FOSTERING COMMUNITY blog
orDINARY PEOPLE MAKING AN EXTRAORDINARY DIFFERENCE
orDINARY PEOPLE MAKING AN EXTRAORDINARY DIFFERENCE
Thanks to the incredibly talented and supportive @peterhealypaintings, Houston Angels now has its very own mural in downtown Houston! Stop by — 813 McKee St Houston TX 77002 — to #BeAHoustonAngel and get your photo taken in front of Peter’s beautiful artwork, in honor of our foster families and youth across Houston.
Read on to learn more about Peter and how he got involved with this special project.
PETER HEALY FINE ART
Peter Healy is an Irish Artist and Illustrator Born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. He’s had the pleasure of living in Ireland, England, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and is now proud to call Houston, TX home, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Peter considers his work to be an ongoing visual echo chamber of the world around him. A lot of the time his art reflects change in life. Some are thoughtfully and carefully assembled painted objects, neatly organized in comfortable space. Others are 2D chaos and a big bang of color.
INSTAGRAM LIVE INTERVIEW W/ PETER
Melissa: First of all, your work is so beautiful. We’ve had so many compliments already.
Peter: Well I’m just grateful to be able to put whatever little talents I have to help a great organization like yours. So I’m honored.
Melissa: Can you just tell everybody a little bit about yourself? And how you got involved in this project?
Peter: Well, I’m obviously not from around here, as you can tell by my accent. I’m from Northern Ireland. I lived on the border between the North and South of Northern Ireland and this is now my home for the last ten years. And my wife and I know DeAnna, and she asked me to contribute and do the mural. I was delighted to do something to be part of the community and to do it for such a great organization.
Melissa: So where did you get some of the inspiration for how you did [the mural]? We knew we really wanted to give you creative freedom. We had the idea of doing the angel wings and the halo, but we just wanted to let you as the artist do what you wanted with it.
Peter: Well, I obviously researched a lot of angel wings and I thought to myself I wanted to put a different spin on it. I was mulling over it for quite a while, then one morning in the wee hours, it came to me and I thought of a combination of water clouds - almost like if you had a bucket of water, throw it in there, and it kind of explodes. I wanted that feeling of a giant explosion of life. And I added the colors as if you had layers of the water exploding, and I wanted to make that in the shape of wings. As you can see, I use bright colors in my work anyway, so I just dipped into palettes I already love and tried to make it a vibrant, whimsical, fun mural for everybody.
Melissa: Yes, I was just going to say - If anyone goes to your instagram page or your website they can see all of those similar colors and see that's your style. It fits in with everything, it's just so beautiful. I love it so much! I can’t wait to go out and get a picture in front of it... some of our team members already got a picture.
Is it your mother-in-law who adopted two children from foster care? Can you just talk about that a little bit?
Peter: Yeah, sure, I mean, they’re distant relatives and my mother wasn’t exactly looking to foster. She had three full grown children at this stage in her life. She saw the girls in need and she stepped in and it was like, see a need, fill a need. So they’re very much part of our lives, we’re all very close. My daughter is three and she looks at those girls like big sisters. They’re just a joy and we’re delighted to have them as a part of our family.
Melissa: So where can everybody go check out more of your work? What are you working on now, what do you have coming up, and where can they find you on social media and your website?
Peter: Sure - they can always check out my work at @peterhealypaintings - that's where I post all of my stuff on my instagram page. I have a studio partner, @mattmessinger9, and we’re going to have a show, if all goes well, on August 1st, so that’s where pieces like this and all of my new work is going. We’re based out of Hardy and Nance Studios near where the mural is, near McKee street. It’s a community of artists in a wonderful setting. We’re very excited and delighted to show off our new works. My website is www.peterhealypaintings.com . Mostly my instagram is where to find everything, I always post my new stuff there.
Melissa: And you actually donated [a painting] for our silent auction. I think it sold for $250! We had multiple bids on that one. Not only did you paint the mural, but also you found the location. Which we were not sure how to do when we first had this idea, so thank you for that too!
Peter: Yeah, I reached out to one of my landlords and their group is called Urban Genesis . His name is Ivan and he very graciously donated that wall for our cause. It’s a great location, easy to park at. They were brilliant and I’m so happy they let me have it. And it looks great with that skyline behind it.
Melissa: That picture that we just posted with the sky and everything, it’s so beautiful. When DeAnna sent that to me, I was like, “Oh my, a perfect picture!”
Peter: I know, I’m so happy when I see it. Every time I come out of a certain side of Hardy and Nance you can see the Houston skyline and the mural is just at the base of it. So it’s just like a platform for the rest of the skyline. It’s just stunning over there, so I’m really delighted that [Ivan] gave me such a prominent and accessible wall. You can see it coming right off the freeway.
Melissa: I can’t wait to go see it. Well, thank you so much, I appreciate all you’ve done for National Foster Care Month, for us, and for this event. I hope everyone who is listening follows Peter to check out more of his work, and we’ll post more details about you and the mural on our instagram. We were trying to do [the reveal] live and it started raining!
Peter: It’s no problem. I’m just delighted to be a part of it. Im honestly so very happy to do something for your wonderful cause. So it makes me feel amazing to get to be any part of it. Thank you.
Melissa: Thank you Peter, and thank you DeAnna for making the connection for us!
Houston is one of the most populated, diverse cities in the entire country. As a chapter, we acknowledge and celebrate the fact that the people we serve through our mission are, in fact, incredibly diverse. They come from different walks of life, and have confronted different challenges, traumas and forms of oppression. We have always felt it was important to have hard conversations about social issues that our city faces, and racism is one of them.
Kids in foster care, many of whom are people of color, have grown up in systems that have failed and are still failing them. Our organization knows that the foster care system is broken and often holds children back, rather than empowers them. We know that so many of them will become homeless, poor, or incarcerated. Kids who grow up in the foster care system are starting 10 steps behind... add additional steps if they are of color and face the challenges of systemic racism as well.
We want you to know that Houston Angels remains committed to being a part of this conversation. We will always support action that enables our children to be heard and have equal opportunities to thrive.
Some of our team members have personally experienced trauma, abuse, forms of racism and oppression. Some of us have already done a whole lot of work to learn about these topics. And some of us admit that we are just getting started and still have a lot to learn. But we ARE a team of people determined to continue learning more about what the people we serve actually need, from a variety of angles: socioeconomic, cultural, physical and mental health, and more. The solution is complex, and ALL of these things affect the outcome.
As an organization, we intend to continue:
Our organization was literally created to get to the root of the problem. We are not interested in silencing realities or bandaging outcomes. We will continue learning, collaborating, customizing our support to each and every family and youth that walks through our door, and doing whatever we can to support our local community in this great city of Houston. Our kids deserve better than these systems that hold them back.
COMMUNITY. EMPOWERMENT. HOPE
These are our organization's core values. We believe in: communities coming together, empowering kids to succeed, and creating hope for the future.
And we believe that Black Lives Matter.
Sincerely, Houston Angels
New parents typically spend roughly 9 months preparing for the arrival of their baby. American culture has developed many different ways to celebrate the upcoming birth of a child, including: pregnancy announcements, gender reveal parties, maternity photo-shoots, and fun apps that illustrate a baby's current size and stage of development. Many first-time parents are thrown a baby shower to honor this new chapter, offer love and advice for the parents-to-be, and offset the heavy costs of all the items needed to care for the baby. Additionally, most working parents are able to alert their workplace of their needs ahead of time, and plan for their upcoming maternity or paternity leave.
Welcoming a new foster placement is not as predictable an experience.
For many people, the holidays are a special time that is filled with decorating, celebrating, giving and receiving - and maybe eating WAY too many treats along the way. We associate this season with warm memories, exciting events, extra quality time and family traditions.
But for children in foster care, this time of year can feel lonely and call attention to their current lack of normalcy...
November is National Adoption month, a time to spread awareness about the adoption process, share the stories of those who have been adopted or have adopted, and advocate for more than 125,000 children and youth in foster care across the country who are currently waiting for their forever families.
This year's National Adoption Day will be celebrated on Saturday, November 23. The first National Adoption Day was inspired by Michael Nash, a former presiding judge of Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Court. Nash would open the court on Saturdays and finalize adoptions to reduce the backlog of one of the busiest courts in the nation.
Read on to learn about one Houston family's story of adoption through foster care...
We couldn’t provide quality support to our foster care community without the local businesses and people who join us along the way. Our Supporter Spotlight series continues with: the Sequeira Family.
Kasandra (right) and her family have been supporting Houston Angels since the beginning, and last week they officially became one of our chapter’s very first Love Box groups! We are SO thrilled to have this sweet family volunteer in our program. Kasandra says,
“I first learned of the Angels program through my childhood friend, Marissa Van Bibber, who is the President of the New Braunfels chapter. I taught for 10 years, and during that time I saw the need for a stable home life to be successful in the development of any child. And these kids [in foster care] have the chips stacked against them already and it’s not their fault.
There are so many amazing charities and causes. But when you support children in foster care, you are also addressing so many other societal issues like suicide, homelessness, dropping out of high school, teen pregnancy, and incarceration. I knew our family wasn’t in a place to foster/adopt, but we could find a way to do ‘something’ .
I am so excited to get started as a Love Box Leader and provide material items, but more importantly, love and emotional support for both kids and parents. We HAVE to support the parents because that’s all these kids have right now.”
Thank you Sequeira Family for your continued support!
We know that children in foster care thrive with healthy relationships, stable environments and community support. Our Love Box Program was created to wrap this community support around foster families, and one of the ways we do this is through intentional giving - the giving of thoughtful, fun and practical gifts and resources that meet the specific needs of the child(ren) and their entire family.
Knowing that the holidays can bring additional chaos and demands for any family, we love to take this opportunity to ease some of this pressure with one-time Love Boxes. So this October, we partnered with amazing donors to provide boxes packed FULL of Halloween items for 3 families on our Love Box Program's waitlist. Our donors purchased the items, and we collected, assembled and delivered. Check out our recap video above.
We couldn’t provide quality support to our foster care community without the local businesses and people who join us along the way. Our Supporter Spotlight series continues with: Christine MacMillan.
Christine works at Chevron and is a member of the West University Rotary Club. We can’t thank Christine enough for the integral role she played in the West University Rotary Club‘s recent $1,000 donation to Houston Angels in support of the local foster care community.
Christine is a native Texan who settled in Houston in 2018. She is mama to Sophie Marie and is currently enjoying the adventures of toddlerhood. Christine was an exchange student to Australia in 2003 through Rotary International. She graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 and traveled the world working on ships throughout her twenties. She joined the West U Rotary Club a few years ago for an opportunity to have a positive impact on the local community.
Christine found out about Houston Angels through her friend and running buddy. She fell in love with this mission to ensure our local foster families feel the love and support they need. Christine said, “I want to see every child as confident and happy as my own… see picture attached!”
Thank you Christine for your continued support!
October 10 is World Mental Health Day - a day when so many people and organizations highlight mental health issues and the need for supportive efforts....
Our Supporter Spotlight series continues with The Bridge Montrose. The church was an amazing early supporter of Houston Angels during our startup fundraising days, and donated $1,000 towards our goal. And more recently, members of the church helped provide homemade meals for our Love Box Family who had just welcomed a new placement into their home.
The Bridge Montrose follows Christ and strives to live together in authentic community, bearing each other's burdens and sharing each other's joys. They support causes internationally and locally here in Houston.
And a very special thanks to Lori Stephens who is on the missions team and connected with us. Lori says, “I love connecting people to organizations that have a heart for supporting the foster system, as I am personally connected to the foster care system through friends and families. I specifically love Houston Angels because it recognizes the need to support the families that pour out their lives as they are providing loving homes for kids in foster care.”
Thank you for your continued support, Bridge Montrose and Lori!