Assistance League marks million-dollar milestones

Assistance League of the Bay Area recorded two significant achievements this year — it cumulatively returned $1 million to the community while simultaneously tallying $1 million in grants.

“We are elated that the Assistance League has reached this benchmark,” President Marie Keener said. “Subsequent to 1994, we have returned $1 million to our community because of generous donors and loyal member volunteers.”

The funds have provided school clothing to thousands of children in need, prom attire to hundreds of high school seniors, bulk food to 30 local school pantries, professional and interview-appropriate clothing to dozens of individuals re-entering the workforce, and assault survivor kits to local women’s shelters, hospitals and police departments, Keener said.

In 2022, total resources returned to the community matched the total funding brought in through grant awards, Grants Committee chair Ann Halligan said.

“We have been keeping close track of grants written since 2007, but we have been giving back since 1994,” Halligan said. “The odds of both endeavors hitting $1 million in the same year are statistically very low. It’s a happy anomaly, and we sincerely appreciate the charitable foundations that invested in our vision to help change lives and make these milestones possible.”

Visit or call 281-554-2594 to learn more.

‘Wouldn’t it be cool if…?’; Innovation meets entrepreneurship at science camp

Undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students from throughout the state turned some of the ideas rattling around in their heads into creative solutions during the Innovation in Life Sciences Camp, July 24-29 in Galveston.

The University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas A&M Galveston conducted the camp in an effort to immerse participants in a culture of enterprise, said Dr. Massoud Motamedi, associate chief research officer and chief bioengineering and biotechnology innovations officer at UTMB.

“As a leading academic health care center, we need to strengthen our education and training programs to encourage our students to pursue entrepreneurship, innovation and business creation by giving them the knowledge and tools needed to enable them to advance their ideas and discoveries throughout a combination of their educational and entrepreneurial mindsets, unleashing their creativity,” Motamedi said. “The summer camp provides the opportunity for students to learn about how they can equip themselves with the tools that are needed to be successful in their entrepreneurship journey.”

The camp is also intended to support collaboration between UTMB, Texas A&M Galveston, University of Houston-Clear Lake and Texas Southern University, according to a press release.

Branson to head the regional board

Friendswood City Council member Sally Branson has been named chair of the Houston-Galveston Area Council board of directors for the remainder of 2022.

She takes the place of William King III, who completed his term as mayor pro tem of Dickinson and is running for Galveston County judge in the November general election, according to an H-GAC press release. Branson has served on the board since 2017 and was elected vice chair at the beginning of this year.

H-GAC’s Election Committee also selected Waller County Judge Trey Duhon to serve as chair-elect and Huntsville Independent School District trustee Rissie Owens as vice chair.

The H-GAC board comprises 37 local elected officials representing 13 counties, 107 cities and 11 school districts.

District releases meal program guidelines

Friendswood Independent School District families will receive letters this month describing eligibility requirements for free and reduced-price meals.

Eligibility is based on income, special assistance program participation and students’ status, such as runaway, homeless or migrant. To learn more, call 281-996-2596. Applications, available at Food Services, 402 Laurel Drive, may be submitted any time during the school year.

San Jac athletes score academic honors

Ten San Jacinto College softball and baseball players have been named to the National Junior Athletic Association 2021-2022 All-Academic teams.

With a 4.00 GPA, baseball player Daniel Burke was named to the All-Academic First Team.

Second Team members — earning a GPA between 3.80 and 3.99 — include softball players Maggie Childs, Kendra Cutlip, Kenzie Gates and Julia York, and baseball player Andrew Petrowski.

Softball players Rayne Althaus, Tabby Burnett and Ronnie Grofman and baseball player Jonathan Hicks achieved a 3.60-3.79 GPA and were named to the Third Team.

“We are extremely proud of these student athletes, and all of our players, for their hard work in the classroom and on the field,” said Allatia Harris, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives. “We know the dedication that it takes to perform athletically and academically at a high level, and we applaud them for their commitment to their sport and to San Jacinto College.”

San Jac building earns ‘best project’ anywhere

Before scheduled classes have even begun, San Jacinto College’s new Anderson-Ball Classroom Building is winning awards.

The 122,000-square-foot structure — the nation’s largest mass timber instructional building — was named Best Project, Higher Education/Research by a panel of experts for Engineering News-Record Texas & Louisiana.

“This project was innovative in a host of ways and could not have been accomplished without the active communication and technical excellence of everyone who participated,” said Charles Smith, associate vice chancellor of fiscal initiatives and capital projects.

Construction partner Tellepsen Builders nominated the project.

“We hope to see more and more mass timber being utilized in and around the city of Houston,” said Zach Moffitt, senior project manager for Tellepsen. “The reduced carbon emissions and cleaner construction has a substantial impact on the industry and our community.”

Mass timber, created by laminating wood layers together in either parallel or cross patterns, replaces conventional structural steel throughout the building, which also boasts electrochromic windows, tubular daylighting, solar photovoltaic generation, gray water recycling and Internet of Things connectivity.

Anderson-Ball was built as part of the 2015 bond program to support math, pre-engineering, college prep, English and humanities programs. San Jac received a $100,000 US Forest Service University Mass Timber grant to defray the cost of learning how to approach projects of this type. Kirksey Architecture also worked on the project. Learn more at and Engineering News-Record Texas & Louisiana.

Applications open for civic leadership program

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Pasadena Economic Development Corp. are looking for community members interested in learning about the fiscal, social and governmental forces that shape society.

Impact Pasadena — the organizations’ 18-month professional leadership program — begins in January with a retreat followed by monthly teaching and learning activities. Upon graduation in December 2023, participants will spend 6 months implementing a community project.

The program costs $3,000, and the application deadline is Sept. 21. Learn more at

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