The FamilyTime Foundation, which oversees a nonprofit crisis center for women and children, plans to honor 12 women who have gone beyond the scope of home and family and have made a significant impact on their community. The 12 will be honored at the Hearts of Gold Gala, the organization’s major fundraising event, Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Airport Marriott Hotel. Janis McCorkle of Humble is being honored in the arts category. McCorkle is an art teacher at Riverwood Middle School in the Humble ISD. She also serves as secondary facilitator of Visual Arts. McCorkle has been with the Humble district for 23 years and, prior to that, worked in Port Arthur and New Caney districts, teaching high school and middle school students. She has also taught adults and children at Kingwood College. McCorkle was named Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2007-2008 by the Texas Art Education Association. McCorkle, a Houston resident, said she is particularly passionate about teaching middle-school students. "I want my students to grow into cultured, competent adults. I feel like I can really reach students here at the middle-school level. I love this age of student," McCorkle said. Devon Alexander stepped down as executive director of the Village Learning and Achievement Center, but never stepped away from it. She is being honored in the business category. The Kingwood resident, who now works at Lone Star College-Kingwood (formerly Kingwood College), still volunteers her efforts to help with the Village Learning Center, which serves adults with learning and developmental disabilities. Alexander also works with the American Heart Association where she headed committees for the area Heart Walk and Go Red luncheons. She serves on the board of the Community Chamber of Commerce and is active in the Humble Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lone Star College System Foundation Golf Tournament. FamilyTime is bestowing its education honor on Frances Pelham. Pelham treats her volunteer work for the Friends of the Library in Kingwood as if it was a full-time job. A retired bank manager and a 31-year resident of Kingwood, Pelham often puts in 40 hours a week to disseminate information to the public about the library and FOLK, Friends of the Library Kingwood. Along with serving on the FOLK board as their publicity chairperson, Pelham chairs FOLK's quarterly and daily used book sales and oversees the donation process. Additionally, she participates in a reading and learning program for elementary-school children. Teachers know Pelham as the Mag Lady. When magazines are needed for classroom activities, teachers know to call Pelham. Vicki Eynon is working to keep the Atascocita area as green as possible, and is this year’s recipient in the category of community activist. Eynon is founder of Atascocita Residents Care Committee, or ARCC, a group dedicated to improving the community while maintaining the forested character of the area. She has worked with businesses such as Kroger, Lowe's and Target, as well as individual developers, to continue to keep trees on area commercial property. She has won support from businesses that have either worked to keep some existing trees on their property or have replanted trees on the property after construction is completed. Eynon and ARCC's efforts have resulted in a landscape ordinance for Harris County that requires the planting of trees and shrubs on commercial development in the county. Humble business owner Sevala Sadic is being honored in the entrepreneur category. Sadic has put the business fundamentals of networking and relationship building into practice. As owner of Lone Star Mailing & Printing Services, Sadic is the largest client for the Humble Post Office, printing and processing direct mail projects for businesses, organizations and nonprofit agencies throughout the area. Sadic is a single mom who came to the U.S. from Bosnia. With limited English-speaking skills, Sadic worked in Chicago with a fitness company, in charge of mailing and printing, before moving to Kingwood. After three years of working with another employer, she started her own company in 2004. She is active in chamber of commerce activities and is involved in a number of community clubs and organizations. Linda Alston of Splendora is being honored as an outstanding homemaker. Not only did she and her husband, Larry Alston, raise five adopted children of various ages and ethnic backgrounds, they have served as foster parents to countless other children in need. She stepped away from her career as a hair stylist to dedicate herself to helping children who were abused or neglected by their birth parents. Alston continues to care for three grandchildren who range in age from 10-17. Carla Hopkins of Atascocita has spent more than 25 years helping students with special needs in Humble ISD. Her work has garnered her this year’s honor in the human services category. A teacher at Pine Forest Elementary, Hopkins works with severely handicapped children and their parents to create a curriculum that meets their needs and prepares the students for as independent a life as possible. Hopkins was involved in founding the Association of Retarded Citizens, or ARC, for the Humble area. The organization works to help individuals with disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of the community. She also is active in the Mu Pi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization for women educators. This year’s honoree in the Medical category is Gay Nord, president and chief executive officer at Kingwood Medical Center since 2004. Nord has overseen the expansion and renovations to the medical facility, along with the growth and addition of services, such as interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery, both of which are the only services of their type provided in this community. Under Nord’s leadership, Kingwood Medical Center has seen record patient, physician and employee satisfaction, receiving the Houston Business Journal’s award for Best Places to Work for two years running. Nord was instrumental in receiving funding from HCA for $38 million to add a three-story patient tower and expand the hospital's emergency department, cardiac unit and intensive care unit. She is chair of the Board of the Humble Area Chamber of Commerce and the 2008 chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women event. Dawn Bajalich of Kingwood will receive special recognition from the FamilyTime Foundation for her volunteer efforts in the community. Bajalieh is the brains and brawn behind the annual celebration called Picnic in the Park. She donated all proceeds to a local charity. In fact, Bajalieh began selling Avon cosmetics so she could donate those proceeds to Village Learning and Achievement Center. Bajalieh also coaches soccer at the Family YMCA in Kingwood and volunteers her time for programs at the elementary schools. She started and funded the science club at Woodland Hills Elementary; since that time, Woodland Hills has secured grants to further educate students with a state-of-the-art science lab. She also sponsored and volunteered for youth agriculture programs and the Lake Houston Area Women's Council of Realtors. Another woman in real estate making a difference is Vicki Pruitt, this year’s honoree in the visionary category. Pruitt, who works with RE/MAX Real Estate in Atascocita, enstills her vision for the community – “that the underserved shall be served and that every person will have a warm place to sleep and nourishment for their body and soul.” Pruitt has worked within her church and the community to help those in need. She served as Atascocita United Methodist Church’s volunteer coordinator for the Interfaith Hospitality Network. When IHN closed its doors, she joined a group of people to get Family Promise started. Both programs are committed to serving the needs of the working poor by providing food and shelter at area churches. She is active as an adult sponsor for UM Army which offers teens the volunteer opportunity to repair and renovate homes of the needy. Pruitt also is involved with Saturday’s Child which provides food on the weekends for school-age children and their families. “My philosophy in life is borrowed from Henry Blackaby, who said find out where God is working and join in. That’s what I like to do,” Pruitt said. FamilyTime is bestowing its women’s advocate honor on Viviana Martinez. What started out as a temporary job for Martinez, a resident of Kingwood, turned into a full-time labor of love when she was named shelter manager for the Door, FamilyTime’s women's and children's shelter. Martinez began her relationship with FamilyTime six years ago. Since being named manager, Martinez has put in place a staff that serves the needs of families in crisis around the clock. Co-workers say they enjoy working with Martinez because she is "patient, kind, fair and compassionate." Stephanie Gillette is receiving the “Spirit of FamilyTime” award. This category recognizes women who have gone above and beyond to share their time, talent and resources to focus and spotlight the “good” of the organization. Gillette formerly worked at Kingwood College’s television station. She and her family moved to Huntsville, Ala., late last year because of her husband’s job. Gillett came to Kingwood College seven years ago and, working with two others, was able to bring the community closer via KWC-TV, Channel 42, on the Kingwood cable network. Her background is solidly in broadcast news. Prior to moving to Kingwood, Gillette worked in sports at the Fox affiliate in New Orleans. She said that job never allowed her the opportunity to get as involved in the community as she was in Kingwood. “There was something about Kingwood,” Gillette said. “It was so welcoming and getting involved was a new experience for me. I have to give credit to Dr. Linda Stegall (Kingwood College president) for encouraging us (at the college) to get involved.” And get involved Gillette did. While in Kingwood, Gillette served on the FamilyTime board, was a member of the Humble Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, worked on the Go Red and Heart Walk projects through the American Heart Association and served on the ABBY board. The Hearts of Gold Gala will celebrate the accomplishments of these women. The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner, the awards presentation and entertainment/dancing with music from Easy Money Band. For sponsorship opportunities, table/ticket information please contact Gala Chair Nancy Shortsleeve at 281-812-0650 or FamilyTime at 281-446-2615. PHOTO: FamilyTime Women of Achievement who will be honored at the Hearts of Gold Gala on Jan. 26 were photographed last Monday night at a reception in their honor. Pictured are (back row from left): Janis McCorkle, Dawn Bajalieh, Sevala Sadic, Carla Hopkins and Viviana Martinez; (front row from left): Vicki Pruitt, Linda Alston, Vicky Eynon, Gay Nord and Frances Pelham. Not pictured are Stephanie Gillette and Devon Alexander. See story at

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