Saturday, August 30, 2014

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GIVING BACK

Every community has unsung heroes who dedicate their spare time to helping and improving the way of life for others. Giving Back is a segment that uncovers dynamic individuals in our community, giving them the recognition they deserve. Each week, TWC News' Jess Mitchel tells a new story of giving.





08/27/2014 09:57 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Betty Hendrix: 70 Years as an American Red Cross Volunteer
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Riding the waves of technology is one thing Betty Hendrix has had to learn. She's seen the American Red Cross through 70 years of change.

"I started when I was 16 and World War II was raging," she said. "Everybody was joining the effort because the men had gone overseas."

So she folded bandages. Then, during her college years, Hendrix continued giving back by teaching swimming lessons. After that, she became a disaster relief worker.

"My first experience with disaster was in 1953 when a tornado hit Waco," she said.

Here in Austin, Hendrix looks up the cases that have been entered into the computer of people who have been affected by disaster.

"Everyone should recognize the good fortune they have to live in peaceable surroundings and give back by helping when some chaos develops," she said.


08/20/2014 07:52 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Imagine Art
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Some people are asked to give back even while they are getting help themselves.

From the middle of a garden, John McPherson pulls weeds and tends to plants. The fruits of his labor will end up on his table as well as others'.

"What I wind up with is food," he said.

That food will feed about 65 artists at Imagine Art, a nonprofit founded by Debbie Kizer in 1997 to empower artists with disabilities.

"We have artists that have mental illness, some of which are experiencing homelessness, and we have artists that have developmental disabilities," Kizer said.

All artists at Imagine Art are asked to also give back to the community. McPherson does it by working in the 6,000-square-foot garden.

"Largely for me it's about continuing with my life processes as well," McPherson said. "Keeping my mind and physical body active as a great way of keeping my life existence going."

And with Imagine Art, McPherson can keep his existence going by working on artwork, displaying it in a gallery and also being part of a community.

"You yourself are a tool," McPherson said. "If I take from the ground, I try to put back into the ground."


08/13/2014 10:29 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Camp Brave Heart Volunteer Helps Grieving Children
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Children don't always know how to cope after losing a loved one, but at the John Knox Ranch outside Wimberley, about 100 children learn how to cope at Camp Brave Heart.

Hospice Austin started the free, week-long program 16 years ago. The camp helps kids grieve through counseling and group activities.

Emily Christner benefited from the camp when she coping with grief at the age of 6. Now, for the past four years, she has volunteered at Camp Brave Heart to help other children know they don't have to suffer by themselves.

“It’s really neat to get really close to these kids, and it’s really awesome to see them bond with each other, and that is kind of a big point about camp—is that they know they are not alone,” Christner said.

Our Jess Mitchell talks with Christner about the camp in this “Giving Back” in the video above.


08/06/2014 10:16 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Manos de Cristo Program Helps Kids Get Hallway Ready
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About 400 volunteers will lend a helping hand for the Manos de Cristo back-to-school program this year.

The annual effort provides 2,000 local kids back packs filled with clothing and other items they need before they hit the hallways. Just before the school year starts, families line up outside beginning at 2 a.m. to make sure they get what they need.

Sandra Pace and her daughter have helped out with the program for five years in a row.

“For these children and these parents, this is one of the only things they will get for the entire school year,” Pace said. “For them to be able to come here at Manos for the back-to-school event is just a joy for them because they are excited, but also a relief for the parents.”

Click here for more information on the Manos de Cristo back-to-school program.


07/30/2014 10:38 AM Posted By: Jess Mitchell
TWC News: Giving Back
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Alex Ray started volunteering with the First Tee of Greater Austin in 2011.

"We are at the Harvey Penick Golf Campus," Ray said. "It's the home of the First Tee."

Ray coaches the Saturday morning program in the fall and spring.

"I love so many things about it, being on the golf course, being around the game of golf, being with the kids and helping to coach them and seeing their growth through the course of the program," he said. "End of the program, they're more confident and social and see their improvement with their golf swing."

The kids also have a 98 percent high school graduation rate if they stay in the program for two years. Some kids pay for the instruction, and others receive scholarships.

Ray says his role models inspired him to volunteer.

"Jennifer, the executive director here, she's superwoman; she's an amazing lady," he said. "Got to walk 18 holes with Gary Player, and he's really become an inspiration of mine."

It's a way for Ray to do something he loves while giving back at the same time.

"It's a good reminder of the big picture to do this once a week," he said. "It really helps to give me that balance. It's a great way to expose everybody from all walks of life to the game."


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If you'd like to nominate someone to be featured in a YNN Giving Back segment, send an email describing their qualifications, fill out this form:
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