Our Main Focus Areas:

12,311 People

Improved Their Education in Smith County

3,226 People

Became More Financially Secure in Smith County

11,255 People

Improved Their Health in Smith County

4,695 People

Helped During a Crisis in Smith County

Our Community Programs:

Provided by United Way
Provided by United Way


Rose City Summer Camps

Rose City Summer Camps is the summer day camp program of The Mentoring Alliance offered Monday through Friday for 10 weeks. Camp counselors lead students who have completed kindergarten through 5th grade through enriching camp programming targeting students from challenging circumstances. Rose City Summer Camp provides a safe, fun, and engaging environment for children all across our region that might otherwise be left unattended while their parents work outside the home. The academic component provided by the camp makes it unique from other camp experiences offered in our community.  The Mentoring Alliance partners with Tyler ISD to provide an action-packed full-day camp experience which takes place on two Tyler ISD school campuses.

Director: Kevin East keast@thementoringalliance.com


Girl Scouting in the School Day

This 12-week Girl Scout program serves 1,200 girls who are attending Tyler ISD elementary and middle schools, 6th through 8th grades. Target schools are located in communities where traditional troops have been difficult to establish due to a lack financial resources, transportation, and volunteers.  The program is designed to promote a healthy self-image and positive social skills while addressing current social issues and trends affecting girls during what is often the most confusing and critical period of childhood. Highly-trained leaders partner with local schools to deliver the specially designed program in an all-girl environment during PE classes during the school day. Girls take part in interactive groups, community service projects, field trips, role-playing, discussions, and confidence and character building activities that they are unlikely to encounter elsewhere. GSSD helps girls to avoid high-risk behavior, develop self-esteem, empowers them to change their own lives and to positively impact their families and communities.

Director:  Rosia Harmon  rharmon@gsnetx.org


Early Education is the Foundation For all

Early Education is the Foundation for All produces a strong foundation for future success of children. Research indicates the most significant structural component of daycares is the level of the teacher’s personal education and specializations. Through this program, Champions provides 24 hours of Preservice training, which is intensive, face-to-face teaching of state laws and basic child development knowledge that must be known to adequately teach birth through five years old. Champions offers high-quality professional trainings on classroom management, lesson plans, differentiated learning models, and other specialized trainings to enable daycare teachers to handle challenging child behaviors. Since 90% of the brain develops by age 4 and quality early education is the foundation for all future learning and long-term success, Champions for Children provides the 24 hours of high-quality face-to-face training required by law to be alone with children in a daycare. During these 24 hours, the clients learn over 100 state laws, ways to address challenging behaviors, activities for proper development, and many more skills essential to a successful learning environment.

Director: Jackie Cannon jackie@championsforchildren.org



Cub Scouting – Clients consist of approximately 1,620 boys in Smith County. Program is year round family-oriented designed for boys who are in 1st thru 5th grades. Boy Scouting – Clients consist of approximately 1,039 boys in Smith County. Program is available to boys who have completed the fifth grade and subscribe to the Scout Oath and Law. Venturing – Clients consist of approximately 253 young men and women in Smith County. Venturing is a youth development program for young men and women who are 14 through 20 years of age. Purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Learning for Life – Clients consist of 1,298 boys and girls in Smith County. Learning for Life offers 8 programs designed to support schools and community based organizations in their efforts to prepare youth to successfully handle the complexities of contemporary society and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation and self-esteem.

Director: Dewayne Stephens dstephens@scouting.org


Youth Development Program

Smith County 4H clients consists of 3,300 youth and 100 registered adult volunteers. All youth are considered “at risk”. Program offers monthly meetings as an opportunity for members to develop life and leadership skills. Club programs primarily focus on community service, citizenship, and leadership through 4-H project work.  Curriculum enrichment programs for schools are conducted by County Extension Agents, 4-H volunteers, and school teachers in order to teach students a wide array of topics ranging from literacy, to healthy lifestyles, to character education.  Educational programs and modules are taken directly to the schools as well as other outlets, such as health fairs, special events, and the East Texas State Fair.

Director:  Skyler Shively  skyler.shively@ag.tamu.edu


Adult and At-Risk Youth Education Classes 

Clients served at The Literacy Council of Tyler are adults or youth (16 years of age and older) who have left school deficient in basic reading skills, lack a GED, and/or do not speak English as their first language.  In Smith County, there are at least 50,000 potential clients.   Serving about 2500 students annually, the program provides basic literacy tutoring, GED prep classes and/or English as a Second Language classes.  These classes are taught by paid staff and trained volunteers. Programs are held at 16 sites in Smith County where it is shown there is a need and reasonable participation occurs.

Director: Whitney Patterson info@lcotyler.org


Boys & Girls Clubs of East Texas After School Program

Boys & Girls Club, a program of The Mentoring Alliance, is a catalyst for transforming generations of young people into productive, responsible, caring and compassionate citizens who will in turn transform the world; work is solely focused on youth development. Successful character development in youth happens when young people have fun, are recognized, have opportunities and expectations, are in a safe, positive place and develop supportive relationships. Programming is divided into 5 core areas: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.

Director: Kevin East keast@thementoringalliance.com



Child Care Program

88% of client population meets low income or poverty-level standards. Program provides quality daycare and pre-school services for children from low-income to poverty-level families. Tyler Day Nursery’s program provides services that meet the educational need of the children; meet their physical and emotional needs; prevent them from being left at home while their parent(s) work or attend school (a setting that places children at risk for abuse and/or neglect); prepare parent(s) to actively participate in their K-12 education (parent involvement in children’s learning is positively related to their future achievements – academically, socially and emotionally); meet the growing demand in Smith County for affordable, quality childcare.

Director: Jaquita Lee tdned@sbcglobal.net


Transitional Housing Program

PATH’s below-market rate rental homes form the basis for the Transitional Housing Program, as families with the desire to improve their financial stability set goals, are provided resources and encouragement, participate in a matched savings program, and are held accountable to making progress toward their goals. PATH’s intent is to work closely with and invest heavily into the lives of these families for this two-year period to allow them to achieve their goals, including housing stability as a new homeowner or in market-rate rental housing.

Director:  Greg Grubb  andrea_wilson@pathhelps.org


Homelessness Prevention Program

This PATH program aims to bridge the gap for families who are facing an unexpected loss of income or added expense such as a car repair or medical bills. Providing one-time rent or utility assistance can prevent a family from becoming homeless and move past a temporary financial crisis. According to the US Census data, almost 17% of Smith County residents live below the poverty line. This translates to one in six adults and one in four children struggling with the effects of the uncertainty that comes with poverty. With so many living paycheck to paycheck, a minor unplanned emergency can mean the difference between making ends meet or facing eviction. With fair market rent being $728 per month, many families are spending up to 70% of their income on rent, leaving little or no savings in order to weather a crisis.

Director:  Greg Grubb  andrea_wilson@pathhelps.org


Employment Training Program

The purpose of Christian Women’s Job Corps twelve-week program is to serve a diverse population of women – all ages, ethnicity, religion, educational levels, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation – and prepare them for entry or re-entry into employment and impart the required process to be followed if higher education is desired. The preparation for employment and college is directly correlated to the educational components of this program, which includes subject-matter expert speakers: attorneys, financial planners teaching practical personal budgeting, nutritionists, auto mechanic demonstrating repairs women can manage. Partnerships with TJC, UT of Tyler and Texas College are first steps in explaining how further educational goals can be attained. The women must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma, GED, or be currently enrolled in a GED program.

 Director: Lesley Jones  lesley.jones@cwjctyler.org


Hope Kitchen Fund

The kitchen of The Salvation Army serves homeless and impoverished individuals and families of the Smith County area. In the past year, 1486 unduplicated individuals have stayed in The Salvation Army shelter, including 226 children. Sitting at a table with a hot meal before them offers the comfort and stability that many have been missing. Those who stay in our Center of Hope shelter, whether for one night or several weeks, receive three meals a day. In late 2016, we were compelled to reduce the meals served to the public from three to one. Now only the evening meal is open to all. For shelter residents who work, a sack lunch is prepared to help them save more of their hard-earned money. Late meals are set aside for those who work past the dinner hour. On average, 3062 meals per week are served. Healthy snacks are prepared for the After-School participants and the Reconnect clients. Our goal is to be sure that all receive healthy, nutritious meals regardless of circumstances or work schedules.

Director:  Captain Bobby Parker  robert.parker@uss.salvationarmy.org

Director:  Captain Nicole Parker nicole.parker@uss.salvationarmy.org



This Habitat for Humanity of Smith County program impacts the lives of Smith County’s seniors, veterans and disabled residents who live below the poverty level and live in unsafe or unhealthy homes. Many of these homeowners retired after working for our school districts, medical facilities, and other businesses that provide services our community depends upon.  The goal is to address the inadequacies of living environments that are in immediate need of repair.  The home must be owner-occupied, and not a mobile home.  The scope of the work to be completed must be within our capabilities. Homeowners are expected to be cooperative partners with the staff and volunteers. Dependent upon the project and constraints of the grant, the homeowner may have to repay a pro-rata cost of the repair/modification.

CEO: Jack Wilson   ceo@smithcountyhabitat.org


Ex-Offender Re-Entry Program

The purpose of the Goodwill’s Re-Entry Program is to provide job readiness training and job placement to men and women who have been recently released from incarceration, be it from county jail or state/federal prison. Every year Smith County receives about 900 recently released prisoners who are on probation and parole, living with family or in transitional housing for justice-served individuals. Those still on probation or parole have three weeks to find a job or risk going back to jail. This is a very difficult task for anyone, much less someone with a criminal record. Very few individuals are released from jail with a job ready and waiting for them, so it’s valuable to have an organization with temporary paid work experience opportunities and an Employment Specialist continuously working with local employers to help them find permanent employment.

Goodwill’s ReEntry Program teaches participants how to accept responsibility for their actions, honestly disclose their offense to employers, prepare for job interviews, prepare resumes and conduct job searches. The temporary job in Goodwill’s Facility Maintenance Department offers hands-on training and helps the participants to gain current experience and a referral which looks great on a job application.

Director: Kim Lewis   kim.lewis@goodwilletx.com



Chronic Disease and Wellness Management

Of those who seek care at Bethesda Health Clinic a large majority suffer from one or more serious chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and low thyroid problems. As a result, the Chronic Disease and Wellness Program was initiated to address these issues. The goal of the program is to first get the disease under control through the provision of acute and chronic disease care. Once under control, our goal is to help our patients reduce or eliminate their condition through the provision of ongoing health and wellness management, including tailored nutrition and health counseling. By taking this two-pronged approach, patients not just survive their health conditions, but thrive and enjoy happy and productive lives.  Over the last few years the program has also focused more attention on patients’ mental health and in 2017, Bethesda partnered with U.T. Southwestern Medical School to implement a mental screening program called Vital Signs 6. This program not only screens but monitors treatment to ensure adequate control of any mental health condition.

Director: Dr. John English   jenglish@bethesdaclinic.org


Children’s Miracle Network

As the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Smith County, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics serves pediatric patients throughout Smith County and all of East Texas. Mother Frances houses a 21 bed Children’s Center that provides a unique environment to promote healing and recuperation of sick children.

Director:  Robin Rowan  robin.rowan@tmfhc.org

Youth Counseling Program

This program at Next Step Community Solutions is offered predominately to area schools and juvenile probation departments. Because of their many school responsibilities most school counselors do not have the time, training or experience to work with the many varied behavioral issues of today’s youth. The purpose is to have our professional counselor work with the school counselor and other school staff to identify and care for those youth presenting mental health, behavioral and emotional issues that are hindering them from school success, at no cost to the youth. Our program gives access to much needed mental health care for individuals who have historically experienced significant barriers to getting this type of support.

Director: Greg Thompson greg.thompson@nextstepcsi.com


Respite Camping

The Arc of Smith County Camps:

Camp HeyDay – Clients served are people with mild to moderate cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities ages 10-75. Program provides a week of respite for their parents or caregivers; offers a week of highly supervised fun for the client; teaches upper-level high school students (counselors) responsibility, social growth and compassion; provides campers with role models to emulate at camp and following their return home.

Camp Kennedy – Serves adults over 21 with mild to moderate cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities. Program provides all of the above and opportunity for adult campers with mental retardation to participate in a more physical camping environment which includes archery, hiking, shooting BB guns, canoeing and other typical camp activities. Campers also participate in the low ropes course to experience success in overcoming a challenge.

Camp Friendship – Day camp held twice a year. Serves severely disabled, medically fragile children ages 5-21. In 2006 this was made ‘intergenerational’ day camp and now includes older campers who no longer are able to attend one of the residential camps. Through various activities they are provided social interaction with their peers and counselors.

Director: Susan Hawkins   shawkins@arcofsmithcounty.org


Road to Mental Wellness and Succes

Road to Mental Wellness & Success, a program of Champions for Children of Smith County, identifies issues in a child as early as possible and offers therapy by a licensed professional counselor to correct problems before they escalate to major disasters, including harm to self or others. Research shows that children who have social and emotional issues in Kindergarten are 80% more likely to require special education and 7 times more likely to be suspended or expelled at least once by 4th grade. Over half of adult mental illnesses show signs in childhood. Ignoring undesirable behaviors of young children can create long-term negative effects. Champions’ LPC offers play therapy, social groups, and individual sessions. Counseling can help children and parents with depression, divorce and separation issues, focus in school, test anxiety, low self-esteem, mental illness, communication, and more. Our counselor provides therapy to children ages 3-19 and their families.

Director: Jackie Cannon  jackie@championsforchildren.org


East Texas Tyler Ramp Project

This program of Tyler Ramp Project provides free wheelchair ramps to low-income older adults and people with disabilities.  The ramps are built exclusively by volunteers following ADA guidelines so they are safe, strong and durable.  These ramps are built without regard to a client’s age, gender, religion, race or ethnicity.  The ramps improve clients’ welfare and quality of life by allowing them to exit and re-enter their homes safely and independently.  They allow many clients to remain in their homes, where they prefer to be, aging in place.  

Director: George Cronin  georgecronin@msn.com


Autism Education and Resources

Autism Education and Resources, formerly East Texas Autism Network, is now a program of Champions for Children of Smith County.  It is a resource for parents and caregivers who are either concerned that their child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, but has not been diagnosed, or whose child has been diagnosed. If a child has not been diagnosed with ASD, Champions coordinates the process of obtaining a diagnosis and helps the family establish a network of resources to help their child reach his/her highest potential. This often involves multiple sources of doctors and care professionals including but not limited to therapy centers, intervention services, respite care, social services, school administrators, and medical staff. When a centralized care plan develops, it helps families move ahead and put more focus on the positive qualities and gifts of their child while hope and empowerment grow for both the child and their caregivers in the long-term. For children already diagnosed with ASD, Champions supplies resources and tools to assist parents with daily and future needs.

Director: Jackie Cannon  jackie@championsforchildren.org


Fresh Produce Program

East Texas Food Bank’s Fresh Produce Program provides a reliable source of fresh fruits and vegetables to our partner agency network, and the low-income clients they serve. ETFB collects produce from a variety of sources. The majority is donated from growers in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, along with several other locations, who agree to donate their abundance to food banks.  In addition to produce sourced directly from growers, ETFB also receives large quantities of donated produce from retail distribution centers, and through our highly successful Retail Store Donation Program, which collects donated food from 57 retail stores across East Texas. Since the Fresh Produce Program is part of ETFB’s core work of distributing food to partner agencies, it impacts virtually all the low-income clients they serve.  ETFB provides emergency food assistance to more than 173,000 clients each year through the Fresh Produce Program.

Director:  Dennis Cullinane dcullinane@easttexasfoodbank.org


Home Delivered Meal Service

Meals on Wheels Ministry East Texas delivers meals to home-bound elderly and disabled clients. By providing this service, it enables clients to remain independent in their homes. This service also provides nutritional support that increases the overall physical health and wellness of the clients, many of whom rely on Meals on Wheels as their main source of nutrition. Additionally, the program meets the emotional needs of a population so often living in isolation by providing the relief of a daily visit.

Director:  Trudy Williams  trudy.williams@mowmet.org


Caregiver Support Services

Caregiver Support Services at Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County is the umbrella that houses Client Services, the Day Club program and Respite Care Assistance program. Our Client Services offers comprehensive case management by a LMSW with assistance from a Community Healthcare Worker. This allows the Alliance the opportunity to walk with the families through their loved ones.  Day Club is respite designed to meet the needs of both the person with dementia and their caregiver. Caregivers are able to drop off their loved ones for 4 hours with our trained staff/volunteers, knowing they are in a safe environment. They do activities to keep them mentally stimulated and we provide a light breakfast and lunch.The Respite Care Assistance program offers families up to 40 hours of in-home respite. The purpose of this program is to help aid the families in figuring out what the next steps will be. This looks different for every family but can include visiting long-term facilities, interviewing in-home care or planning an early retirement to stay home. The 40 hours can be broken down any way that is most feasible for the family.

Director:  Stephanie Taylor  stephanie@alzalliance.org 



Court Appointed Special Advocates 

CASA of East Texas’ client population is 0-18 years old who have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect and are in custody of the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. When it is not safe for children to be with their own families, Child Protective Services petitions the court to remove the children from their homes. They may be placed temporarily with relatives, a verified foster family, or an emergency shelter. After removal, the children are at the center of a 12 month legal process to determine permanent placement. CASA volunteers represent these children by speaking on their behalf in court making sure that their best interest is met. Volunteers are trained to act as first-hand experts on the individual needs of abused and neglected children in foster care, giving them the best possible chance at a hopeful future.

Director: Mary Jo Burgess maryjo@casaforkidsofet.org


Disaster Relief Services

American Red Cross Serving East Texas disaster clients have lost many of their material possessions and are homeless due to house fires or weather related events. Program gives assistance by trained caseworkers based on verified disaster-caused need which may include temporary shelter, clothes, shoes, work-related items, food, medical items, and basic household furnishings. Service is free and available 24 hours a day.

Director: Tammy Prater tammy.prater@redcross.org


Hero Care Network

Clients of the Hero Care Network, a program of American Red Cross Serving East Texas,  are active duty military, reservists, their families, and veterans in the community. Program gives emergency communications services, financial assistance with benefits and counseling to active duty military, their families and veterans in the community. Red Cross volunteers verify emergency situations such as death and serious illnesses and provide reports to military personnel and their commanders. Service is free and available 24 hours a day.

Director: Tammy Prater tammy.prater@redcross.org


Children’s & Family Therapy Program

The Family Violence Counseling Program at the East Texas Crisis Center (ETCC) is focused on providing trauma-informed counseling services that promote emotional and mental health, all the while supporting victims and survivors of domestic violence. The evidence-based trauma-informed approach is sensitive to the individual, family, and child. It works to connect the relation between traumatic experiences and the clients’ current struggles. Through our program, counseling services are provided to families and individuals with the objective of alleviating the effects of exposure to domestic violence; specifically, the trauma that families, particularly children, develop due to their exposure to abuse (physical, emotional/psychological, sexual), neglect and/or drug use. We work to repair the lasting developmental delays, inability to regulate emotions, and disadvantaged social skills. The program seeks to use counseling sessions to foster constructive interactions among mother and children to improve family interaction and communication.

Director: Lana Peacock director@etcc.org


Child Abuse Intervention Program (CAIP)

Clients served at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County are child victims of physical and sexual abuse and their families. Program works closely with a team of law enforcement investigators, Child Protective Service investigators, sexual assault nurse examiners and criminal district attorney prosecutors to detect, investigate and prosecute incidents of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse in Smith County. The program also provides individualized yet comprehensive services to child victims of physical and sexual abuse, child witnesses to violent crimes, their protective caregivers and siblings.

Director:  Terri Smith  terri@cacsmithcounty.org


Trauma Informed Schools

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County is devoted to children who have experienced traumatic events in their lives due to abuse.  The CACSC has a tremendous impact in the healing and restoration of lives for hundreds of children each year.  However, there are thousands of children who have yet to tell their story and start their healing process.  During the fall of 2018, the CACSC developed a Trauma Informed Schools program to train schools in Smith County to promote a student’s ability to thrive in spite of childhood adversities. Many of the challenging behaviors seen inside classrooms stem from stress or trauma in students’ lives. Trauma, whether physical or emotional, can alter the way a child’s brain functions, therefore negatively affecting learning and behavior.  When given the proper support in the classroom children and teens can thrive despite their traumatic experiences.  Trauma Informed Schools empower and equip educators to create an environment that focuses on trusting relationships, safety, and emotional regulation.  These trauma sensitive practices promote resiliency which can change the trajectory of students’ success both behaviorally and academically.

Director:  Terri Smith  terri@cacsmithcounty.org


Children’s Prevention & Education Program

This East Texas Crisis Center program helps children cope with the emotional trauma of their past experience of violence and abuse in the home and adapt more positive social interaction skills. Special emphasis is given to the academic performance of school age children. Early Childhood Education classes are provided to three, four and five year old children to prepare them for success in kindergarten classroom setting. Additionally, working with parents through specialized parenting classes and engaging in one-on-one intervention encourages healthy interactions and better quality of life for both parent and child alike, even after direct services have ended. Pursuing these goals minimizes the risk factor for children to prevent abusive relationships later in life, as either victims or perpetrators.

Director: Lana Peacock director@etcc.org


Safety & Self-Sufficiency Program

The purpose of our program at the East Texas Crisis Center is two-fold: SAFETY FIRST then SELF-SUFFICIENCY. Our program’s objective is to increase access to support systems and legal services that will increase the safety of families and provide long term alternatives to their abusive relationships through crisis intervention counseling and support groups. Domestic violence is best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors that include physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion used by one intimate partner against another to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship.  SELF-SUFFICIENCY: The purpose of job counseling and economic education classes is to guide women toward job readiness and improve skills for economic independence and autonomy through education and counseling. Economic self-reliance is the key component of preventing the return to an abusive relationship.

Director: Lana Peacock director@etcc.org