Photo gallery: Volunteers honored for service to children, schools


The Houston Independent School District held its Volunteers in Public Schools breakfast and awards ceremony at the Kingdom Builders’ Center. The annual event honors exceptional volunteer contributions by individuals and organizations and was sponsored by the HISD Foundation and Randalls.

The Jean Davis Myers award, which is the highest honor, was presented to Urban Harvest and Pilar Hernandez, an Urban Harvest parent volunteer at Kolter Elementary.  The organization was recognized for its volunteer work in improving the quality of education in greater Houston. The organization’s district-wide outdoor learning environment initiative helps teachers create curriculum for outdoor classrooms.  The program also provides students hands-on learning in science, math, history, and other subjects.

A Special Lifetime Achievement award was presented to George W. Black for his service to HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools for more than 25 years. Mr. Black, a retired Marine, oversees the student safety patrol and is a member of the Safety and Security Committee at Barrick Elementary.

Here is a list of the other honorees:

Parent Partner of the Year

  • Samuel Pratt Jr.: Thompson Elementary School
  • Martha Jenkinson: Bellaire High School
  • Wharton PTO: Wharton Language Academy
  • Parents on Patrol: Sam Houston, Math, Science, and Tech Center

Community Partnership of the Year

  • Neighbors in Action: Port Houston Elementary School
  • St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church: Black Middle School
  • BBVA Compass Bank: Milby High School
  • Westbury Baptist Church:  McNamara Elementary School
  • Grace Presbyterian Church: Paul Revere Middle School
  • NASA Hunch Program: Barbara Jordan High School for Careers

Community Volunteer of the Year

  • Janet McMasters: Poe Elementary School
  • Joe Guzman: McReynolds Middle School
  • Victor Marte: Sam Houston Math, Science, and Tech Center
  • Dimitri Ferrier, Jr.:  Hope Academy Charter

Youth Volunteer of the Year

  • Bellaire MENS Club: Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Center
  • Steven Lara:  Pilgrim Academy
  • Girl Scout Troop: Grady Middle school
  • Aaliyah Mason: Barbara Jordan High School for Careers

Charles Harding VIPS Senior of the Year

  • Wilbert Brown: Foerster Elementary School
  • Magaret Cobb: Revere Middle School
  • Diana Vasquez: Sam Houston Math, Science, and Tech. Center
  • Monroe Meinen, Jr.: Oates Elementary School

School Volunteer Coordinator of the Year

  • Magine Fernandez: Southmayd Elementary School
  • Brenda Oliveria: T.H. Rogers Middle School
  • Hermelinda Carzares: Sam Houston Math, Science, and Tech Center
  • Katherine Arbiter:  Poe Elementary School

Board Trustee Anna Eastman and Superintendent Terry Grier presented the awards. Dr. Grier said he would challenge anyone to find a more dedicated group of individuals than the honorees and thanked them for their service to the children and schools.  “You represent the best of the best: those who contribute their time and energy to Houston’s children every day, without any thought of recompense,” said Grier.

Members of HISD’s VIPS program serve as tutors, mentors, teacher partners, speakers, security patrols, chaperones, interpreters, and cafeteria monitors and help in libraries, media centers, clinics, and offices. For more information about how you can become a volunteer, contact Tina Thompson at 713-556-7206 or visit