21st Annual Breaking Barriers Award Luncheon

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By Taelor Smith

Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. is a Houston non-profit which provides veteran services, career counseling, and alternative substance abuse programs, amongst many other services for those in the Houston community that need help in overcoming barriers of employment and obtaining a better quality of life. The organization hosts an annual luncheon and fundraiser where notable barrier breakers are recognized and honored. This year’s event honored Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels for their efforts in moving the city forward. Cynthia Cisneros of ABC 13 and Fox Sports Analyst Spencer Tillman served as the Masters of Ceremony for the luncheon.

The two honorees were each acknowledged for their hard work in making opportunities available to everyone, regardless of their situations and essentially breaking down barriers. The organization thanked Mayor Turner for his service over the years as a State Representative and for his current position in leading the city as mayor. Keeping with the theme of the his honor, Mayor Turner spoke on his initiative of helping Houston’s homeless and by asking when we see homeless people around the city, instead of offering your money, offer your support and resources similar to that of Career and Recovery Resources. Eckels was honored in part to his time as Harris County Judge where he played major role during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina which resulted in providing refuge for over 250,000 displaced New Orleans residents to the Houston area. He also led the way in many Houston projects during his 12 year tenure including Minute Maid Park and the expansion of the city’s toll roads. Eckels colleagues noted that he never complained over his work load and always put his best foot forward to provide for the people of Houston.

Four clients of Career and Recovery Resources received awards as well for their accomplishments since completing one of the many programs offered and took time to tell their stories. Steven Wells shared how he struggled to find work after retiring from the military and found himself homeless without a place to go. Career & Recovery Resources Veterans Program helped him gain housing, making it possible earn a job to support himself and is no longer living on the streets. Vernon August moved to Houston from New Orleans and had a hard time finding work as he has a hearing disability and found it difficult to support his family. The organization’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services supported August in obtaining a job with his dream company Coca-Cola where he is the first hearing-impaired employee to hold his position. The Employment Services Program assisted Jocelyn Burks in finding a job after she lost nearly everything during her battle with addiction and she has held her position for over a year along with being an outstanding student at Houston Community College.  Paterra W. shared with guests her amazing story of recovery through the Alternative Program. She was brave in sharing how she battled with an alcohol and crack cocaine addiction for many years and even served time in prison twice over drug-related felonies. Paterra said the program taught her a sense of gratitude which led to her now being a recovery coach helping other women in addiction and being employed at the recovery facility where she was once a patient. These success stories are just a few of the many lives Career and Recovery Resources has saved over the past 72 years. The bravery of these men and women to share their experience with the program is evident to just how much it has changed their lives.

Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. is an exemplary organization that is taking a stand in building people up through many of life’s difficulties. Next year, Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. plans to honor Pastor Rudy Rasmus of St. John’s United Methodist Church and Harris County Judge Ed Emmitt for their stand in helping others and breaking barriers.

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