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Photo courtesy of BEAR...A Resource for CPS Kids.

Featured Article

Roots of Goodness

Learn about four ways Houstonians are making a difference in the lives of others.

The Vine Uganda


The Vine's mission is to empower women, further children's education, and establish spiritual discipleship resulting in community transformation. The Vine serves ten villages, and in addition to offering programs for women, the nonprofit runs The Vine Preschool, a Vocational Tailoring School, and creates products sold as The Vine Collective. 

Houstonian and The Vine founder Gari Meacham's work in Uganda has spanned over a decade. The nonprofit's work has led to sustaining projects such as a pig and poultry farm, a banana tree plantation, Functional Adult Literacy for village women, children's education sponsorships, medical care, and academic supplies for thousands of children. COVID food relief programs during harsh Ugandan lockdowns have fed and supported over 15,000 people in the region, making The Vine Uganda one of the premier organizations in the country. 

The Vine is nestled in a lush, rural portion of Uganda called Kamuli. Formerly known as the hub for witchcraft, Kamuli is now the home of a thriving development center and Baby Cottage for abandoned kids. This fall, The Vine opens its doors to a newly constructed Baby Home that will serve orphans' needs, as the number of unwanted pregnancies tripled since the first COVID lockdown. 

Meacham traveled to Uganda for the first time over ten years ago, and she had no idea the dream of helping people in the African country would bloom into a reality. The Vine is impacting thousands--and continues to grow as they complete their vision for The Vine Village Primary School and Vocational Training Center.




Richard Harris

Founder of Great Health and Wellness Podcast



Why did you start Great Health and Wellness?

I worked full-time at a large practice in Houston and felt like I was not making a difference; I saw up to 30 patients a day in 15-minute time slots. I felt like I was working in fast food medicine that only treated symptoms and did not address the root cause of illness or prevent disease. The medical system here is exceptionally reactive. We have the resources and the knowledge to be proactive, to prevent disease before it happens. I began to think about what kind of doctor I should be to make myself proud, and the answer was to focus on preventative health and lifestyle medicine. What we do daily can either hurt our health or add to our health, and I wanted to help people make investments in their minds, body, and spirit.


What is your ultimate goal for the podcast?

The main goal of the podcast is to help create informed health consumers. Most people know more about their cell phones or their cars than they do about their bodies. How can you make a crucial decision about your health without fundamental knowledge of how your body works? I wanted to empower people to take control of their mental, physical, and spiritual health and see how every system in the body is connected.  


What specific areas of wellness does your podcast cover?

Wellness and health can mean a myriad of things, and my podcast reflects that. Health is an accumulation of how we interact with our environment and how we think about that environment. If you break health into three essential elements, it's mental, physical, and spiritual. We also cover relationships, nutrition, exercise, supplements, energy medicine, and clinical research. I try my best to present the information so that everyone can understand it.



BEAR...A Resource for CPS Kids and

Heart Gallery Houston.


Each day, over 3,000 children in Harris County, the largest county in Texas, wait for a family and a place to call home. Until now, Houston has been without BEAR's most impactful initiative, Heart Gallery Houston. Heart Gallery Houston is a traveling photographic exhibit and community education and awareness initiative created to help find forever homes for children in foster care awaiting adoption. With the help of local businesses and professional photographers who volunteer their time, these heartfelt canvas photos bring life to the faces of children that long to find a forever family and a life of stability and love.

Studies show that in communities with an established Heart Gallery, the hardest-to-place children go from a one percent chance of being adopted to more than a 60 percent chance of adoption due to their photo being displayed in the traveling exhibit. Professional photographer and current BEAR volunteer, Barbara Perlick, has grown very passionate about Heart Gallery Houston's mission and children. Perlick incorporates tangible elements that relate to each child's interests or hobbies into their photo using her creative talent. "I hope that by telling each of their stories through my photography, potential parents will get a glimpse of a child's personality and feel more connected based on their common interests," said Perlick. "Volunteering with Heart Gallery Houston has been an incredible experience as I've had the opportunity to spend time with these fantastic children.

I can't think of anything more rewarding than potentially helping a child find a loving forever home. I encourage fellow philanthropists, creatives, business owners, and Houstonians to get involved in any way they can." 

Belong Kitchen 

Village Towers Plaza

9655 Katy Freeway, Ste 3105

Kim Brown founded Belong Kitchen when she discovered the lack of opportunities for her daughter after her high school graduation. She wanted Belong Kitchen to be where young adults with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) could find dignified and meaningful paid employment in a nurturing environment. 

How did you start Belong Kitchen?

We started in my house while we were looking for a permanent space. Finding our location took a lot longer than we thought, and then COVID hit, so we continued cooking out of my home until we opened the permanent kitchen in September.

How many people do you have currently working in the kitchen?

Right now, we have about 30 young adults with IDD, and we have 75 adult volunteers that support them in the kitchen.

How does Belong Kitchen work?

We prepare one meal per day and operate on a grab-and-go, first-come, first-serve basis. No pre-ordering is necessary, just come in and see the meal for the day and take it home, and pop it in your oven. We offer coffee and pastries in the morning, Mondays through Thursdays, and breakfast tacos on Friday and Saturday. 

What is your best-selling dinner so far?

Our Chicken Enchiladas and King Ranch Casserole are our most popular dinners. The community support has been outstanding - we sell out every night, and we are just trying to ramp up production to keep up with the demand. The best way to find out what we will be serving for the week is to get our newsletter or follow us on Instagram. 

  • Photo courtesy of the Vine Uganda
  • Photo Credit: Marlo Wise Photography
  • Photo courtesy of Dr. Richard Harris.
  • Photo courtesy of BEAR...A Resource for CPS Kids.