Binding Together for a Better Community

These six San Antonio organizations are helping bring wholeness to Central Texas

Each year when Perri Rosheger selects nonprofits to become members of a new peer-learning cohort of the H. E. Butt Foundation capacity-building program, she makes a habit of recalling the program’s core intent: to serve organizations that are serving families on the margins.

“We have a heart for people who may be one missed paycheck or one car accident away from needing additional services, or people whose mental health struggles may prevent them from thriving,” says Perri, vice president of community engagement and communications. Each peer-learning cohort consists of local non-profits that are deeply engaged with those people and that agree to work together on growing their organization’s capacity for 36-months.

This fall, six new non-profits came together for the third year of the program. In the months ahead, they will begin a journey towards health and stability in their organization, looking at unique areas of growth through peer support, an external assessment tool and a capacity building plan.

“We are trying to help them build muscles to understand maturity in the life cycle of their organization,” said Perri, who helped birth the program. Through the cohort community, members have the potential to create lasting working relationships with their peers and become more effective in their mission to serve San Antonio’s vulnerable families and children.

Meet the 2019 Peer-Learning Cohort

Restore Education | View Website

The founder of Restore Education, John F. Rhodes, didn’t think single parents and disadvantaged youth should have to conform to traditional education if their circumstances were unforgiving. In 1997, he and his staff began curating unique pathways to and through college, as well as developing workforce training to form self-sustaining careers.

Serving over 9,000 San Antonio individuals, the non-profit operates three programs to help transform lives—an individualized GED program, a college readiness and support service, and a career training program. These services give San Antonio learners the tools needed to be self-supporting adults, exemplar parents, and productive community members.

House of Neighborly Services | View Website

Over 100 years ago, a refugee and Presbyterian missionary fled the Mexican Revolution and came to the West Side of San Antonio to encourage other refugees leaving behind desperate situations. Soon after, The House of Neighborly Services (HNS) established to support families building new lives, providing social services to a neighborhood in need. Now, helping the neighbor has become a way of life for HNS. From early childhood development to senior services, the organization meets the holistic needs of the community. A breadth of resources is provided through the Family Support Program, including diapers, food security, emotional support, housing, medical and legal needs.

NAMI San Antonio | View Website

When Eve Oliphant drafted a newspaper ad in 1974 inviting people into her home who had concerns for mentally ill family members, a national grassroots organization started. Today, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) operates on the local, state and national level, providing support, education and referrals to families while working to ensure non-discriminatory access to resources. NAMI San Antonio offers programs including caregiver classes, a peer-to-peer educational course for individuals living with mental illness, and public presentations such as “Ending the Silence,” which equips middle and high schools to recognize signs and symptoms of mental conditions.

Girls, Inc. | View Website

The local affiliate of the nationally known organization Girls, Inc. inspires San Antonio girls to be strong, smart and bold. The evidence-based, girl-serving programs help females reach personal, educational and career goals by looking past discriminatory messages and embracing their internal self-worth. Trained facilitators meet girls with age-appropriate and hands-on learning opportunities inside and outside of school. Girls can dip their toes in a diverse array of studies, including life skills, outdoor experiences, STEM studies, leadership training, economics and social action. Dreaming big and exploring possibilities happens at Girls, Inc. through a safe and empowering environment fostered in each program.

JOVEN | View Website

A rise in juvenile crime unsettled founders of the Juvenile Outreach and Vocational Education Network (JOVEN). For almost 30 years, the group has combatted youth crime in Bexar County through education and support services, collaborating with local organizations and churches to assist high-risk youth. A holistic approach to programming meets youth in all stages- health education, prevention, intervention and victim services. Leaders of America, a summer youth-intern opportunity, offers first-hand knowledge of necessary workforce ethic and skills. Character and resiliency are woven into each program to help children make positive changes toward a better-quality life and a successful future.

Project Transformation- Rio Texas | View Website

A national ministry of the United Methodist Church, Project Transformation focuses on three communities—children, college students and churches. All three C’s are combined in one interconnected mission, to change lives through relationship. The Rio Texas Chapter, formed in 2015, starts by addressing the needs of low-income and at-risk youth. A summer camp emphasizing literacy improvement is implemented by college students, who live in intentional community together, building relationships while learning a unique, meaningful skillset. All of this takes place in struggling churches, aimed to be revitalized through dynamic and relational connections.

More from this issue

Running Together to Heal Together

A Band of Runners treks across the Canyon during their Foundation Camp retreat in November.

What We Learned When We Asked About Your Community

Peek at the results of a survey we sent out and what your answers are telling us about the work ahead.

Calling Us to Know Our Neighbors

Recapping a lunchtime conversation on hunger and poverty that we hosted in October.

Sound and Soul at Laity Lodge

When music is the secret ingredient of transformation.