Founded in 1893, Sheltering Arms Senior Services has devoted more than a century to providing Houston’s elderly population with care, advocacy, and community support. Despite its long history, the nonprofit organization is only looking forward. Between 2011 and 2012, it provided seniors with 128,658 hours of personal-care assistance—including meal preparation and housekeeping—and fed 2,182 seniors a nutritious meal. And their specially designed Adult Day Center, which provides top-notch care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Factor in the organization's more than 20 Houston-area senior centers, where staffers offer recreational activities, health education, and legal advocacy, and it is clear that Sheltering Arms is only building upon its 120-year foundation.
Sheltering Arms' mission begins with its committed corps of staff members and volunteers. Certified nurses’ aides customize and implement home-care plans that include light housekeeping, meal prep, and medication reminders. Social workers advocate for members at risk of being institutionalized by managing their financial and health casework. Volunteers make daily safety checks on seniors who are living alone and organize arts-and-crafts classes, game nights, and dances.
If the Color Fun Fest 5K were televised, it might have viewers wondering if someone had messed with their TVs' color settings. That's because, at one-kilometer intervals across the race course, staffers shower runners with neon powders, transforming them into a kind of collective stampeding rainbow, which is illuminated by powerful black lights during night waves. But participants won't find a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow—or, for that matter, a podium; the 5K run is noncompetitive and doesn't track times. Instead, they'll step into a lively finish-line festival—with music during the run, vendors, and a DJ-led after party—where colors fly through the air and stopwatches are smashed like piñatas.
The celebration draws inspiration from Holi, a festival of colors primarily celebrated in India and Nepal. In the communal spirit of that festival, Color Fun Fest 5K helps raise funds for and awareness of local charities, non-profits, and local businesses. The event also encourages family participation, with free admission for kids age 12 and under and a daytime run.
When Houston Maritime Museum founder James L. Manzolillo moved to Houston in 1979, he found the city to be an ideal location for establishing a living, breathing monument to maritime history. As a host to the second-largest port in the United States, Houston provides a fitting backdrop for an institution that preserves the legacy of the intrepid individuals who explored the waters about which Manzolillo has always been passionate. Housed inside the former home of retired Navy lieutenant commander John Luykx, the Houston Maritime Museum's collection contains 150 model battleships, paddleboats, and submersibles as well as 100 maritime artifacts such as astrolabes, nautical quadrants, and sextants. An exhibit dedicated to the Port of Houston displays the port's history through artifacts and photos, and illustrates the port's significance to the local and national economy. Guided tours are conducted with advanced registration to allow visitors to learn little-known facts without having to forge the naval-officer secret handshake.
In its first annual festival, Houston Oktoberfest pays homage to the centuries-old German shindig by corralling more than 30 different beers from both local breweries and the Deutschland itself. German beers such as Hofbräu, Spaten, and Warsteiner swirl with crisp, effervescent flavors that pair deliciously with German morsels. Diners can also enjoy local seasonal pours and complement them by nibbling on autumn leaves. As participants mingle and sip, they can also swing their hips to the sounds of 10 different bands throughout the grounds. Louisiana’s Grammy-nominated Pine Leaf Boys headline the fest with a Cajun set complete with a squeezebox, raspy vocals, and fiddle, and Houston’s own The ‘71’s churn out hard-rock anthems such as “Confession.” The strains of traditional German music bounce off the nearby carnival area, which features games and rides for children, adults, and sentient lederhosen.
Clean running clothes have no place at Mighty Mud Dash, a 5K-challenge course that beckons runners of all fitness levels to plunge through stretches of mud in search of glory. Friendly competition is encouraged as waves of runners forge a path through more than 20 rugged, slippery obstacles?including wall climbs, cargo net-covered crawls, 30-yard mud-filled trenches, and a sprawling tarp slide.
Though the main race is only open to competitors age 14 and older, a scaled-down 100-yard obstacle dash welcomes children as young as 6 to test their agility and endurance. After the competition, participants gather for celebration and music at the post-race party, where they can rinse off or roll all over an expensive white velour sofa to a soundtrack of upbeat tunes. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefit the work of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a non-profit organization working to conserve Texas's natural resources like its hunting and fishing grounds.
John and Dominique de Menil began collecting art in the 1940s, shortly after they had relocated from France to the United States. It didn't take long for the couple to amass nearly 16,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Tired of tripping over Byzantine statues on the way to the kitchen, the de Menils decided to share their collection with the world.
The result is The Menil Collection, which opened in 1987 and has since become a fixture of Houston's Museum District. Here, visitors can browse priceless artworks and artifacts with origins that span the globe. With its minimalistic exterior and sweeping stretches of glass, the building itself is also something of a masterpiece. This is no accident?Dominque de Menil made sure that its design allowed for plenty of natural light to enhance visitors' experience and help the artworks grow big and strong.