Making A Difference One Child At A Time
HOW IT ALL STARTED
& MORE OF THE DETAILS
HOW IT ALL STARTED
This is a wonderful story, it will give hope to anyone who reads or hears it. If a old country girl can do it, anyone can. I believe that God saved my life on May 23, 2004 for a reason.
On the evening of the 23rd, a drunk driver, doing over 100 miles hour, hit a culvert, went airborne and struck seven of us in parking lot on Hwy 350. It was such a awful accident that most of the people will never be the same. I was very lucky that my life was spared; to this day I can't stand the smell of motor oil, it makes me physically ill.
My life changed forever that night. I lost a job making $2,000 a week and I was very angry. I began a very difficult journey, it was hard for an energetic person like me to just quit everything that I was used to doing. It has taken several years for me to understand why this happened to me. While attending daily doctors visits and having to go through indigent care lines I lost my car, my home and the motivation to do anything.
It took me 2 years of surgeries and therapy to realize I could not give up and I had to forgive the person who did this to all of us.
During this long recovery, I began doing something that I never had much time to do before, I began reading the newspapers every week and I became obsessed with the obituaries. I was very upset about the ages of the people that were dying. There were more 16-25 year old kids than 80 and 90 year old people. I wanted to know why. I thought maybe the kids could give me the answers.
I decided to make up a survey sheet with questions like:
Do you know kids at school that do drugs?
Would you like to spend more quality time with your parents?What would you build in your community if you could?If you had one wish what would it be?What are your biggest fears in school or your community?
I was shocked after reading the first 200! I then went to some officials in town and spoke to them about the results and told them that we desperately needed a youth center in our area. I was told I could not do anything about it; just to leave it alone. I knew then, that I wanted to prove them wrong. I knew God was giving me this vision but I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I realized at that point that I was on my on, so I talked to some of my family and friends and decided I would start doing events in my back yard.
The first one we did was in October of 2006. It was our first Maze of Madness haunted house. It took about 25 kids to build a 2-acre maze and 200 people went through it! The 2008 Maze utilized the talents of over 100 people and we had over 900 people go through it and HoustonHaunts.com even put us on their web-site. In 2009, we raised over $13,000 from this event, even though most of the money went towards the building expenses. Word of this event is spreading through communities as far away as San Antonio & Louisiana. When these children are busy building the Maze and creating/acting in the scenes, these children are off the streets and making a difference in a positive (rewarding) way. These children are from all ends of the spectrum; they finally feel like they "fit in" somewhere and they are all working together as a team.
I decided to have a small beauty pageant because one of my granddaughter's has cerebral palsy and I wanted her to feel special. I never dreamed it would grow the way that it did. The 3rd Annual Mister & Miss Sweetheart Pageant had 98 contestants. What made this event so amazing is that our special-needs children participated right along side of the others.
As time went by, I realized that this needed to become a non-profit. After a few months trying to figure out what to do, a friend and I went to the library to do some research. After seeing all the paperwork that needed to be completed, once again, I got mad. Determined, I gathered all the information and went to work. I am proud to say that we are now a non-profit!
In the mean time, a lady donated a 100 yr. old building, that looked like a cedar box, to me. I thought that would be a great name for my organization, "THE CEDAR BOX"! I went to a meeting and someone announced that "I was Brenda Myers with The Cedar Box" and the look on people's face told me that name was not gonna work. I went home and called a friend and told her what had happened. I told her I needed a name that would Impact the community and the children in it. She said, "Brenda, you just said the name of your organization". That's how The Community & Children's Impact Center got it's name.
Not long after that, I began doing one event after another. About 6 months later, we were nominated and received the Walmart Community Grant. We then begin doing fund raisers in order to be able to gather money for a land account for our future center. At that time, I just knew the journey would take a few hundred years and thousands of bake sales, but I was not giving up.
I continued to get surveys, but from the children in other communities and other schools, in order to compare the the original answers so as to see if the same things were happening in other areas. I was not surprised when I discovered it is pretty much the same everywhere I looked. I decided I needed bigger help, so I went to Congressman Ted Poe. Our next project was our Make Me A Star event, and to our surprise, one of Congressman Poe's staff members came to the event and presented our organization with a proclamation for getting the children off the streets. After that, I was interviewed and The Outlook Magazine published 5 articles about me and the Impact Center. And the project really took off!!!
The local media has been really supportive and has really helped us a lot. The number of events were growing and beginning to get larger and larger. Our Gift Of Giving, our Monster Mash Bash, our Summer Fest, our Easter egg hunts with the Optimist Club...bigger and better with every event.
I still felt like I was in this alone with very few people under my direction. It has been so hard to get help. It seemed like not enough people cared. I would completely organize these events by myself which was very difficult being ill. I would then have to practically beg adults to help out.. Many times I felt like giving up; I've cried with frustration so many times. But all it took was one smile from a child and I was back on track again.
I put together a youth team that has helped to do clean-ups in the community, visited the senior citizens, rung the Salvation Army Bell, and continues doing other positive things in the community. I put together a Board of Directors team that includes Cleveland PD Officers, Lions Club Members, and parents that really wanted change. We now have a team. It's no longer an "I" alone, it is a "we" team! The Impact Center belongs to all of us now.
Time sometimes seems to move like a turtle when you need something now. I knew our children were losing hope fast and I needed something completed really soon so that I could show them we weren't working for an impossible dream. I continued to pray for a miracle. I prayed that one day someone would come along and help us get this center and the land. My team had worked non-stop, for 3 years, to the point of exhaustion until the day came when we had enough funds to bid on some land.
As of Friday, March 27, 2009 The City Of Cleveland sold us .25 acres, no where near enough for a youth center but enough for a new beginning. It's not big enough for a youth center but a small place to do very small events. It's a major blessing for the children and the wonderful people who have put thousands of man-hours into this project. It's taken almost every dime we have raised but I say, "That's ok. "HEY WE'VE GOT LAND!"
Getting the land was a major mile stone. With new land has come new struggles and goals. The city made sure we knew that the property needed $5,000 worth of aerobic sewer system and the electrical pole before the sale was completed. They wanted to know if we still wanted the property. I told them, "Yes, I think God will take care of everything." I knew we did not have much money left in the Impact account to get everything done to the land but I had faith and I knew something would happen.
Getting ready for our up-coming 3rd Annual Texas Children's Music Festival I began e-mailing a lot of my biker friends from Bikers For Christ, Bikers Against Child Abuse and many others. One day I got an e-mail from a lady name Bonnie White. She told me she went to our web-site and was very impressed. She also said she was sure her company would be very interested in helping us. I had no idea God was going to send me My Army Of Angels as I call them. I told her my story and explained we had just gotten some land and a 2nd building donated from a sweet lady named Anita Wright.
We were excited about being able to get one of them moved to the property but after speaking with the city inspector, I had been told that neither building would work because one had been condemned and the other would cost way to much to restore. I then e-mailed Bonnie again and explained we were back to square one and could not use either building. I told Bonnie that it was ok, that I would just set with all the children on the land under the stars holding up signs stating, "We need a youth center" and one day someone would drive by and say, "Hey, we need to get those kids a youth center."
A few days later I received another e-mail from Bonnie. This time she told me that she worked for Zachry Construction and that she could not stop thinking about me and the kids setting out under the stars. She then told me her company wanted to buy us a bar-b-q pit so at least while we were sitting there, waiting on our dream, we could feed the kids. I cried with joy.
A week later she contacted me again and asked if I would do a presentation for some of the employees from Zachry. I agreed. Still in pain on a daily basis I knew it would be difficult to get through the meeting but I decided to jump on this opportunity. I had no idea that this meeting would be the gift from God we had been waiting on. As I did the presentation, Eric, one of the employees, explained about the friendly competition within the divisions of the company; the winners are awarded plaques and braggin' rights each year. These guys compete against each other to see who can do the most for Seniors and the Youth. They informed me that The Impact Center just became their new pet project. I was in shock.
As they talked they explained to me that they wanted to help us any way they could and begin to sponsor many events and much needed volunteers to many of our projects. They agreed to help us with the building process if we would furnish the supplies for the Youth Center Project. I believe their quote was "You see Mrs. Myers, this is what we do. We build things". At that moment I felt the presence of God saying, "Brenda, this is it girl." After years of broken promises and people telling me they would help and come through, I just figured I 'd wake up the next day and I would never hear from them again. I'm so glad I was wrong.
Yesterday two employees brought the bar-b-q pit to my house and today 4/9/2009 they came armed with the company credit card and purchased $600.00 worth of toys for the Music Festival. These people and their company, Zachry, have already made a Impact on us. I believe they should be recognized for their humanitarian efforts to help others. I can't wait to see the rest of the vision unfold.
We still have a problem though. We have a small piece of land but still not enough space for a youth center. There is property on both sides of us which belongs to one lady and we desperately need that land. It's a perfect place for the youth center. WE JUST NEED HELP WITH FUNDING FOR MATERIALS AND THE EXTRA LAND. I'm not sure who else is supposed to be a part of this vision but I know they will come.
I have also spoken to the Zachry employees about how going GREEN is the way to go. I have a director that teaches that through these building concepts. We can save money on our electric bills, heating bills and have a environmentally friendly building. The Zachry employees thought it was a great idea. While waiting on the youth center project we are still making a Impact. STILL WAITING ON THE PEOPLE WHO WILL COME TO HELP MAKE THIS DREAM A REALITY !
We have begun to call Town Meetings, once a month, that are bringing our youth, parents, & different communities together. We use a simple vacuum cleaner stick that has hope, faith, courage and strength written on it as the Impact Power Stick. Everyone gets into a circle and the stick is passed around to each person. When a person has the stick, he or she also has the floor and is able to talk about anything that's on his or her mind. This stick has become a powerful tool at our meeting. The children are able to express themselves on a one on one level with the adults. It is helping so much.
We have come up with a Zeros to Heroes Program where the youth get points for doing positive things in the community. Doing a favor for their neighbor or spending time with the seniors gets them 100 points,etc. The one with the most points before the next Town Meeting gets a cool prize. These kids are now becoming productive citizens while working hard and feeling good about themselves. It's a simple concept and it's working.
Our team is growing everyday as of October 2009 we were blessed with some additional angels like Odie Kennedy who helped us by sharing our information with Swanson's Tree Removal, they have helped us clear the land, a major cost for them I'm sure, but they to wanted a better life for our youth. Zachry Employees will began helping us remove the debri and the additional clean-up. These folks are amazing. We are now waiting on the Angels that will help us get the supplies to build this center and purchase the additional land. We are on God's time so we wait until he's ready to send us the next group of Angel's. I'm so excited. Who said it couldn't be done?
I would like to also mention I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing folks at K-Star Radio Station. Mike Bell and the staff at K-Star has took us under their wing and has made us feel like family. We hope to be working with these folks in a team effort to help the children in our community. I'll keep you updated as our events unfold. Thanks K-Star for caring about the children.
March 27, 2009
We now have .25 acres on Highway 59!!!
It's on the edge of Cleveland! It may not be much, but it's a start! This property is perfect for the Impact Center Office! We are still in great need of extra land and a building for the actual Impact Center Building for our deserving youth.
This took most of the Building Fund money so our funds are low again. We have to do more fund raisers, car washes, bake sales...you get the picture. With not much money left to work with I was worried about our future Youth Center plans...
Just when I was worried we were coming to an end, more "angels" arrived! We needed help and God sent us an amazing group of people.
ZACHRY CONSTRUCTION Employees have come to the Impact Team's rescue!!! Bonnie & Greg White, have promised to help us any way they can and save the lives of children in many communities. Zachry Construction actively encourages its employees to go out in the communities where they live and contribute something positive. (read more) I met Bonnie White on an internet site and we became fast friends. I told her about the land and how we also had a donated building, but just days after getting the donation, the city inspector condemned it. I told Bonnie that we were back to square one but this was not a worry! Our group would be sitting out on our land, under the stars, with our children holding up signs saying, "Help Us Get A Youth Center" until one day someone would drive by and say, "Hey! We need to get those children a youth center!"
A few days later, I was contacted by Mrs. White again, this time she said her fellow Zachry co-workers were donating a Bar-B-Q pit to the CCIC so that we can use it on the land and have some fun while we fed the children and plan for our dream to come true. (I cried with joy)
A week later, at Mrs. White's request, I did a presentation for a several of her fellow co-workers. During the presentation one of the employees, Eric ,said, "Mrs. Myers, this is what we do, we build things. Your organization has just become our new pet project." At that moment I knew God had just added to my "Army Of Angels". We are in the process of getting the survey & misc. costs, in order to get this project off and running. In the mean time, Bonnie & Greg came to my house with over $600.00 worth of toys and prizes for our 3rd Annual Texas Children's Music Festival . It is not yet confirmed, but it has been mentioned that they may help sponsor our events for the next year. I'm still in shock! This has been one of the most incredible days of my life. I'm so grateful for the kindness of these employees and the encouragement from such a huge company. I believe this company should be recgonized for thier outstanding humanitarian work they do to help others. They have already made a huge IMPACT in our community. I can't wait to see the vision unfold!
We will begin the land clean up-project asap. Unfortunately, until we raise the funds in order to purchase the property next to us, we will have to wait on the Youth Center. Unless you know someone (or a group of someones) who needs a amazing tax write-off; I see thousands of bake sales ahead of us.
I will continue the updates as the rest of the journey continues. ~Brenda
WE ARE EXCITED JULY 24TH & 25TH 2009 WE BEGAN BREAKING GROUND. Thanks to the Impact Team and Zachry Employees. The next part of the journey has begun. Take a look !
" DATE ON CAMERA IS INCORRECT"
Here's what we started withHere's what we started with
Small but mighty crewSmall but mighty crew
Bubba Carol Murphy (Local DJ.) & Susan Pearson (Photographer) joins the celebrationBubba Carol Murphy (Local DJ.) & Susan Pearson (Photographer) joins the celebration
Amanda Sutters Enviromental Director Amanda Sutters Enviromental Director
Greg & Bonnie White, Zachry Employees over sees the projectGreg & Bonnie White, Zachry Employees over sees the project
Caroline Morton is not just a "treasurer" she knows how to work hardCaroline Morton is not just a "treasurer" she knows how to work hard
Never to small when your dream is BIGNever to small when your dream is BIG
We love the Zachry Employees-Their making dreams come trueWe love the Zachry Employees-Their making dreams come true
Shana directs the young onesShana directs the young ones
Monroe Matlock voted youth Director of the 1st 6 months. You can see why !Monroe Matlock voted youth Director of the 1st 6 months. You can see why !
We have the best kids !We have the best kids !
Great Friends who careGreat Friends who care
Greg White & David Edwards cleveland Pd officer & Our Advisory Board MemberGreg White & David Edwards cleveland Pd officer & Our Advisory Board Member
Break timeBreak time
Youth Center in Progress. We still need alot of helpYouth Center in Progress. We still need alot of help
I love this photoI love this photo
The gangs all here. Join our team and save a life. Lots of people on vactionThe gangs all here. Join our team and save a life. Lots of people on vaction
Caroline did a wonderful job on our sign. The youth added the finishing touchesCaroline did a wonderful job on our sign. The youth added the finishing touches
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO CARE ABOUT OUR CHILDREN. THE IMPACT ARMY IS GROWING AND YOU ARE HELPING US SAVE LIVES.
LOOK AT THE LAND NOW !
JANUARY 22, 23, 2010
Special thanks goes to "Home Depo" on 1960
they donated a huge Chipper that helped our youth get the job done.
Look at the land now. These kids and directors worked so hard.Look at the land now. These kids and directors worked so hard.
Team WorkTeam Work
We need a change for the betterWe need a change for the better
This pile is gone thanks to Home Depo and it wonderful chipper donationThis pile is gone thanks to Home Depo and it wonderful chipper donation
Thanks Home Depo for caringThanks Home Depo for caring
The children want it why don't the adultsThe children want it why don't the adults
Mr John Elmore our new Advisory Chair Person works hardMr John Elmore our new Advisory Chair Person works hard
The dream can come true with your helpThe dream can come true with your help
May God Smile down on usMay God Smile down on us
Team Work makes things happenTeam Work makes things happen
Claudia Flores & Angel work togetherClaudia Flores & Angel work together
The Impact TeamThe Impact Team
Join our amazing team and make a ImpactJoin our amazing team and make a Impact
Rey one of our new Youth DirectorsRey one of our new Youth Directors
Building DreamsBuilding Dreams
Monroe Matlock our new Junior Board member gets down and dirty helping Mr. JohnMonroe Matlock our new Junior Board member gets down and dirty helping Mr. John
New Director Miss Brandy she rocksNew Director Miss Brandy she rocks
Yea Team Yea Team
Thanks Mr. Ben Boy Scout Troop 95Thanks Mr. Ben Boy Scout Troop 95
Spends the day making a differenceSpends the day making a difference
Children coming from Houston to helpChildren coming from Houston to help
I'm so proudI'm so proud
Brandon Wiederhold new Men Director team leader and Caroline our Treasurer stop for a laughBrandon Wiederhold new Men Director team leader and Caroline our Treasurer stop for a l...
Come out and help us help the childrenCome out and help us help the children
Here's some of our Male Director team they play a very important role.Here's some of our Male Director team they play a very important role.
Team Leaders making a plan for the dayTeam Leaders making a plan for the day
Joey Horn a New Team LeaderJoey Horn a New Team Leader
Boy Scout Troop 95 are a wonderful part of our teamBoy Scout Troop 95 are a wonderful part of our team
Mathew Haley, Rotc Program and a Impact Member works till he dropsMathew Haley, Rotc Program and a Impact Member works till he drops
Well you gotta know who this is . It's MEWell you gotta know who this is . It's ME
Gotta have that muscleGotta have that muscle
Julie makes sure everybody stays busyJulie makes sure everybody stays busy
Impact Team come togetherImpact Team come together
We're not stopping till it's done.We're not stopping till it's done.
Miss Ollie Elmore does her part to make the children's dream come trueMiss Ollie Elmore does her part to make the children's dream come true
Laurie Greenup our Vice -President makes sure everyone's happyLaurie Greenup our Vice -President makes sure everyone's happy
Thanks to Larry Morton our handy Man and male director team member there is no project to bigThanks to Larry Morton our handy Man and male director team member there is no projec...
Let the games began/You go Mr. JohnLet the games began/You go Mr. John
Let's welcome Anthony Davis to town and his new door business. If you need a good man to do a good job his link is on our web-pageLet's welcome Anthony Davis to town and his new door business. If you need a good man t...
Give outGive out
Taking a breakTaking a break
I want to say a special thanks to Cleveland Survey Company who donated all their man hours to help us get our land surveyed. Not only did they survey our piece but the surrounding property also. These are wonderful people who truly care about our children & our youth center project.
God has sent us more "ANGELS"
November 10, 2009
I drove past our property and look over from the highway and was in shock to see bull dozers and stump grinding machines everywhere. I turned around and went back, not even knowing who this man was gave him a huge hug and asked him what he was doing. He said his friend Odie who we recently met at our Haunted Maze sent him over there to clear our property. Thanks to this nice man name Odie he got the ball rolling on the next part of our journey. Mr. Troy Swanson Tree removal has given us more hope that this youth center will happen. You see folks God is good and he is choosing our Angels very carefully. I want to say thanks from all of us to these wonderful people who are making this youth center a reality.
May God smile down on you. Take a look !
2009 National River Clean Up June 21,2009
The C.C.I.C. has adopted the East Fork Of The San Jacinto River. Due to Amanda Sutters our new Enviromental Director's knowledge, she has given all of us a chance to see the damage done by people who trash our local rivers and water ways.
Here's what The Impact Team did to make a "IMPACT"
PREVIOUS ARTICLES & UPDATES
Our next Town Meeting is April 24th 2009 We have a special guest ,International Speaker, Actor, & Author Richard Bloom. He has joined the Impact Team and we are excited. We are inviting you the news media to come and be apart of something positive, something uplifting to give people hope in a time of hopelessness.