“We view ourselves as aunts, now grandmothers of the Covenant House Texas youth,” 35-year Guild member Beatty Watts shares with a smile.
Decades ago, she first heard about Covenant House Texas through friends and a radio advertisement while driving her kids to school that stated, “the street is no place for a child.” Since then, she and several women in the Houston community, the Covenant House Texas Guild, have had a passion for interacting with our youth residents.
“We [Guild members] are people the youth residents wouldn’t come into contact with ordinarily,” Beatty explained. “We are always encouraging them. We ask them questions about job interviews, their grades in school and their dreams.”
When thinking about the many youth Beatty has met, she reflects on her “why” – her reason for continuously volunteering her time year after year. Before the pandemic, the Guild used to have monthly brunches with residents and remembers one meal in particular.
“There was a young man who wouldn’t look at me or even say hello when we first met. The next month we met, he told me hello and the month after, he was looking for me,” said Beatty. “This was a reinforcement to me that this socialization with people outside of Covenant House Texas was a help to him, and it makes me feel that what we do is valuable and helpful.”
Her favorite memories with our youth residents include taking them to Olive Garden and letting them order anything they want from the menu, going to local museums and the zoo.
“Some of these kids have never seen our side of the menu before,” said Beatty. “We like showing them that this is what they can do whenever they want to.”
Other positive interactions the Guild has had with Covenant House Texas youth include teaching life skills, mentoring them, hosting monthly birthday parties, organizing holiday and graduation celebrations, adopting youth for Christmas and much more.
Next month, at Night of Broadway Stars, Beatty and the other members of the Guild will be honored for their years of service to our residents. Although she is looking forward to the event and is appreciative of the recognition, she is eager to return to volunteering with the youth post-pandemic.
To learn more about the Covenant House Texas Guild and how to become a member, click here.