While he grew up in a rural area, a far cry from the metropolitan Houston our residents call home, he is dedicated to being someone they can look up to and finds joy in providing them with fun, creative activities that were so integral to his younger years.
“Western Day puts such a big smile on our kids’ faces,” said Ron. “It teaches them something new, something that they thought they couldn’t do, but can, and I get a kick out of that.”
The big event, now back after being canceled due to the pandemic, includes a mechanical bull (a favorite of our residents), a delicious barbeque tasting, dance contest and a “best dressed” competition. Ron manages to transform our campus into a sight similar to what you’ll see at the Houston Rodeo Cook-Off, and you’ll find both staff and residents take the requested western dress code very seriously.
“Everybody dusts off their cowboy hats, their boots and come out to showcase it,” said Ron.
Even though our clothing closet is not a one-stop-shop for cowboy attire, Ron takes it upon himself to scour local thrift stores to stock up on cowboy hats and pearl-snap shirts to outfit the youth from head to toe.
In the early years of Western Day, there were three barbecue kickoff teams comprised of Ron and two other Covenant House staff members. The unparalleled excitement surrounding the event and the bigger ideas were yet to come. By 2020, they had 16 different teams competing in the barbecue competition at Covenant House Texas.
“I was asking myself, ‘How can we make this event bigger and better? How can we positively display Covenant House Texas?’” said Ron.
Although a day dedicated to fun and fellowship, Ron says that bringing rodeo-style activities to young people helps them on their journey out of homelessness by teaching patience, fearlessness and furthering their drive to overcome anything.
Ron has worked to pioneer many of the daily activities that make Covenant House Texas a special and memorable place for our youth. He also finds great fulfillment in coaching the Covenant House Texas basketball team and putting on the annual talent show to showcase the youth’s passion for singing, rapping, dancing, poetry and art.
Stay tuned for the March edition of The Homefront to see photos from this year’s Western Day!