This month, I embarked on my annual journey across Texas to bring the Foundation’s Christmas Lights Program to over 1,200 children with special needs in 19 Texas public school districts. This is a very special event for our organization because it brings the excitement of Christmas to children around Texas in need of some good cheer. As I spend hours driving from city-to-city, day-by-day, I cannot help but to be grateful for all the wonderful financial donors and remarkable volunteers who support us each year. None of these events, especially our signature program, Christmas Lights, would be possible without everyone’s generosity.

The Mostyn Moreno Foundation was created in 2006 by Houston lawyers Amber and Steve Mostyn to honor the memory of two caring Texans: Glenda Jean Mostyn, mother, grandmother, sister, and East Texas educator and Texas State Representative Joe E. Moreno, son, brother, friend, and legislator. Christmas Lights, the Foundation’s signature program, was created with the vision of creating a unique educational program which stimulates decision-making, social skills and other important life skills with the guidance of their caretakers and teachers. The Christmas Lights Program gives each participating child an allowance of $50 cash to spend at a dedicated Walmart store. The teachers work with each child in understanding their budget and deciding which gifts to purchase.

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A long-time activist in helping to improve his community, Representative Joe E. Moreno had been involved for many years in the Resurrection Catholic Church, Harris County Tejano Democrats, and the League of United Latin American Citizens Council Number Sixty. He had also held the position of Harris County Precinct Judge for Precinct 62.

The Honorable Joe E. Moreno (1964-2005)On May 6, 2005, Texas State Representative Joe E Moreno’s died in an automobile accident.  Our foundation bears his name. I wanted to take the time and tell you that I know Joe. Now, that might be considered an odd statement when I tell you that I have never met Joe. But, I know him.

You see, I believe you can know a man by the company he keeps.  I know Joe because I know Joe’s mother, Alice. Mrs. Moreno is an elegant woman. She is easily approachable and quick to recall fond memories of Joe. She smiles such a lovely smile when she thinks of Joe. This matriarch holds family dearly and gives me a clear view of the home Joe was raised.  Yes, I know Joe.

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The pictures, the limo, the corsage: Prom is a rite of passage no teenager should have to miss.

Thanks to a generous donation from a charity founded by Houston attorneys Steve and Amber Mostyn, special needs students from 33 schools in East Texas will be able to attend a prom of their own this year. More than 800 students, parents and school staff members are expected at “Rocking the Red Carpet” this month in Harrison County.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Monte Osburn, executive director of the Glenda Jean Mostyn and Joe E. Moreno Educational Foundation. “The kids dance, and everyone has a great time.”

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