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San Antonio Children's Groups to be Honored on House Tree

Two ornaments decorated by San Antonio organizations that help children in need will be placed Friday on a giant Christmas tree inside the Texas House chamber.

The ornaments will be put on the tree as part of the Texas House District Ornament Project. The project invites all 150 Members of the Texas House to commission ornaments that reflect the unique character of the districts they represent. As part of the project, House Speaker Joe Straus is providing an ornament he received from the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, which is located in the San Antonio-area district that Speaker Straus represents. Speaker Straus is also providing an ornament from the Children’s Shelter in San Antonio.

On Friday, the spouses of Texas House Members will put those two ornaments and others from around the state on a 26-foot Christmas tree inside the House chamber.

“The District Ornament Project reflects the creativity and thoughtfulness of Texans in every part of our state,” said Julie Straus, wife of Speaker Straus and the organizer of the District Ornament Project. “I am especially happy that two organizations doing such good and important work for children in San Antonio will be represented on this year’s tree.”

Children's Bereavement Center of South Texas is the sole provider of grief support programs for children and young adults in South Texas. Artist Enedina Casarez Vasquez decorated CBCST's ornament with flowers representing the young people who come to the Center for help getting through grief and loss, and butterflies representing those who help them heal. Vasquez, several other representatives from Children's Bereavement Center, and 8-year-olds Jada Nicole Hernandez and Meredith Wood will be at the Capitol at 2 p.m. Friday to hang the ornament on the tree.

The Children’s Shelter serves children who have been removed from their homes due to maltreatment. The ornament honoring The Children's Shelter features a lamb, which symbolizes the Shelter’s mission to restore innocence and strengthen families. The ornament also features blue, purple and green ribbons, as well as a depiction of the Alamo. The ornament's creator, Samantha Ostos, teaches art to children living at the organization's emergency shelter and residential treatment center.

“I’m grateful that these two fine organizations took the time to decorate ornaments for the House tree,” Speaker Straus said. “They represent so much of what San Antonio is about: charity, compassion and coming together to help those in need.”

Speaker Straus added, “I appreciate all the Members of the House who commissioned ornaments so that their districts could be represented on our House tree. And I especially want to thank Julie for her outstanding leadership of this effort. She is a wonderful ambassador for the Texas House.”

Also Friday, a choir from Alamo Heights High School will sing holiday songs in the Capitol Rotunda from noon to 1 p.m.

The Christmas tree in the House chamber will be on display through Jan. 4.