Karen R. Hughes, President and CEO, Vogel Alcove

  1. What is your mission or highest purpose? (And who founded this nonprofit?)

The mission of Vogel Alcove is help homeless children overcome the traumatic effects of homelessness.

2. How did your career path lead you to this position? What were some prior jobs you held?

I have always been in early childhood – started out as Kindergarten teacher, then purchased my own child care center, taught early childhood classes at the community center, was Director of Childcare for lab school at Houston Community College, ran an early childhood consulting and speaking company.   Then moved to Washington DC to work for the National Association for the Education of Young Children in a Director and COO position.  From there became President/CEO of non-profit serving young children in Alexandria Va – Vogel Alcove did a national search and found me in DC and I took the position and opportunity to move back home to Texas.

3. Why are you passionate about helping this charity? Do you have a personal story to relate?

The children we work with are the most vulnerable members of our community – I am passionate about giving them a chance to overcome the effects of trauma and work to make sure that they do not continue in this cycle of poverty.

4. What is the most important thing your nonprofit does for our community?

Helps homeless families break the cycle of poverty and stabilize their family – and help children to rewire their brains and get on track to a successful experience in school …in a nutshell – we rewire brains and rebuild hearts and families.

5. What is difficult about your job?

Helping families to break out of poverty is difficult – many times you take two steps forward and 3 steps backwards – but you just have to keep at it.  Working with people in trauma is challenging and complicated.

6. What is rewarding about your job?

Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces each day because I know they feel safe and cared for at Vogel Alcove.

7. About how many people are served each year?

Approximately 250 children, 150 families

8. What percentage of every dollar raised goes to client/direct services?

Approximately 80%

9. What are your critical needs now, besides money donations?

We can always use clothing, shoes, diapers.  Right now we are collecting clothing for the spring and summer season – especially swim suits, swim shoes for our summer camp program.

10. What upcoming fundraisers are on the calendar? Name of event, date and place, ticket price?

Arts Performance Event – May 2, 2020.

Sponsorships and underwriting are available beginning at $1,500. An individual  Supporter sponsorship is $750.

11. What is your facility like?

We love our new home inside the old City Park Elementary School which we rent from DISD and we remodeled to meet our special needs.  The facility includes classrooms, an indoor gym, a STEAM room, a children’s library, a health clinic, a mental health clinic, and outdoor classroom with 3 gardens.

12. What sort of volunteer jobs are available?

We use volunteers every day – individuals, organizations, and corporate groups.  Tasks range from Classroom assistants, resource room sorting, special event planning, field trip chaperones, backyard buddies, and Lunch buddies.

13. Suppose this nonprofit received a $20,000 donation today… where would it immediately be put to good use?

We just opened our new mental health clinic onsite for children and adults – so we would use it to pay for therapy services for the clinic.

14 . What are some goals, and what does the future hold for your charity?

The organization has recently embarked on a new 2 generational approach to working with our families to break the cycle of poverty.  In addition to our solid early childhood services for children we have expanded our services for parents under the same roof.  Our Parent Opportunity Center provides Job Ready programs, Career Ready Programs, Financial Literacy, Parenting programs, networking programs, and a mini grant program.

15. What is the most memorable thing that has happened since you began?

Moving the organization from 11,000 sq feet building to our wonderful 50,000 sq foot, 3 story building plus outside grounds – which allowed us to double our capacity for serving children.

(Republished from Q & A with Katy Trail Weekly, Charity Spotlight.
Featured image of Karen R. Hughes by Danny Campbell.)

SharonAdams

Principal of SocialWhirl.com, eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.