More than half of the children who come to live at Boys and Girls Country speak a different language at home. Our population of bilingual kids is 42 percent which brings great diversity as well as new challenges to our cottage homes.
Firezer came from Ethiopia three years ago. Amharic is the language she spoke most of her life. She needed a lot of support to be able to do well at school in Waller. When she came to BGC she was very reserved and had little hope of achieving good results due to her language barrier. Our Education Program Manager Kristi Pierce recognized Firezer’s struggles and created a plan to help her become more proficient in English. Kristi paired her with our volunteer librarians to ensure consistent language immersion, secured necessary accommodations at school and engaged a tutor to get her up to speed in various subjects.
Firezer was very surprised when she received her SAT scores this spring. Her results were higher than anyone expected and surpassed the scores of many kids whose native language is English. During the few years that she has been here, Firezer felt empowered to take advantage of the opportunities around her.
Our program at Boys and Girls Country is always adjusting to meet the needs of our children. Thanks to your investment, we can offer bilingual services to a large population of our campus. Cultural adaptation is very challenging for children and it requires emotional, educational and spiritual support.
Next year Firezer will be a senior. She has maintained A’s and B’s while playing sports and was invited to join the National Honor Society. She was very proud to make the soccer team playing the forward position and also enjoyed running track. Firezer secured her first job and has made huge strides in time management skills. She is interested in trying new things every year, and it fills our hearts with joy to see her using her talents.
This summer our kids participated in the World Culture Expo as a part of the BGC Summer Education program. The expo helped kids learn more about different countries and the cultures of other kids at BGC. We want our kids to take pride in their traditions and values and share them with their BGC family.
Recently alumni Bryan came to speak to our kids during an education awards ceremony. After each 6 academic weeks we recognize and award our students for their grades and educational accomplishments. Bryan’s talk was inspiring and a great reminder that hard work can eventually pay off.
Bryan lived at Boys and Girls Country from 1979-1985. He told the kids there were more students in FFA than on the Waller football team when he lived at “Boys Country.” When Bryan graduated from high school BGC did not have a College & Career program. He was fortunate to have a scholarship at the University of Houston but other students did not receive that much support. The organization’s resources were very limited. He told our students how scary it was to go out on his own and reminded them how blessed they are to have support after graduation.
Bryan has worked in television editing and digital media for his entire career. He started with a student job at UH and has gone on to build an amazing career filming sporting events and creating graphics for televised events such as the Superbowl.
Our students really enjoyed his presentation and asked great questions about his experiences and life advice. Bryan underlined, again and again, the importance of dedication and hard work; and the advantages available to our kids at BGC:
“For every one of you here in a chair, there are probably 100 kids who would do anything to be here and have the opportunities you have. You are blessed to be here.”
His family accompanied him on the visit and Bryan was able to take them to the cottage he grew up in. Bryan said nothing had changed and was pleased to see his old cottage home. We are so grateful to Bryan for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit our kids and give back to Boys and Girls Country!
As you can imagine, with over 100 kids and young adults to feed each day, our cottage kitchens never cool down. Our dedicated Teaching Parents not only maintain a safe and loving environment in their cottages, they teach essential life skills to each child. We try to make one meal each day a family affair where everyone gets involved! Students may help with meal prep, setting the table, dishes or clean up. Older students are encouraged to plan and cook meals for the family when their busy schedules allow. Our kids routinely say they enjoy time in the kitchen, and many pride themselves on a favorite recipe.
The Cottage 8 boys love trying new recipes, and they are very talented. Over the summer the cottage contributed breakfast food to our weekly all-campus meeting and devotional. Several staff members really enjoyed the boys’ cooking and always got in line early! (Not that we ever have favorites!)
Last night Cottage 8 invited the Cottage 10 girls for dinner. They had been packing and preparing all day to move into the new Pool cottage, and they were hungry! These little girls had so much fun with their older “brothers” and the boys enjoyed serving them.
Be sure to check out what they cooked up, and if you like be sure to share and pin the recipe for later!
Ingredients for taco meat:
Taco night is always a hit, and sometimes prompt messy faces and spontaneous dancing!
We also like to treat ourselves to our favorite Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars!
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
We make these in bulk so alter it to suits your needs! We cook two to three meals daily, and we rely heavily on our food pantry to help us do this. It is truly a blessing when groups hold food drives for us or bring in cars full of food! Of course, we’re well equipped to keep it stocked, but the extra help is always a relief. We’re always in need of staple items like:
Thank you so much for your continued support! Let us know what else you’d like to see on here and be sure to keep up with all our other social media accounts.