Paying It Forward


November / December 2016

By BAHW Magazine Staff

It seems like there is a holiday or celebration for everything these days, from fun, lighthearted recognition for being left handed or celebrating National Pancake Day, to more significant issues with medical and social campaigns. And now, the major holiday season seems to be steadily creeping in earlier with every calendar year. It can almost be overwhelming, as we try not to get lost in the shuffle.

Five years ago, the 92 Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation wondered how they could bring back the spirit of giving to the holiday season and cut through all the extra “holiday noise.” So they created what is called GivingTuesday, a one-day annual movement focused solely on charitable giving. In its fourth year, GivingTuesday saw the biggest increase in donations yet, growing from $45.6 million in online donations in 2014 to a whopping $116.4 million in 2015, according to the information compiled by Impact Lab.

GivingTuesday 2016 is coming up on November 29th and it promises to be the best year yet. The Bay Area is privileged to have numerous non-profits doing outstanding work and service. Three organizations: Bay Area Turning Point, Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol, and Innovative Alternatives, Inc., have decided to join together to make a stronger impact for GivingTuesday in our community.

Bay Area Turning Point, Inc.

Bay Area Turning Point (BATP) is in its 25th year of saving and transforming lives. Its primary mission is to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and elder abuse. Along with its 24-hour crisis hotline (281.286.2525), the agency provides legal advocacy, 24-hour emergency assistance to sexual assault victims at police stations or emergency rooms, therapy, case management, support groups, and assistance with criminal justice remedies. The agency also provides housing assistance to families exiting shelter. Its shelter facility houses up to 72 adults and children, where they find an on-site childcare center, assistance with transportation, employment guidance, clothing and planning for the future. Shelter based classes include nutrition, healthy communication, parenting and other life skills topics. The agency’s Violence Prevention Program implements strategies to engage youth, parents and educators in addressing root causes of sexual and physical violence. BATP serves southeast Harris County, northern Galveston County and all of Chambers County. Offices are located at 210 South Walnut Street in Webster, Texas and at 2202 South Main Street, in the Wellness Center at Bayside in Anahuac, Texas. The agency also has a Resale Shop, open to the public, located at 18207 Egret Bay Blvd.

The service to the community is astounding. As of 2015, BATP has provided 361,602 shelter nights to 10,632 persons, served 1,695,413 meals, provided nearly 300,000 hours of childcare, and assisted a total of 130,006 persons in combined services. All of the agency’s services are provided free of charge, with advocates available 24-hours to assist when needed. This service depends heavily on volunteers. All members of the community are invited to join the agency’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Market & Luncheon on December 8, 2016 at the Sylvan Beach Pavilion.

BayArea Turning Point information and resources are available at or contact Lisa Dishman or Diane Savage at 281-338-7600.


Bay Area Council On Drugs & Alcohol

For the last 42 years, the Bay Area Council on Drugs & Alcohol (BACODA) has been the source of information and compassionate help on alcohol and drug related issues for residents in the greater southeast Houston community.

Texas leads the nation in alcohol related deaths, and Houston has the worst record in Texas. In order to assist at any time and any level, the BACODA door is always open to help with a phone call or personal visit. The community is also welcome to tour and receive information to assist. All visitors receive a free “No Drinking and Driving” car magnet in an effort to educate other drivers, and be a part of the solution, not the problem.

The use of heroin, opiates, alcohol, and e-cigarettes (“vaping”) by youth, young adults, adults, elders and other community members impacts all segments of our community – individuals, businesses, schools, and organizations. The numbers are on the rise in all areas!

Resources with BACODA include:

  • referral to an array of social services, including United Way funded agencies
  • assistance in alternative activities where youth learn ways to have fun without chemical assistance
  • screenings, assessments, and take home drug tests (with instructions for next steps on positive test results, along with counseling)
  • family support
  • crisis counseling and short term addiction counseling
  • state-mandated educational classes, including 8- and 16-hour substance abuse and awareness education
  • smoking cessation for adults

When concerned citizens founded BACODA in 1974, the organization needed a home office, financial support, and non-profit development. The United Way provided all three. Doors have been open ever since, and the relationship between community support, United Way of Greater Houston, and BACODA continues to grow. Your support of United Way Greater Houston and BACODA ensures that counselors, prevention specialists and trained professionals will be available to help. For more information, go to

Innovative Alternatives, Inc.

Innovative Alternatives, Inc. (IA) continues finding solutions to life’s most difficult problems through mediation, counseling and training, and has done so since 1989.

Consider Helena, who was sexually abused by a family member for 6 months when she was only 5 years old. Her confused parents could not understand the bed wetting, raging fits and nightmares she was experiencing. When Helena told them, the family almost fell apart. Her parents and siblings, as well as Helena, needed help dealing with what happened. Innovative Alternatives provided support through play therapy, counseling sessions, and then music lessons. The transformation has been incredible. Helena, a little girl with an abusive history, is now a 9 year old, singing in Atlanta, off-Broadway in New York and of course, locally. She is currently writing a children’s book to tell all kids that no one else has a right to hurt them, that they need to tell and keep telling until someone believes them, and wants to speak to as many people as possible to keep this from happening to anyone else…and she is full of sunshine and courage! A video of Helena performing can be seen on Vimeo. With the help of Innovative Alternatives, Helena is a thriving young woman whose story could have been much different.

Tim Miller, Director of Texas Equisearch, credits IA with finding his purpose, as he dealt with his daughter’s brutal crime. IA gives FREE counseling to any crime victim, no matter when the crime happened, and whether or not it was ever reported. IA has helped 2,500 victims heal per year!

The resources for Innovative Alternatives assist with all types of problems, no matter how big or small. From Family Reconciliation Mediation, Family Intervention Mediation and Elder Care Mediation, IA provides support. Organizations and schools can also use the programs for leadership, bully proofing programs, character development and more.

It is important to know that a custom tailored approach is developed for every individual, family, group, church, school or company that seeks our assistance. Problems are prevented from developing and clients are empowered to become agents of change in their own lives, organizations and communities.

IA uses proven, highly effective intervention tools in mediation, counseling and training. This promotes systemic change and allows clients to achieve lasting benefits. The systemic approach to all problems promotes employee wellness and business enhancement for companies experiencing change, growth or distress, reconciliation for families in conflict, and healing and direction for individuals facing tragic and/or life changing events.

Innovative Alternatives is funded through the United Way, offering free and sliding scale options. For more information go to or call 713-222-2525.