As we countdown to 2018, we start with the story of the library because there were so many little parts which made it possible for us to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. Thank you to Bill Rains with GranQuarts for giving us new, beautiful concrete floors; Jorge Flores for the sheetrock and insulation; Joe Rodriguez for all the electrical work. They are all extraordinary people who volunteered their expertise to make our space better. Thank you to Jorge Quionez and the OutReach Center of West Houston Board for their diligence in fixing all the leaks and to all the tenants of the OutReach Center who allowed us to overflow into every vacant inch of the building during our rebuild. Thank you Chapelwood and all the individual donors who made it possible for us to rebuild and continue to meet needs in our community. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped remove damaged carpet, walls, and insulation. To those who came later to paint, build bookshelves, re-shelve books, and move things back into their place. Every thing you did was a small gesture of love that made activities possible at FamilyPoint. We would not be where we are today without you.
During the summer of 2015, a new family moved into the apartments next to the center and when school started their children would come to the library everyday after school. After a few months, one of the boys told us how nervous he was to start a new school. He said,
“I didn’t think I was going to fit in. But once I got here(FamilyPoint) they opened their arms and they let me in.”
Each one of us has encountered the feeling of not fitting in. It is difficult to overcome this feeling, to face challenges and try new things. Our work at FamilyPoint is a kind of hospitality; we welcome others and find ways for them to fit in to our community. This family has since become deeply connected. Their boys play sports with us and still come to the library after school. They volunteer often and tell us about the uniqueness of this community. We all strive together to create a place where children, and their families, flourish, regardless of circumstances. FamilyPoint is often the access point to caring relationships and opportunities, a connector to necessary resources. We are a place to belong, somewhere to play with friends, a way of learning, a process of discovery, and an extension of family- people with open arms.
"I can do it'
What you cannot see in this picture are the coaches, and parents, on the sidelines. When the soccer season started the flood waters had just receded from our community and many volunteers were no longer able to coach. As the league sent emails looking for coaches the parents of players on this team were among the many who stepped up to meet the need. Javier, a junior at Stratford, and his parents took on the challenge of scheduling practices, teaching skills, communicating with parents, coordinating snacks, coaching games, and planning a team party. And, by the end they were not alone- it seemed as though all the parents of the players helped up to make the most of the season. Lucas and Gabriel’s father also helped coach. Rogelio and Osvaldo’s parents brought snacks, and the list goes on. We’ve known Javier since he was 8 years old and his little brother, who played on this team, since he was in PreK. They attended our first summer camps, homework helps, and played on many of our sports teams. Now, Javier is a leader in our community. He is a young man of great character, thoughtful and patient enough to teach soccer skills and guide from the sidelines, and respected as a role model by all the players on the team.
Ten years ago, FamilyPoint had 1 soccer team. This year over 80 children registered through FamilyPoint to play soccer. We have grown and our children have grown up. Now, we can see in them how lives have truly been transformed and how our entire community has been enriched in the process of meeting needs.
"I know where to go"
The Dab, a dance move that has become an all encompassing response, a last word, a proverbial gesture. It’s the best gesture to sum up this year. Kadhir and his twin brother are regulars at the library after school, filling the space with laughter, games, and inquiries after the time. Their typical response to being told the time “right now” is to cheer and run in the other direction, announcing to all that there are 15 more minutes to play before we have to do homework. They are following in their brothers footsteps, who began coming to FamilyPoint about 2 years ago, not long after his family immigrated here from Afghanistan.
Their mother told me once, whenever the boys have a question about school or don’t understand something they always tells me,
It’s OK mom, I’ll go to FamilyPoint and they’ll help me.