Newsflash

Clanton: Expectations and Fears

“Everybody will think you’re writing about me,” my wife commented, when I told her of my plans to write a piece for women from a man’s point of view. Admittedly, there would be plenty of fodder. But, my bride and I have a good relationship, and I really don’t want to jeopardize that by sharing gaffes and gripes that may exist behind the doors of La Casa Clanton.

That’s not the point of this at all — and to manage your expectations, and assuage her fears, let it be so stated for the record. This column is not about my bride! We’re actually a really average couple. We’ve been married 35 years, spawned two kids, and now dote on The World’s Most Amazing Two-Year-Old Granddaughter. That didn’t happen without a little effort, a lot of luck and plenty of pluck on our part. Mostly hers.

My wife has become an anomaly in this day and age — a stay-at-home mom who was able to send our kids off to school every morning and be home every afternoon when they returned. That is a full-time gig, by the way.  On job applications of late she’s listed her employment history as “Domestic Engineer.” While that’s an accurate description, unless the reviewer is savvy enough to catch the joke, it raises a few eyebrows. 

“Oh, so you’re an engineer…” some have cooed at company parties, unaware of the double entendre.

So, what compels me to presume to write to women about what men think about women, or what men wish women knew about men? I answered the call. Over salad and sandwiches recently at the Grand Lux Cafe, Publisher Beverly Denver shared her vision for this magazine as it enters its second decade of publication. Not to sound corny, because it’s not, the common thread in our conversation was “dream.”

Houston Woman Magazine started with a dream. It now tailors its editorial menu to inspiring others to dare to dream also, and to achieve those dreams. In my estimation that’s pretty starchy, and worthy of respect, regardless of the gender doing the dreaming. Dreams come in different shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. It’s okay to pursue them. It’s okay if you don’t.

What’s not okay is for someone to tell you that you cannot follow your dream. In my experience, that’s usually the spark that launches the next wave of greatness in the life of someone, just to prove the naysayers wrong.

So, my message to you, in this inaugural column is to not just dare to dream — but dare to do. Men need to be told it’s okay to stretch; women need to hear that, as well. Maybe we’re not so different after all.

Brent Clanton is a native Houstonian and recent inductee to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He is now outnumbered two-to-one by his wife, Darlene, and their three-pound Yorkie, Sophie.

Heart Guild marries shopping and dining for philanthropy

 

The American Heart Association’s highly anticipated Shop with Heart Card shopping and dining fund-raising event returns this spring with more than 400 Houston and surrounding area top retailers and restaurants participating.  
 
The Shop with Heart Card event, presented by the Heart Guild of Houston, marries shopping and dining with philanthropy to help fund ongoing life-saving research by the American Heart Association.  
 
The Shop with Heart Card arrives just in time for shoppers looking for spring fashions, prom and wedding essentials, presents for graduation and Mother’s Day.  
 
For a minimum donation of $40 and 100 percent of all proceeds benefitting the American Heart Association, shoppers will receive the Shop With Heart Card. It provides two ways to save: 20 percent off regularly priced merchandise at participating retailers and patron’s choice of a complimentary appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an entrée at participating restaurants. Cards are available online now at www.shopwithheart.org or by phone at 844-210-4541 through April 10.  Cards can also be purchased at the participating retailers starting on April 10.
 
“The Heart Guild of Houston is pleased to lead this premiere spring shopping and dining fund-raising event for the American Heart Association,” said Julie Haralson, president of the Heart Guild. “We created this shopping event to offer a fun experience for Houstonians, to raise awareness for the American Heart Association, to improve the heart health of our community and to support local businesses. Our work is two-fold through this program. We are able to support the important work of the American Heart Association, while supporting local businesses.” 
 
Shopping with the 2015 Shop with Heart Card starts April 24 and continues on until May 3.  
 
Local merchants interested in participating may contact the Heart Guild at 844-210-4541. This fund-raising event is generously underwritten by the Paul and Deborah Adams Family Foundation, Beth Wolff Realtors, Hines and CityCentre. 
 
For more information and to see the full list of participating merchants, please go online to www.shopwithheart.com or call 844-210-4541. 
 

TWU welcomes new chancellor and president

 

Students, faculty, staff and friends of Texas Woman’s University recently welcomed its new chancellor and president, Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D., at a reception at TWU’s Institute of Health Sciences – Houston Center in the Texas Medical Center.
 
At the reception, Feyten met informally with students, answering questions and discussing issues ranging from parking to  tutoring to campus food and housing.  She then presented her vision for TWU in Houston as an integral part of the world-renown Texas Medical Center, noting that TWU has been in Houston for 55 years.
 
Feyten is the 11th president and second chancellor of the university, which has 1,300 students in Houston and more than 15,000 at its combined campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston. 
 
A native of Belgium, Feyten previously served as dean of the College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. 
 
An internationally recognized consultant, speaker and scholar in the field of language learning, teaching methodologies and the integration of technology in education, she has authored or co- authored more than 100 journal articles, conference papers and book chapters.  
 
Feyten holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Education, Second Language Acquisition from the University of South Florida, as well as an M.A. in English, Dutch, Education and a B.A. in Germanic Philology from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She is fluent in five languages, including English, French, Dutch, German and  Spanish.

Founded in 1901, Texas Woman’s University is the nation’s largest university primarily for women. TWU offers more than 140 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the liberal arts, nursing, health sciences, business, the sciences and education. For more information, visit http://www.twu.edu/. 
 
 
 
 

WUSA teaches girls about having fun and power of teamwork

When the West University Softball Assocation started out in 1971, it was  a fledgling group of girls organized by parents to provide a little fun on Sunday afternoons. Now, almost 44 years later, the group has grown to 600 girls and may well be the largest league in the state, said Michael McConn, WUSA  president. 

McConn is also vice president of sales for IBC Insurance and has two daughters, ages 11 and eight years old. Both are currently playing softball competitively, and as their father, he understands the importance of girls’ sports. 
 
“I think it is important to distinguish girls’ sports from boys’ sports and give girls their own environment to have fun in,” he said. “Girls learn and interact differently than boys. Boys have to win to have fun. Our motto is ‘Girls must have fun to win.’”
 
McConn said a past WUSA‚Äąpresident once told him that the most satisfying part of working with the league (for him) was merely the opportunity to spend quality time with his daughter during the formative years of her life, coaching her and watching her grow.
One of the key pieces of wisdom handed down through the league’s leadership ranks is that players can be “all athlete and all girl” at the same time. 
 
The West U league is a diamond in the rough, McConn added, and has been averaging a 10 percent increase in enrollment every year. After three years of existing informally, the management of the league was taken over in 1974 by the City of West University’s Recreational Department, which formalized schedules and divisions. There were 93 players at that time.
 
A year later, the league obtained its first dedicated field, and in 1976, the first West U all-star tournament team competed in games outside of the neighborhood. The league continued to grow in membership and recognition, and by 1982, sponsor donations had exceeded the city’s funding of its annual budget. 
 
By 1989, the WUSA was a leader in the fight to have girls’ softball recognized and sanctioned as a high school sport. 
 
In 2003, the league joined with West University’s and Braes Bayou’s Little Leagues and West University’s soccer leagues to form the West U Area Sports Association — in order to own and operate dedicated sports fields on Stella Link. 
 
The WUSA has an active volunteer auxiliary of parents who help organize and sponsor fund-raising activities, such as an opening day carnival and social gala for adults. 
 
The 2015 season is launched in mid-February with a parade, and each team plays 12 regular season games, followed by league tournaments, which begin April 30.
 
“There aren’t very many leagues like ours that are in the center of a major metropolitan area. We take girls from all over Houston. Girls don’t have to live in West U or Braes Heights to come play for West U. The kids can live in Pearland or Sugarland or The Woodlands,” McConn said. “Emotionally and socially, it plays a significant role. It’s a melting pot. It enables the girls to make friends beyond the school friends they see every day.”
 
He continued, “The common denominator of this league –– whether you are coming from River Oaks or somewhere else in Houston –– is that you’re all out there for one reason, which is to play softball.” 
 
WUSA’s website includes a page showing that 31 of its players have advanced to play collegiate softball in schools like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Yale, Stanford, the University of Texas, Baylor and Texas A&M. One of the Episcopal High School’s current assistant softball coaches came out of the West U system, McConn said, adding that many young women come back to help with WUSA’s softball camps and fundraisers.
 
“You a see a lot more women coaching in our league than in other girls’ sports,” McConn said. Moms are encouraged to participate as coaches, not merely providing snacks and cheering on their daughters.
 
Rachel Steely, an attorney specializing in employment law, has been coaching teams in the WUSA for five years now, including with all-star teams. 
 
In her youth, Steely spent 10 years playing in Pasadena leagues, mostly playing third base. All three of her daughters have embraced softball through WUSA, she said. The girls learn valuable lessons and develop skills that can be used throughout their lives by playing softball, she added. 
 
“Not only do the girls develop confidence, but they also learn to make and develop new relationships outside their comfort zone,” she said. They also learn the lesson of teamwork.
 
“They learn to contribute in the role they’re given,” she said. “Everyone wants to be in the top role, but everybody needs to learn to do their best and contribute in the position they're assigned.
 
“They learn that, if they put their minds to it, they can accomplish things and have fun doing it.”
 

Acclaimed Film Director to keynote at HAA fundraiser

 

The Houston Arts Alliance will host "An Intimate Evening with Lee Daniels "on Thursday night, April 23 at the Hotel ZaZa. 
 
Daniels, a versatile and dynamic talent, will share his life stories — based on his vast experience as a film and television director, producer and writer. 
 
Led by Event Chair Philamena Baird, with Honorary Chair Marie Bosarge, this special evening begins with an opening reception and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Following dinner, Daniels, director of the hit television series, Empire, and films Precious and The Butler (which he also produced), will share his life experiences — from founding his own health care agency at age 21 to managing actors to becoming the first sole African-American producer of an Academy Award-winning film (Monster’s Ball).
 
Following Monster’s Ball, he made his directorial debut with Precious. The film received a total of six Academy Award nominations, including Best  Director, marking only the second time an African-American director had been nominated. 
 
He produced and directed The Butler, a story following the life of a White House butler who served eight U.S. presidents over three decades. The film was well received, earning numerous Critics’ Choice, Screen Actors Guild and NAACP Image Award nominations.  
 
"An Intimate Evening with Lee Daniels" is just one way in which HAA leverages public investment with philanthropic support to advance Houston’s arts. When HAA was formed in 2006 as a 501c3 nonprofit, the vision was to create a public and private partnership to promote the growth and visibility of the arts sector in Houston.
 
Public funding includes city revenues from Hotel Occupancy Taxes (which fund grants to non-profit arts organizations and individual artists) and the City of Houston’s Percent for Art Ordinance (which supports commissions of new civic art projects, as well as conservation of existing artworks). 
 
However, many of HAA’s  extraordinary public engagement projects (such as The Blue Trees, the recent Transported + Renewed, and Stories of a Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel) are made possible through private funds. Public engagement projects and capacity building initiatives are designed to leverage public funds.  HAA is committed to raising funds for only those projects and initiatives the Houston Arts Alliance is uniquely positioned to provide the community.  
 
The Houston Arts Alliance is a non-profit organization established by the City of Houston to enhance the quality of life and tourism in the Houston region by advancing the arts on its behalf. HAA distributes grants to more than 225 non-profit arts organizations and individual artists each year. 
 
To purchase tickets and/or to obtain more information, please visit http://www.houstonartsalliance.com/.
 
 
 
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