Skill Building for Success

‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11

It’s been a very busy and fun summer here at Boys and Girls Country!  Our kids are constantly in motion with summer jobs, cottage vacations, off-campus visits home, overnight camp opportunities, ACT/SAT prep, individual learning and tutoring, and special programs like this week’s Lego Challenge. Our very own office apprentice, Mekede, is juggling color guard practice, academic career counseling with one of our awesome volunteers, and helps update our social media and blog. As you can see below, she does it all with a big smile!



We’re so grateful for the opportunity to give our children extra support and individual guidance over the summer. Your generous support makes all of this possible. Would you consider making a gift to help kids like Mekede succeed all year? Your investment of $50, $100 or $150 does so much to give our children opportunities for success. Your gift today will ensure a successful start to the new school year.

Our very dedicated education volunteers and staff go above and beyond overseeing our summer program. If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, or just want to join our extended family of volunteers who help us maintain this vision, you can get more information here. Check out what we’ve been up to this summer in the gallery below!


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Training Them Up: Summer jobs at BGC

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 

Do you remember your first real job – the one that taught you to set your own alarm, punch a time clock and answer to someone other than your family? The Boys and Girls Country Apprentice Program is exactly like that! Every summer we offer our 15-year-old students a six-week on-campus job program designed to give them work experience and understand the expectations of a job in the community.

We kick the program off by hosting a job fair on campus where our students learn about all the different departments that keep BGC running. Kids follow through with a formal application and interview. Once they are hired, they are given an orientation and training, set work hours, receive a mid-program review, and learn some new skills.

The best thing of all is that our staff members get to work directly with our students and form even deeper bonds and relationships. We not only get to see the kids’ growth but reinforce the strength of their support system at BGC. The Apprentice Program helps them get a grasp of the entire employment process, from the job search to daily employment requirements like being punctual, requesting vacation days, maintaining acceptable job performance and more.

When we wrap up the six-week program, students submit a resignation letter and participate in an exit interview. They also learn to create résumés and describe job skills and experiences to help them apply for their next employment opportunity. “This is a great setting for them to understand the chain of command and employer/employee relationships,” says Director of Operations Quintes Stark, who oversees the apprentices. Students earn the privilege of working off-campus in the community the following summer after they complete the program.

“The apprentice program is an opportunity for us to develop ourselves in a professional environment before going outside of Boys and Girls Country and getting a job with strangers. The staff members that I work with make me feel comfortable to ask questions and be curious how an office environment works, and I feel confident after learning something new which is awesome.” –Mekdelawyt

 “It’s pretty fun actually, I didn’t think it would be at first. The program itself is awesome because we’re improving our life skills and learning how to do things one on one with people who care about us. It’s a great experience and I feel lucky to be able to participate in it.”- Estifanos

 “The program is amazing. I’m apprenticing as a mechanic and even though it’s hot and the work is hard I look forward to it. I feel comfortable and safe apprenticing under the BGC staff and excited about the things I’m learning.” –DeRussell


The BGC Apprentice Program is a treat for our staff, whose hearts are ultimately devoted to our children, and enjoy the opportunity to train them personally. We’ve had such an incredible summer, but the school year is approaching fast! If you’re interested in donating, visit our website and make sure to follow us on our social media sites for daily doses of our kiddos!

Let Your Light Shine

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.- Matthew 5:16”

Vince’s View

Our kids come from hard places where praise and recognition did not happen very often.  The Children’s Awards Banquet gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the big and small achievements that have happened in their young lives over the past year. Boys and Girls Country is blessed to have the staff and resources to do many things for our children.  Many times, our children experience these benefits and privileges for their first time at BGC.

We want to send a message loud and clear to our kids – WE SEE YOU!  We see your effort, progress, and hard work.  We see your spiritual growth and desire to serve others.  We see your maturity, skills, and talents.  Not only do we see you, but we want to recognize and praise your accomplishments.  I invite you to join me and the BGC staff as we congratulate our Award Winners!

Athlete of the Year: Regina and Farid
Most Creative: Cameron and Jose
Faith in Action: Carla and Morgan
Trendsetter: Naidi and Conner
Tom and Jean Robinson Award for Service: Albert
Leadership Council Student of the Year: Morgan
Most Improved Student Elementary: David
Most Improved Student Jr. High: Esmeralda
Most Improved Student High School: Morgan
Elementary Scholar (highest GPA): Aniyah and Matthew
Jr. High Scholar (highest GPA): Kaleigh and Andrew
High School Scholar (highest GPA): Cameron and Robert
Kids Choice Award (voted by BGC kids): Carla and Morgan
Student of the Year (voted by BGC staff): Carla and Albert

“I felt so appreciated when I got my award! I haven’t been at Boys and Girls Country for very long but they made sure I had the help to do better as soon as I arrived. It made me work harder and my grades improved a lot. I went from bareley passing some classes and failing the others, to finishing with mostly A’s and B’s! Being recognized for that felt awesome, and it was even better that my family was there to see it.” –Esmerelda, Winner of Most Improved Jr. High student


We also want to give a huge thank you to the Cypress Belles, St.Francis Episcopal Church, and Texas Business Theatre for making this whole event happen! We can’t give you enough thanks for all you do for us!

If you’d like to know more about how you can get involved and help us continue to successfully operate and raise these awesome kids, visit our website and continue to follow us on social media! Also, please let us know your thoughts so we can always keep improving!

The value of fatherhood

Train up a child in the way he should go {teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents}, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” –Proverbs 22:6


Recently we celebrated Father’s Day and for most families in our great state that means barbecue and bad dad jokes. We come together as families to celebrate the pivotal roles our fathers play in our lives, even as adults. If you were fortunate enough to grow up with your father present, you may not fully appreciate the impact he had on your sense of security, self-confidence, and capacity to trust. For children who were not so fortunate, the full weight of this absence is more profound than we might think. The statistics are grim. Kids without a father figure are:

  • 4x more likely to live in poverty
  • 7x more likely to face teenage pregnancy
  • 2x more likely to drop out of high school
  • put at a higher risk of facing abuse and neglect
  • put at a higher risk of going to prison or committing a crime

We know the facts, but what are we doing about it? Boys and Girls Country is unique in that all eleven of our cottages have a married couple and 2 single individuals parenting for our kids. Many of our kids did not have a father figure in their life before they came here, and our male teaching parents go above and beyond to build trust and confidence. David Young, a successful teaching dad to over 29 girls in his 9+ years at BGC shared this reflection on his role:

“As a teaching dad, you don’t always win in a popularity contest. You push hard to motivate kids, all while providing a safe and loving place to land when they fall. You listen and understand only to be told many times “you don’t understand.” You must be both the lion and the lamb to inspire grace, strength, patience, heart, and forgiveness. All the while knowing you may not be the first or second person your kids want to hear this from… A dad knows his job is always on the line, but he’s alright with it. A real dad laughs at the phrase “above my pay grade” because a father knows that the payout is so much greater.”

Our kids are also grateful for the role our male teaching parents play in their lives. Our Cottage Five boys share what it means to them:

Having a father means everything to me because I don’t have a relationship with my biological father. It felt so good to have my dad there at football games! – Zorian 

I love receiving warm hugs and playing with Mr. Steve! -Aaron 

I’m grateful to have a father figure in my life. Especially since I grew up without one and only a father can show you how to be a man and become an adult. -Akia 

I love all the time and conversations I get to have with Mr. Steve.- Anilay

We are so blessed to be able to form these relationships and without our donors and volunteers, it would not be possible! We take great joy in watching our kids thrive when supported properly! If you’re interested in more information, donating, or volunteering, visit our website for more information! We try to post daily on our social media so make sure you’re following us, and drop a comment below to let us know what you think of our new blog!

A change in perspective

 “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” – Matthew 10:42

Our sweet Liz recently took a giant step out of her comfort zone and completed a mission trip to Honduras with Salem Lutheran church. Liz is 15 years old, and we’ve had the pleasure of getting to watch her bloom for a little over a year now.  She’s a member of the Watford cottage family and the McKenzie’s are doing a wonderful job raising young women of character.

Not only did she take a brave step in leaving the country on her own to help people she’d never met, she did so with the sole intent to serve them.

So what did she do?

The church spreads the gospel to the Honduran people; they also provide eye care to them that would otherwise not be obtainable where they’re at along with a small clinic for other ailments they may have. Along with praying with and over these people, administering eye tests and filling out result cards, she got the pleasure of visiting an orphanage they also serve.

There, she met a little boy named Thomas and she found herself relating with him more than she expected. She instantly empathized with the fact that he was separated from his family and was away from home.  Once she left the orphanage she realized how grateful she is for Boys and Girls Country.  While talking with her about this, we were touched to hear her appreciation. “I have it so good here! Not only do I have a loving family at BGC, but I have things I take for granted like clean running water that’s hot, air conditioning, access to healthcare, and so much more. I didn’t realize how many people don’t have even the basics, let alone a support system! I won’t take it for granted again.” She then thanked us and we got to experience the fruit of seeing what we do come full circle. We hope you get to experience that full circle feeling of pride as well! It’s the donors, the volunteers, the families that entrust us with their kids, our staff, and our amazing board members who allow this to happen! So thank YOU for your part in this blessing! If your new to our organization please take a moment to look at the other awesome things were doing at Boys and Girls Country.

We hope you enjoyed Liz’s story. In the comments below please let us know what you would like to see on the BGC blog.