|Houston Art Car Parade Drives Relationship and Relocation for Greeter|
|Jake Goldstein didn’t plan on meeting his future wife, one of the founding directors of Houston Greeters, when he came to Houston for the Art Car Parade in 2007. He drove his tiki-bar decorated art car across country from California to participate in the parade, which has become the largest in the country. Along the parade route he met Amy Dinn, moved to Houston, they married and the road led Jake to becoming a volunteer Greeter for the Art Car Museum and Parade.
A health care project manager, Jake has conducted several greets for international visitors from England and Australia and enjoys sharing the Art Car Museum with them. Jake is now building a stained glass art car to compete this month in Goliad, Texas, in the Texas Mile Race.
The Art Car Museum is a private institution dedicated to contemporary art. Its emphasis is on art cars, fine arts and artists that are rarely seen in other cultural institutions. The museum’s mission is to elevate awareness of the political, economic and personal dimensions of art. It is located at 140 Heights Blvd and open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information visit www.artcarmuseum.com.
|Former Houston Symphony Violinist Brings Love of the Arts to Greeters|
|Bernice Beckerman used to perform with the Houston Symphony and now she orchestrates greets of downtown Houston, the museum district and the Texas Medical Center.
A musician her whole life, Bernice played the violin and the viola with symphonies in Minneapolis and Dallas before coming to Houston. After retiring from the Houston Symphony, she was intent on staying busy. So she joined Exploritas, a not-for-profit organization and the world’s largest educational and travel organization for older adults. She started the program in Houston and hosted groups touring the city and the arts area.
“It is fun to show off what you know and there are so many things about Houston to discover,” said Bernice. “Then I read about Houston Greeters and it seemed like a natural thing to do after Exploritas because I enjoy meeting people.”
A couple from Russia explored the Texas Medical Center with Bernice and they were impressed by the size of the area and learned it employs more than 70,000 persons. She has also conducted a walking tour of the outdoor sculptures in downtown Houston where she enjoys showing people the architecture and shares the view from Chase Tower’s Sky Lobby on the 60th floor.
“There are some fun things that you don’t always see at first glance downtown,” says Bernice. “Houston Greeters changes the perception of the city for those who haven’t seen it. I enjoy being a part of that.”
|Are You Ready To Rodeo?|
|Need some help deciding how to trail through the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the entity that has defined the entertainment scene in Houston during February and March for 79 years?
Shine up your boots and get ready for the March 2-21 event at Reliant Park. Houston Greeters partners with the rodeo’s Speakers Committee whose members provide greets for anyone interested in learning more about the event or wanting a guided tour.
“The rodeo has so many offerings that the public, in general may not know where to start or specifically what to ask,” said Janice Mayes-Clayton, a Houston Greeter and Captain of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Business Speakers Committee. “The Speakers Committee is here to assist the public and is able to accommodate any interest pertaining to the rodeo – from horticulture, horses and rodeo clowns, to boots and barbecue. There is so much to experience. As former HLS&R Chairman Joe Rentz would say, it truly is the show with a heart.”
All requests for rodeo greets go to Janice and she volunteers her time speaking to groups about the rodeo, its mission and its western heritage. She believes that most people are unaware of the entire scope of the rodeo and the impact it has on generating scholarships for Texas youth. “We are here to connect with Houstonians or visitors and really help them get the most out of the rodeo.”
Last year, the all-time general attendance record was the highest ever when more than 1.89 million people attended the show.
|From Tunnels to Skycrapers: Ken Steinhardt Leads Downtown Greets|
|A retired chemist, Ken Steinhardt has been formulating a great concoction of downtown greets since 2007. Although he never worked downtown, Ken knows the lay of the land well and enjoys sharing it with others.
“Being a Greeter is just a great chance to meet people from all over,” he said. “I’ve conducted greets for physicians from Pakistan, a cardiologist from Syria, a flight attendant from Amsterdam and a couple from Switzerland. And that’s just a few.”
Still the most-often requested greet, the downtown tunnel system is interesting to people from around Houston as well as around the world. Set about 20 ft. below downtown Houston, and seven miles long, the tunnel system changes with various decors and widths. Along with a walk through parts of the tunnel, Ken shares various other interesting sites in downtown.
“It just depends on the stamina of the visitor because there is so much to see,” said Ken. “After the tunnel walk, we often go to the 60th floor observation area of the Chase Tower for a birds-eye view of the city. Each greet is different because it is such a personalized experience.”
His enthusiasm for Houston Greeters is matched by his love of learning more about the city when Greeters share information with each other. “We all enjoy visiting new places in Houston and then passing it on!”
|Janis Scott – A Houston Greeter For Life|
|Janis Scott has been a “natural greeter” her whole life. The enthusiastic retiree has never met a stranger and she is always offering assistance to anyone who may be needing directions. So when the opportunity came to become a Houston Greeter several years ago, she didn’t hesitate.
“I encourage everyone to be friendly to visitors because we all represent Houston to the world,” said Janis. “As a city, we may not depend on tourism as much as other places, but we can share our Southern hospitality and have a positive impact on people’s experiences and memories of Houston.”
Janis is still friends with the first visitor she met as a Houston Greeter. “She was here because of a conference and had never been in Houston. We visited places every day after the conference and I showed her the real Houston. We ate barbecue and Tex-Mex and traveled by METRO bus to city landmarks. We became friends and still stay in touch with each other.”
Her passion for helping others is also evident in Janis’ volunteer work as a Community Associate with Rice University where she mentors students and helps them with many different issues and areas of college life. “I like seminars and learning new things and these students keep me learning.”
Janis hosts several greets and has accompanied visitors to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, jazz concerts, the museum district and Rice University. She travels by METRO bus everywhere and even knows most of the drivers who she introduces to visitors.
“Being a Houston Greeter is the most satisfying and enriching experience and it can allow you to form lifelong relationships,” said Janis. “When people leave the city after an experience with Houston Greeters, they leave with a different and better opinion. It’s a way of passing on your enthusiasm for the city and I am proud of spreading the good word about Houston.”