San Antonio Families Moving Forward
The Givens are an Air Force family. When a new base assignment comes in, they pack up their things and relocate to another part of the U.S. After every move, they waste no time in seeking out a way to contribute something meaningful to their new community. Shortly after their move to San Antonio, Texas, Amway IBO Teresa Givens discovered West Avenue Compassion (WAC), a non-profit with the mission of equipping low-income and underemployed families and senior citizens with the tools they need to move forward in their lives. Teresa, her husband, who is in the U.S. Air Force, and their five daughters have been volunteering with a variety of WAC’s programs since August of 2011.
One day each week, WAC volunteers collect food from the San Antonio Food Bank and other local food sources; they then box and distribute the food to about 170 families. WAC distributed 158,000 pounds of food in 2011 alone! “At a minimum we hope to provide (at each distribution) about two to three meals for each family,” says Teresa.
In addition to food assistance, families are offered donated clothing, access to a community nurse, job application assistance, GED and ESL classes, and parenting classes. “Some people ride the city bus in from different parts of San Antonio,” adds Teresa, who also volunteers with Project Hope, a WAC outreach that provides monthly food and clothing distribution to senior citizens.
This past spring Teresa joined WAC in a new venture: creating a soccer program for young boys and girls. “Oh, that was so much fun!” she recalls. “Some of the children’s older brothers and sisters were playing on leagues somewhere, but these younger children didn’t have a place. The parents loved it because it was (located) so close to home.”
“The children learn and improve their sports skills, but more importantly, these children realize they are important and supported by their community.”
The Givens family plans to donate their time to WAC’s free lunch program scheduled to start in July. “WAC is located within a Title 1 (designated low-income, crisis education area) elementary school community. Without the school meals provided free or at a reduced cost, many of the children will not receive sufficient nutrition during the summer,” Teresa explains.
She goes on to say that WAC promotes its programs in both Spanish and English and that WAC attracts volunteers of all ages. “What appeals to me about West Avenue Compassion is the lack of discrimination and that they try in so many ways to meet the needs of the community.”
Being self-employed as an IBO, Teresa is thankful for the flexibility in her schedule which allows her to volunteer so frequently. She says, “I have achieved a productive way to live, and I enjoy volunteering with West Avenue Compassion and sharing so many of my IBO benefits with the community!”
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