Posted on


Arial Coates
The Houston Sun

It’s that time of the year again! The weather feels just right and what better time than now to get your house into tip-top shape. Just in time for mother’s day, spring-cleaning is an old time favorite. To add on to your own tips, but here are some that are guaranteed to spruce up your home.

Clean Your Gutters
Over the long winter holidays your gutters are sure to collect all kinds of leaves and rainwater. Grab yourself a ladder to climb and a shovel to thoroughly clean gutters and downspouts with. A properly working gutter directs water away from your home. If you happen to see any leaks or damage drainpipes, replacing your gutters would be highly recommended. Also, using covered gutter systems such as Leafguard can help keep your gutters clean and cut down on maintenance

Service your heating and cooling system
Make sure you have your heating and AC system checked on once spring starts. This is to ensure it will work properly through spring into the summer.

Apply fresh paint
Your house’s paint job can withstand a lot but not everything is weather resistant. If you detect any part of the house a few shades lighter than before, a fresh coat of paint is the answer. The freshly applied paint will be a refreshing sight to look at.

Do a spring- cleaning of your pet’s stuff
Spring-cleaning should be extended to all members of the families including the furry ones! Go through your pet’s things to find the items that are damaged or dirty beyond repair. If you must throw something away be sure to replace it quickly

Examine all your fire extinguishers
If you don’t have one, now would be a great time get one. And for those who already have one make sure you check the expiration date on them (yes the really do expire). If they have, don’t delay on replacing it.

Do a switcheroo!
Pick a room and try changing it as much as possible. Take that old bookcase out and try putting in a new chair. A new room can bring about new, wonderful feelings. Also try maximizing your space.
Give your property a brand, spanking new look!
During the winter months your lawn can take a beating. Have a refreshed lawn for spring by getting rid of any debris or trash that may be lying around. Also cut down any trees or bushes that have grown since the fall.

Give your draperies a bath!
Drapes collect more dirt and dust then we would like to believe. If possible, put them in the washing machine. You’ll be surprised at how much cleaner they’ll look (they’ll smell better too!)

Check your roof for possible damage
It’s easy to forget about your roof (like who really goes up there?). But after the winter months a check up is needed. Grab your ladder and look for cracked, broken, and missing shingles. Note any serious issues and get in contact with a local roofing specialist.

Inspect siding and windows for leaks
Be sure to look at your windows and the siding all around your house. If you see a crack, address it now! Do so before the problem gets worse and you can save yourself a lot of time and money.

Don’t let spring shock you!
If you have any failing sockets or flickering lights call an electrician immediately! Waiting could be detrimental to your house- and your wallet.

Posted on


The Houston Ministers Against Crime held a faith based health ministry initiative training conference September 21, 2012 at the Third Ward Multi-Purpose Center promoting wellness and recovery for the community in various areas of health related issues.
Reverend Carl Matthews and Dr. Robert McKinley Gilmore hosted the health seminar bringing in a variety of organizations to teach and guide community leaders and members in the plight to build a healthy community. Organizations such as the Texas Health Institute (Benefit Banking), American Diabetes Association, Health and Human Services and the National Association Mental Institute all gave presentations about awareness, prevention and recovery.
“I brought this conference together to help empower pastors to create innovative approaches to dis-proportionality and health disparities,” Rev. Matthews said. “I realize that our communities suffer in many areas of illnesses such as chronic diseases, heart attack, stroke, hyper-tension, obesity, diabetes etc., and my message to the church is that the message doesn’t change but the methods must change. We must coordinate a community with appropriate partnerships so we can create a community that has access to health care.”
The CEO of Texas Health Institute, Camille Miller, did a co-presentation with their State Director and former State Representative, Diana Maldonado about the Benefit Bank of Texas. This program is a web based portal and counselor assisted program that helps low to moderate income individuals connect with support and benefits. The Benefit Bank serves as a tool to support workers, stabilize families and strengthen communities through programs such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Federal Taxes, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Voter Registration and Veteran’s Education(November 2012).
“The Texas Benefit Bank served as a refresher course for the workers in the community,” said Carolyn DeVaughn, Manager of Outreach, Children Defense Fund. “If the ministers could get their congregations to just put their information online it would be such a help. The older generations don’t really trust in doing that but it would be helpful if we could get our community to get involved and just trust it.”
Jennifer Williams of the American Diabetes Association followed the Benefit Bank presentation. Williams educated the audience on one of the most debilitating diseases that plague the African-American community, diabetes. Discussion followed on how to have power over diabetes, education on the symptoms, prevention and how to fight to survive diabetes through wellness and recovery.
The National Association Mental Institute (NAMI) informed attendees of the many mental illnesses that disrupt the promise of a happy life in many because of misdiagnosis, stigma, and fear. Rev. Gary Eagleton and Program Director, Angelina Hudson, spoke on the platform that mental illness is real, diagnosis is necessary for appropriate treatment and recovery is possible. Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD), Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder(ADHD), Autism and Bi-Polar Disorder were all explored and personal stories revealed to give light on how it affects communities and families.
The State of Texas Health and Human Resources also delved into the community and family aspect as Mia Williams represented them under the umbrella of dis-proportionality and disparities. Williams drilled the audience on subjects such as why people are poor, and why young Black and Hispanic children are coming into the system faster and staying longer. Education, health, location, and assistance became the target for review. Williams urged the audience to open their minds and put away their biases to find a solution to help out their communities while pointing out why many minorities suffer from certain diseases, financial and educational problems.
Judge Michael Schneider of the 315 District Juvenile Court and Henry Gonzales, the Assistant Executive Director of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, spoke in conjunction about families, drug usage amongst juveniles and support systems that bridge between families and the courts. Both informed the crowd that the solutions they are seeking do not involve locking up the youth but finding alternatives such as community services that make the youth become involved in their community. Therapy services is offered to families and are even set up to where the counselors will come out to the home to service the family if they do not have transportation, which is a major issue for many Houstonians. The latest innovations in drug court for juveniles was also presented to the audience as well as the rationality of Judge Schneider, who emphatically expressed that he does not want to lock up the youth but rehabilitate them in their home setting and not just the child but the family around them as well.
The last presenter was First Priority. This organizations purpose is to keep Houstonians in health, body and mind. With the access to clinics and community services communities can flourish. First Priority gave the information for community leaders to spread the word about where people can access the information to find these services. Healthy food, low income clinics, and community centers in your area are accessible through their website
These health based initiative seminars will be a monthly re-occurring event. It is mobile and will be in different churches and community centers. It will go on until December and will start again in January.