Monday, November 26, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I hate Black Friday with the white hot passion of 1000 suns. The camping out, stores open at 5 am, people getting trampled. I don't think there is a piece of technology out there that could make me want to deal with it. Luckily, I live in the Heights. I might have actually enjoyed fighting a little more traffic at our local stores, happy to see them busy. Most of the small retailers I spoke with in the neighborhood were very happy with business this past Friday, which was music to my ears.

I saw a lot of great stuff and made mental notes for my gift giving list. Luckily, I had my camera (and my 15 year old niece) to help me remember what I saw and show you guys a little of what's out there for Holiday gift giving. Call or stop by the shops for pricing and availability, and to find your own favorite things!

One Green Street
3424 White Oak
(281) 888-9518

For the coffee lover, aka my husband, OGS's "One Green Bean" is a double Heights whammy:
 the beans are roasted at Boomtown Coffee on 19th

"One Green Tea" is also made locally by Path of Tea on W Alabama. 
Love this for my sister-in-law with a ceramic tea pot you'll see later.

Keep my pooch happy with stocking stuffers from DJ Bones Dog Bakery. This is our dog's 1st Christmas with us and you can be sure the kids want him to have a full stocking!

Heights photographer Adam Oblath puts his pictures on canvas and then mounts them in to repurposed windows and reclaimed frames. I want this for me. If you know my husband, drop a hint.

1020 Studewood

This brand new line from a West Texas maker is geared toward men. Masculine scents for candles and bath products, plus hand crafted leather goods and cutting boards. I love the packaging and think this will be great for my younger brother.

Painted tea towels and ceramics. I love little one of a kind gifts like these for my friends who have every gadget known to man. The tea pot, a towel, and some of the One Green Tea is the top contender for my sister-in-law.

Love these little origami bookmarks, handmade of course, for sticking stuffers or inside a nice cookbook for a friend. Not pictured here is a great cookbook at Buchanan's with small plates/tapas from different Houston restaurants. I'll use the bookmark in the page featuring Downhouse on Yale.

I don't know who I would give these origami ornaments to, but they were too pretty to leave out. Maybe you want to give one to a friend?

1025 Studewood

Every summer when my niece comes to stay for a week, we go to Hello, Lucky to get her some back to school goodies. She loves this store and her friends in Austin covet everything she gets there. I find teenagers incredibly hard to buy for, so I was happy to have her walk through and point out some of the stuff she liked!

Hello, Lucky has great jewelry. Much of it is made from other stuff, like the leatherette earrings in the bottom left of the photo. Upcycled, eco-conscious, artist made. Love it!

These great armadillo Texas tshirts are heading to my little niece and nephew in Massachusetts. 
My kids already have the "I'm from Texas y'all" shirts.

Niece also loved the fabric cuff bracelets Teresa makes. I'm pretty sure she'll be getting one.

We both also love these "you are amazing" pendants. A possibility for my own sister, who has had some struggles in the past few years. I love the sweet, positive message.

The Funny Potter
1024 Studewood

This paint your own pottery studio doesn't charge a studio fee. You only pay for the piece you paint, and they have probably 1000 to choose from. I'm going to get gift certificates for my sons' best buddies. Right now they are also having a special on ornaments. What grandparent doesn't want a hand painted ornament? My mom will cherish them!

833 Studewood
(713) 861-0301

"I trike the Heights." Nuff said.

One of my best friends in Austin just had a baby girl. I think she needs one of these in her crib!

Again, I don't have anyone to give these to (well, maybe baby Violet in Austin...) but these are great dishes for kids and I know a lot of other parents are often looking for these things. Love the sectioned tray with cover!

833 Studewood
(713) 862-9800

I might have to wear a mistletoe headband to Lights In The Heights!

Beautiful jewelry by Heights resident Dorie Kerr. She has so many beautiful pieces to pick from and I have so many wonderful girlfriends to buy for!

Insulated lunch sacks. These are on the "have on hand for someone I forgot" list.

Fun stocking stuffers for my brother and also for the 2 Secret Santa exchanges I am participating in.

238 W. 19th Street, Suite A-2
In the Corridor Shops

Pendants from Gami Works. I 1st found Gami Works doing a search for Heights Etsy sellers. In addition to these cute pendants, she also has earrings and cute magnetic canisters. I like the canisters for teacher gifts or babysitter gifts.

I don't have anyone to give one to, but I think these "Houston, TX Home" prints would be a great gift for a native who has moved away for work, school or something else.

Great earrings for my 6 year old niece. Small and girlie. She'll love them!

Hand sewn zipper wallets, coin purses, cosmetic bags. Another great option for the babysitter.

Bespoke by GJCD
238 W 19th

Again with the things that I don't know who I would give them to but they are still some of my favorites. Bespoke has awesome vintage glasses and bar supplies. I would buy them all if I had room and could afford it.

235 W 19th

Last year I gave away probably a dozen boxes of this Wine-A-Rita mix. I'll keep a few on hand for that  "someone I forgot" list again.

Every year I buy a new ornament for our tree. A favorite is a giant snowman I got at Bliss 3 years ago. This year I have my eyes on these Christmas astronauts.

I gave one of these for Secret Santa last year. I don't know if I'll do the same this year but it's high on the list of things that I'll consider. It's like a wickless candle- scented wax that freshens the room but is very light and subtle.

321 A W. 19th St.
(713) 869-5885

I love this cookie jar so much! I am going to buy it for a gift exchange party we go to every year and hope that I can bring it home. Is that bad?

There was also a ton of fun holiday stuff for stockings, teachers, and all those other people you like to give just a little something to.

365 W 19th
713-868-LIFT (713-868-5438)

Books, books, books. I get my sons and all kids under 12 who I shop for at least one book.

Rhonda recommended this beautifully illustrated book, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore.

I also love, love, love this canvas gift bag with four "To/From" spaces so you can pass it along and see where it's been before. Probably not a good bet for random acqaintances but I have some friends and family who will like it as much as I do.

Little wind up toys. I have 2 sons. Yes to these!

So there you have it. A sneak peek at what's out there. There is all this and so much more at our Heights retailers. Have a happy, local holiday season!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so grateful to be raising my family in such a vibrant, wonderful, diverse community. It is one of many things I am thankful for on this day. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heights Happenings: November 14 - November 21, 2012

Well, the holidays are upon us. Hard to believe next week is already Thanksgiving! We are hosting my husband's family for Turkey Day this year, so no post next week. While I won't be posting here, I have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is this amazing community: The Heights! I am so happy to have you all as my friends and neighbors.

Thursday, November 15, 4pm - 7 pm: The Market at Silver Street
  • This is an indoor, weekly market. Vendors change but recent items for sale have included Fruits and Vegetables, Tamales, Dog Treats, Baked goods, Candles, Jelly, Pickles, Soaps, smoothies, Wheat Grass Juice, Coffee, Knife sharpening, and more
  • 1501 Silver Street

Friday, November 16, 5pm: Friends of Jaycee Park presents The Lorax
  • Children's activities at 5:00 PM
  • Pictures with Santa at 5:00 PM
  • Silent Auction at 5:00 PM
  • Lorax screening at 6:00 PM
  • Support the park’s shade canopy fundraising efforts by buying pizza and popcorn at the concession stand.
  • Jaycee Park is a 7.4 acre city park located at 1300 Seamist Drive 77008. Approximately two years ago, Friends of Jaycee Park was organized with the purpose of improving this park that had not seen improvements in over 40 years. Dedicated volunteers from 5 area neighborhoods united forces with the Houston Parks Board and Houston Parks and Recreation Department and have been successfully working towards the full renovation of Jaycee Park. 
  • Learn more about the Jaycee Park project and their partner, Houston Parks Board, at
Friday, November 16, 7pm -10pm: Neopopstreetfunk 4 at Gallery M Squared
  • Some consider this the best little group art show in town. 
  • “Showcasing new work from 28 visual artists of every variation, Nicky Davis and Kevin Sechelski continue to set new standards in the Houston art scene with their iconoclastic, irreverent shows. From gritty guerilla street art to fantastical surrealist offerings, Neopopstreetfunk 4 promises a night of visual bliss and aesthetic beauty, but with a swagger, as well.”
  • 339 West 19th Street
November 16- November 18: WHAM- Winter Holiday Arts Market
  • Every year, Fresh Arts (formerly Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition, who have mrged) hosts the Winter Holiday Art Market- “one part curated festival, one part holiday party, and all kinds of fun.” Houston artists offer all kinds of wares, from paintings and jewelry, to clothing and more. Shoppers enjoy art, food, entertainment, and Houston artists get support via “the holiday revenue stream.” WHAM has become much more than just a market for Houston artists and art lovers.
  • Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street
  • November 16, 6PM-10PM (Preview Party)
  • November 17, 11AM-8PM (Free)
  • November 18, 11AM-4PM (Free)

Friday, November 30, 8 pm: W.O.M.A.N. supports Movember at Big Star Bar
  • Featuring music from: Punk Rock Project, Texas Mod Crushers, BreeFeer, and GoRealAh Soul
  • Silent Auction & Raffle till midnight
  • No Cover, 21+ only
  • More about Movember: During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues. Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. All funds raised in the US by Mo Bros and Sistas go to support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG Foundation.
  • 1005 W 19th

Tangled Salon & Spa once a year super special
  • As the Holidays approach, Tangled Salon has a great offer for old or new client. They are offering a once a year purchase of $500 for one year of Hair Color/or Cutting, or Massages. You receive one service per month, which can be savings of more than $500 over the year. The sale starts Friday, November 16, and ends December 1.
  • 3902 North Shepherd Drive #1 Houston, TX 77018‎
  • (713) 677-0697

Friday, November 9, 2012

Keeping An Eye on I-45: Make your comments now!

The I45 Coaltion sent out their recommendations on Wednesday. I'm sorry to just be posting now with the deadline at midnight tonight. Hopefully you can easily cut&paste from their email below and send off comments. It's important enough to take the time. This could have a major impact on our neighborhood. I have added some notes in red at each section so you know a little more about what these options mean. Basically, we are not making a final decision but narrowing the field of options down even further so that some real projections and feasibility work can get done. Let's keep our best options on the table and have a voice with TxDot!

i45logo.jpgThe deadline approaches - Please send your comments to TxDOT by midnight tomorrow, Nov. 9th - better yet .. do it now!

Dear Neighbors -
In about 24 hours – midnight Friday, November 9th – your opportunity to give TxDOT your opinion of what to do on I-45 ends!  Please make your comments before then … better yet – do it NOW! 

TxDOT WILL be doing something on I-45 and it is in your best interest to let them know what you like or don’t like … or TxDOT will do what TxDOT likes!
TxDOT will determine what the 3 best alternatives are for each segment from your comments.  (We have also updated an additional alternative on Segment 1)  Then at the next public meeting (probably in 6 to 9 months), we will select the 1 best alternative in each segment…. So this is the time to be sure to get your opinion heard – we will have dramatically less choice next time!
You can go to this link for complete maps of each segment and summary of alternatives at I-45 Coalition opposes the expansion in general but we have selected alternatives that are preferred for the least impact to our neighborhoods and businesses.
To leave your comments, please go to TxDOT’s site:
Feel free to “cut & paste’ from the following comments if you agree – if you don’t agree, please make you own comments – but it is vital you let TxDOT know what you want!
Suggested comments:
I think that spending over $2 BILLION of taxpayer’s money (in 2004 dollars) to get an improvement of only 3 MPH in general traffic lanes is a HUGE waste of money. In addition, TxDOT is using traffic data that is over 12 years old (from 2000) that probably does not reflect the current traffic situation we are facing today. I am against spending ANY money until TxDOT updates their traffic studies and determines cost-effective solutions to today’s congestion. However, if TxDOT proceeds, the following alternatives are the best that have been proposed to minimize additional right-of-way (ROW) and protect neighborhoods and businesses.

Segment 1: I-45 from Beltway to Loop 610

I AM IN FAVOR of Alternatives 3 & 3c; 7 & 8.  With Alternatives 7 & 8, TxDOT must provide noise abatement on all elevated structures to reduce increased noise levels.
I AM OPPOSED to Alternatives 4, 5 & 6 because they require an additional 150’ of ROW which would destroy or devastate existing businesses and/or homes.   

UPDATE – Alternative 7 requires 30’ of additional ROW and Alternative 8 requires 25’ of new ROW on each side of I-45. Several property owners on the East Side of I-45 have stated their strong preference for Alternative 4 which requires 150’ of ROW from the West side. They have pointed out that there is a large amount of vacant property on the West side and much of that property floods.  They are firmly in support of Alt 3 & 3c and Alternative 4 but do not support Alternative 7 or Alternative 8.

[Heights Life's notes: 3 & 3c will make that stretch of 45 outside of the loop look much like the Katy Freeway, with one additional lane on the Hardy toll road. Options 7 & 8  have elevated managed lanes. Managed lanes are HOV/Toll lanes, again like the Katy Freeway. My notes from the meeting indicate I was strongly in favor of the elevated lanes, but I certainly understand the needs of business owners in that stretch. My concern would be the merging of their 12 lanes in to our narrower stretch inside the loop would cause a bottle neck to the point that it changes our plans for the Heights area which include no additional Right Of Way (RoW)]

Segment 2: I-45 from Loop 610 to I-10

I AM IN FAVOR of Alternatives 15, 14 & 10.

I AM OPPOSED to Alternatives 3, 11 & 12

Heights Life notes: THIS IS THE SECTION THAT MOST PERTAINS TO THE HEIGHTS! As of this point, TxDot has promised no additional RoW between Cavalcade and I10. There will have to be major changes at the 610/45 exchange and we are looking at the possibility of a major spaghetti monster like the one at I10 and 610. 

Option 10 is to add managed lanes (all increased traffic flow for this segment is managed lanes) where the frontage road hangs out, cantilevered  over the highwayover the freeway. It gives us 4 managed lanes, plus 8 general purpose lanes. This is similar to how I75 in Dallas is built and it's actually quite an attractive stretch of road. Option 3 is similar but has reversable lanes, which might be why it's being rejcted. 

Options 11 and 12 are being rejected because they are elevated lanes that would be above grade and would add a considerable amount of noise and air pollution to the area.

Options 15 & 14 are TUNNELS, PEOPLE! This concept is very exciting and I wish you could have all taken part in the discussion about how it would work. The tunnels will most likely significantly reduce noise pollution, could even reduce air pollution because the air coming out of the tunnels is filtered, and would be for only thru-traffic, i.e. people who want to get from 610 to south of I10 without exiting the Heights or NNS, seriously reducing local traffic. I know tunnels are a strange concept to Houstonians but the same kind of tunnel is currently being built along the seawall in Seattle, so the elevation isn't a problem. When someone else brought up flooding issues, a commenter responded to not forget that Kuala Lampur has a huge tunnel system and they have not just the occasional hurricane, but an entire monsoon season! These tunnels look incredible and would have a wonderful impact on the neighborhood regarding highway traffic.

Segment 3: I-45 thru Downtown / Pierce Elevated / 59

I AM IN FAVOR of Alternative 4 (but TxDOT needs to add exit to I-45), Alt. 5 (TxDOT must move away from the Historic Neighborhoods &Alt. 6 (TxDOT needs to add exit to 59).

I AM OPPOSED to Alternatives 3, 7 & 10.
[Heights Life Notes: Options 4,5, and 6 are all different tunnel configurations. 7 is also a tunnel but with a split that would be a lot more work and a lot more money.

Options 3 and 10 are not even real options. 3 is converting I10, I 45, and I 59 in to some weird one way loop around downtown. Even the TxDot guys were basically like "Eh. Probably won't work." Option 10 is widening I 45 but really, how would they even do that? There is development on both sides that would cost the city A LOT of money to take to from landowners.

Because of the slim alternative options for downtown, it almost appears a tunnel is inevitable. Because of this, it makes even more sense to have the tunnels as a pass through for the Heights area section!

I can try to answer any questions you might have but, again, comments need to be at TxDot by midnight tonight. Please, send your letter!]

That’s all you need to say – please send your comments to before the deadline of midnight Friday, November 9th.

Thank you for staying involved! This is a critical time for this project!

Jim Weston

I-45 Coalition

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heights Happenings: November 7- November 14, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 5pm - 7:30pm: Hello Lucky invites you to join them for "Falling For You"
  • Join Teresa and her friends in that little, green shop to toast and celebrate the new work by Marisa Avelar, Serena Hightower and Jason Villegas!
  • Work on view while it lasts
  • For more info click here for the Facebook event
  • Also add Saturday, November 10, noon to 4pm to your calendar for Craftacular just out in front of Hello-Lucky
Saturday, November 10, 6 pm: Parents’ Night Out at Heights Preschool
  • Heights Preschool PNO is open to children ages 12 months (walkers) to 9 years old. They are open on designated Saturdays from 6pm-10pm for parents’ night out. Staff will allow parents and children in the main door at 5:55pm. 
  • Children will participate in outdoor activities (if appropriate), an art or craft activity as well as free play. Dinner is served at 6:30pm. This weekend kid will be treated to hot dogs from Happy Fatz on White Oak. 
  • Children will be able to change into pajamas or stay in their play clothes after dinner. Everyone will then enjoy story time.  
  • At bedtime, a movie will be shown (G rated) and children will be tucked in to sleep on cots or sleeping bags.
  • Parents may enroll their children by completing the enrollment application (one form per child) and attaching their shot record. 
  • Reservations are made on a first come first served basis. Late reservations will be accepted subject to availability. Reservations must be made by phone or via email. Payment is due at the time the reservation is made. Dinner reservations must be made no later than Friday at noon. 
  • Please refer to their website for enrollment form and other information:

Monday, November 12th, 7 pm: Onion Creek and Cafe and Heights Cigar Lounge beer and cigar pairing event
  • Onion Creek will be hosting this beer and cigar pairing.
  • For $18.00 attendees will get one (1) cigar and two (2) beers.  There are two different pairings to choose. If your adventuresome you can buy both pairings for $36.00.
  • The first pairing to choose from will offer either an Alec Bradley Connecticut cigar, a Buffalo Bayou 1836 (which has been aged on cedar), St. Arnolds Endeavour
  • The second pairing to choose from will offer an Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro cigar, a Schmaltz Jewbilation 16th Aniversary, a Lindemans Framboise
  • Phil Kanaby, sales rep with Alec Bradley, and Heights Cigar Lounge will be onsite from 7pm- 9pm.
  • Monday nights are also Onion Creek Steak Night. There will be a tent setup where you can order a 15oz Ribeye with a loaded baked potato for $15.00.


Saturday, November 17, 2 pm- 7 pm: “Party for Pooches” Barrio Dogs benefit at Jubilee
  • Click here for the fun pdf for the event
  • Barrio Dogs is a grassroots, non-profit organization with an emphasis on education and raising awareness on proper animal care in the low income communities. 

Saturdays & Sundays, December 1-16, 2pm: SANTA'S MAGIC TIMEPIECE at UpStage Theater
  • Christmas is around the corner and there's a problem; there are too many good children this year for Santa to visit them all in one night! Can Tink the Elf find a way to save the day despite the mischievous shenanigans of fellow elves Holly and Jolly? Can workshop head Miss Berry and her assistant Figgy keep up with the demand? And will Santa's granddaughter Joy find true love at the North Pole?”
  • Find out when UpStage presents this delightful family holiday musical. It’s an UpStage classic that is fun for all ages. 
  • Bring the video cameras; the kiddos get to sing carols from the stage.  
  • Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased by clicking here. 
  • You can also make reservations by calling 713-838-7191.
  • 1703 Heights Boulevard


Revival Market turkeys for Thanksgiving
  • Revival is now taking online Thanksgiving turkey reservations!
  • Good Shepherd Poultry in Tampa, Kansas will be providing the shop with beautiful pasture-raised, heirloom breed turkeys. No antibiotics, no hormones. The birds will be available on a first come, first served basis.
  • There are two options: turkeys larger than 15 lbs and smaller than 15 lbs. Online orders will be processed in the order they are received. After placing the order online, Revival staff will call to confirm the order and collect payment info. All orders will be for in-store pick up in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Sorry, No deliveries or shipments. The birds will be $6.95/lb.
  • They will also be offering a variety of Thanksgiving Dinner sides from the 18th through the 21st. Check the website for a list.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Doing It For Ourselves--- and our Library!

I'm a child of the 80's. I can't help it if I draw inspiration from that decade, even if it's just for post titles. Plus who doesn't love an Annie Lenox/Aretha Franklin duet? .... but that's not what this is about.

So... some of you may remember a little contest put on by Lego a few months ago called Read.Build.Play. Our own Heights library branch was in 2nd place behind a little town in North Carolina called Mt Airy. The neighborhood rallied and tried to get us past Mt Airy to bring the $5k prize to the Heights. Local writer Martin Hajovsky put out a plea for more votes in his Home In The Heights column. The column included some (I thought obvious) tongue-in-cheek comments about the little town that inspired Mayberry. Not everyone thought it was amusing, leading a reporter in Mt Airy to take a cheap shot at our community, Martin, and our library, all well claiming "I’m not going to sit here and slam the competition."  

The Mt Airy News's piece was frustrating to many of us because we knew that the Heights branch is one of many libraries in the Houston system and that, with each community trying to support their own, we couldn't count on our whole metro area to vote for the Heights. We were not going to have the population of 2million backing us as Mt Airy suggested. (NOTE: I did have many wonderful friends who live outside the Heights and helped by casting votes on a daily basis. Thanks to all of them). Still, we are a community of over 45,000 neighbors, so we thought we stood a chance.

Mt Airy's gorgeous new library, designed by the Mazria  architecture firm. 

The Heights voted. We were in first place. Then it was neck and neck. Then, Mt Airy started passing us at an incredible rate. At first some people thought news coverage had garnered them support from outside their community, but this pattern of 5-10 votes every time folks refreshed their screen continued for days. Heights folks got frustrated as their votes were outpaced sometimes 10 to 1 by Mt Airy. In the end, Mt Airy won with over 100k votes to the Heights' roughly 47,000.

But this is the Heights. Residents here don't give up on their community. Local parent and supporter of the library, Stephanie Riceman, quickly started to navigate the bureaucracy of the HPL system. She started at the Heights branch, working with Ms Sara, the children's librarian, and Pat Jones, the head librarian. At the same time Carrie Noxon, another local mom, was in touch with Maya Houston, the Executive Director of the Houston Library Foundation. Through separate channels, the two women were able to get a special donation account set up for the Heights library branch. 

The Heights Library

To date, a few local families have been able to contribute a total of $750 to the Heights branch, which will be used primarily for the children's area to purchase books, toys or whatever else Ms Sara needs. She is known by many community members to be highly resourceful so good things are expected to happen with whatever is contributed. Still, $750 is a far cry from $5000 that we could have gotten from Lego.

Please consider making a donation to the Heights library today. This opportunity to give directly to our own branch hasn't always existed but is the result of many hours and many emails on the part of community members and library personnel. Every dollar counts and, while the library has been incredibly grateful for the money received so far, we all know we can do better! Even if every member of this community only donated $1, we could pass the Lego prize seven times over. Wouldn't that be amazing to see?

To make a donation, PRINT THIS DONATION FORM and mail it with a check to:

Houston Public Library Foundation
500 McKinney
Houston, Texas 77002

Make your checks out to: Houston Public Library Foundation
Specify: This donation is intended for the Heights Neighborhood Library - Juvenile Services

NOTE: You can donate to the HPL system on line but that donation will NOT be earmarked for the Heights branch.

The Houston Public Library Foundation has cleared the way to donate online on their page, and still channel your donation, if specified, to the Heights Neighborhood Library.

1. Start here and choose your amount:

2. On the Make Your Payment page, in the "Other" field, enter "Heights - Kids Group".

Or make a check out to: Houston Public Library Foundation
Specify: This donation is intended for the Heights Neighborhood Library - Juvenile Services. 
Houston Public Library Foundation
500 McKinney
Houston, TX 77002

This is such an amazing opportunity! Please do what you can to support our beautiful library and all that is does for the children in our neighborhood!