desire or that their talents or interests allow, whether as artists or performers themselves, as aficionados, collectors, or just as observers or browsers. It isn’t required that one be a Sinatra, or Celine Dion, Madonna, Johnny Cash, Picasso, Whistler, John Wayne, or Meg Ryan, or a Gugenheim level collector. In fact, the broad spectrum of taste, talent and style found in each community adds to its unique artistic nature.

Because tourism is to some degree or other such a vital part of the economy of every town or city, it only makes sense for those communities to make the most of what makes that town or city unique and worth visiting, that make it different from another, even unique. That uniqueness thrives in the local arts scenes. Take Taos, Miami, or New York, for example. Even the nearby small town of Clifton, Texas, benefits greatly from its local arts scene. It is hard to deny that the arts, as a part of Clifton’s economy, far outpaces not only other communities its size, but also that of larger towns and cities. Granbury is another small town example. The citizens and merchants there stage arts and crafts events many times a year drawing substantial numbers of visitors. The more local citizens participate in their own local arts scene, the more they desire to do so in other communities as well, therefore becoming arts tourists and possibly even aficionados.

Now that Waco is a designated Cultural Arts District, it is up to the Waco citizens not only to capitalize on the designation, but also to participate as fully as possible for their own enjoyment. Festivals take effort, volunteers, support, leadership, planning, financing, promotion, and local participation to grow to the point of attracting the attention of those who would travel to Waco to participate. Volunteers or even visitors don’t have to love the arts, just love Waco and want to have a part in its future. And if nothing else, arts events, businesses, and institutions need audiences. It takes solid local audiences to help build the critical mass for others to travel to these events. That is something every citizen can do. They can attend and they can spread the word. Don’t assume because an event is close to home that it can’t be quality.

Kudos to Fiona Bond, Chris McGowan, Megan Henderson, Doreen Ravenscroft, Baylor, MCC, The Waco Art Center, and countless others for all they have done to bring the Cultural Arts District designation about. We have a great start due to the vision, hard work, and dedication of those community leaders mentioned earlier and many others. Anything that benefits the economy, that benefits even a part of a community benefits all citizens of the community. So, let’s go Waco.


terry-rollerTerry Roller, Prof. Emeritus of Graphic Design, came to Waco after teaching at Eastern Illinois University to take a similar position at Baylor University in 1983. He retired from Baylor after 33 years this August. He has also been a partner and performer in the Stars Over Texas Jamboree, a first-Thursday-of-the-month, Branson-type musical stage show at the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum since its inception in 2010. His wife Janet teaches second grade at Waco Charter school where she also teaches a weekly art class for several grades. They have one daughter, Lauren, who works for Magnolia in public relations.

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 ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Making it “OkayToSay!”

By Cynthia Cunningham

My daughter has bipolar disorder.  There!  I said it.  Ten years ago I said aloud those scary words that send many of my family and friends into hiding.  But why?  This diagnosis just means that her brain has some problems maintaining her moods, activity levels and often just completing daily tasks.  That doesn’t sound like something to be afraid of, does it?

But yet, our society is afraid!  We’ve been taught for centuries that mental illness is a bad thing to be fearful of. Look at any social media and you will see memes using mental illness as a joke. And today, you can hardly go a day without hearing the words that apply to mental health issues.  “He is acting so schizo!”  “This weather is crazy!”

Somehow we forgot to use the correct language.  And by using words that are associated with mental health conditions, without even realizing it, we have once again stigmatized mental illness.  By keeping the stigma alive against mental illness, we shame those who are living with this condition.  Isn’t that the bullying that we have been teaching our children not to do to others?  Not sure this is offensive? Test yourself: replace any of the words used for mental health with the word “Cancer”.  Is it still funny?

Did you know that 1 in 4 people live with a mental health condition?  If these numbers don’t catch your attention, try these:

  • There are an estimated 80,022,714* people living in the U.S. with a mental health condition.
  • There are an estimated 6,923,821* people living in Texas with a mental health condition.
  • There are an estimated 65,802* people living in Waco with a mental health condition.

That’s a lot of people that we are offending with our words!  And those words cause people to want to hide away and not seek help.  Instead they try to handle these illnesses themselves, or chose not to acknowledge that there is even anything wrong.  Some are so overcome with the pain of dealing with the mental illness that they chose to end the pain.  And we can stop this!  We MUST stop this!

So how can we fix it?  We need to start the conversations that let people know that it is ok to talk about mental illness.  Luckily, there is just such an initiative that was launched in Texas!  The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute launched OkayToSay.org this year.  This initiative increases awareness that most mental health conditions are treatable.  It gives hope to those affected by these conditions.

Since this is a Texas-based initiative, any and all Texans can contribute.  You can join those who have already posted, like President George W. Bush, Emmitt Smith, and Mark Cuban. This website shows you a few different ways to “make it okay to say.”  You can share your own personal story, add your name to the support wall, you can post a video telling others how it is ok to talk about mental illness.  You can even select to share messages on your social media and invite others to share their voices.

The real importance of this initiative is to get the conversations going about how important it is to talk about mental health conditions.  Right now there is a nationwide shortage of psychiatrists.  Often when someone decides to seek help they face a long waiting period just for the initial visit.  And that is if they have insurance.  Those without insurance coverage must rely on other local programs, which are also quite busy.  By having conversations, we can start raising awareness and addressing issues with our political representatives to get more focus on services and programs that are really needed to address these health issues.

I am a living example of how talking about mental illness makes a difference.  I spoke up for my daughter, got her the medical help she needed and got education for our whole family so we could learn how to help her live a life of recovery with her mental health condition.  Today she is my pride and joy.  She is happily married and works as a Certified Peer Support Specialist for NAMI Waco.  Her job, along with our other 11 peers, is part of our free Peer Support program for people who have a mental health diagnosis and seek to improve their health.

I was once asked why I talked so openly about my daughter’s illness.  My reply was “No one ever told me not to talk about it and I realized that the more I talked the more I learned and could help her and others.”  As a result, I learned about NAMI.org.  A grassroots organization that’s purpose is to educate, support and advocate for those whose lives have been affected by a mental health condition.  This was just what my family needed!  And I found it by speaking out!  I am pleased to say today I work for the local affiliate, NAMI Waco, doing a job that I love.  I am one person, but I can make a difference!  I am doing my part to help others through this difficult journey. And I hope others will join me!

It is really simple to do!  This work was started earlier this year in Waco by a mental health committee of Prosper Waco and we want to make it spread.  It is quite simple to use.  Just go to OkayToSay.org, search “in your area” and click on “share your story”.  Let’s all make it OkayToSay!!!!


cynthia-cunninghamCynthia Cunningham, a Wacoan since age 2, is the Executive Director for NAMI Waco.  She lives with her husband of 28 years, Bobby, and two spoiled dogs and one royal cat!  Her passion is educating others about mental health.  She can be contacted at: www.NAMIWaco.com

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 ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

*using data from the projected 2015 census

The big stage! – How I went to St. Louis, performed in front of 10,000 people and made 10 great friends!

By Nick Atkins

On February 29th, I received the email. I had been accepted into the MUNY/Webster Intensive, a three-week musical theatre intensive in St. Louis, Missouri. (MUNY is short for the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis.) I would participate in workshops, take classes at Webster University, and 0perform in the MUNY’s production of Mamma Mia with professional Equity actors in front of 10,000 people a night.

Four months earlier, Waco High’s Technical Theatre Director, Cory Garrett, asked me to audition. He believed I could best represent not only Waco High, but also Waco itself. So I began the application process, including preparing three separate videos—a monologue, a song, and a dance performance. I didn’t know at the time that only eleven students from across the country would be selected.

group-shotWhen I walked in to the boys’ dorm, I found myself greeted with high fives, handshakes, and stories of our hometowns. Alex from Canada, Harrison and Miller were both from Kentucky, and the other Harrison was also from Texas. We were told to go to the living room for a “team meeting.” While we were waiting for the girls, we heard thundering from the hallway. From around the corner, six girls came in, squealing in excitement that the last of the group had finally shown up. Brooke and Becca were from Florida, Karissa and Rachel lived in California, Tori was from a small town outside Boston, and Anika was a Rhode Island girl. Of my three weeks in St. Louis, that first day was one of the best. We all sat there in a circle, learning about each other, telling stories from our hometowns, listing the roles we had played in performances. It was that night that I realized how close theatre really brings people together. We all came from different places, different backgrounds.

The next two weeks were hectic, sweaty, and amazing. Every morning, we’d all wake up, get dressed in whatever our color of the day was, and head to rehearsal at 10 o’clock. The eleven of us were in the ensemble, meaning we learned the music for every song, and were on stage numerous times dancing. One day I was on the side of the rehearsal studio waiting for my cue to come on. There was an adult Equity ensemble member waiting with me named Kevin Zak. He noticed how quiet I was and decided to make some conversation. We started talking about theatre and how we got into it. I jokingly asked how many Broadway shows he had been in and he answered with, “Well I was in the original Off-Broadway Cast of Clinton: The Musical.” My jaw dropped. I asked him what part he played. Ken Starr. I met the man that played Ken Starr in Clinton: The Musical.

Our evenings were different each night. We got to see the MUNY’s production of both The Music Man and Young Frankenstein. We had three workshops and got to work on our college audition pieces with choreographer Josh Rhodes, actress Julia Murney, and actress Nancy Opel. One night, we went to a place called The City Museum. At first, I just expected a history museum with exhibits pertaining to St. Louis, but it was actually a giant playground. Three glorious stories of mazes, jungle gyms, and slides. We were all so tired after that, we totally forgot about our midnight tech rehearsal that next day.

At the MUNY, the musicals have two weeks to rehearse and one week of performance. When a show ends, the next musical has a “midnight tech” rehearsal in which the sound, lighting, and set elements are put to the test just hours before the opening. The Mamma Mia midnight tech rehearsal went so smoothly, we were headed home around 11:45. That afternoon, the cast got together for “sweat tech”, a last minute run through of the show in the sweltering St. Louis afternoon.

crowdThen came the fun part. Opening night. We arrived thirty minutes early to get our microphones and costumes ready, and headed to our places. For most of us, our first dance number wasn’t until a few scenes into the show, but a few of them were in the opening scene. After that first scene, they came back with their jaws dropped. It was packed. 11,000 seats, filled to the brim. My first number, “Lay All Your Love”, where I waddled onstage with four other guys in flippers and goggles and did a little dance in front of two leads, I glanced out to the crowd to get a good look and I nearly forgot my dance and stopped right there. I had never seen that many people in an audience. It was truly beautiful.

During the performance week, we took classes at the Webster campus during the day. We all referred to it as “Webster Week”. We took yoga, improv, dance, and acting classes. Lara Teeter, the head of the musical theatre program at Webster, worked with us on college audition pieces alongside Tim Ocel and Ron McGowan. Together, they helped us with every aspect of Musical theatre. I learned things that week that I can use in any part I play. I have already used some of the tips for my part in Waco High’s production of The Little Mermaid.

Tthe-munyhe one question I always get when talking about this trip is, “What was your favorite part?” That becomes harder and harder to answer every time I look back on it. I learned a lot in the Webster classes, and had a blast performing in Mamma Mia. However, those memories would not have been so amazing if not for the other ten people that were with me 24/7. These people are lifelong friends. Some of the most fun times were at the dorms after rehearsal when we crashed on the couches and talked. We shared every meal together. We would stay up late just to practice dances together so we knew we had it down. These ten people are all so talented; I have no doubt in my mind that they will all do amazing things in the future, not necessarily in acting. They aren’t just great actors, great singers, or great dancers. They are all great people. In our workshop with Julia Murney, she said something that stuck with all of us: “You’re worth more than a 5, 6, 7, 8”.


Nick Atkins is currently a senior at Waco High School. He is involved with the varsity choir, show choir, theatre program, NHS, and mascot at WHS. He would like to thank his family and all of his directors for giving him the courage to pursue theatre. After high school Nick plans on getting a BFA in Musical Theatre.

On ukuleles and politics…

By Ashley Bean Thornton

(Warning: Really bad metaphor ahead! Don’t read if you are sensitive to overwrought literary conceits.)

For my fortieth birthday I bought myself a ukulele.  Except for a few dutiful piano lessons in Jr. High, I had never played an instrument.  I thought it might be interesting to celebrate middle age by stretching my brain in a new direction.  I picked ukulele because…4-strings… how hard could it be?

I was partly right. Playing the ukulele wasn’t all that hard.  In fact, with a little practice, I had a great time playing it!  I fell in with a few goofy friends from Baylor and we formed a little ukulele band. (The “Free to Be Uke” Players — get it?)  We had a blast!  We even did a little Christmas sing-a-long in the Student Union Building much to the – delight? bemusement? annoyance?  – of the students passing by on their way to take their final exams.

The hard part about the ukulele wasn’t learning how to play it, it was learning how to tune the darn thing.   This was so frustrating to me that sometimes I tried to skip the tuning and just play…but, it sounded terrible, and that wasn’t any fun.  Usually (probably out of a desire to preserve his own sanity)  my much-more-musical-than-me husband would end up volunteering to tune it for me.  I would hand it over, and he would patiently pluck each string, listening carefully while he tightened and loosened first one then another until finally – magically, it seemed to me — he would strum a few chords, and it would all sound good together.

I haven’t played my ukulele in a few years now, but I still think pretty often about the notion of “tuning.”  Tuning is hard to do, but it’s a simple idea really. A string is stretched between two end points. The quality of the music depends on finding and maintaining the right tension between those end points.

It’s interesting (at least to me) to note that no one would ever say that one or the other end point between which the ukulele string is stretched is “right” or “wrong.” That doesn’t even make any sense.  Both end points are necessary.  The tension between them is what makes the music possible, and adjusting that tension is what makes the music sound good or bad.

It’s a simple idea, but I had never thought about it before, and it struck me as pretty profound.  It helps me understand what is necessary when two true and good things seem to be opposed to each other – a condition that comes up constantly.

Think of all the pairs of “end points” you tune between on a regular basis in your personal life: striving and resting, independence and interdependence, confidence and humility… One end point isn’t “right” and the other “wrong.”  They are both important.  We have no choice but to take on the sometimes frustrating, sometimes rewarding task of loosening, tightening and listening to get the tension right between them so that the music of our lives sounds good.

I’m thinking about all this today because I just got home from a weekend trip to Austin to attend a thing called “Tribfest.”  It’s basically an annual 3-day political “wonk-fest” put on by The Texas Tribune, my favorite news source for all things having to do with Texas politics.  Tribfest is billed as “your chance to engage with politicians, industry leaders and journalists as they explore issues critical to Texas.” While there I got to hear, among other things, interviews with  John Kasich and Ted Cruz, and bi-partisan panel discussions on all kinds of topics from the STAAR test to the appropriate relationship between faith and government.   The conversations were by turns fascinating, frustrating, terrifying and hopeful.

Throughout the weekend, the idea of “tuning” has been playing in the back of my mind.  The whole Tribfest was full to the brim with examples of the exact kinds of things I’m talking about above — true and good ideas that seem opposed to each other:

  • Personal freedom/public good…
  • Regulations to protect our environment/flexibility to do business in a profitable way…
  • Giving our teachers the freedom to teach/holding our school systems accountable for learning…
  • Wise frugality/ wise investment…
  • Protecting second amendment rights/Protecting ourselves against gun violence…

The most hopeful conversations I heard were the ones where our leaders (elected and otherwise) seemed to understand the notion of tuning –  where they understood that both end points are necessary to make the music and we have to tighten and loosen and listen until we find the right pitch.

The most discouraging and even scary conversations were the ones where the  players didn’t seem to understand how the instrument worked at all, much less how to tune it.  In these conversations the misguided leaders seemed bent on convincing us that the tension between the two end points was bad, and that whichever end point they stood on, the other end point had no value at all.

My weekend at Tribfest has left me wondering if “we the people” are taking enough responsibility for keeping our “ukulele of democracy” in tune. (Did I warn you there was a terrible metaphor coming?  Why, yes, I did…)

What is our part? We can reject the nonsensical and dangerously simplistic notion that our most complex political challenges are simple binary choices – that one end point is good and the other is bad.  We can stop talking that way among ourselves, and we can stop cheering for that kind of talk from our leaders.

We can develop habits of thought more appropriate for the complex nature of the challenges we face.  We can learn to tighten and loosen and listen in our own conversations, and we can support leaders who do the same.  The political discourse in Texas, and in the country sounds terrible right now…and that’s no fun.  Tuning is hard work, but it’s necessary to turn this noise into something that we can stand to listen to, much less sing along.


me and omarThis Act Locally Waco blog post is by Ashley Bean Thornton, she works at Baylor, helps out with Act locally Waco, and facilitates the Waco Foundational Employment Network which is a part of Prosper Waco.  She likes to walk and doesn’t mind at all if you honk and wave when you see her.

 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 ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waco’s World Hunger Relief, Inc: Nurturing People, Community, and the Land for 40 Years

By Joel H. Scott, Ph.D.

With a rich history of critically considering how faith informs hunger alleviation while nurturing people, the land, and community, World Hunger Relief, Inc, (WHRI) is a robust, life-giving organization. As the new Director of Development & Outreach, it’s my privilege to share with Act Locally Waco followers about one of the more unique not-for-profits in the United States. 

So what’s WHRI? (affectionately know as “the Farm”)

beansWHRI is a faith-based organization committed to the alleviation of hunger both locally and around the world.

For 40 years WHRI has been training individuals in holistic ministry that equips for work with communities in developing sustainable agriculture, motivating individuals and communities to live sustainably and advocate on behalf of the poor, and partnering with like-minded organizations to address hunger related issues facing our local and global communities. 

Where is it?

Our Physical Address is 356 Spring Lake Rd Waco, TX 76705. We are located on 40 acres just north of Waco off Hwy 77 (From I-35 Exit 342B).

So what does this training, motivating, and partnering really mean for Waco today? (Read on! The following is a snapshot of our mission in action)

dirtTraining: WHRI has individuals from all over the world who serve as interns or live-in volunteers for 13 months and train in sustainable agriculture, spiritual development, and community engagement. WHRI has trained more than 350 interns working in 20 countries spanning 4 continents. Interns work for various domestic international organizations promoting sustainable food production and economic development. Many graduate and work for agencies in our greater Waco community such as intern Bethel Erickson-Bruce who pioneered the widely popular Waco Downtown Farmers Market in 2011.

Currents interns represent several U.S. states and South Africa. This fall interns will be coming to train at the Farm from our international partnerships in Liberia and El Salvador.

Motivating/Educating: Each year, dozens of local organizations and faith communities (all ages) come to the Farm to wrestle with issues of food insecurity, corruption, and unequal distribution through our “Living on the Other Side” (LOTOS) experiential education exercises. Groups are empowered to consider responsible ways to alleviate modern day issues such as food deserts in their own communities.

veggie-vanThe Veggie Van: WHRI’s mobile food source, launched in 2014 to provide high quality, affordable vegetables in identified food deserts in Waco. In that time, WHRI has built relationships in the local food system (i.e. the farmer’s market vendors, other non-profits, local businesses, government officials, etc.) to reach some of the most vulnerable populations in Waco—senior citizens, the working poor, children from generational poverty and those living in underserved neighborhoods. The Veggie Van also serves as mobile educational tool for promoting awareness of local food deserts.

kid-with-chickFarm Camp: During the summer, WHRI introduces Waco area children to the wonders of simple living, sustainable agriculture.  Through this camp, children get to try new foods – picked fresh and warmed by the summer sun – and create a new relationship with food and the land.  For more information about next year’s camp, please check out our website after February 1, 2017.

Guided Educational Tours: Over 1,300 folks visited the Farm last year on tours. WHRI has tours tailored to meet a variety of interests. We customize farm visits to fit curriculum, TEKS requirements, or learning objectives of any age or grade. We encourage visitors to consult the staff at WHRI before your visit and plan your farm experience; this can include service projects, meaningful work experiences, and pre/post-visit interactions. 

Partnering: WHRI’s School Gardening Program partners with Waco ISD and local organizations in developing healthy, sustainable communities through the education and exploration in our school gardens. Currently school gardens are located at J.H. Hines Elementary, Indian Springs Middle School and G.W. Carver Middle School. We also support the Heart of Texas Urban Garden Coalition (HOT UGC) in many community wide initiatives.

Executive Director Matt Hess serves as co-chair of Live Well Waco the Healthy Eating Healthy living arm of Prosper Waco.  This group has a focus on reducing obesity in McLennan County. The group is developing a Healthy Eating Active Living Plan; managing a grant from the USDA aimed at increasing awareness of healthy eating opportunities in Waco such as the Veggie Van, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, and community gardens; and has recently been accepted as a finalist in the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge.

WHRI is widely known and respected for its stewardship of partnerships and relationships.  We take seriously the call to join like-minded forces through consultation and collaborative endeavors, rather than competing or duplicating work.  

If I want to begin a relationship with World Hunger Relief and become a “Friend of the Farm” what’s a good first step?

  • Ewhri-logomail localeducation@worldhungerrelief.org or call World Hunger Relief’s main office (254)-799-5611and request a guided tour of the Farm.
  • Stop by our Veggie Van during the week and at the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.
  • Visit our website at http://worldhungerrelief.org/ and request our Newsletters and Farm Notes.
  • Like and Follow us on Facebook @whriwaco and share with your network.
  • Purchase a fall dinner ticket and join us for “A Night on the Farm” Dinner & Celebration on Oct. 21st or 22nd.  Tickets will be available here October 1st.
  • Organize a group to experience our LOTOS or service learning programs offered year-round.Email our Local Education team to schedule service learning opportunities: localeducation@worldhungerrelief.org.
  • Come out and experience our infamous Spring Farm Day in April 7th, 2017.
  • Email Joel Scott @ developmentdirector@worldhungerrelief.org He’d love to meet with you for coffee and discuss all things Farm.
  • If you are already a supporter of the Farm, we are currently in a Match Month. The JES Foundation is doubling every dollar given up to $40,000 through Oct 1st. You can give directly online through our website http://worldhungerrelief.org/donate/

We’re grateful for WHRI’s legacy of stewardship, and our robust base of volunteers and supporters who share their talents, time and treasures. As the Farm strategically considers the next 40 years of mission-centric work, we look forward to forging new relationships, partnerships, and approaches to more faithfully address how we nurture people, the land, and community.


joel-scottJoel Scott is the new Director of Development & Outreach at World Hunger Relief, Inc. He recently served on faculty at Boston University and worked in higher education administration, capacity consulting, and leadership for the past 15 years. His primary scholarship involves community-university engagement and service-learning. Joel is looking forward to fall backyard barbeques, driveway basketball, and living a more integrative life.

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 ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.