HOUSTON (Jan. 8) — Even when he was catching touchdowns for the Houston Oilers during the iconic “Luv Ya Blue” era, Robert Woods knew he had a greater calling than playing in the NFL. For as long as he could remember, Woods wanted to help people. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted a legacy that reflected something more than how many times he scored a touchdown.
“Even back in my undergrad days at Grambling State, I was working with people at this senior center, trying to make their lives a little better,” Woods said. “The NFL was never a goal for me. I never even thought about making money playing football until I got drafted.
“Football was a little different back then. I was a fifth-round pick and I wasn’t an instant millionaire, I was just a player on the roster. It was a lot of fun for those four years, especially with the Oilers, but I never went far off my career path. I was even teaching school and looking after people during the off season when I was still playing. I knew all too well the NFL dream can disappear really quick.”
The time with the Oilers was pivotal for the New Orleans native as it gave him a chance to fall in love with the city of Houston and make it his lifelong home. When his playing days ended, he returned to school at Texas Southern and earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling.
Soon thereafter, Woods went into private practice with partner Marylou Erbland and the two quickly realized the vast majority of the troubled youth they were counseling were being sent out of Texas for treatment. This simply didn’t sit well with the pair’s philosophies.
“Marylou and I have always been firm believers in the fact you don’t just help the kid,” Woods said. “You have to help the family as a whole. When you send a kid away and don’t treat the larger family unit, then when that kid returns, he’s very likely to fall back into the same patterns as before.”
That’s when the idea for the Houston-based Center for Success and Independence was born, and now, 20 years later, it remains the premier local facility for residential and intensive outpatient treatment for adolescents whose psychological and emotional disorders, substance abuse and/or history of trauma have impaired their behavioral functioning and adversely impacted their everyday home, school and community environments.
“We can’t give up on these kids, ourkids, from ourneighborhoods,” Woods insists. “And I’m so proud to say we’ve turned around the lives of so many young people in the past two decades. Now we have young adults who went through our program coming back and volunteering to help the current kids we have staying here. They know we changed their lives for the better and they want to pass it along to the next generation.”
As such, the Center for Success and Independence, a 501(c)(3) entity, holds an annual fundraiser to fill in the financial gaps left by government grants and private insurance to insure kids get all the treatment they need to move forward in a positive manner.
Woods’ most famous teammate from his NFL days, Earl Campbell, will be the guest of honor at this year’s event, “Bejeweled 2019.” Media personality John “The General” McClain will host and country singer/songwriter Travis Meadows is providing the entertainment.
The fundraiser will take place February 16 at Alara Garage on 11th Street. Individual tickets and various levels of sponsorship are being offered. All attendees will enjoy what’s sure to be a memorable time with Campbell and McClain, live music by Meadows, food, beverages and tours of Alara Garage, which houses some of the nicest privately-owned cars in Houston.
A limited number of individual tickets also are available at: https://tcsi.org/donate/events/
Sponsorship packages and information is posted at: https://tcsi.org/bejeweled-sponsorships/
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, all financial commitments to TCSI are tax deductible.
Please visit www.tcsi.org for more information.