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Business Journal

Entrepreneur | Business | Education and Career | Finance | Real Estate | Technology | Insurance

April 2017

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Inspire, Inform & Educate

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116th Edition

The

Nabor House

Difference Dwayne Jones, Executive Director of the Nabor House Community Early Childhood Center

18-19

INSIDE

04

BB&T Opens in the Historical Third Ward

27 TSU President Joins Collegiate Leadership at White House

07

Anita Bates Joins d-mars.com as the New VP of Marketing


2  |  April 2017

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April 2017  |  3

Publisher’s Message

MR. D-MARS

d-mars.com has been inspiring, informing and educating Houston and the surrounding areas for nearly two decades. We take pride in the fact that we can provide a platform to highlight AfricanAmericans doing positive things in our community. I want to encourage you to support the organizations in the area that are mentoring the next generation. Children and youth are our future. It is our duty to teach them, so that they go out into the world being lights. This issue highlights educational gems that are educating our future leaders. This month’s journal shines the spotlight on the Nabor House Community Early Childhood Center (Nabor House). When it comes to

Behind the Journal

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dawn Paul

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES C.T. Foster Tiffany Black PHOTOGRAPHY L.C. Poullard Grady Carter MULTIMEDIA DIRECTOR Andrea Hennekes LAYOUT & GRAPHIC DESIGNER Angel Rosa Project Coordinator Taelor Smith DISTRIBUTION Booker T. Davis, Jr. Rockie Hayden CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Victor D. Walker, Esq. Noel Pinnock Texas Southern University Lauren Victoria Burke Sylvester Brown Charlotte A. Jackson Art McElroy Linda Lindsay Stella Alexander d-mars.com News Provider

our services

04 Business 04 BB&T Opens in the Historical Third Ward 05 Selecting a Business Structure 06 Change Is the New You 07 Anita Bates Joins d-mars.com as the New VP of Marketing

Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Floyd

Vice President, Marketing Anita Bates

– Oprah Winfrey

contents

Publisher & CEO Keith J. Davis, Sr.

ACCOUNTING MANAGER Eugenie Doualla

“I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madame C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.”

providing quality early childhood education to our children, Nabor House is known as one of the top centers in the area. The center’s mission is not only to provide an affordable quality education for parents, but to also provide parents with the support they need to pursue their employment and educational goals. Executive Director, Dwayne Jones is at the helm of the center, proud that Nabor House is not only educating children, but also elevating lowincome families on the path out of poverty in a Christ-centered environment. As always, thank you for your continued support of d-mars.com. When you support us, you are supporting more than just our company; you are supporting the communities in which we live and work. Working together, we can succeed in making positive things happen.

04 08 Education & Career 08 Texas Southern University Aviation Program Reaches New Milestone 08 6 Tips for Decoding College Financial Aid Award letters 10 Politics 10 President Trump’s EPA Awards Flint $100 Million for Water Crisis 10 New PACs Focus on Getting More Blacks Into Politics

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11 Entrepreneur 11 SBA Awards Funding to Organizations 12 Insurance 12 Seniors Struggling to Pay Life Insurance Premiums 13 Real Estate 13 The Lowdown on Low Down Payment Mortgage 13 What You Should Know About Rising Interest Rates 14 Technology 14 The Data Dilemma 16 Finance 16 MGIC Takes On the 20% Down Payment Myth

20 Community Organizations 20 Emancipation Economic Development Council 20 Black Heritage Society, Inc. 22 Faith-Based 22 Remembering to Leave a Legacy 24 Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All 26,30 Nonprofits & Foundations 26 Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation 30 Carla’s Closet Helps Homeless Students Attend Prom

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27 In the Business Community 27 PREfessionals Academy Open House

18-19 Cover Story 18-19 The Nabor House Difference

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28 Lifestyle 28 Conscious Design Decisions 28 Stuck and Stagnant

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4  |  April 2017

Business

BB&T Opens in the Historical Third Ward By d-mars.com News Provider

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uilding on a tradition of excellence in community banking that stretches back to 1872, BB&T continues to offer clients a complete range of financial services including banking, lending, insurance, and trust and wealth management solutions. The recent grand opening of BB&T in Third Ward hosted a full house, welcoming the community to bank with this well-respected financial institution. BB&T is a trusted name in banking, and this recent grand opening in the area, was a definite reason to celebrate. BB&T is helping to create economic empowerment in this area and contributing to Houston’s economic growth. BB&T is a mission-driven organization with a clearly defined set of values. It encourages its employees to have a strong sense of purpose, a high level of self-esteem and the capacity to think clearly and logically. This industry and world is rapidly changing, but BB&T has not only stayed current, but ahead of the curve. BB&T understands that this business will, and should, experience constant change. Countless individuals and organizations who bank with BB&T utilize the bank for a clear set of fundamental principles to help them

guide their actions. Though BB&T sees change is necessary for progress, their vision, mission and values, are unchanging. Their principles are based on basic truths. BB&T is an award-winning institution, but this bank also has a spirit of community, educating the next generation about financial empowerment. BB&T focuses on financial education and literacy in several ways, including the BB&T Financial Foundations program that reaches high school stu-

dents throughout their footprint. Since BB&T began the program in 2011, they have reached over 78,000 students and provided them with basic concepts about banking, insurance, investments, budgeting, higher education, and more. BB&T is proud to be sharing knowledge for a brighter direction. BB&T is committed to doing business in a way that clearly demonstrates to all of their stakeholders that they respect and value the relationship they have chosen to have with them.

They are truly committed to diversity and inclusion. It is vital to BB&T that its workforce and board of directors reflect the demographics of their clients, communities, and shareholders. BB&T has an enduring commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment that starts at the top of its organization and impacts the decisions it makes each day. This mindset helps BB&T create innovative products and provide superior client service. BB&T also takes pride in the fact that it fosters strong partnerships with diverse suppliers and business owners. As a company and a culture, BB&T has embraced diversity and inclusion as a compelling growth strategy in their markets, boardroom, and workplace. BB&T’s mission is to help their clients achieve their financial hopes and dreams—from that first savings account to buying a home to planning for a comfortable retirement. BB&T remains at the forefront of a rapidly changing industry by listening to their clients and responding with more convenience, more choices, and the knowledge and advice to make more informed financial decisions. BB&T is proud to serve clients in the Third Ward area. Visit the new BB&T location at 6118-B Scott Street, Houston, Texas 77021. For more information about BB&T, please visit www.bbt.com.

If values aren’t shared, they aren’t lived. For more than 140 years, BB&T has never taken a relationship for granted. We set out to earn your business each and every day. Our strong value system helps us determine what is right and reasonable. And to remain focused on doing what’s in the best interests of the clients and communities we serve. Discover the value a values-driven bank can offer you. Talk to us today. BBT.com

Lisa Harrison Market Leader, Vice President 346-201-7423 Lisa.Harrison@BBandT.com

B A N K I N G

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I N S U R A N C E

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I N V E S T M E N T S

Member FDIC. Only deposit products are FDIC insured. © 2016, Branch Banking and Trust Company. All rights reserved.

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April 2017  |  5

Business

Selecting a Business Structure By Victor D. Walker Esq. Contributing Writer

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he decision regarding business structure is a decision that a person should make, in consultation with an attorney and accountant, and taking into consideration issues regarding tax, liability, management, continuity, transferability of ownership interests, and formality of operation.

Generally,businesses businessesare arecreated createdand and Generally, operatedininone oneofofthe thefollowing followingforms: forms: operated Sole proprietorship: The most common and the simplest form of business is the sole proprietorship. In a sole proprietorship, a single individual engages in a business activity without necessity of formal organization. If the business is conducted under an assumed name (a name other than the surname of the individual), then an assumed name certificate (commonly referred to as a DBA) should be filed with the office of the county clerk in the county where a business premise is maintained. If no business premise is maintained, then an assumed name certificate should be filed in all counties where business is conducted under the assumed name. General partnership: A general partnership is created when two or more persons associate to carry on a business for profit. A partnership generally operates in accordance with a partnership agreement, but there is no requirement that the agreement be in writing and no state-filing requirement. If the business of the partnership is conducted under an assumed name (a name that does not include the surname of all the partners), then an assumed name certificate (commonly referred to as a DBA) should be filed with the office of the county clerk in the county where a business premise is maintained. If no business premise is maintained, then an assumed name certificate should be filed in all counties where business is conducted under the assumed name. Corporation: A Texas corporation is created by filing a certificate of formation with the Texas Secretary of State. The Secretary of State provides a form that meets minimum state law requirements. Online filing of a certificate of formation is provided through SOSDirect. A corporation is a legal person with the characteristics of limited liability, centralization of management, perpetual duration, and ease of transferability of ownership interests. Choosing the best management structure for your corporation is a decision you make with the advice of an attorney. The Secretary of State cannot assist you. An “S” corporation is not a matter of state corporate law but rather a federal tax election. A for-profit corporation elects to be taxed as an “S” corporation by filing an election with the Internal Revenue Service. Please contact the IRS or competent tax counsel regarding the decision to be taxed as an “S” corporation and the requirements for filing the election. This is not a matter with which the Secretary of State may assist. Limited Liability Company: A Texas limited liability company is created by filing a certificate of formation with the Texas Secretary of State. The Secretary of State provides a form that meets minimum state law requirements. Online filing of a certificate of formation is provided through SOSDirect. The limited liability company (LLC) is not a partnership or a corporation but rather is a distinct type of entity that has the powers of both a corporation and a partnership. Depending on how the LLC is structured, it may be likened to a general partnership with lim-

ited liability, or to a limited partnership where all the owners are free to participate in management and all have limited liability, or to an “S” corporation without the ownership and tax restrictions imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. Unlike the partnership, where the key element is the individual, the essence of the limited liability company is the entity, requiring for its creation more formal requirements. As a result of federal tax classification rules, an LLC can achieve both structural flexibility and favorable tax treatment. Nevertheless, persons contemplating forming an LLC are well-advised to consult competent legal counsel. A limited liability company can be managed by managers or by its members. The management structure must be stated in the certificate of formation. Management structure is a determination that is made by the LLC and its members. The Secretary of State cannot give advice about management structure. Limited Partnership: A Texas limited partnership is a partnership formed by two or more persons and having one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. The limited partnership operates in accordance with a partnership agreement, written or oral, of the partners as to the affairs of the limited partnership and the conduct of its business. While the partnership agreement is not filed for public record, the limited partnership must file a certificate of formation with the Texas Secretary of State. The Secretary of State provides a form that meets minimum state law requirements. Online filing of the certificate of formation is provided through SOSDirect. Limited Liability Partnership: In order to limit the liability of its general partners, a general or limited partnership may opt to register as a limited liability partnership. The Secretary of State provides a form for registration as a limited liability partnership. Online filing of the registration is provided through SOSDirect.

If you would like to know more about structuring your business, contact Attorney Walker at 713-7245300. DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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6  |  April 2017

Change Is the New You By Noel Pinnock Contributing Writer

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postle Paul encourages us to believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us in the Book of Philippians (4:13 NKJV). This is a universal scripture that many recite each day in their daily devotions or meditations. However, many of us fail to really implement this in our daily lives. Oftentimes, we find ourselves de-energized, burned out, confused, and weary because we either don’t really believe we can do all things, or we make the fatal assumption that our situation is too large or complex. This is probably something that you have already heard before. However, let me provide you with some inspiring words to challenge your thinking, helping you think outside of the box. It’s time to dispel any thoughts of impossibility. First, in order to see past the impos-

Business sible, you have to possess an unyielding willingness to see yourself at that desired goal or outcome. This willingness is characterized by many as having faith. Faith is not a noun, but a verb. It is not someone, but it is doing something! Having faith requires kinetic energy both in your brain and in your body, because faith without works is dead. In the vernacular, faith sees the invincible (goal or outcome), believes in the incredible (neurological response), and receives the impossible (action oriented momentum). Second, recognize that you are no better than anyone else and no one else is better than you. Gerry Fusco, CEO of Gerry Consulting and Ministry Leader for the Between the Job Ministry, planted that powerful seed in my life when he and I worked on a project together. The profound statement enabled me to know without any uncertain terms that we all are truly equal, and in that equality, no one has accomplished anything that cannot be duplicated or improved upon. Careful now, as there is a defining line between confidence and arrogance. I believe we define that line in every business venture, sales pitch, or conversation we share with others. It wasn’t until I accepted my inadequacies that I was able to embrace God’s all sufficient grace, which provided the confidence required to produce the faith that watered the seed Gerry planted in my life. So, I offer you the same seed of encouragement. Finally, there should not be any

mountain too high or valley too low that should keep YOU from achieving that next level of success in your life and career. You may be having some difficult times. However, Jesus Christ reminds us to speak to the mountains and valleys in our life in faith. You must know and believe that the power lies in YOU!

English Poet, Poet, William William Ernest Ernest English Henley, wrote in his 1888 poem, Henley, wrote in his 1888 poem, Invictus, the following: Invictus, the following: Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.

Who is the master of your fate and the captain of your soul? To read more about author Noel Pinnock, B.S., M.P.A., C.A., CCC, IPMA-SCP, please visit www. noelpinnock.com. #GetAtIt

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April 2017  |  7

Business

Anita Bates Joins d-mars.com as the New VP of Marketing By Dawn Paul Associate Editor

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ust less than 6 months with d-mars.com, Anita Bates has been hitting the ground running as the media company’s new VP of Marketing. Where many see sales as just a job to meet the monthly sales quota, Anita sees it as more of a calling or a purpose. With a genuine spirit, warm smile, professionalism, and her client-driven approach to this industry, Anita has taken marketing to a whole new level and is a perfect fit for the d-mars.com brand. Anita is a strong and polished communicator, experienced marketing professional, and has worked in the nonprofit arena. Before joining d-mars.com, she made a successful career for herself in marketing, learning the Houston market inside and out. “I am bringing years of marketing experience to d-mars.com. The skills gained through my Master's degree in Business Administration and extensive work experience make me an asset here. I love the d-mars.com high energy environment and the team mindset. It’s all about serving the client here,” says Anita. This career move to dmars.com was just a natural path for Anita. She adds, “MR. D-MARS has been doing amazing work in the community for almost 20 years, so I am honored to be a part of his vision. d-mars.com has a great reputation for quality work and stellar customer service. The company is definitely a leader in this industry.” Her combination of working in marketing and the community sector gives her a great balance. She has a real heart for seeing the businesses in our community prosper and grow. “My goal is to assist the client with being successful in their business. I love the products

Anita Bates, VP of Marketing

that d-mars.com offers to the Black business community, helping them to win in business,” Anita says. The d-mars.com Black Pages Online Directory is one of those products. For only $299.99 a year, the client receives an inexpensive and beneficial tool to advertise. Anita understands that being a business owner can be extremely exciting, but also overwhelming. Most business owners have so much on their plate that they don't have the time or energy to engage in marketing

and advertising. The d-mars.com online directory is a great form of targeted advertising. “People are using this tool because they already have a specific need for a particular service. I like to encourage Black businesses around the Houston area to position their listing in a directory that has already gained a great reputation,” expresses Anita. When clients sign up for the Black Pages Online Directory, they are not stuck with the same content for 12 months. They are able to change the content, photos, or videos on a monthly basis. MR. D-MARS says, “It was the right move making Anita a part of this d-mars.com winning team. Being a real people person, Anita has a connection with our clients, making them feel that they are not just a number. She understands that d-mars.com is all about the client.” She doesn’t consider herself a sales person, but a helper. It brings her complete satisfaction that she is helping clients be successful in their business. Anita believes in building relationships and friendships with her clients. She is not just here to sell a service. Her ultimate goal is to make sure that the client gains success through the d-mars.com marketing and advertising services. Her priority is to ensure that the clients have the best experience being a d-mars.com client. Not only does she know the client, but she researches everything she can about the client’s business, helping her to develop the perfect marketing plan for the client’s budget. “I want my clients to realize that I care about their business just as much as they do. If they win, then I win. I absolutely love my role as VP of Marketing at d-mars.com,” expresses Anita. To contact Anita Bates, please email her at marketing@d-mars.com or call 832-766-4848.

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8  |  April 2017

Education & Career

Texas Southern University Aviation Program Reaches New Milestone By Texas Southern University Contributing Writer

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he Department of Aviation Science and Technology took a major step toward becoming a Federal Aviation Administration (FA A) approved f light program during Spring Break when it took possession of two new aircraft. Matthew Julien, former chief pilot and current first officer for Envoy Airlines earned the privilege of f lying

TSU's aircraft to Signature Aviation Hobby Airport. The first aircraft – a Cessna 150 Maroon and Gray – arrived on March 14. The second aircraft, a Cessna 172, arrived on March 16. Captain Roscoe Edwards, TSU’s director of f light operations, had the honor of driving the chase vehicle for the occasion. “Adding these aircraft to our f leet is a major accomplishment for our department,” Capt. Edwards said. “This will help tremendously in recruiting students to the program and

preparing them with the foundation to enter graduate school or enter the workforce as entry level aviation professionals. TSU’s aviation program is currently an FAA-approved ground program.

AboutTexas TexasSouthern Southern University University About TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees – or-

ganized into 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The University’s enrollment has a population of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate-school academic candidates. TSU has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927, and it has become one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in educating underserved students and many who are the first in their family to attend college.

Education & Career

6 Tips for Decoding College Financial Aid Award Letters By d-mars.com News Provider

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hether you're a high school senior or an adult looking to change careers, a college degree can be the key to a bright future. As acceptance letters arrive in the mail, another important document is not far behind: financial aid letters. "College is a major investment, and many people require financial assistance to pay for it," says Harlan Cohen, New York Times best-selling author and creator of the Naked Financial Minute. "It's vital to understand financial aid so you can make informed choices and avoid surprises in the future." The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year is $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public universities, according to the College Board. In order to find out what aid you qualify for, you should start by filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After your information is

processed, and you've applied to the colleges of your choice, you'll receive financial aid award letters in the mail with the results from each school where you were accepted. Not all financial aid letters are the same, so deciphering and comparing them can be confusing. To help get you started, the experts at College Ave Student Loans share tips and tricks for how to easily understand your financial aid letter. Look carefully at symbols and terms: College award letters may use different wording and abbreviations. For instance, rather than spelling out the word "loan" you could see "L" or "LN". You might also see "net price" and "net cost." Look carefully at how each school calculates these amounts. Some schools will subtract loan amounts from these figures. Just remember that loans need to be paid back, usually with interest; loans can help you spread the cost of college over time, but they don't eliminate the expense. Know the difference between gift aid and loans: Gift aid is money that is awarded to qualifying students that isn't expected to be paid back. Gift aid

includes things like scholarships, grants, and housing or tuition waivers. Not all applicants will qualify for gift aid, but most will be eligible for federal loans. As a general rule, you should expect that you'll need to pay loans back, usually with interest. Be aware of the impact of outside scholarships: If a student is awarded a private scholarship, the financial aid letter may list its effect on the amount of money offered by the school or in federal aid because the student's financial need has already been partially covered. This could impact gift aid, loan amounts, or both. Keep an eye out for work-study offers: If you indicated an interest during the FAFSA application, your financial aid letter may list approval for a workstudy job that provides money toward your studies and fits with your class schedule. The money you earn is typically applied directly to your school expenses. Understand your expected family contribution (EFC): Depending on your personal circumstances, there may be a line item for expected family contribution. This is the amount of money

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your family is expected to contribute toward your college education based on their tax and savings information. This will impact your overall award package. Think about additional costs: Your financial aid letter may not include all of the costs associated with going to school. Think beyond tuition and make sure you have an idea of what you'll be spending on housing, food, transportation, books, supplies, additional fees, and other living expenses. If you find the amount of financial aid provided isn't enough (including the amount offered in federal loans), families may want to research and explore private student loans as an option to cover the additional expenses. Look for competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options that match your budget. College Ave Student Loans also offers a calculator that showcases how much families can save with various loan options at www.collegeavestudentloans.com. Finally, if you're still unclear about the terms and conditions of any college award letter, it's important to reach out to the school to ask for clarification or discuss your options. You don't want to leave any money on the table. – BPT


April 2017  |  9

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10  |  April 2017

Politics

President Trump's EPA Awards Flint $100 Million for Water Crisis By Lauren Victoria Burke NNPA

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uried in the 24-hour news cycle of Russian conspiracies, presidential tweets, and White House nepotism, the Trump Administration found the time to set aside $100 million for the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich. According to a press release about the grant, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) $100 million to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint. The press release said that, “The funding, provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, or WIIN, enables Flint to accelerate and expand its work to replace lead service lines and make other critical infrastructure improvements.” In the statement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said that, the people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government. “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure,” said Pruitt.

During a March 22 meeting at the White House with seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), said that she and President Trump spoke about assistance for Flint. "He said he thought it was awful and criminal… I was surprised he understood how that happened," said Lawrence, who represents parts of Detroit. The congresswoman added that the president also wanted

to know who was responsible for the lead in Flint’s water. After the EPA announced the news, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver expressed appreciation for the funds. “The City of Flint being awarded a grant of this magnitude in such a critical time of need will be a huge benefit,” Weaver said in a statement. “As we prepare to start the next phase of the FAST Start pipe replacement program, these funds will give us what we need to reach our goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year and make other needed infrastructure improvements.” Weaver continued: “We look forward to the continued support of the EPA and federal government.” Additionally on March 28, a U.S. District Court settlement was announced, forcing the state of Michigan to set aside $97 million to replace defective water lines in Flint. The settlement money will cover 18,000 homes in the city by the year 2020.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Connect with Lauren by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Politics

New PACs Focus on Getting More Blacks Into Politics By Lauren Victoria Burke NNPA

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n the aftermath of formerSecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s crushing defeat last November, a number of groups were launched to encourage greater political participation among young people, women and minorities. Recently, the Milk River PAC hosted a dialogue on the impact of women in politics that featured Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and political commentator Ana Navarro. “PAC” is a common acronym for political action committee, an independent group that raises money to support candidates and issues related to their constituents. The goal of Milk River PAC is to inspire more African American women to run for Congress. Along with The Collective, Democracy in Color, and Higher Heights, the Milk River PAC is another effort focused on galvanizing support behind people of color running for office. Milk River PAC and Higher Heights are specifically focused on Black women. Black women voted at higher rates than any other demographic group in America during the 2008 presidential election cycle. Harnessing that political power is one of the many challenges that the groups hope to address

at a time when Republicans control the United States Congress, the White House and most state legislatures. The specific goal of Higher Heights is to "identify, educate, and engage Black women across the socio-economic spectrum to elect Black women, influence elections and move public policy." During the discussion hosted by Milk River PAC with Rep. Clarke and Navarro, issues around the changing demographics in America and the impact of Black women in politics were the main focus. According to demographic trends and national poll predictions, formerSecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should have easily defeated real estate mogul Donald Trump. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes, but lost the Electoral College vote (227-304), sending Donald Trump to the White House. In the post-Obama era, efforts to advance African Americans into elected office appear to be picking up steam. On March 29, new Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez asked for all staffers currently at the DNC to hand in their res-

ignations. A massive re-organization is expected after Perez barely won the DNC chairmanship over progressive challenger Rep. Keith Ellison (DMinn.). For years, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and others have challenged the DNC on its lack of hiring of Black vendors and consultants as the party continued to use the same consultants and staff against a backdrop of historic losses

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over the last ten years. The Indivisible Movement, started by former congressional staffers, has risen to re-energize civic engagement in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election, in the same way the Republican Tea Party rose to power following President Obama’s election in 2008. Town halls focused on health care and the direction President Trump is taking policy have given rise to efforts to focus on the next major set of federal elections in 2018. But there are also several test races coming up that should provide a clue as to whether the recent energy among Democrats and others who oppose President Trump’s agenda is real. Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Connect with Lauren by email at LBurke007@gmail. com and on Twitter at @ LVBurke.


April 2017  |  11

Entrepreneur

SBA Awards Funding to Organizations Offering Entrepreneurship Training to Women Veterans and Military Spouses By d-mars.com News Provider

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he U.S. Small Business Administration this week announced the awarding of $300,000 in Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program grants to three organizations offering small business development resources to women veterans and military spouses. The funding opportunity, offered by SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development, supports each organization's entrepreneurial training programs for women who are veterans, service members, and spouses of veterans and service members. Each awardee was chosen based on their demonstrated history of and commitment to providing training programs and resources to women. "Increasingly, women small business owners are contributing in a major way to the growth of the U.S. economy, and women veterans bring a unique and valued skill set to entrepreneurship," SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. "Funding these organizations involved in helping women veterans and military spouses establish successful businesses will go a long way towards securing the

future for these women and their families."

community. As of 2012, women veterans owned 383,302 businesses, generating $17.9 billion in sales. From 2007 to 2012, despite representing only 15.2 percent of all veteran-owned businesses, the number of women-veteran owned small businesses increased by 294.7 percent. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.

Thethree threeawardees awardeesare: are: The •  Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University: Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) $135,000. The V-WISE program is an intensive three-phase program containing a 15day online preparatory course, a two-day residency program, and post-training technical support. IVMF also offers an accelerated version of the course called "IGNITE." Both programs are open to applicants nationwide. •  Bunker Labs: Entrepreneurial Program for Innovation and Collaboration (EPIC) and Bunker in a Box $90,000. Bunker Labs provides education, mentoring and networking opportunities to help military veterans start and grow their businesses. EPIC is a 14-week training course offered by Bunker Labs where participants meet weekly, while also having access to the online "Bunker in a Box." The program is offered in Chicago, Philadelphia, Redwood City (California), Nashville, Austin, Minneapolis, New

Aboutthe theU.S. U.S.Small SmallBusiness Business About Administration York City, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Administration Raleigh-Durham, Madison (Wisconsin), and Washington, D.C.

•  Lift Fund: San Antonio Lift Fund - $75,000. Lift Fund is a non-profit organization that helps small business owners with limited access to capital. The Texas-based Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Program is a seven-week course offering both in-person and online training, and covers everything from technical assistance to capital requirements. The program serves the San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Laredo, Brownsville, and El Paso areas. Women veteran-owned small businesses represent a burgeoning economic powerhouse in the military small business

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012, has served as a Cabinetlevel agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Source U.S. Small Business Administration


12  |  April 2017

Insurance

Seniors Struggling to Pay Life Insurance Premiums Have Options, Including Selling Their Policy By d-mars.com News Provider

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f you're struggling to make ends meet in retirement, you're not alone. And when your income is limited and fixed, you do your best to cut out unnecessary expenses. One expense that can be tough for some seniors to manage is the premiums on their life insurance policies. Perhaps your carrier raised your premium unexpectedly, maybe the costs from a health event have strained your budget or it could be that your retirement fund is just running low. If you feel your life insurance premiums are too expensive, you may decide you no longer need the policy.

Alternatives Alternativesto tosurrendering surrenderingaapolicy policy Unfortunately, many seniors think their only option in this situation is to lapse or surrender the policy. In fact, each year seniors older than 70 lapse or surrender more than 710,000 life insurance policies, with a combined face value of more than $57 billion, according to the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA). However, you have alternatives that are more beneficial than simply surrendering the policy. For example: • You could maintain the policy through loans against its current value; • You might be able to seek an accelerated death benefit, allowing you to take some cash out now; • The policy may be convertible into a long-term care health insurance policy, or if it's a term policy you

might be able to convert it into permanent life insurance; • Reducing the death benefit to a lower face value could lower the premiums, making the policy more affordable; or • You could assign the policy to an individual or a non-profit organization as a gift. Another option to lapsing or surrendering the policy - one that can actually put the most amount of cash directly into your pocket - is to consider selling it through a life settlement transaction.

Sellingaapolicy policy Selling Life insurance is personal property, so you can sell it just like any other property you own. When you decide to sell the policy to a third party - rather than surrendering it to the insurance company - you get more than the cash value, but less than the death benefit amount. The buyer of the policy takes on all future premiums and receives the death benefit when you pass away. In order to qualify for a life settlement, you must be 65 or older with a life insurance policy that has a death benefit of at least $100,000. The amount of your settlement will depend on several factors, including: • The death benefit, which is the amount the buyer will receive when you pass away; • The amount in annual premiums that the buyer will pay; and • The number of years the buyer can expect to continue paying the premiums. On average, a life settlement yields seniors seven times the amount of the policy's cash surrender value,

LISA says, based on an analysis of a survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. In fact, 90 percent of seniors with lapsed policies say they would have considered selling it if they had known life settlement was an option, an Insurance Studies Institute survey found. To learn more about life settlements, how they work and if you're eligible, call (888) 521-8223 or visit LISA's website at www.lisa.org. – BPT

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April 2017  |  13

Real Estate

The Lowdown on Low Down Payment Mortgage By d-mars.com News Provider

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ou would like to buy, but you can't manage that 20 percent down payment. Does this sound familiar? The down payment is the biggest impediment to buying a home according to surveys, but in reality many individuals can qualify for a mortgage with as little as 3 percent down. It is important to compare loans and do the math. Consider your closing costs (the cash you need inhand), the monthly mortgage payment, and if that payment will go down or up in a few years. Paying a few more dollars each month in the beginning can sometimes save borrowers money in the long term. For this exercise, we compare a $234,900 home purchase (the national median home price as of December 2016), with a 5 percent down payment and a 720 FICO score. And because calculators and loan terms vary, consider these costs as examples only. A mortgage professional can provide you with specific estimates.

Conventionalloan loanwith withPMI PMI Conventional A conventional loan is a traditional mortgage from a lender that is not insured by a government agency. With a 5 percent down payment, the borrower finances the remaining 95 percent over 30 years with a 4 percent interest rate. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required because of the low down payment and is $78 of the monthly bill, making the total monthly mortgage payment $1,143. Pros: A borrower can get a conventional loan with PMI with as little as 3 percent down. PMI can be cancelled once 20 percent equity in the home value is reached, which means your monthly bill decreases. Cons: For some borrowers, a 5 percent versus 3 percent down payment may be a better deal as costs may be lower. However, for many prospective homebuyers looking to lock in low interest rates, build equity and home appreciation faster, an option to get into a home with the lower down payment may be better.

comboloan loan(aka (akapiggyback piggybackmortgage) mortgage) AAcombo A piggyback involves two separate loans simultaneously. In this scenario, the first "primary" mortgage covers 80 percent of the loan with a 30-year fixed interest rate of 4 percent; the second loan is for 15 percent with 10-year fixed interest rate of 5 percent; and the remaining 5 percent is the down payment. The total monthly mortgage payment would be $1,271. Pros: The borrower will not pay PMI.

Cons: It may be a more expensive as the borrower will pay closing costs on two loans. And unlike PMI, the piggyback loan doesn't cancel, but will be paid off over the term of the mortgage. The second loan often comes with higher interest rates too.

FHAloans loans FHA FHA loans are mortgages insured by the government through the Federal Housing Administration. The limits for FHA loans typically are lower than conventional mortgages. However, FHA mortgage insurance cannot be cancelled and must be paid for the life of the loan. FHA has other specific requirements, like the condition of the home. In this scenario, the mortgage is set at 95 percent of the home's value with a 30 year fixed interest rate of 3.75 percent. The total monthly mortgage payment would be $1,199.08. Pros: A borrower can get a FHA loan with as little as 3.5 percent down and a FICO score as low as 600 may qualify. Cons: FHA mortgage insurance cannot be canceled, so your monthly bill won't be reduced the way it is with a conventional loan with PMI. Also, FHA loans are subject to an upfront fee of 1.75 percent that is financed over the life of the loan. No matter what you choose, do the math and compare so you can make an informed decision. If the conventional option sounds appealing, LowDownPay ment Fac t s. com provides more information. – BPT

Real Estate

What You Should Know About Rising Interest Rates By d-mars.com News Provider

omeowners planning to refinance and buyers searching for a home may have an idea of what’s in store for them with regards to interest rates, but they never really know until they lock in a rate. Rates can change direction fast, and when they rise—as they have recently—it can cost borrowers a great deal of money and time.

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Theeffect effectofofrising risinginterest interestrates on your The ratespurchase on your home purchase home Today, the median existing home price in the United States is around $235,000, and the average mortgage interest rate is near 4 percent. If you were to buy a home at that price, an interest rate increase of half a percent would cost you an additional $70 per month on your loan payment. That assumes you’ll put the standard 20 percent down in advance. A more dramatic rate increase—say from 4 percent to 6 percent, even over time — would increase your monthly payment by almost $300.

Home Homeprice pricegains gains For homebuyers, it’s not just rising interest rates that can increase your payment, but so can home price appreciation. In fact, in most markets, housing prices have increased past highs previously set before the financial crisis in 2007/2008. For example, in citing this recovery, the Federal Housing Finance Agency recently increased the maximum loan amount for mortgages that meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines for the first time in more than a decade. The new conforming loan limits increased only slightly, to $424,100 in most parts of the country. This will enable home buyers in higher-cost areas to access larger home loan amounts and more affordable loan products, in line with local housing prices.

The home home buying buying season season may start early The this mayyear start early this year Spring/summer is traditionally the busiest home buying time of the year as many sellers wait to list their homes after the cold winter weather is over and to coincide with the summer school break. However, with both home prices and interest rates on the rise, more buyers are expected to enter the home buying market earlier this year, making for a more competitive home buying season.

Starting your your loan loan search search today today Starting If you're in the market but haven't found the home of your dreams yet, there are tools available to guard against increasing mortgage rates. Lenders like loanDepot help customers save by giving them the opportunity to lock a quoted rate and hold (lock in) that rate for 45 to 60 days, protecting them from potential fluctuations in the market. If you do choose to lock your loan, you'll need to provide an appraisal deposit which can range from $450 to $750. This is not a fee, and is returned when working with loanDepot if there is no appraisal performed on a home. You can learn more by visiting loandepot.com or by calling (888) 983-3240 today for more information. – BPT

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14  |  April 2017

Technology

The Data Dilemma • Posting three photos to your Facebook page; • Watching 30 seconds of video on YouTube.

By d-mars.com News Provider

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ow much data do you really need on your monthly cellular plan? Buy too much and you're simply wasting money. Buy too little and you could end up socked with overage fees, or find your data speeds slowed significantly. The average U.S. wireless customer consumes about 1.8 gigabytes (GB) of data each month, far below what's included in many standard wireless plans. As a result, many carriers are beginning to shift away from rigidly structured monthly data allowances. Consumer Cellular, for instance, offers no-contract plans tailored to the 50-plus crowd that allow you to change your data plan whenever you need, without paying any additional fees. Whether you're a heavy or a light user, the data plan you choose represents a significant part of your investment in wireless service. By understanding some of the basics, as well as the potential pitfalls involved, you're sure to find the plan that's right for you.

How it's measured Anytime you send email, download a photo, stream video, view a web page, or post on social media, your phone is sending or receiving data. A megabyte (MB) and the larger gigabyte (GB) are the units used for measuring data. It's hard to determine exactly how much data an activity consumes, since file sizes and download times can vary significantly. As a general rule, for most cellphones, one megabyte of data is typically required to perform each of these tasks: • Sending or receiving 50 emails, without attachments; • Streaming 2 minutes of music; • Viewing one web page;

One gigabyte, equal to 1,000 megabytes, is consumed by: • Sending or receiving 50,000 emails (without attachments); • Streaming 33 hours of music; • Viewing 1,000 web pages; • Posting 2,800 photos to your Facebook page; • Watching more than 8 hours of video on YouTube.

Tracking your usage The best way to accurately assess your cellular data use is to review your monthly bill, which provides precise details about your utilization. Most carriers now even offer mobile account management apps so you can keep tabs right from your phone. This will give you a feel for how much you're actually consuming, and let you develop an accurate forecast for the future. In addition, both smartphone and iPhone models give you the ability to track overall usage, as well as the individual usage of specific apps, right from the Settings menu on your phone. You can choose to receive usage alert notifications from your carrier, either by text or email. These are helpful reminders that are triggered when you've used certain percentages of your monthly allotment of data. It helps to eliminate surprises and avoid running over your plan.

Fi access one month versus the next. As a result, some cellular companies will push you to sign up for plans with a higher data cap, including expensive "unlimited" plans. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, most "unlimited" plans are more enticing than practical. In fact, some carriers promising "unlimited data" will actually limit your high-speed data to just a couple of gigabytes per month. Once you use up that allotment, you'll have unlimited access, but it's at much slower speeds. This makes it more difficult to load pages quickly, or to stream video, even though you're paying a premium for "unlimited" access.

The choice is always yours Cellular competition is fierce, so make sure you get what you pay for. Before you buy an unlimited plan, shop around. You may very well find a less costly plan that offers far more data than you're likely to use. Ultimately, your choice will be driven by the type of data user you are, or at least the one you plan to be. Invest time in a little analysis of your current habits. You'll come away with the information you need to find the plan that fits both your needs and your budget. – BPT

Unlimited has its limits Regardless of how closely you track it, your data needs can fluctuate wildly from month to month. This is often due more to life events than technology; you might be in more places with Wi-

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April 2017  |  15

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16  |  April 2017

Finance

MGIC Takes On the 20% Down Payment Myth with New Buy Now vs. Wait Calculator Lenders are welcome to share the Buy Now vs. Wait calculator on their website, blog, social media accounts and other marketing materials. It can be found at mgic. com/buynow along with other valuable first time home buyer resources.

By d-mars.com News Provider

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pril is National Financial Literacy Month, making it the ideal time to debunk one of the most persistent myths in mortgage finance; the 20 percent down payment. While it is common advice, it is simply untrue and may even cost potential home buyers thousands of dollars in the long run. "I'm amazed by the prevalence of the 20 percent down payment myth when research consistently proves it is untrue," said Margaret Crowley, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation's (MGIC) Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience. "For example, The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the median down payment for first time homebuyers was 6 percent for the third straight year. Even repeat buyers put less than 20 percent down. In fact, in three of the past four years the NAR study found the median down payment for repeat home buyers was 14 percent." As an advocate for expanding access to sustainable homeownership, MGIC has created a new Buy Now vs. Wait calculator. The tool is specifically designed to help lenders quickly and easily show consumers why it might make financial sense for them to purchase a home now. By helping consumers separate facts from myths, lenders can gain leads and earn loyalty. The Buy Now vs. Wait calculation begins with some

About MGIC

basic information: current rent, monthly savings and credit quality. Next, the calculator requests a desired home price, down payment savings and an estimated interest rate. The calculator then shows the costs associated with buying now verses waiting so consumers can make an informed decision. "MGIC has 60 years of experience helping families successfully become homeowners with as little as 3 percent down," continued Mrs. Crowley. "We educate potential homebuyers about their options so they can make an informed choice that is right for them. It may be buying with less down or it may be waiting until they have more saved, but we want them to know the true costs and benefits so they are making that decision based on facts."

This year MGIC is celebrating our 60th anniversary. As the inventor of modern private mortgage insurance, we are committed to providing industry leading products and services that make originating affordable lowdown-payment mortgages safer for the financial institutions we serve. Fulfilling this vital role helps families achieve homeownership sooner. At February 28, 2017 MGIC had $182.9 billion of primary insurance in force covering approximately one million mortgages. From time to time MGIC Investment Corporation (NYSE: MTG) releases important information via postings on its corporate website, including corrections of previous disclosures, without making any other disclosure and intends to continue to do so in the future. Investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information can be found at http:// mtg.mgic.com under Investor Information. Source MGIC Investment Corporation

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April 2017  |  17

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18  |  April 2017

“Nabor “Nabor House House Community Community Early Early Childhood Childhood Center focuses on the child as an Center focuses on the child as an individual, individual, continuingly working on laying the foundation for continuingly working on laying the foundation for positive social interactions for young children. positive social interactions for young children. We We are committed to being the best role models to guide are committed to being the best role models to guide the the children motivated adults.” children intointo motivated adults.”

Providin

Early C By Dawn Paul

—Dwayne Jones, Nabor House Community Executive Director —Dwayne Jones, Nabor House Community Executive Director

Associate Editor

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hen it comes to providing quality early childhood education to our children, Nabor House Community Early Childhood Center (Nabor House) is known as one of the top centers in the area. Nabor House continues to invest in the growth and development of low-income children and their families in a Christian environment. Nabor House’s mission is not only to provide an affordable quality education for parents, but to also provide parents with the support they need to pursue their employment and educational goals. The Nabor House difference is simple, in that it educates, motivates and elevates. Executive Director, Dwayne Jones is at the helm of the center, proud that Nabor House is not only educating children, but also elevating low-income families on the path out of poverty in a Christ-centered environment. Nabor House stands out from other early childhood educational centers because it focuses on the child as an individual. Jones says, “This center is helping to lay the foundation for positive social interactions for young children. We want our children to grow into motivated adults. The staff is committed to being the best role models for our children.” This Christian center aides the child in discovering who they are inside and out. From spiritual discoveries to displaying pictures of each child and their families around the room, Nabor House helps each child understand that they are important to the world and their feelings matters. “Socially, the school’s educators are trained to spend those extra moments to help a

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April 2017  |  19

ing a Quality

Childhood Education planned events. During this time, Nabor House also provides prayer and shares devotionals with the families.

child work through their feelings. If a child is upset, the teacher is there to support the child to find the words to figure out exactly what upset them. Lastly, guidance is displayed by the teachers, creating simple rules and teaching children how to manage their own feelings,” adds Jones.

NaborHouse HouseCommunity CommunityEarly Early Nabor ChildhoodCenter’s Center’sSuccess SuccessRate: Rate: Childhood Elevating Families •  75 working parents making $1,318,940 (an average of $17,600 per family) •  70% single parents •  25 parents enrolled in continuing education •  In 2017, excitement building about the development of a mandatory family enrichment program Educating Children •  65 children enrolled •  20 children graduated to 12 elementary schools •  93% of parents see spiritual growth in children Motivating Teachers •  12 employees enrolled in a Child Development Associate program •  13 employees enrolled in college classes •  3 teachers participating in Children’s Learning Institute at UT Health The success rate proves that the Nabor House difference works! Nabor House educates children, ages two months to three years, through different activities. The motivating of entry level early childhood workers has created a culture of learning around the topics of child development and best practices. This

enables them to provide quality early childhood classrooms and experiences for the students. Nabor House utilizes the High Scope and Innovations Curriculum. The center believes that children learn best through active play.

Theclassrooms classroomsare aresetup setup The into55stapled stapledcenters: centers: into •  Chapel: The children at Nabor House attend Chapel once a week. The Chapel Instructor teaches about the word of God in a kid-friendly way. •  Mighty Message Curriculum: This Bible-based curriculum focus on scriptures. Children do extensions in the classroom that reflect the Bible lessons through fun experiments and other activities. •  SET for Life Curriculum: Nabor House prepares children to become socially and emotionally ready to take on “Big Kid” school and problems they will face as they continue to move through life. •  Music & Movement: The children attend music and movement class every day. •  Parent Program: This program is based on providing opportunities for parents to pause and spend quality time with their child through

Though Nabor House provides education and support in a Christian learning environment, they do have families enrolled who are non-religious/ non-spiritual/non-denominational. They don’t turn away any family because of religious beliefs, but since earlier this years, it is now operating under a Christian Mandate. Jones says, “We want to be able to serve as many families as possible, but due to our scope and size, we have narrowed our focus to hopefully maximize the impact.” Nabor House’s primary funders felt impact could be made on the faith-based community with particular regards to Christian single mothers. The family dynamic has changed, and the single mother is head of the household in many homes around the country. Nabor House recognizes this. The center also recognizes that if they don’t have assistance available for the mother or guardian, then the child will be another statistic and the cycle of poverty will continue for those in this area. To combat this, Nabor House provides support for parents in addition to educating the child. The two go hand in hand. “The center is diligent in its efforts to provide resources and encourage low-income families on the path out of poverty. Our center has hours that are accommodating to single parents, enabling them to go to work or school,” says Jones. It is a requirement that parents work and attend school full-time or part-time. It is also about elevating families on a spiritual level, hosting events and having programs that help them strengthen their relationship with their children and God. In addition, Nabor House elevates families by hosting parent events about child development and parenting strategies. Nabor House truly is about supporting parents, walking alongside them every step of the way, helping them to achieve their educational, spiritual and financial goals.

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There is a unique, dynamic and effective relational approach at Nabor House that builds long-lasting partnerships that help the children and families to excel. Jones says, “As the Executive Director, I go the extra mile. I am constantly spending time at the front door greeting parents. This allows for opportunities to connect with families and have a brief conservation about their lives. Occasionally parents ask to speak with me in private, and we discuss their family matters. Nabor House offers prayers, and we communicate the family matters to the child’s teacher. The teacher will take note of the family situation and will provide more opportunities to spend one-on-one time with the child that may include extra reading time and activities.” Nabor House finds their center more than just providing education, but it is a ministry to help build families.

WhatParents ParentsAre AreSaying SayingAbout About What NaborHouse HouseCommunity CommunityEarly Early Nabor ChildhoodCenter: Center: Childhood •  I am able to go back to school without fear of where my kids will be kept. •  My daughter’s teacher answers my questions regarding her social and intellectual development. •  My daughter has become more independent, solves problems and plays more. •  My child’s vocabulary has increased and her speech development has improved. Nabor House is dedicated to cultivating the hearts, minds and spirits of each child through their center. Their staff and teachers embrace the potential of every child, which creates an environment of hands-on discovery, age-appropriate development and Christcentered encouragement for children to thrive. Jones says, “The children of Nabor House know that Jesus is their best friend. They know that there is no boundary to what they can accomplish with Jesus on their side. We want the children of Nabor House to take the seed we have planted in them and continue to thrive!” The Nabor House approach for uplifting families and providing support for parents to succeed is just as strong. The Nabor House difference is uplifting our children and families, making for a better community. For more information on the Nabor House Community Early Childhood Center, please visit www. naborhousecommunity.org or contact Dwayne Jones, the Executive Director at djones@naborhousecommunity.org.


20  |  April 2017

Community Organizations

Community Organizations

Emancipation Economic Development Council Receives $460,000 From Kinder Foundation to Fund Community Impact Projects

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he Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC), a collaborative of organized and informed organizations committed to the revitalization of Houston’s Third Ward, with Project Row Houses announced their receipt of a $460,000 gift from the Kinder Foundation. The money will fund the seven “early impact projects” in the area, creating tangible and positive near-term momentum: •  Young Mothers Employment Placement Pilot Program, connecting young Third Ward mothers to proximate and viable job opportunities as a pilot for a broader-based employment program for area residents; •  EEDC Community Wealth Building Symposium, bringing together local residents, anchor institutions, foundations, city, county, and state officials to foster partnerships that create long-term, sustainable employment for local residents and opportunities for local businesses; •  Emancipation Avenue Design Charrette and Projects, providing a venue for collaborative reimagination of the Emancipation Avenue commercial corridor; •  Community Development Corporation and Non-Profit Capacity Building, equipping Third Ward CDCs to develop affordable housing to meet community needs; •  Micro-Housing Feasibility Study and Prototype, conducting research into the financial feasibility of and community receptivity to small, affordable housing units leading to the construction of a prototype of this type of housing; •  Resident Housing Rights/Protection and Community Land Trust Awareness, fostering a dialogue about housing rights, community land trusts, permanent affordability, and the mechanisms for enabling long-term residents to remain in the community; •  Neighborhood Cleanup and Economic Opportunity Initiative, forming a neighborhood cleanup team staffed by residents of northern Third Ward timed to occur prior to the grand reopening of Emancipation Park in June 2017. “When it seemed like the neighborhood was at a tipping point, our community saw an opportunity. We wanted to reimagine the development process to be inclusive of both Third Ward's history and long-term residents,” said Eureka Gilkey, executive director of Project Row Houses. “We are grateful to the Kinder Foundation for recognizing and supporting this opportunity to equip Third Ward leaders and residents with the tools needed to build a revitalized community and preserve its historic legacy.” Nancy Kinder, president of the Kinder Foundation said, “The Foundation is committed to long-term support of a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach to convening neighbors who are ready and willing to preserve and revitalize the Emancipation Park area. Our partnership spent much of 2016 making plans for positive change in the area, and these projects are the first evidence that our real goal is action that benefits our community partners.” In 2016, the Kinder Foundation, Houston Endowment, and Project Row Houses together established the Emancipation Community Development Partnership

(ECDP). The ECDP’s work supports EEDC’s by specifically focusing on making recommendations for adjustments to public policy at the local, state and possibly federal levels; public, private and non-profit investment strategies; community-based organizational work; and adoption of improved models for public services.

AboutEmancipation EmancipationEconomic EconomicDevelopment About Development Council Council Emancipation Economic Development Council is an organized, informed and engaged collaborative of faith-based organizations, nonprofits, community development corporations, businesses, local government entities and other stakeholders with a mission to inspire hope and contribute to the revitalization and preservation of the historic Third Ward. For more information, visit emancipationhouston.org.

Black Heritage Society, Inc.’s

Tree of Life Reflection Honors Civil Rights By Sylvester Brown Black Heritage Society, Inc.

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pril 4th is a critical date in our history. April 4, 2017 marked the 50th Anniversary of the "Beyond Vietnam" speech, when Dr. King announced his opposition to the war in Vietnam at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan, NY. Many fail to realize that it was on the anniversary of this sermon on April 4, 1968, when Dr. King was assassinated. Dr King died as a result of this stance and his ongoing advocacy for the underserved, which was reflected in the Poor People's Campaign that year. This date changed the trajectory of the movement for civil rights and economic rights for African Americans in this country. Because the Black Heritage Society, Inc. (BHS) was established to commemorate and ensure the heightened awareness of contributions of African Americans such as Dr. King, the BHS was honored to celebrate the April 4th date. BHS began in 1970 in reaction to the turning point and new direction needed in the Civil Rights Movement. The extension of the Dr. King Memorial Plaza is another project created by BHS to make sure that those who worked to improve the quality of life in our community are given the recognition they are due. In a continued effort to honor the peace and dignity of Dr. King and civil rights, BHS held a recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Tree of Life Reflection Area. This area will have bench statues of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and others who have made outstanding contributions to both civil and human rights in America and around the world. The purpose of the Tree of Life Reflection Area is to compliment the Memorial Plaza, providing an area of peace and tranquility. This area is dedicated to inspiring strength and steadfastness. It is also a reminder that we, like the tree, will stand victorious. The event took place at MacGregor Park on April 4th and welcomed the community and community and political leaders. For more information on the Black Heritage Society, Inc., please contact projectmanager@blackheritagesociety.org.

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April 2017  |  21

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22  |  April 2017

Faith-Based

Remembering to Leave a Legacy By Charlotte A. Jackson Contributing Writer

“Hey pretty lady. How are you?” seemed to have been a standard text message or greeting over the past 20 years from my friend Howard Fontenette. We first met when my youngest son started playing football at the age of 6. With his size and energy, everyone encouraged me to let him play youth football. Finally I gave in and stopped in at the Jim Fonteno Courthouse on Wallisville one afternoon. From that first meeting with Howard, I knew I was blessed. Not only did he listen to me ask a zillion questions about the youth league he founded, but he took the time to tell me all about the Wallisville Road Athletic Club (WRAC). As a single mother of three, I was not going to be able to afford the registration fee or anything else my son would need to play. But before I could even tell him, Howard looked me in the eyes and told me not to worry about any fees. “What really matters is that you get him to practice and let him be around other boys, as well as the many men who are dedicated to the program. God will take care of the fees,” Howard said. I knew right then that God had sent me an angel. And as God would have it, Howard did not just bless me with the registration fee and everything associated with my son playing WRAC football, He allowed Howard to introduce me to one of his Wheatley Wildcat classmates, Dr. Oscar James. Over the years, I would reach out to Dr. James for assistance as well. He was involved with the local Justice of the Peace and

facilitated behavior modification classes juveniles were often court-ordered to attend. Being a single mom is no easy task, especially when you have limited assistance and support. However, God somehow knew I needed help, and He sent me these two outstanding men to help me guide my sons. I came to notice that there were even more men who routinely stood in the gap for my sons and so many others. Many times these men were connected to Howard and Dr. James. Seems like Wheatley High School produces not just successful graduates who go on to make the world a better place, but men who have lifelong bonds that are unbreakable. Late last year, we learned that Howard suffered a stroke. His children naturally became protective of their dad, as they had already lost their mother to ALS a few years ago. There was hardly a week that went by that one of the former WRAC coaches or players did not stop by my office or call to see if I had heard any updates on Howard. On the night of March 21st, as I was driving home from a conference, I suddenly had a sinking feeling. Later on that evening, I received a call that Howard had passed. Howard left a great legacy, and he will be missed. I pray that his children know that they are saturated in prayer. Howard was kind, and I was blessed that he was my friend. So many times we worry about leaving material possessions behind for our loved ones, but what about the legacy? I hope that the mark I leave on this earth is one that God is pleased with. What legacy are you leaving behind?

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24  |  April 2017

Faith-Based

Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All A Dichotomy of Christian Citizenship By Art McElroy Contributing Writer

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otal inclusiveness and the participation in life amongst all people is a notion still unrealized by many in this country. As I look broader, I am inclined to make the same comparison to the Church, where many Christians are left isolated and abandoned as a result of the divisiveness and injustices within it. The first portion of the subject title is taken from the last line of the United States Pledge of Allegiance. They are beautiful words that describes the unity, freedom and righteousness given to all American citizens as a result of their identity in birth or as a result of the country’s legal naturalization process for those not born here. In spite of how one becomes an American, it is the Pledge of Allegiance that confirms his standing and protection of citizenship in this country as detailed by the constitution. However, it is in the second line of our subject title that I want to focus this conversation. It describes a concept of citizenship as it relates to the AmericanChristian in this country, who are already unified, free and righteous as a result of their spiritual identity in Christ. And while the Pledge of Allegiance confirms the Christian’s standing and protection in this country as detailed by the constitution, it is the pledge made by Christ to His Church that confirms the Christian’s standing and status as a citizen in heaven.

In looking at the word dichotomy, we see that it is defined as “a division into two, especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities.” It can be described as the complete separation into two with both having distinct identities, functions and purposes. In other words, as it relates to our conversation, as soon as someone becomes a Christian, he is immediately, exclusively and contradictorily separated into two different, distinct beings allowing for dual citizenship. One from heaven and the other from earth. This transition of citizenship is one of which many Christians are not cognizant of, leaving them to operate as though a shift in status never took place. As a result, their thinking and behavior associated as Christians tends to remain as it was prior to the dichotomy in identity ever took place. Now, let’s establish some understanding here. I am not saying that once someone becomes a Christian while living in America, he loses his citizenship to this country. On the contrary! What I am saying is that those of us who are American and Christian, must be acutely aware of the dichotomy of our identity while being citizens of the United States. In spite of all of the teaching and instruction on Christianity, many are left ignorant of their true citizenship as Christians and how it correlates with their dual citizenship as Americans. I totally understand that there is a certain level of pride that should be had in being an American. Believe me, I love the United States and am proud that this is my country. My point is that as Christians, we are a different kind of citizen, reborn of another world entirely. Consequently, there is a bal-

ance of life that we must possess in order to live harmoniously with other Christians, while being that proof source to the rest of the world of the earthly and heavenly existence of Christ. Dichotomy confirms that the Christian is truly out of this world! Jesus, in John 17:14-17 while praying to God puts it this way. “… because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. … They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world....” Paul, speaking to us in Philippians 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven …” In other words, scripture clearly details that the true citizenship of all Christians do not belong to any country on this earth, but in heaven alone. This is the crux of my conversation and I define it with this question: If Christians are so unified in heavenly places, then why are we so divided in physical places? By definition, we are to be as tightly knitted together on earth as we are in heaven. This defines our existence by the mission Holy Spirit. This confirms the dichotomy that took place at our salvation. I mean if you take a look at how we interact in this world, you will clearly see the divisiveness that we sometimes have as a Christian nation. It seems at times that there is no distinction in action or conversation of some Christians versus those who are not. Where does the distinct and mutually exclusive lines of citizenship start and stop for the Christian in America? Paul teaches in Romans 12:2 that while existing in this world, we should not assimilate to it. He tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” So I take you back to the last line of America’s Pledge of Allegiance, which reads, “Indivisible, With Liberty

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and Justice for All.” We can see that many of us are missing the mark in its application. There are some Christians who have adopted the ideology of the world and are condemning others based on a physical citizenship as opposed to honoring others as a result of their spiritual citizenship. As Christians, it is important for us to realize and remember that the citizenship of heaven is a gift from God. It affords us the heavenly rights and promises as His children while on earth. Our heavenly citizenship serves as a constant reminder to the rest of the world of the love of God, which should enhance our citizenship as Americans. 2 Corinthians 5:20 – “… we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us...” 1 Peter 2:11 – “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles ….” Ephesians 2:19-21 – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God ...” There is a balance of life in this world that is described in the dichotomy of the Christians existence in the country. The knowledge and application of this existence can only be attained through proper study and faith in the Word of God. It is possible to live a life worthy of Christ, while having the pride of being an American who lives as an example of the words… “Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All.” May God continue to bless the United States of America! Art McElroy is the founder of The Penuel Group, Inc. Please visit The Penuel Group on the web at www.thepenuelgroup.com. You can also contact Art at art@ thepenuelgroup.com.


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26  |  April 2017

Nonprofits & Foundations

Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation Hosts Annual Blue Unique Carpet Scholarship Award Ceremony By d-mars.com News Provider

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he Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation (BJEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and services for students with emotional, mental and physical disabilities. This organization encourages, empowers and equips students to become selfsufficient, helping them to discover their maximum potential and achieve their academic goals. Thelma Scott is the Founder & CEO of BJEC. Mrs. Scott dedicates her time and passion as an advocate and mentor to reduce the dropout and suicide rate for students with disabilities. Through BJEC’s efforts, these students are encouraged to embrace their own unique abilities and live life to the fullest. One of the BJEC initiatives to help raise awareness is their Annual Blue Unique Carpet Scholarship Award Ceremony. This event recently held in Houston welcomed community leaders and supporters of BJEC to help celebrate deserving students with unique abilities.

The vision of BJEC is to reduce the dropout and suicide rate for high school students with disabilities by producing college-ready students. This is done through collaborations with different school districts that support the BJEC Program. BJEC envisions a school atmosphere that does not tolerate or accept bullying and intimidation, which can cause a student with disabilities to

cease personal educational goals and drop out of high school. BJEC continues to uplift these students in the area of self-awareness. This nonprofit is a proud advocate for people with disabilities that is helping to create a safe and nurturing environment for all students through their high school Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Program (S.T.E.A.M). BJEC

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also supports their students throughout their college career. In addition, the organization educates students, parents and extended family through monthly workshops and mentoring sessions. Under Mrs. Scott’s leadership, BJEC is helping to develop independent and productive citizens. Because of BJEC, these students realize that they are valuable citizens in their community who can make a positive impact. The Annual Blue Unique Carpet Scholarship Award Ceremony raised funds to help BJEC continue its mission to provide resources that help to prepare students with disabilities to successfully complete college and live a successful life. Honorees at this year’s award event included Kevin Davis of J&K Concrete and Construction Services. Mrs. Scott is branded as a “giver.” Her favorite quote by Barbara Jordan is “One thing is clear to me: We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.” For more information about the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation, please visit www.barbarajordanam bassadors.org.


April 2017  |  27

In the Business Community…

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28  |  April 2017

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Stuck and Stagnant By Stella Alexander Contributing Writer

“Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is an opportunity, capture it.” – Unknown

Conscious

Design Decisions

Children’sArea Area Children’s

By Linda Lindsay Contributing Writer

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hanges in your surroundings will influence your mindset. As we know, your home is your castle. Your living space is where you should feel the most grounded. Yet if there are areas in your home where you feel disconnected, overwhelmed or confused, then my tips may help you create a style of well-being. It was in my early years of designing that I learned about feng shui. When I completed projects, the space had to not only look good, but feel good for the client. My designs allowed clients to experience a shift in their mindset, leaving an energy that gave clients a better sense of well-being. Creating areas in your living space can help to promote and dictate positive vibes throughout the home. The design of your home can impact your attitude. Be very conscious about your design decisions. Below are some of my design tips that can help create a more positive atmosphere in your home.

WelcomeArea Area Welcome Allow this space to make any guest feel welcome. Remove clutter, and use natural elements like plants and flowers. Create a welcoming ambiance with more lighting. Displaying pictures of friends and family can also give guests a sense of your loving and warm spirit.

Community CommunityArea Area

This should be a place of joy. Include bright, colorful and playful objects in this space. Hang pictures of children and pets. Highlight your child’s creative art projects on the walls. This area should always reflect the importance of fun and spontaneity.

IntimateRoom Room Intimate Calm and relaxation should be reflected in this space. Rich fabrics and soothing colors give a sense of privacy and intimacy. Select simple aromas for this room.

Outdoor OutdoorArea Area Create a backyard space with flowers and wellmaintained greenery. Use earth tones and the color yellow in your outdoor area. The outdoor furniture should have color and be low to the ground. Brick, stone and terra cotta can enhance nature’s elements. Well-placed lighting can make all the difference for a great outdoor space. Make conscious design decisions! For more information, contact Linda Lindsay of Designing Your Lifestyle at 347-731-1020.

w

hat are you going to do this month to move away from stuck and stagnant? Face your fears, eliminate excuses (they will appear) and just keep it moving. You are responsible for the life you live. Don’t get to the end of the life God gave you here on earth and say the famous words, “Shoulda, coulda, woulda.” I know from my own experiences, that many things can come up when you make the decision to move in a new direction and step away from the norm. It’s a part of the game of life. You are responsible for the life you live. Choose to release those thoughts that keep you bound. You have the power. It’s your choice. Just release it, step out and live life to the fullest with passion! I hope I can excite and ignite you to get off the sofa, open the door and cross the threshold that leads to living a wonderful life. It’s not about anybody else’s life, but it’s about you reaching towards the gusto and the passion life has stored up just for you. You can’t have it if you don’t go after it. Reach for it, as it’s waiting for you. Give it all you got. Get to know your passion inside and out. If you don’t know what causes you to feel passionate, then you don’t know what to go for. You only know what is fervent, exciting and causes you to feel passion when you are energized by life’s experiences. My desire is that you feel the energy living a life with passion brings. It enhances you and satisfies. It’s a state of mind. It will change your mindset and transform your life.

Live a life with passion because: 1.  It is good for the mind and body; 2.  It is inspiring; 3.  Allows for great memories and is energetic; 4.  Meeting new people expands your social circles; 5.  Finding other interests gives you new and exciting experiences; 6.  It transforms your life! It is your choice! Step away from stuck and stagnant, and start to live life with passion! Relatable, reliable and real, Stella is your go-to for rejuvenating relationships! Transparent and empowering, she energizes audiences. Stella is the founder of the social networking site www. stellaalexander.com, where individuals and couples gather to discuss, learn and encourage one another about building healthy relationships.

This is where you can create a well-defined space for group activities. Make sure your family and friends can feel a sense of excitement in this space. Enhance this area with music. Being conscious of the design in this room will welcome conversation. Try creating a more intimate seating arrangement. If there is a fireplace in this space, use it. Also, burning candles can promote intimate conversation.

Personal PersonalArea Area Your personal area should reflect your own personal and unique experiences. Use pictures in this room and other visuals that represent your goals. Don’t forget to place photos, plaques and awards to highlight your accomplishments. Display artwork in this area and spiritual pieces. Another tip is to include bookcases containing your favorite books. Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


April 2017  |  29

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30  |  April 2017

Nonprofits & Foundations

Carla’s Closet Helps Homeless Students Attend Prom M

ore than 5,900 homeless students attend Houston Independent School District (HISD) schools. Like their peers, these students want to not only spend time with friends, but also participate in extracurricular activities and attend school functions, including prom. Unfortunately, many teen girls cannot attend prom because of the lack of financial resources to purchase a dress, shoes and other items to make them look and feel special on this special night. Carla’s Closet, a program of This Woman's Work (TWW), recently hosted a Prom Dress Drive at The Gite Gallery. The organization collected gowns/dresses, shoes, accessories, jewelry and other related articles. Proceeds from the event benefitted 100 homeless girls. Wanda Adams, Trustee District IX was the catalyst for the event and has worked with TWW and Carla’s Closet on other drives such as Coats for Kids, which provided 80 coats to students in need at two HISD elementary campuses. “The Prom Dress Drive is an annual initiative created to meet the needs of homeless students during the prom season,” says Adams. “They work in collaboration with various agencies to provide

free prom dresses, tuxedos, shoe rentals and accessories to hundreds of homeless and high school seniors in at-risk situations planning to attend their prom.” The event included motivational speakers, college and career resources and other information. “We jumped at the chance to support Trustee Adams and believe in doing what we can to improve the lives of women and young girls,” says Carla Lane, Founder of This Woman’s Work. For more information, please contact Dorita Hatchett, media contact at dorita@dlhatchett.com.

About This Woman's Work This Woman's Work, founded by Carla Lane, President & CEO of LaneStaffing, the largest minority woman-owned employment solution in the Southwest, is an IRS approved nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. It is committed to: Gender Equality, Empowerment, Education, Employment and Diversity & Fellowship. The organization is also an advocate for women's empowerment. For more information or to volunteer and donate, please visit www.thiswomanswork.biz.

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T H E

E X P E R T

N E TW O R K

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