It was a big day at Covenant House in Houston Wednesday morning.
Executive Director Rhonda Robinson collected a $40,000 check from Waste Connections in a brief presentation at the Montrose facility.
Jason Zepp, who represents WC, says they raised the money during a golf tournament in March.
Zepp says it was very important to give back and be involved in the communities his company serves.
Robinson says it’s always nice to get an unexpected donation during a very tight budget year.
Covenant House provides shelter for 18 to 21 year olds who may not otherwise have a place to live.
At least 60 to 70 young people make Covenant House home each night in Houston.
Originally incorporated on October 5, 1982, Covenant House Texas first opened its doors in Houston on June 27, 1983, under the name of “Under 21”.
Its mission was to serve the large population of street kids that had descended upon the inner city. “Under 21” was dedicated to helping these young boys and girls escape the cycle of abuse and degradation that would keep them from being productive, responsible adults.
In the first year, 1983, over 1,000 homeless and runaway youth came to “Under 21” seeking refuge and a chance to turn their lives around. “Under 21’s” staff offered them a new beginning, and over the past 25 years, we have offered it to 100,000 more.
In 1984, comprehensive services such as the “Mother and Child” parenting program and the “Second Step” job training and employment program began.
Quickly becoming a figure of hope in the community, Under 21 was recognized by the Texas Legislature in 1985 for its dedication in serving homeless youth.
In 1986, the agency changed its name to Covenant House Texas to create greater awareness and statewide support, and in that same year, established an on-site school for residents.
1987 was a year of great beginnings. The GED tutoring program, the Boys Rights of Passage program, and the NINELINE information and referral hotline all began.
That same year, 52 women gathered to form the Covenant House Guild. Now 260 members strong, the ladies of the guild organize and implement a variety of activities for the youth of Covenant House Texas including holiday celebrations, birthday parties, along with coordinating the annual gala.
In 1988, a health committee was formed, beginning HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs. And, the Covenant House Texas Outreach program was started.
1989 brought the Girls Rights of Passage program, and later that year, the Intake Center was dedicated to Thad Hutcheson, a member of Covenant House Texas’ founding Board of Directors.
In 1990, the Medical Clinic expanded and moved to its own facility.
In 1991, the on-site school became fully accredited with Houston Independent School District, a Child Care Center was opened, and the “Special Santa” Christmas gift-giving program began. Later that year, the Medical Clinic was dedicated to Dr. C. Richard Stasney.
1992 was the year of the first Candlelight Vigil for homeless children held in Houston and other Covenant House sites.
Covenant House Texas received funding to hire a full-time GED instructor and expanded its outreach program to Fort Bend County in 1994.
In 1995, the Male Rights of Passage transitional living program expands to accommodate 16 residents and Homeless Youth Network of Harris County collaborative is established.
The non-parenting Girls Rights of Passage program and the Rights of Passage Apartment Living program for mothers and babies opened in 1996.
Covenant House Texas’ Community Services program expanded in 1998, and services to walk-in clients doubled.
In 1999, clinic services were boosted by increased personnel and extended hours. That same year, Covenant House Texas’ Prevention team intensified its efforts in schools and community centers by launching “PEP (Peers Educating Peers) Talks” comprised of current and former Covenant House Texas residents, former street kids themselves, to go into schools with CHT staff members to talk to at-risk and homeless kids, one-on-one.
In 2000, Covenant House Texas completed a $3.5 million capital campaign to build a new Rights of Passage transitional living facility to house boys and girls on campus.
2001 brought the expansion of the Outreach Program to five nights a week with two vans and the integration of “PEP Talks” into their programming. Current and former CHT residents, former street kids themselves, go out on the streets and into schools with CHT staff members to talk to at-risk and homeless kids, one-on-one.
In 2002, the New Rights of Passage building opened, increasing the capacity of this long-term transitional living program from 24 to 48 kids.
Covenant House Texas was recognized in 2004, by The Texas Homeless Network as an “Outstanding Youth Shelter”
Over the past few years, a Community Action Team was formed for residents that incorporates character-building, advocacy and volunteerism. The Rights of Passage Leadership Council was formed to promote hope, a will to succeed, and a united voice among Rights of Passage Youth. Covenant House Texas staff continues to improve and expand upon its established programs