Greatwood - December 2020

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Greatwood DECEMBER 2020


Sabrina Roesler has sweet success as A youthful entrepreneur


Holiday fun for the entire family

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Contents & Staff

Greatwood monthly™

December 2020




GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Melinda Maya Rachel Cavazos WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS Scott Reese Willey Averil Gleason


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FEATURE | Greatwood’s Sabrina Roesler is named the Lemonade Day Houston 2020 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. MERRY CHRISTMAS | A fun collection of holiday ideas for the family.



TO ADVERTISE To advertise in Greatwood Monthly please call Lee Hartman, Stefanie Bartlett, or Ruby Polichino, our advertising representatives, at 281-342-4474 for rates, information and deadlines. PHOTO & ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS We are looking for fresh story ideas and enjoy publishing your articles in the Greatwood Monthly. If you have an story idea or photo to publish please send your information to with “Greatwood Monthly” in the subject line. ©2020 Greatwood Monthly All Rights Reserved. Greatwood Monthly is a sister publication of Fulshear Living Monthly, Pecan Grove Monthly, West Fort Bend Living and is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald. Our publishing headquarters is 1902 S. Fourth Street, Rosenberg Texas 77471.

TALK OF THE TOWN | The Fort Bend Junior Service League is accepting applications for its Vo l u n t e e r a n d N e w Beginnings scholarships.

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How to host Thanksgiving during the pandemic


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Feature Story


A Sweet Success

Sabrina Roesler earns Lemonade Day Houston 2020 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year by MARQUITA GRIFFIN |

crisis can be fertile ground for an opportunity, said Greatwood mother Jenny Roesler. Sometimes the opportunity spontaneously presents itself, and other times, you have to create it.The pandemic, she offered as an example, reared its destructive head in Fort Bend County in March, bringing with it death and fear. But it also pushed people to look for and create “a little light in dark times,” Roesler added. “People are trying to do more, be more, to put light into 2020,” she said, explaining that efforts can be grand or simple. Roesler’s illuminating moment came through her daughter, 9-year-old Sabrina, whose recent achievement earned her a new bike, an honored title, as well as a swell of pride and motivation. Sabrina, a Campbell Elementary fourth-grader who loves dance, playing the piano, and horseback riding, was recently named the Lemonade Day Houston 2020 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. Founded in Houston by Michael and Lisa Holthouse 13 years ago, Lemonade Day is a program that teaches children how to start, own and operate their own business in the form of a lemonade stand.The program is active in 84 communities in the US, Canada, Bermuda, and South Africa and has engaged more than one million children in the process of launching their own lemonade business. “It’s a movement that changes the momentum of kids’ lives,” said Gaye Jackson Lemonade Day Houston city director, who has been in the position for two years. “This program teaches skills children don’t learn in school and usually not at home.They get to experience owning a business and I have seen children grow in this program. It is fabulous.” Jackson said she knows first-hand about owning a business, having been an entrepreneur herself, and now looks at being involved with the Lemonade Day program as part of her legacy. “I look at this as a chance to make a huge difference in young lives. Something that will live on long beyond me.”

PUSHING FOR OTHERS Each year, in participating cities, children have the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship by setting up their business during their city’s community-wide Lemonade Day, and this year, Sabrina’s efforts caught the organization’s attention. Jackson recalled meeting Sabrina when she was 7 years old and described her as “the kind of child who, when she gets involved with something, gives 100 percent” and “mature beyond her years.” “She just goes forward with big dreams, big goals, and believes in herself.” The success of Sabrina’s lemonade business —Fresh ‘n Juicy— is proof of that, Jackson added. Sabrina’s business is located in her Greatwood home and promotes healthy drinks, per Sabrina’s orders.

6 • Greatwood Monthly

Jenny and Sabrina Roesler.

“She is one of those rare kids that never had a soft drink in her entire life as she doesn’t like those [types of drinks],” said her mother.“Our idea and flavors came up after seeing that, in some restaurants, the only available drinks for kids were milk or water besides soft drinks.” In addition to Sabrina and Roesler, Sabrina’s grandmother, Lucy Orozco, who lives with them, manage and run the business. “We are partnering with some retailers from the area and have plans to expand to other businesses in other areas of the city,” Roesler added. Fresh ‘n Juicy offers a blog on its website detailing Sabrina’s experiences and what she is learning through this process, as well as information about Fresh ‘n Juicy products and pop-up events. Sabrina’s business has a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram and plans to launch a YouTube channel soon. The Lemonade Day Houston program not only teaches children how to start, own, and run a lemonade business, it also includes a lesson of how they should handle their profits.The children are

Celebrating Christmas before her father’s passing from brain cancer, is Sabrina Roesler (center) with her mother and father Jenny and the late Dan Roesler. Through her lemonade business Fresh ‘n Juicy, Sabrina support brain cancer research.

taught profits should be split among three objectives: getting something they want, investing in their business to promote its growth, and philanthropy. Sabrina donates 10 percent of her Fresh ‘n Juicy earnings to the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, an organization that funds brain cancer research. “Sabrina immediately thought about helping others,” Roesler said, explaining that drive came from personal motivation. Sabrina’s father, Dan, passed away from brain cancer when Sabrina was 6 years old. “There was minimal awareness regarding [my husband’s] type of cancer and also almost no opportunities that provide a better prognosis for patients. Sabrina, while very young at the time, was very aware of all activities, support groups, and things we did in our need to keep her dad alive,” Roesler said.“At the time, my husband and I participated in The Run for the Rose, the main fundraiser for the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation.” So when it came to the philanthropy efforts of her business, Sabrina wanted to team up with the foundation to fund research. She said she wants to contribute to finding a cure for brain cancer because her “dad deserved better, or at least more years than those [they] were able to spend together.” Roesler said her husband’s death was devastating — “Nobody is ready to let go of a loved one,” she stressed — but “life continues [...] and our need to help is based on the opportunities that this [philanthropic effort] could give others. It did not happen for Dan, but others, friends, people, can experience a happy ending.”

A CRAZY, FUN, EXCITING EXPERIENCE Sabrina joined the program two years ago after her mother saw an event sponsored by a local Lemonade Day organization and hardware store. Roeseler, saying her daughter “loves all things related to technology just like every kid her age,” was afraid Sabrina would spend too much time sitting before a screen. “I saw an event regarding building a Lemonade Stand and mentioned it to Sabrina,” Roesler said.“We went to see this just to do something different than staying at home, and because we did have a stand that Sabrina’s dad and I built for her. She liked to play store since she was little, and I thought what a good opportunity for her to learn a little bit more. “The rest is history.” In addition to earning the Lemonade Day Houston 2020 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year title, Sabrina was awarded a bicycle and entered into the Lemonade Day National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Contest.

Sabrina was chosen as this year’s youth entrepreneur for several reasons Jackson said: she completed the Lemonade Day business lesson while attending school remotely; her lemonade sales results “were quite impressive”; and Sabrina earned a qualifying number of points in the scoring system used for evaluating all Lemonade Day Houston Youth Entrepreneur of the Year candidates. “It was pretty crazy, fun, and exciting at the same time,” said Sabrina, who shared that she would like to work with the organization as an ambassador to help other children excel in the program.“It was a new experience for me.” She set the goal of earning the title and the bike, and having accomplished that — “I even learned to ride a few minutes after I received it,” she added happily — Sabrina said she “ learned if I work hard, I can get the things I want.” “I dream about other things I can do,” she added.“I can help others and I can help find a cure for brain cancer. Other kids can reach their own goals as well if they give it a try.” Roesler considers the program as “time well spent,” fun, and the chance to learn lessons for life. She praised the program’s events, the fact that the lessons are free for children, and the chance to meet people who are now a part of her and Sabrina’s network. “We started before the pandemic, but we are proud to say that during COVID-19 times, the lessons learned took us to the opportunity to have a real business for Sabrina,” Roesler said.“[Lemonade Day Houston] puts things on perspective for kids who can grow with the program, and the incentive and recognition are an amazing experience that they will remember their entire life.” To learn more about Sabrina Roesler and her business Fresh ‘n Juicy visit or on Facebook at freshnjuicy or Instagram at freshnjuicylemonade. To find out more about Lemonade Day Houston visit Sabrina with her grandmother Lucy Orozco after receiving her new bike — a reward for being named Lemonade Day Houston 2020 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year.

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Meals on Wheels Brings Holiday Cheer to Homebound Seniors


ooler weather and the turning of the calendar from October to November signaled the start of the holiday season.At Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, the changing season also signals the kicks off Secret Santa for Seniors program. A longtime holiday tradition for the organization, Fort Bend Seniors Secret Santa for Seniors creates special memories for homebound seniors in Fort Bend and Waller Counties on the Meals on Wheels program and the volunteers who deliver them. “Each year our staff and volunteers look forward to bringing a bit of holiday cheer to the seniors on our program,” said FBS Deputy Executive Director, Leah Ghobrial. “This year has been challenging for us all, particularly the many older adults in our community that live alone and depend on Meals on Wheels to provide not only the sustenance they need, but also a way to break that cycle of loneliness that has only been exacerbated by

the pandemic. During the holidays, a simple gift provides hope and the reassurance that they are remembered and cherished.” Fort Bend Seniors plans to distribute gifts to nearly 1,400 seniors this year with the community’s support. Since many seniors on the program struggle with meeting their basic needs, FBS asks that those interested in adopting a senior purchase a new bath towel set along with a personal care item – such as a 2021 wall calendar, lotion, body soap, or slip-proof socks. “Items can be dropped off at our administrative office at 1330 Band Road in Rosenberg between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday,” said Ghobrial. For more information about Secret Santa for Seniors, visit or contact Kristie Phillips, Development Associate, at 281-633-7741 or



he pandemic has changed the approach to the holiday season for many families, but at least one tradition may hold strong, unaltered this year — binge watching Christmas films. The simple, nostalgic and fun activity keeps you at home, snuggled close with tasty treats within reach. The streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus have quite a collection of new holiday films to enjoy, and below are some of the classics, some of which can be found on streaming services, while others may take a bit of online shopping or digging in the back of your closet. With that in mind, the following are some of the most beloved holiday movies ever to make it onto the big screen. “It’s a Wonderful Life” Perhaps no holiday film is more beloved than this 1946 Frank Capra-directed classic. Screen legend Jimmy Stewart plays a desperate businessman contemplating suicide during the holiday season. But a guardian angel helps him realize all the good fortune in his life by showing him what life might have been like if he had never existed.

8 • Greatwood Monthly

Classic & popular holiday films “White Christmas” This 1954 song-and-dance film stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as a pair of longtime friends and ex-military men who fall in love with a sister act team that includes famous singer (and aunt to George Clooney) Rosemary Clooney. Crosby and Kaye join forces to save the failing Vermont inn of their beloved former commander. “Miracle on 34th Street” Natalie Wood stars in this 1947 classic that follows the trial of Kris Kringle, who claims to be Santa Claus and must prove otherwise to avoid being institutionalized. Nominated for Best Picture at the 1948 Academy Awards, “Miracle on 34th Street” won three of the prestigious statuettes, including a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for Edmund Gwenn, who played the jolly old man in the red suit. “A Christmas Carol” Those looking for a more traditional take on holiday films need look no further than this 1951 adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella, which tells the tale of bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge as he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

Popular Christmas Films & Cartoons Holiday Inn (1942) The Bishop’s Wife (1948) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) Frosty the Snowman (1969) The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (1973) The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol (1979) The Snowman (1982) A Christmas Story (1983) Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) Trading Places (1983) Lethal Weapon (1987) Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) Die Hard (1988) Scrooged (1988) Prancer (1989) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Home Alone (1990) Die Hard 2 (1990) The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Batman Returns (1992) Miracle on 34th Street (1994 version)

The Santa Claus (1994) The Ref (1994) Jingle All the Way (1996) Jack Frost (1998) Reindeer Games (2000) 8 Women (2001) About a Boy (2002) Love Actually (2003) Elf (2003) The Polar Express (2004) Christmas at the Kranks (2004) The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006) The Holiday (2006) Shrek the Halls (2007) The Perfect Holiday (2007) In Bruges (2008) Four Christmases (2008) A Christmas Tale (2008) Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010) Arthur Christmas (2011) Saving Santa (2013) The Magic Snowflake (2013) The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) The Star (2017) The Grinch (2018) The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Klaus (2019)


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nother simple and safe activity for this holiday season is pulling out those holiday books for a delightful read. Here are our top picks for enjoyable holiday-themed books. Timeless Classics The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore It is the night before Christmas, in a house so cozy and colorful, so filled with expectation, and dusted with Christmas magic. Shhh. A mouse is asleep in its snug den and children are dreaming as sugarplum fairies flutter around their bed ... The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg One Christmas Eve many years ago, a boy lies in bed, listening hard for the bells of Santa’s sleigh, which he has been told by a friend do not exist. Later that night he hears not bells but a very different sound. He looks

Holiday tales to tell & share

out his window and is astounded to see a steam engine parked in front of his house... How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss The Grinch, a grouchy, solitary creature who attempts to put an end to Christmas by stealing Christmas-themed items from the homes of the nearby town Whoville on Christmas Eve. Despite his efforts,Whoville’s inhabitants still celebrate the holiday... The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers Marie, Fritz, and the intriguing Nutcracker himself, go on a magical adventure only possible on a night like Christmas Eve. Behold the frightful Mouse King, the elegant Sugar Plum fairies, and the entire Land of Sweets in this dazzling, gorgeously-illustrated holiday classic... A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens A novella about Ebenezer

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Scrooge, an old man, who is wellknown for his miserly ways. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner,Jacob Marley... More Holiday Tales to Enjoy  If You Ever Want to Bring a Pirate to Meet Santa, Don’t! by Elise Parsley  The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen  I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison  Santa Rex by Molly Idle  Red and Lulu By Matt Tavares  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats  Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle  The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig  Nutcracked by Susan Adrian  Stick Man by Julia Donaldson  Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson  Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R.Tolkien  The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan Berenstain  Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht  Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes  Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean  It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon  The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt  Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood  The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson  The Nutcracker in Harlem by T. E. McMorrow  The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton  The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston  The Tree That’s Meant to Be by Yuval Zommer  The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen  Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh  The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston  Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day  Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell  Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski  Dream Snow by Eric Carle  The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett  Angelina’s Christmas by Katharine Holabird  The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola  The Snowman by Raymond Briggs  Morris’s Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells  Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus by Francis P. Church  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado  The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden  Humphrey’s First Christmas by y Carol Heyer The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry

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How to create a durable gingerbread house


ingerbread cookies and houses are one of the many symbols of the holiday season, alongside Christmas trees and twinkling lights. In fact, few confections symbolize the holidays more so than gingerbread. Many a child (or a child at heart) has spent hours carefully trying to create decorative gingerbread houses. Although gingerbread recipes span various cultures, gingerbread houses originated in 16th century Germany.The fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” helped solidify the popularity of gingerbread, which became part of Christmas traditions. Even though gingerbread houses can be fun to make, there’s no denying it can be exacting work — especially for those who strive for perfection. Prepackaged kits attempt to take some of the guesswork out of the equation, but those who are crafting from scratch can employ these tips as they build their gingerbread houses.  Go for form and not flavor. Few gingerbread houses ever get eaten, so focus on finding a dough that will bake up rock hard as opposed to one that tastes good.  Get the right icing texture. Pastry artist Catherine Beddall says royal icing is the preferred “glue” to adhere gingerbread pieces. Beddall says icing should be thick like peanut butter and not runny.  Mind the dough. Do not roll out the gingerbread dough too thin or it may become brittle after being cooked. Always cut out shapes before the gingerbread is baked. Let the baked pieces sit overnight to cool completely before using them to build.  Patience is key.Allow the icing to dry for at least a couple of hours

after adhering each piece and before moving and handling the house, says Beddall.Work in stages so that individual items can be decorated and allowed to dry. Then the walls can be put together, followed by the roof pieces.  Kids likely will need help. Children may not have the patience or steadiness to handle complete gingerbread construction.They can decorate the separate pieces of the house while the components are laying flat, which is easier for kids. Adults can do the main assembly later on.  Utilize a template. Free-handing may not be easy. Cut out templates using cardboard or posterboard for various gingerbread pieces. One of the most important tips is to have fun. Don’t take gingerbread house making too seriously as a novice. Rather, enjoy the experience and the centuries-old tradition.











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How to make holiday wreaths the easy way


here are many different ways to decorate homes and businesses for the holidays. Tall evergreen trees are among the most visible symbols of the holiday season. However, wreaths hung on doors, windows or fences also are ubiquitous this time of year. Wreaths adorn homes primarily during the holidays of Easter and Christmas. Wreaths have also been worn around the head or neck in ceremonial events around the globe for centuries. It is believed the first wreaths date back to ancient Greece and Rome. Members of the Greco-Roman society were known to handmake ring-shaped items using fresh tree leaves, small fruits, flowers, and twigs. Oftentimes these headdresses symbolized a person’s social status. Others suggest wreaths evolved to become a Christian symbol of immortality. Regardless of how wreaths are viewed, many people like to display wreaths for the holidays.Wreaths can be purchased premade, but making a wreath on your own can make the holidays even more fun. One of the easiest ways to make a wreath is to design it around a

circular floral foam form. Gather supplies to make the wreath. For traditional wreaths, supplies will include sprigs of evergreen (real or artificial), ribbon, floral wire, bows, and artificial berries.Working around the foam form, arrange the boughs of evergreen, using the floral wire to wrap or pin into the foam itself. Keep the layers coming until you get the desired coverage. Embellish with a ribbon or place a bow. The blog A Piece of Rainbow says that creating a wreath jig is an easy way to make a wreath. Cut a dollar-store laundry basket bottom from the top ring to make a template, on which you can place wreath-making materials so they keep their circular form. Use floral wire or natural jute string to tie the materials together. Experiment with fresh evergreen, twigs, holly branches, or whatever materials you choose. Thick card stock also can serve as the wreath template. Attach artificial flowers or leaves, spray snow, ornaments, or other items to the card stock ring with a firm adhesive. Many craft stores sell wreath forms made of natural vines that have been strung in a ring.These can be decorated in their entirety or left a little sparse to let the natural twine show through.


Deliver delicious brisket for the holidays


eef brisket is a relatively inexpensive, yet highly versatile cut of meat. It’s equally at home in a pastrami or corned beef sandwich as it is on Christmas and Chanukah holiday tables. When cooked correctly, brisket is tender and delicious. Brisket comes from the area of cows or steers ages two and up, or veal ages two to four months, according to the recipe and cooking technique resource Food Fire Friends. The brisket can be found right above the leg in the area between the front legs. Brisket is essentially the lower chest, or pectoral region of the animal, responsible for holding up the weight of the cow. As a result, this is a dense and tough muscle area with a lot of connective tissue. Thanks to its density, brisket requires long cooking times at relatively low temperatures to produce a tender, boldly flavored beef dish. Brisket is best smoked or braised, which means simmered in a small amount of liquid. Most briskets will have a layer of fat on the surface. Better Homes and Gardens magazine says that this should be sliced away before preparing the brisket. Try using brisket in place of a rump roast in this recipe for “Beef Roast with Dark Rum Sauce” from “Crock-Pot® 365 YearRound Recipes” (Publications International, Ltd.) from The CrockPot Kitchens. Keep in mind that brisket will require long cooking times in a slow cooker and may need to be cut in half to fit into the pot.

12 • Greatwood Monthly

Beef Roast With Dark Rum Sauce Makes 6 servings INGREDIENTS: 1 teaspoon ground allspice 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves 1 beef rump roast or beef brisket (about 3 pounds) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup dark rum, divided 1⁄2 cup beef broth 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 whole bay leaves, broken in half 1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar 1⁄4 cup lime juice INSTRUCTIONS: 1. In a small bowl, combine allspice, salt, pepper, and cloves. Rub spices onto all sides of meat. 2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Sear beef on all sides, turning as it browns. Transfer to Crock-Pot® slow cooker.Add 1⁄2 cup rum, broth, garlic, and bay leaves. Cover; cook on low 1 hour. 3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1⁄2 cup rum, brown sugar and lime juice, stirring well. Pour over roast. Continue cooking on low 4 to 6 hours for the rump roast (cook on high for 5 to 6 hours for brisket), or until beef is fork-tender. Baste beef occasionally with sauce. 4. Remove and slice. Spoon sauce over beef to serve.

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FBJSL awards grant to Fort Bend Hope


he Fort Bend Junior Service League supports the Fort Bend community in numerous ways, and its Community Assistance Fund allows FBJSL to provide grants of up to $5,000 to charitable causes serving Fort Bend County that need financial support to fund a critical need, pilot a program, or expand a significant service to the community. Most recently, Fort Bend Hope was awarded $830 for the purchase of a laptop and Zoom subscription to support the agency’s virtual learning efforts. Fort Bend Hope is a small non-profit located in Rosenberg that is passionate about empowering families and transforming communities through education. Agencies or organizations interested in applying for a CAF grant can visit the Request Support page of the FBJSL website ( Applications for CAF grants are accepted, and CAF grants are awarded, on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Do You Qualify For A College Scholarship? Apply Now! Each year, the FBJSL also awards up to four $1,000 Volunteer Scholarships and one $2,000 New Beginnings Scholarship. The Volunteer Scholarships are awarded to female high school seniors in Fort Bend County who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in volunteerism and community service and plan to attend an accredited college or university. The New Beginnings Scholarship is offered to help Fort Bend

County women with established financial need who have been accepted into an accredited college, university, or vocational school after having taken a break in their education. Additional information and copies of the applications are available on the FBJSL’s website at Applications will be accepted until February 1, 2021.

Central Fort Bend Chamber Approves Four New Board Members and the Executive Committee for 2021


he Central Fort Bend Chamber announced the appointment of the 2021 Executive Committee and approval of four new board of director members starting on January 1, 2021.The following slate of executing committee members, as well as the new board members, were approved unanimously at the September and October board of directors meetings. Beth Johnson, University of Houston, will lead the 2021 board of directors as chairman of the board.

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The other executive committee members will be Courtney Diepraam, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, ChairElect; Wagas Kurjee, Moody Bank, Treasurer; Matt Breazeale, PE, Jones|Carter, Secretary; Cindy Reaves, CLR Strategies, LLC, Past Chair; and Kristin Weiss, IOM, President & CEO of the Chamber. “Under the leadership of Kristin Weiss and the guidance of outgoing board chair Cindy Reaves, the Chamber has continued to make a great impact in Fort Bend County during these unprecedented times,” said Beth Johnson, Incoming Chair of the Board.“ It is such an honor and privilege for me to lead the Central Fort Bend Chamber board in the coming year. I look forward to seeing how we can continue to serve the local business community and thrive throughout 2021 and beyond.” New board members for 2021 include Kyle Atchison, Frost Bank; Megan Crutcher, PE, Odyssey Engineering Group; Benjamin Deist, Edward Jones and Mike Jolley, Windstream Communications.These new members will take the place of the 2020 retiring board members — Alicen Swift, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital; Ray Aguilar; Craig Kalkomey, LJA Engineering and Clyde King, Fort Bend Herald. The Central Fort Bend Chamber, founded in 1910, is a 501(c)6 non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper.The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 550 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life': Hope For Three impacts local lives


ince 2011, Hope for Three has been providing resources, support, financial aid and family-fun events to strengthen family bonds.

Tinuade Ibrahim and sons (left) Maxwell and Toby (right) believes Hope For Three gives hope to the Rachel Alexander and son, Max who lives with hopeless and spreads love to autism, and daughter Isla, believe life is full of families supporting loved ones surprises, challenges, love, and laughter. on the spectrum.

Gustavo Amezaga with daughters, from left, Miranda and Marisol, travel on road trips and believe family time is the best time.

And as the holiday season settles upon the community, the nonprofit likens itself to the 1946 classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” an American fantasy drama that depicts how a man, who had given up his dreams to help others, is reminded — through the intervention of his guardian angel Clarence — how he touched the lives of so many others and how different life would be for his family and community if he’d not been born. Hope For Three organizers said the nonprofit is like Clarence, a guardian angel to many local autism families. At times, especially amid holiday chaos and the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic, families share their praise on how the nonprofit group impacted their lives. “During this very worrying and trying time, Hope For Three provided us with weekly groceries,” said Rachel Alexander, single mom to Max, 8 who is diagnosed with autism, and 6-yearold daughter Isla. ‘They took the time to pick up the phone and check in on us, especially knowing the changes my family went through this year.” Mom Tinuade Ibrahim, who struggled with the autism diagnosis for her son Toby at age 4, said she “did not have help or immediate family to give support emotionally and socially.” “As a mother, I felt hopeless and blamed myself. Learning of Hope For Three, I reached out and the response and support were instant. Toby started talking and within three months of therapy, called me Mum for the first time… I can’t think of what the quality of life would be for Toby without Hope For Three.” Gustavo Amezaga, a single father to daughters Miranda, 16, and Marisol, 15 who is diagnosed with autism, said: “Hope For Three has been a Godsend providing moral and economic support during the crisis.” “They’ve been in close communication checking on our needs and really going out of their way to provide immediate assistance. COVID-19 made a big impact on my family — from losing my job to the girls having to stay home with minimum outings — but there is a silver lining to everything,” he said. “We have developed strong bonds and better communication, making for a stronger family bond.” In light of the holiday season, Hope For Three is asking the community to support its efforts to provide children with resources aimed at the high quality of care during the earliest stage of life possible. To learn more about the nonprofit, volunteer or donate, visit To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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SGARDENINGT Here comes Old Man Winter are your plants ready? by CHRIS TAYLOR | Fort Bend County Master Gardener


rrr – winter is on the way! Along with winter comes the lower temps (sometimes below freezing) and cold air blasts from the north. The television reporters tell us before a cold snap to protect the “Three P’s” that are outdoors – pipes, pets and plants. Our plants can be damaged by cold temperatures and wind, but there are some fairly simple ways to mitigate the damage. Before I get to the list of things you can do to help your plants, remember the best method is to pick the right plants for our area and place them where they have the best conditions. We are in zone 9a on the plant hardiness map published by the USDA (see image), which shows that the average annual extreme minimum temperature for our zone is 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.This map can be found at along with a plant selector that allows you to search for plants that might be cold-hardy in our area. Where we put our plants around our homes is also important. For example, I have a home that faces north. Since our cold winter winds come from the north, the plants on the north side of my home (as well as the west and east sides) suffer the most from wind.The plants on the south side are protected somewhat by my home. Here are some methods to help keep our plants a little warmer

during freezes: WATERING: Watering during the day before a chilly night will allow the wet soil to release moisture into the air at night, and therefore keep plants warmer. COVER THE PLANT: Soil is the main source of heat for a plant when temperatures drop. Covering the plant can help trap heat below the covering and keep the plant a bit warmer. You can use sheets, blankets, frost cloth/frost blankets, or plastic.The best method is to use two or three stakes a little taller than the plant, place the cover over them so that it reaches the soil (very im-

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Greatwood Veterinary Hospital At Greatwood Veterinary Hospital, we are dedicated to providing excellent and compassionate care for your furry, family friends. We offer full veterinary services in our new, spacious 6,500 square foot facility. Our experienced and caring veterinarians and staff strive to provide the best quality care available for your pets, with an emphasis on client education and an understanding of your pet’s specific needs. We would like to be partners with you in ensuring your pet’s good health and well-being. In addition to full medical, surgical, and dental veterinary care, we also offer boarding, grooming, and cremation services. Greatwood Veterinary Hospital has been providing affordable and quality veterinary care to the Fort Bend area for over 15 years. It is our hope that we can meet all your animal’s health care needs with our warm, friendly, and knowledgeable services. To make an appointment for your pet or for more information, please call us at (281) 342-7770 or visit us at 401 Crabb River Road in Richmond.

16 • Greatwood Monthly

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ope For Three Autism Advocates will host the 4th Annual Virtual Jigsaw Puzzle Competition presented by LearningRx Sugar Land on Jan. 23, 2021, live on Zoom. Teams of four, young (ages 10 and up) and seasoned, have two hours to complete a 500-piece puzzle. An awards ceremony will immediately follow, with bragging rights guaranteed. The event is one of the ways the local nonprofit raises awareness and funds for families and children living with autism. Register now by visiting

Photo courtesy of Richard DeLaHaya | Teens from the Fort Bend Teen Service League, a volunteer group empowering young women to support local community efforts and give where they live, participate in the familyfun competition.

Taylor Cox (1 hour, 3 minutes). Writer/comedian Brig Muoz-Liebowitz uncovers some hard truths about Girl Scouts Cookies and the Girl Scouts of America. • “Oreos: A Brief History” – The History of Fun (35 minutes). Special guest Daniela Galarza from Eater discusses the origins of the Oreo cookie, as well as what the future holds! • “Oh Snap: The Gingerbread Episode” – Savor (43 minutes). Why do we shape gingerbread cookies into people and houses? Why is it generally considered a winter treat? Anney and Lauren tackle gingerbread (in all its formats) headfirst. • “A Holiday Cookie Special!” – The Crumb (35 minutes). Brian and Kyle Grace spill all of their top tips on how to make the best cookie swap-worthy holiday cookies. Learn how to make them look flawless (including how to nail those viral panbanging cookies!), make-ahead tips, the proper tools you should have on hand, and the right way to mail your cookies to loved ones. One of our expert bakers from the test kitchen, Laura Crandall, explains royal icing and the best way to cover your cookies in gorgeous decoration. • “Holiday Cookie Swap Fundamentals” – Amy’s Table (9 minutes). Amy chats with Lauren Chattam about how to pull off the perfect Christmas time cookie swap with friends, coworkers, or whomever. The Podcast Club is free and open to the public. Registration is required; a link to the Zoom/WebEx meeting will be emailed to all who register. To register online at the library’s website (, click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program. Participants may also register by calling the University Branch Library (281-633-5100).




he Podcast Club at Fort Bend County Libraries’ University Branch Library will focus on “Cookies” in December. The Podcast Club meeting will take place online via Zoom, so listeners throughout the area can participate from the comfort and safety of home. Similar to a book club, the Podcast Club provides an opportunity for podcast listeners to get together to discuss podcast selections from a themed podcast-listening list and share their opinions on trending topics. Each month features a different theme, along with a short list of podcast episodes. The next meeting of the University Branch Library Podcast Club will take place on Thursday, December 17, beginning at 7:00 pm. A link to the Zoom meeting will be emailed to all who register. A direct link to the podcasts can be found on Fort Bend County Libraries’ online calendar on the FBCL website.The playlist of podcasts from which to choose includes: • “To Catch a Fortune Cookie Thief” – Subtitle (26 minutes). Yong Sik Lee invented the fully automatic fortune-cookie machine and built a business on his invention. He sold fortunecookie machines and fortunes to companies all over the US. It was a good business, until one day somebody stole it all from him. Producer Lidia Jean gets to the bottom of a theft that forever changed the life of Lee. She also explores the eternal question:Why are fortune cookie fortunes never really fortunes? And where do fortune cookies come from anyway? Hint: It’s not China. • “Girl Scout Cookies Are A Scam” – Hills I’d Die On with

Arts & Entertainment



ort Bend County Libraries will host online programs in December that are intended to encourage new writers by providing tips and tricks, writing and publishing advice, and support from other aspiring novelists. The Missouri City Branch Library will host an online Short Stories Writer’s Challenge during December. A story prompt and activity guidelines will be posted on FBCL’s online calendar on Dec. 7.Writers are encouraged to create a story from the prompt and submit it to before the deadline on Dec. 31. One of the stories will be selected to be featured on the Missouri City Branch Library Facebook page in early January. The Story Spinners Writing Club, which normally meets once a month at George Memorial Library, will meet virtually on Thursday, Dec. 17, from 2 to 3 pm.The topic for December is“Exposition.”From beginning bloggers to published novelists, writers of all genres and experience levels are welcome to join the Story Spinners Writing Club to write, share, learn, support, network, and critique each other’s work.This activity will be livestreamed via Zoom/WebEx. Registration is required; a link to the sessions will be emailed to all who register. The sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the live-streamed Zoom/WebEx event only; a link to the Zoom/WebEx session will be emailed to participants who register. To register online at the library’s website (, click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office (281-633-4734). To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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Continued from page 16 portant), and keep the cover in place with bricks, rocks, or other materials. If using plastic, don’t allow the plastic to touch the leaves. Also, remember to remove the covering during the day if the weather is sunny and mild. MULCHING: By adding an additional 4-6 inch layer of mulch, you can help keep the roots of your plant insulated against the cold. POTTED PLANTS: If possible, bring any potted plants indoors (or even into your garage). If not possible, cluster them together near an outdoor wall on the south side of your home to protect them from the wind. PLASTIC CONTAINERS FILLED WITH WATER: Plastic milk jugs or other containers filled with water can retain heat if they sit in the sun during the day. When you cover your plants, place the milk jugs near your plant and then cover them, too, to trap some additional heat. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: This tip may sound funny but if you can find them, take a string of the old-fashioned, incandescent Christmas lights (they emit heat) and wrap them around the lower trunk or ground around the plant. Cover the plant and lights and turn the lights on. Be sure to use outdoor lights that tolerate rain or moisture. So, when we hear about protecting the “Three P’s” don’t forget the plants. I hope these tips will help keep your plants a bit warmer on those chilly nights! Happy Gardening! Fort Bend County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in educating the community using research-based horticultural information.

Libraries to live-stream gardening tips


ort Bend County Libraries will present an online program on “Gardening for Beginners” on Saturday, December 12, beginning at 10 a.m.This program will be live-streamed via WebEx — it will not be in person. James (Boone) Holladay, the county extension agent with the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Fort Bend County, will talk about gardening basics for those who are new to gardening. Learn about plant selection and placement, watering tips and gardening tools. Holladay received his undergraduate degree in Horticulture from Stephen F.Austin State University and his graduate degree in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University. He specializes in horticulture/water preservation. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required. A link to view the presentation online will be emailed to all participants who register. To register online at the library’s website (, click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program. Participants may also register by calling the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

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• 19

Health News

Clinical trials at Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land offer hope for local cancer patients


he Houston Methodist Cancer Center differently,” said Darcourt. “For example, prostate Dr. Jorge Darcourt at Sugar Land is extending the range of cancer and triple-negative breast cancer are more care available to local patients through common, more aggressive and appear at younger a growing number of clinical trials typically ages in African-Americans than in people of other unavailable in a community setting. races. Clinical trials can help us understand why Clinical trials are controlled, evidence-based that is and find therapies that can make a differresearch to determine if new therapies are efence.” fective in treating disease. Historically, only large To improve minority participation, Darcourt teaching hospitals participate in clinical trials, and his colleagues at the Houston Methodist Canlimiting access for patients in suburban/rural arcer Center at Sugar Land are working to educate eas. patients about the value of clinical trials and proBut Houston Methodist has changed that apviding support and assistance – such as translation proach. The increased number of trials being services – to help overcome concerns. conducted at community hospitals across the “It’s important for cancer patients to talk with Greater Houston area is a key strategy in efforts their physician about the possibility of participatto make innovative therapies and treatment oping in a clinical trial, and ask as many questions as tions easily accessible to more patients. Today, they can,” said Darcourt.“Many of today’s trials are there are 35 clinical trials underway at Houston Methodist Sugar Land designed to reduce the toxicity of existing treatments.That can mean Hospital, covering most common malignancies. improved survival rates and a better quality of life.” “Every advance we’ve made in cancer treatment over the years is For convenience, most of the clinical trials being offered at Housthe direct result of patients agreeing to participate in clinical trials,” ton Methodist Sugar Land can be completed without any visits to the said Jorge Darcourt, M.D., board-certified oncologist-hematologist at Texas Medical Center. Visit Methodist Oncology Partners at Sugar Land. trials to see a full list of available trials at Houston Methodist. “Clinical trials enable us to establish scientifically which therapies Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land is an American work, and they help us discover new approaches to treating cancer. College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer-accredited facility, adherBecause of the willingness of patients to participate in clinical trials, ing to comprehensive quality standards that guide treatment and enwe are unlocking many innovations today, such as immunotherapy, sure patient-centered care. which stimulates the body’s own immune system to attack cancer Visit to learn more about Houscells, and targeted therapy, which blocks specific molecules involved ton Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. in tumor growth.” Tracy Girkin is a patient of Darcourt’s who recently participated in a clinical trial for the treatment of urothelial (bladder) cancer.The trial akbend Medical Center’s virtual 2020 Patchwork Of Life was designed to study the effectiveness of using the immunotherapy event raised nearly $334,000, and honored Fort Bend drug Keytruda along with an investigational drug known as LNMMA. County first responders and named the recipient of the Girkin, who is from Eureka Springs,Ark., lived with his daughter in Sugar Land while participating in the trial. His cancer responded well Jeff Council Award. Several communities first responders were to the drug combination, and he completed the eight-month trial in honored during the telethon, including: Jerome Ellis, Fort Bend March 2020 and returned home. He continues to travel to Sugar Land Sheriff’s Office; Christopher Gamble, Fort Bend EMS; Elisa Smith, Richmond Police Department; every two months for follow-up appointments with Darcourt. Matthew Northrup, Rosenberg Fire Department; and Chris Du“I wanted to do everything I could to fight my cancer and the clinical trial gave me that opportunity,” said Girkin.“If Dr. Darcourt and the bois, PHI Air Medical. Rather than naming one of their own for an other researchers learn anything from my participation that can help award, the Richmond Fire Department to dedicate a plaque to be hung in the hospital that reads:“In Honor of those who have sufothers, that makes it even better.” LNMMA is a molecule that was studied to treat heart problems. fered, sacrificed, and supported during the COVID 19 pandemic, The possible beneficial use of LNMMA to fight cancer was identified may we always be grateful and never forget.” by Houston Methodist researchers, and the clinical trial is designed to identify if LNMMA can help patients such as Girkin reduce their resistance to immunotherapy drugs, making them more effective. “Many of our trials today involve known therapies that are being repurposed to treat other types of disease,” said Darcourt.“These are promising times because we are finding that many safe, effective drugs can be beneficial in other uses.” One of the Cancer Center’s priorities in the coming months is to increase the number of minority participants in the clinical trials it has underway. “There are many reasons why some communities are underrepresented in clinical trials, but the end result is that it makes it more Battalion Chief Bryan Lewis and Chief Mike Youngblood of the Richmond challenging to fight certain types of cancers that affect populations Fire Department present the Fire Department’s plaque.



20 • Greatwood Monthly














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