Candidate for City Council, District 4: Kelly Palmer

By Kelly Palmer

Affordable housing, economic development, and COVID-19 are three of the most pressing issues our District IV City Councilmember must prioritize. More than ever, we need trustworthy leaders who listen to their constituents’ needs and are well equipped to address the complex issues our city faces. 

Issue 1: Affordable Housing

The rising cost of housing in our community is one of the concerns I have heard repeatedly voiced by District IV residents. Since 2015, the cost of property taxes and housing in Waco has skyrocketed while wages have mostly stayed stagnate. Nearly half of our city’s residents are “housing burdened” and spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. As housing costs continue to surge, folks have to move further and further from the city’s core, where many of Waco’s highest paying jobs are located. Housing is an issue where we see poverty and race significantly intersect, in everything from disproportionate homeownership rates to redlining in communities of color. 

While there are several ways to address housing-related issues, I believe we will not see meaningful change enacted until housing is a priority in our city’s budget — which ultimately reflects the city’s values. In reviewing the city of Waco’s budget from the past three fiscal years, I was surprised to learn that housing and community development are consistently the least funded budget category. Year after year, housing has made up only 1% of the city’s annual budget. By allocating greater resources to housing, we can invest in solutions that will help alleviate this significant area of need in our community. If elected to the council, I would advocate for both for the development of mixed-income housing, which the data suggests can significantly benefit both communities and residents, in addition to pursuing policies that prevent gentrification and displacement of families from generational homes. 

Issue 2: Equitable Development

Waco has experienced a significant economic boom over the past several years, and yet, 44% of District IV residents make under $25,000 a year. While Waco’s growth has undoubtedly benefited some segments of our community, many of our neighbors have not shared in the prosperity or growth. As the city continues to expand in the coming years, the development we pursue must be sustainable and rooted in equity. 

Equitable Development is a framework that encompasses economic and community development goals, in which community members are actively engaged in the decision-making process. If elected, I would pursue economic development initiatives that seek to improve the quality of life for all Wacoans, focusing particularly on our residents experiencing financial insecurity. One way I will do this is by championing jobs that provide our residents with a living wage and supporting our local workforce development programs. Through my work with Communities In Schools, I have seen firsthand the impact that workforce development programming can have on someone’s life by equipping them with an employable skill set that opens the door to financial security.    

I look forward to reinforcing partnerships like this within our city, bringing together schools, non-profit organizations, and businesses to train our residents with the specialized skill sets needed to access high paying jobs available within the Greater Waco area.

Issue 3: COVID-19 Management & Recovery

COVID-19 continues to pose a real threat to the security and wellbeing of our community. While the virus has had broad sweeping adverse effects on all of our residents, it has significantly hit our communities of color. Our Black and Latinx populations have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, as evidenced by the positivity and morbidity rates among these demographic groups. Addressing racial disparity as it relates to the novel-coronavirus is an issue of critical importance. 

While there are no quick fixes or easy answers, our city council members must continue to provide thoughtful leadership throughout the duration of this crisis. Getting up-to-date, accurate information to our residents will continue to be an important area of focus. Finding ways to access hard-to-reach populations and populations at heightened risk of contracting the virus is also vital. We need city leaders who can strategically mitigate and respond to the wide range of effects COVID-19 has on our community. Even after a vaccine has been created and widely distributed, we will likely face the virus’s ramifications for months, if not years to come. As a city, we must be thoughtful as we develop plans for the long-term multi-tiered recovery we will need.

I commend Mayor Deaver, Judge Felton, and our extensive network of local healthcare providers for the decisive actions taken since March to flatten the curve and minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. The road ahead of us is long, but we can weather the storms of this virus together. My experience working on the frontlines of a humanitarian aid crisis in 2015 and 2016 has equipped me with the skills needed to effectively prioritize competing values and lead during times of collective crisis.

2020 has been a challenging year, but there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. Our community is resilient and resourceful; we will get through this together. Collectively we can build a healthy future for all Wacoans – one where our neighbors have access to needed resources, our local economy is strong, and our community thrives. As a social worker and educator, I have the tools and expertise necessary to get us there. I have been on the frontlines, showing up for our community for years, and I’m ready to serve District IV residents as their next city councilwoman.

Biographical information for Kelly Palmer

Kelly Palmer is a licensed social worker and educator running for Waco City Council, District IV. She has called Waco home since 2013, when she moved to here to pursue her Masters in Social Work for Baylor University. Kelly is running for public office to further serve the community she loves by promoting greater equity and justice through public policy and city funding. Kelly’s campaign priorities are housing, COVID-19 leadership, and economic development with a focus on impacting our most financially insecure neighbors. When she’s not working, you can usually find Kelly volunteering with a local non-profit, on a walk with her husband, or nose deep in a book from the library.

CWJC: Nurturing Women, Transforming Lives in Waco

By Anna Hoffman

I first heard about Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) Waco 5 years ago when I joined “Women of Waco” for business networking. We often talked about the needs of CWJC and we regularly gathered items for the students. One WOW meeting 3 years ago the director told the group that they had a need for a volunteer to teach night class Bible Study. I had already wanted to be more involved and here was my chance. 

Here it is 3 years later, and it is clear that CWJC, the students and the leaders have had more of an impact on me than I have had on them. 

The reason I volunteer is to be a part of something that encourages and equips women. My goal with the Bible Study is to do these same things by reminding the students of two things that encompass a great amount of truth: 1) That there is hope for their future. 2) That God deeply loves them. I want to be involved with an organization that is doing this very thing. At various times in all of our lives, we need to be reminded of these two things. In a Bible Study or through a devotional reading this can be simply done. One of my favorite things to do is to remind others that God loves them and that He is for them. Not because of something we did or didn’t do, but because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is what motivates me to be dedicated to the ladies of CWJC and to their mission to “Nurture Women & Transform Lives.” This is what motivates me to give of my time, resources, and money. The Baskets of Hope fundraiser is designed to give us ALL the opportunity to remind others there is hope for the future and that God seriously loves them. Accomplishing this mission day in and day out comes at a cost. 

If we all come together, teachers, mentors, staff, volunteers, donors, and students for this all-encompassing mission of “Nurturing Women, Transforming Lives” the impact will be immeasurable. We will have ladies who are educated with their GED and have the tools to find a good job. But more importantly these same ladies will know they have a community of people who support them and a Savior who loves them. Then they can pass that on.… Hope for the future!


Supporting CWJC Waco brings transformation and hope to women across McLennan County. Join our mission by exploring ways to give at www.wacobaskets.com or contact us at 254-757-0416 for more information.


Anna Hoffman has served for several years as a community leader and community relations director advocating for the care of the sick and elderly. She is the Community Relations Director for Visiting Angels where she has the privilege of serving local healthcare professionals and seniors. Because of her years of being the wife of a wonderful husband, the mother of two amazing kids, a grandmother, a pastor’s wife, and music director, she brings with her a compassionate heart to help connect her clients to the right services for their needs. Anna is actively involved in various community organizations – serving on the board of the Greater Hewitt Chamber of Commerce, chairing events for the Alzheimer’s Association, serving as the President of the Women of Waco, and teaching weekly Bible study at CWJC Waco.

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.

Partner with Communities In Schools to Grow Your Business

By Jillian Jones

Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas (CISHOT) has been known for over 30 years for providing wraparound services to thousands of students and families in the many school districts across our Heart of Texas region. However, many people may not know that Communities In Schools serves youth beyond their school years and into adulthood as well. The Workforce Development Program at CISHOT provides case management, career advancement services, and real-life work experience to young adults to help them work towards post-secondary education and careers that provide stability and opportunity.  

CISHOT intern, Tiffany, settles into her new full-time position at Friends For Life after completing her 8-week internship through the Workforce Development program.

One of the more tangible ways young adults break into the job market is through internships. Internships provide the participant with valuable insight into a career field they may be interested in, as well as access to mentorship and guidance from more experienced workers. Employers can also use internships as vital training time that is needed before an intern can receive a full-time job offer.

While internships have tangible benefits for both the participant and the employer, we understand internships can be costly for an employer and unpaid internships are not as attractive to young people or as common as they used to be.

This is where the Workforce Development Program at Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas plays a role. With funding and support from the Heart of Texas Workforce Development Board, Communities In Schools is able to provide internships on a year-round, rolling basis at dozens of local businesses across all sectors and industries. These short-term internships are completely free for an employer who volunteers to host an interested participant, as CISHOT acts as the employer of record and covers all wages paid to the intern for the duration of the internship.

CISHOT intern, Enrique, works on his kitchen skills in the food & Beverage Department at the Hilton Waco Hotel & Restaurant.

The job market is changing rapidly as we navigate through the pandemic. While some employers are downsizing or shifting to permanent virtual work, others may be having trouble finding enough qualified applicants to return to normal operations. If you’re an employer who is looking to hire or fill open positions amidst the uncertainty, please consider hosting an intern (or two!) through the Workforce Development Program at CISHOT. All interns participate in a four-hour New Hire Training course covering workplace basics and safety guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our 2020 Fall cohort will start on October 12 and will work through December 11. We are looking to expand our employer base and would love to work with YOU on a partnership that can benefit young adults in our community and help your business grow through this season of change!


Jillian Jones is the Director of the Workforce Development Program at Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas. Jillian is a Waco native and a graduate of Baylor University and the University of North Carolina. She enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with family, doing anything outdoors, and worrisome amounts of online shopping. She has a husband, Jenner, and a dog, Buddy.

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.orgfor more information.

Renovation Complete at Historic Greenwood Cemetery

Press release, City of Waco. Additional Notes, Ashley Bean Thornton

The City of Waco is holding a Virtual Ribbon Cutting to mark the completion of the renovation of the Greenwood Cemetery.  The edited virtual ribbon cutting celebration ceremony will air on WCCC-TV (available on Spectrum and Grande cable channel 10 and on the web at www.wccc.tv) at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 15.

Greenwood Cemetery is Waco’s second oldest cemetery, dating back to 1875.  While Greenwood is the final resting place for many of Waco’s famous and widely celebrated citizens, it has struggled with the legacy of a segregated past. 

The $435,000 improvement project was a collaborative effort to remove the boundaries that separated the “White section” from the “Black section” and place the entire cemetery within the City of Waco’s care.  Working together were families, citizens and former cemetery association members along with the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, People’s Cemetery Association, McLennan County, Methodist Children’s Home and the City of Waco.

Here are some brief notes about just a few of the notable people who are buried at Greenwood.

Robert Bevis (1889 – 1972)

Robert Bevis was born in Austin. He attended Tillotson College there.  He later received a Master of Arts from Denver University in Colorado.  He organized South Waco Colored Elementary School (later named Oakwood School) in 1914.  He was the first principal and served in that role for for 44 years (1914 – 1959), minus one year for serving in WWI.  In November of 1915 South Waco Colored School moved into the first brick school for Negroes to be erected in Waco.  

Jules Bledsoe (1899 – 1943)

Even as a young child, Jules Bledose loved to sing.  He gave his first performance, age five, at New Hope Baptist Church. In 1918 he Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bishop College.  In 1920 he began studying medicine at Columbia University.  After taking voice lessons, career plans shifted. In 1924 he made his professional music debut at the Aeolian Hall in mid-town Manhattan.  In 1927 his portrayal of Joe in Jerome Kern’s Showboat launched him into the spotlight. His version of  “Ol’ Man River” became a classic.  Known internationally, he performed across the United States and in Europe.  Despite racial discrimination his immense talent and skill earned him the right to perform with BBC Symphony in London, the Royal-Dutch Italian Opera Company, and the Cosmopolitan Opera Association in New York.  He was also a composer. He composed several songs and an opera titled “Bondage” based upon Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Andrew “Lefty” Cooper (1896 – 1941)

Born in Waco in 1896/1898, Andrew Cooper attended A. J. Moore High School and Paul Quinn College.  Prior to the 1940s, Black people could not play baseball in the American Major Leagues.  Cooper had successful careers in both the The Negro National League, and the Negro American League. He played for both Detroit and Kansas City. Cooper was known as one of the best pitchers in baseball.  He became player/manager of the Monarchs in 1937. By 1940 he had led Kansas City to three championships. Cooper died in 1941 only a few years before Jackie Robinson integrated the major leagues 1946.  In 2006 Andrew Cooper was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Estella Maxey – (1904-1948)

Estella Maxey was an orphan.  She was adopted by Gussie Moore and raised on South Second Street near Baylor.  Even as a child she was fascinated with music and would slip away to pick out tunes on the piano.  She had perfect pitch. During the depression she organized an orchestra to accompany her on the piano and began to play and sing to make a living.  Gradually she began playing dance music.  Soon she was “all the rage” playing at private parties for all the rich people in town. A generation of young people in Waco learned to dance to the sound of Stella singing “My Blue Heaven,” “Lover, Come back to Me,” “You’re my Everything” and other hits of the time.  When she died in 1948, the Waco Tribune-Herald ran her obituary on the front page.

Dr. Vivienne Malone-Mayes (1932 – 1995)

Vivienne Lucille Malone grew up in Waco and graduated at age 16 from A.J. Moore High School, not far from the Baylor campus. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Fisk University. She chaired the math departments at Bishop College in Dallas and then Paul Quinn College, which was in Waco at the time. Because she wanted to take more graduate-level classes courses, she applied to Baylor in 1961, but she was rejected because of her race. In 1962 she enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, which had been required by federal law to integrate. She persevered to become the second African-American and the first black female to earn a PhD in mathematics from the University of Texas.  After earning her PhD, she returned to Waco where she was eventually hired as the first African-American faculty member at Baylor University in 1966.  By 1971, Baylor Student Congress named her as an Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. 

Meeting Insights: Waco City Council Meeting – 09/01/20

By Jeffrey Vitarius

(Civic meetings happen in Waco every week – city council, school board, planning commission, and countless others.  Decisions from these meetings affect our lives every day.  Many of us are curious about these meetings, but to be honest, it’s just too hard to decipher the jargon and figure out what’s going on and why it’s important.  Act Locally Waco is trying something new in August! Jeffrey Vitarius follows civic meetings for his work and out of personal interest.  Each week in August he will pick a meeting in our community and highlight one or two items from the agenda to translate from “government-ese” into language we can all understand.  We’re calling the series “Meeting Insights.” Let us know what you think! If you enjoy it, we will try to keep it going!  — ALW )

The Waco City Council meets every other Tuesday. The work session starts at 3:00, that is where most of the explanation and discussion happens.  The business session is at 6:00, that is when the council takes action (votes).  The public is invited to attend either or both of these sessions, although, for the time being due to COVID-19, that attendance is virtual through the Waco City Cable Channel (WCCC.TV/live) with public comments sent in ahead of time. Today we will highlighting Public Hearing Agenda item 2…the Downtown Waco Public Improvement District.

Meeting Basics 

  • Work Session – 3:00 pm / Business Session – 6:00pm
  • To watch the live stream click here (City of Waco Cable Channel, wccc.tv)
  • For the full agenda click here
  • For the meeting packet with the documents pertinent to the meeting click here. Quick note on page numbers: the numbers I will be referring to below are the “packet page numbers” found on the bottom right corner of each page of the meeting packet. These do not always match the number of the page in the pdf. One neat aspect of the packets the city builds for city council meetings is that you can click on the agenda item on the agenda page of the packet and it will take you directly to the relevant materials. 
  • Details on how to provide public comment are listed in the agenda

What’s in a PID? – the Downtown Waco Public Improvement District

Public Hearing Agenda Item 2 – PH-2020-584 Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance approving and adopting an updated Service and Assessment Plan, including the Assessment Roll, for providing improvements and/or services in Waco Public Improvement District Number One during Fiscal Year 2020-21. FIRST READING

Two weeks ago we took a look at the Waco Tourism Public Improvement District (TPID) and its service and assessment plan. This week, the service and assessment plan of an entirely different kind of Public Improvement District (PID) is on the City Council agenda.

As I explained in the previous post, a PID allows for the collection of an assessment (more on that below) in a certain geographic area to provide additional services to the property owners in that area. The downtown PID focuses on providing additional services to Downtown Waco. Let’s jump into how the PID is funded and what services it provides. (Full disclosure, I spend a substantial portion of my day job administering and managing some of the programs of the Downtown Waco PID so I may be a little biased.) 

Every property within the PID (there is a handy map below) pays an extra $0.10 per $100 of property value to the PID. This is the “assessment.” These assessments are pooled together to pay for services that benefit Downtown Waco collectively. The service and assessment plan describes the services the PID will provide in a given year. The service and assessment plan for 2021 can be found on pages 47-61 of the meeting packet.

The services the PID provides to Downtown Waco fall into a few different categories. This list is not everything the PID does, but it should give you a pretty good idea:

Clean and Safe – This is the biggest one it is generally over 50% of the budget each year and basically boils down to keeping the public areas of Downtown…well…clean and safe. This can look like landscaping services, using lasers to chase birds out of trees, washing away bird droppings, and painting over graffiti. It also includes a reporting service, which is actually a person whose name is Dave. You can find him riding around Downtown in the Clean and Safe Team golf cart making sure issues are taken care of. If you happen to see him you should say “hi” (socially distant and masked of course), he is a pretty friendly guy. 

Beautification – From time to time the PID funds efforts to make Downtown even more inviting than it already is. If you noticed the red bows along Austin Avenue and Elm Avenue last holiday season, those were a PID project.  The banners identifying the different “districts” of Downtown are a PID project. The PID has also been one of the funders for ARTprenticeship, which has created murals on the Brotherwell building on Bridge Street and along Jackson Avenue between 2nd Street and University Parks

Marketing – The PID operates a website and social media accounts that give Downtown Waco a voice, elevate the efforts of all the folks that make up Downtown, and encourage others to visit. You can find the website (downtownwacotx.com) and you may want to follow the social media (Downtown Waco) to find out the latest about what is going on Downtown.

Programming – The PID has historically supported the Waco Wonderland event. The PID also looks for interesting and innovative ways to encourage or support other kinds of programming that make Downtown Waco an interesting place to visit time and time again. 

Looking through the services, one general theme is that the offerings are for the benefit of all of Downtown. Each of the property owners benefit from Downtown being clean, beautiful, marketed and full of events. The reason for a PID like this is to provide these services that are best accomplished collectively by all the property owners together. 

In terms of process, the property owners provide input on these services through the Downtown Waco Public Improvement District Advisory Board (or PID Board). This board is made up of representatives of at least 50% of the taxable area and at least 50% of the taxable value within the PID. Each year, they review and recommend the service and assessment plan that is then sent to City Council for final approval. As you now know, it’s on the agenda this week. The property owners and other stakeholders also assist the PID by sitting on a variety of committees that oversee different service areas. Most of the day-to-day work is carried out by City Center Waco (where I am employed) and its contractors. This is just one of City Center Waco’s functions, but that is a topic for a different day. 

Over the last five weeks we have touched on a number of topics and board/committees/councils. I thought it might be a good idea to tie them all together with a single example. Let’s say you think it would be a good idea to build a hotel in Downtown Waco. The property you are looking at has recently become much more attractive now that trains will no longer be blaring their horns thanks to the TIF. Perhaps the property is not zoned to allow for a hotel, so you file for a zoning change that ends up before the plan commission. Perhaps you seek TIF funding for some portion of your project. If all goes right, a handful of years down the line you end up with a properly zoned, mostly quiet, fully functional hotel. Each year your guests pay 2% of their room charges to fund the TPID that markets Waco’s hotels across the United States. Meanwhile, you, the property owner, pay $0.10 per $100 towards keeping your part of town clean, safe, beautiful, marketed and programmed. All the while, some portion of the taxes you pay to the City, County, Community College, and School District end up back in the TIF paying for further improvements and developments.

Thanks for coming along with me over the last month. I have appreciated the opportunity to take a closer look at the beautiful, complicated, and ever developing world that is Waco and its public meetings. I hope this has been helpful to you and encourages you to zoom in on whatever local topic sparks your interest. I plan to keep this going as long as I can and I have a few additions (hopefully) taking form in the back of mind. See you again next week. 

Other Interesting (to me) Items From the Agenda

  • A presentation on the Bridge Street project is scheduled for the work session. This is another project CIty Center Waco has been working on and should be interesting.  
  • Budget Watch – we are nearing the end of the budget process. Here is a brief review of how we got here:
    • July 21st – city staff talked through preliminary budget projections with City Council
    • August 4th – City Council discussed the tax rate and set the public hearing for this week (we talked about the tax rates here)
    • August 25th – City Council voted on a resolution to establish when they would take a final vote on the tax rate
    • September 1st – there is a public hearing on the budget followed by two votes. The first will approve the budget and the second will authorize City Manager to spend (formerly expend) certain portions of that budget. This allows City management to pursue certain standard expenses (think payroll and benefits) without having to come back to City Council.
  • There are two resolutions and one ordinance related to the movement of Texas Meter and Device Company from Downtown Waco to a site to be purchased from the Waco Industrial Foundation. This is related to that potential high rise development that might be under consideration for the former Texas Meter and Device Company location. This is an interesting look at the various tools in the City’s economic development tool kit. 

Jeffrey Vitarius has been actively local since early 2017. He lives in Sanger Heights with partner (JD) and his son (Callahan). He helped found Waco Pride Network and now serves as that organization’s treasurer and Pride Planning Chair. Jeffrey works at City Center Waco where he helps keep Downtown Waco clean, safe, and vibrant. He is a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and graduated from Baylor in 2011.

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.orgfor more information.

State of Texas Recommendations (Espanol)

Individuals-SP

Demonstration health and safety precautions from Dr. Neumann

(From Waco’s COVID-19 Community Newsletter)

As the Central Texas community participates in demonstrations and protests against the killing of George Floyd and continued racial injustice and inequity, community leaders encourage health and safety precautions for group gatherings. Dr. Iliana Neumann of Family Health Center shares a few health tips for community members participating in protests and demonstrations.   

We encourage organizers to provide masks and hand sanitizer to the extent they can and to model the use of such as well as practice physical distancing as much as possible. 

  • Assembling does increase your risk of contracting COVID-19, but there are things you can do to lessen this risk.
  • Gather outside rather than inside.
  • Wear a cloth face covering.
  • Physically distance as much as possible.
  • Do not share signs or markers with anyone who is not a member of your household.
  • Take hand sanitizer and gloves with you. Use hand sanitizer often.
  • If distributing materials, encourage folks to take a picture of the materials with their phone instead of handing off paper or other items.
  • Bring water and drink it often.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Reduce respiratory droplets by focusing on signs/posters and making noise with music, drums, etc. rather than loud talking.
  • Carry identification and a list of emergency contacts.
  • Go with a buddy and stay closer to them rather than new contacts.

Dr. Iliana Neumann is a family medicine specialist. She graduated with honors from East Carolina University School Of Medicine in 2009. She is a faculty physician with Waco’s Family Health Center.

Humane Society Adoption Weekend is here

NEWS RELEASE

ADOPTION WEEKEND JUNE 5-7

The Humane Society of Central Texas will participate in the ASPCA National Adoption Weekend June 5-7 to encourage the public to safely complete adoptions from home amid the COVID-19 crisis.

During this time, HSCTX will hold Zoom meetings each day at 11 a.m. for the public to participate in virtual introductions to dogs that are available for adoption. The shelter has remained operational throughout COVID, but our buildings are not open to the public. One result is that animal adoptions have decreased over the last 3 months.

We are conducting these virtual introductions to increase our adoption rate and get homeless animals into loving homes.

To find out more about our minimal-exposure, contact-free adoption process visit humanesocietycentraltexas.org or call 254-754-1454.

MORE INFO: Visit ASPCA.org/AdoptFromHome for more information about the ASPCA National Adoption Weekend, including a comprehensive map of participating animal shelters and rescue groups. This initiative will encourage the public — including people currently caring for foster animals — to complete adoptions from their homes to safely place thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and horses into adoptive homes across the country.

During this period of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for people to consider adopting a new animal not only for their benefit, but also to free up space and resources for other vulnerable animals in need.

Follow along on social media @ASPCA or use the hashtag #AdoptFromHome to see the nationwide campaign in action. Potential adopters are also encouraged to stay updated on local efforts by following @HSCTX at facebook.com/hsctx, twitter.com/drpaulahsctx,
and Instagram.com/hsctx.

#

About the Humane Society of Central Texas
As an advocate for the animals at the City of Waco Animal Shelter, the Humane Society of Central Texas provides adoptions, rescue and foster opportunities, as well as community education regarding responsible pet ownership. The partnership between HSCTX and the City of Waco Animal Services, along with the support of the community, City of Waco, Central Texas and beyond, has resulted in a current average live-exit rate of above 90%. Our goal is to save each and every healthy or treatable animal that
comes into the shelter because we believe that every Waco animal deserves a chance. With the continued help and support of every person who has a heart for homeless pets, we believe it can be done!

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health
services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Make It Through Corona Fund launched

(From the COVID-19 Community Newsletter)

Creative Waco launched the Make It Through Corona (MITC) Fund to assist local artists, performers and arts-based businesses who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The fund provides aid to artists, performers and arts-based businesses in Waco and McLennan County by providing mini grants (up to $500) and other valuable practical support. The program supports developing new skills, creating new artwork, purchasing equipment or using the time to adapt practices and programs to “make it through” the current changes for the benefit of our whole community.
 
Make It Through Corona was created in conjunction with the Make It In Wacoonline marketplace in effort to support those in our artistic and cultural sector impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The platform hosts over 90 local vendors and almost 600 family-friendly, handmade or original products, services or experiences. 
 
Fifteen percent of each purchase is donated to support the MITC Fund. Over $500 has been donated into the fund since the website launched in April. The MITC Fund launched May 9 and received over $10,000 worth of donations from the community to date. Creative Waco hopes to reach their goal of $25,000 by June 1.
 
Applications for grants are accepted on a rolling basis, evaluated by a diverse panel of community members, and decisions are made within 14 days of receiving an application. To find more information about the fund and to apply visit creativewaco.org/mitc-fund. To donate visit creativewaco.org/support or shop MakeItInWaco.com.Creative Waco launched the Make It Through Corona (MITC) Fund to assist local artists, performers and arts-based businesses who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The fund provides aid to artists, performers and arts-based businesses in Waco and McLennan County by providing mini grants (up to $500) and other valuable practical support. The program supports developing new skills, creating new artwork, purchasing equipment or using the time to adapt practices and programs to “make it through” the current changes for the benefit of our whole community.
 
Make It Through Corona was created in conjunction with the Make It In Wacoonline marketplace in effort to support those in our artistic and cultural sector impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The platform hosts over 90 local vendors and almost 600 family-friendly, handmade or original products, services or experiences. 
 
Fifteen percent of each purchase is donated to support the MITC Fund. Over $500 has been donated into the fund since the website launched in April. The MITC Fund launched May 9 and received over $10,000 worth of donations from the community to date. Creative Waco hopes to reach their goal of $25,000 by June 1.
 
Applications for grants are accepted on a rolling basis, evaluated by a diverse panel of community members, and decisions are made within 14 days of receiving an application. To find more information about the fund and to apply visit creativewaco.org/mitc-fund. To donate visit creativewaco.org/support or shop MakeItInWaco.com.

Helping your teen through the strangest year ever

From The Heart of Texas Region MHMR

Most teenagers strive for independence, want to be with their peers, and are looking ahead to the future. Given this, how do we care for young people during this time, when they aren’t able to hang out with their friends and whose plans may have been cancelled or postponed by the coronavirus? Below are some strategies that might help to address these unexpected parenting challenges, especially at a time when many adults are struggling to hold it all together.

Make Space for Disappointment and Sadness

Teenagers everywhere are facing losses. Once-in-a-lifetime events, such as, graduations, sporting events, and proms have either been cancelled or drastically modified. Performances and competitions for which teenagers have been preparing for months, if not years, have been cancelled overnight. While schools and teachers struggle to get coursework online, gone are the clubs, teams, and other interactions that many students enjoy.  

Though we can’t replace what’s been lost, adults should not undervalue the power of offering empathy to discouraged adolescents. In addition to feelings of anxiety around COVID-19, teenagers may be feeling sad, angry, and frustrated about what has become of their year. Words of understanding or empathy might include, “I hate that you have lost so much so fast and I am sorry this has happened. You’ll get through this, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now.” When it comes to addressing painful feelings with teenagers, offering compassion can help pave their way toward feeling better.

Make Space for Relief and Joy

The same teenagers who may be feeling upset about missing school and their peers, may also express some feelings of relief. As much as they are grieving their losses, they may also be relieved at getting out of some commitments they never wanted to keep, or interactions with classmates, teachers or coaches that may have been negative in the past. We might say, “It’s OK to feel relief now too,” while reassuring teenagers that embracing the upsides of the disruption does not minimize what they’ve lost or their worries about the impact of the virus.

Expect Friction Regarding Their Social Lives

If you’re a parent who is sticking to the social distancing guidelines, your teenager is probably already frustrated with you, as some parents are still allowing their kids to hang out as usual. To address this we might say, “I know that other parents are still having kids over, but we can’t support that choice because it doesn’t fit with what the official safety recommendations are.” From there, we can let our teenagers know that when turning down invites they are free to blame us, and that if local safety guidelines allow, we’re open to their suggestions about how they might get together with friends outdoors, six feet apart.

When adolescents can’t see their peers in person, it seems only fair to loosen the rules on how much time they spend connecting online. But all bets aren’t off. Now, as always, rules are still in order to keep digital technology from undermining essential elements of healthy development. Sleep, productive learning, physical activity and face-to-face interactions (even if only with family members for now) should not be crowded out by life online.

Allow Privacy and Time Alone

Of course, few adolescents will want to spend all of their new at-home time with their parents or guardians. Teenagers who are formally quarantined, under shelter-in-place orders, or simply practicing social distancing will need and deserve privacy and time alone. Make it clear that you welcome your teenagers’ company, but don’t take it personally if they want you nearby but quiet, or if they want to spend time in some other private space in your home.

Think about approaching your teenager with an extra measure of thoughtfulness when making requests. For example, saying, “We’re going to need you to supervise your sister for a couple of hours, but we know that you have plans too. How should we do this?” might be a good place to start.

Treat Teenagers as Problem-Solving Partners

As we struggle to figure out new rules, systems and routines for daily living, let’s remember that adolescents are usually at least as resourceful as adults. Don’t hesitate to ask teenagers’ help. We could say, “We’re all having to invent new ways to arrange our days. Can you show me what you have in mind so that I can get a feel for your regular schedule and make sure you’re covering all your bases?”

The school year is ending, summer is nearly here and there is a lot we still don’t know about how that will unfold for our teenagers, but there are some truths about adolescents that can help us through this difficult time: they welcome empathy, they are resilient and adaptable, and they appreciate — and tend to live up to — high expectations.