Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

In The Community: A Year to Build On

I have had several people tell me that Dynamo Charities had a quiet year this year. I find that comment interesting—maybe we did not do a good enough job advertising the many events, as I know I took over half my vacation days this year to attend our events!

We started the year on the northeast side of town with lots of friends with hammers. We completed the third House that Ching Built working with Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to the Dash players that came out and helped build the house, and to Brian Ching, for leading the effort. Ms. Jenkins, the recipient, was out there every day with us, offering hugs and encouragement. Michael Lisch painted a fantastic mural of BBVA Compass Stadium that took him 40 hours over a week to complete.

In April we worked with Tommy Bahama and the Woodlands Shooting Star Special Olympics at the annual golf event in the Woodlands. Golf during the day was followed by a fantastic dinner and auction at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant that evening. Several Dash and Dynamo players came out to play on what was a beautiful day—some of the soccer stars could make a living at golf, others thought hitting the ball into the water was a good thing.

July Fourth brought another edition of Military Appreciation Night. Working with Brad’s Brigade, we raised money to allow service men and women to attend the game for free. This event grows every year, and also raises money for Banded Brigade Outdoors.

To line up with the MLS focus on childhood cancer, we moved the annual Bald is Beautiful event to September this year. Our friends at Dogwood Midtown were awesome hosts again. We had a handful of Dynamo players shave, along with Haley Carter from the Dash, and then more players from both teams came to Celebrity Bartend during Happy Hour.

Some might ask why I shave my head with the players. Two reasons: (1) I would not ask a player to do something I would not be willing to do and (2) just look at my hair stylist, is he not simply fantastic? Thanks for the great style cut Caleb!

In October, we partnered with Kroger on the Classroom Champion program. We asked Houstonians to nominate teachers that go above and beyond the cause. The nominations were narrowed to five, and then from that group one winner got a shopping spree at Kroger with Brad Davis as official cart pusher. A great event to highlight the importance of teachers in the lives of children, and it is always fun to be there and watch the shopping spree go down.

Our annual Dynamo Charities Cup game this year was against Santos Laguna from Mexico. I was fortunate enough to lead the teams onto the field as flag waver, and the team responded by winning the game easily.

We closed the year with the Dynamo Celebration in November. Ricardo Clark was named Humanitarian of the Year for his work with Positive Passes, a program that emphasizes the kids that they need all three (mind, body and spirit) working together to be successful. Rico started this program on his own, and while we are glad to provide just a little help, I cannot stress how much time and effort he gives to this program and to the kids.

A special thank you to Sonja, Joanna and Dave for their work with our Near Post program.

The last, and biggest, thank you for this year goes to Lawrence Pope and Halliburton Charitable Foundation for their support. I was fortunate enough this year to attend their annual golf tournament in Kingwood and wow what an event. HCF support of Dynamo Charities has been absolutely fantastic!

A nice summary of our events, including some not mentioned above, can be seen in this video.

And I close with a good bye and good luck to Maria Duran, as she is moving on to pursue other options outside of the Dynamo organization. Maria’s hard work over her years with the Dynamo is evident wherever you look. She started with the organization ten years ago, one of the last of the originals. She has left Dynamo Charities in a wonderful position for us to continue to grow in the future. Thank you, my friend, for all you have given to us.