Nonprofit group building new home for children
Boys & Girls Country is transitioning to a new executive director and the organization has broken ground on a new cottage.
Lou Palma, executive director of the nonprofit organization that has provided a home to more than 1,400 children since 1971, has announced his plans for retirement after more than eight years of leading the organization. During the transition, Palma will continue his efforts of leadership for the organization and for the organization’s board of directors.
“Leading Boys and Girls Country has been the most blessed way to end my career. It is bittersweet ending anything. Most companies have a mandatory retirement age, way before my age of 69,” Palma said. “I remember the day I was offered the position, the board director who presented me the opportunity, and my first day so vividly. I also know in my heart that none of this has to do with me, it’s about these smart, beautiful children, an amazing dedicated staff, and a Christian mission.”
The group works to fulfil their mission to change the lives of children from families in crisis by loving and nurturing them in a Christian home environment, raising them to become self-sustaining and contributing adults. The organization has a vision that every child has a place to grow up and a sense of being home.
Palma is proud to have served an organization such as Boys & Girls Country.
“The main task of any leader is to protect those they serve and to complete the organization’s mission,” Palma said. “Our investors, board, management team, staff, and most importantly, our children and young adults, made that happen.”
The organization is licensed by the Texas as a residential home. The campus consists of a network of cottage families and as well as an extended Christian neighborhood which supports the children.
Last month the club broke ground on its second new cottage. The new project, funded by the Hamill Foundation, will be built through a collaboration with Houston HomeAid, which is the nonprofit arm of the Greater Houston Builders Association, and Lennar Homes/Village Builders. The homes will cost approximately $800,000 to build.
“The Hamill foundation will allow us to house and protect our family in a safe, efficient, loving Christian home. This will be where our kids recover, rebound, catch up, and then soar ahead,” Palma said. “These homes, housing up to 12 to 15 family members, will allow us to give our kids ‘best practice’ family living. Our association with HomeAid of Houston cuts the building costs by about one third and the Cottage sponsors cover the rest.”
HomeAid Houston, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Greater Houston Builders Association, identifies long term, stable homeless care providers who need additional capacity and pairs them with GHBA builders, remodelers, vendors and suppliers who donate their time, materials and labor to help build hope and homes for the homeless. The building organizations is proud to collaborate with the Boys & Girl’s Country on the new project that will benefit the lives of children and other community members.
“HomeAid Houston has a heart for providing dignified and beautiful housing where homeless men, women, children, and veterans can rebuild their lives, so having an opportunity for our Greater Houston Builders Association and their trades to support Boys and Girls Country is a perfect fit for us,” Bette Moser said, executive director of HomeAid Houston.
Moser believes it is vital for organizations such as the Boys & Girls Country to exist in the community. She sees the importance of children having a safe and constructive place to call home. HomeAid Houston has made a long-term commitment to the Boys & Girls Country. By working with the other builders and trades of the Greater Houston Builders Association, HomeAid Houston plans to replace 11 cottages.
“We want all children, who are our most vulnerable citizens, to have a chance to grow up in a loving, constructive and encouraging environment,” Moser said. “Unfortunately, not every mom or dad can provide this, and, at times, when it is necessary for children to seek an alternative, Boys and Girls Country is there.”
The Boys and Girls Country implements programs to its youth through its’ resources such as the College and Career program. Through the program, the organization has the ability to support high school graduates until they are independent adults. According to the club’s website, there are 12 young adults in the College and Career program with an opportunity for a college degree, technical certificate, or option to enter the military or begin their first job while living in a supportive Christian environment. With the assistance of grants and scholarships, students have the opportunity to lead their lives debt-free.
Community members have various opportunities to become involved with the club. Volunteer opportunities with the organization include tutoring in the education lab or in a cottage after school, teaching a class such as piano or voice, mentoring a child, organizing donations, administrative support, operations support, or serving on a special event committee.
Palma believes the Boys & Girls Country is a unique organization that serves as a vital component for the lives of the people assisted by the organization.
“Children are placed here without regard to the parents or guardians ability to pay, [and] being a private organization, we can fully express a Christian life here. That means, living like Christ lived, loving each other and living a life of gratitude and service,” Palma said. “When our children turn 18, they are urged and welcome to still call Boys and Girls Country home, just like you do for your kids.”
Boys & Girls Country
18806 Roberts Road
Hockley, TX 77447
(Boys & Girls Country is close to the Cypress, Waller, and Tomball areas).
Phone: (281) 351 - 4976