Employees in the Houston office of McCarthy Building Cos. showed some Christmas cheer by donating toys to Operation Stocking Stuffer—a toy drive for local underprivileged children sponsored by the Houston Fire Dept. and KPRC Local 2. This year, McCarthy’s Houston commercial group and Houston civil group donated a total of 105 toys, topping out last year’s total of 64 toys. This was McCarthy’s third year participating in the Operation Stocking Stuffer program. Through McCarthy’s “Heart Hats” community involvement program, employees are able to help make a change in the local community. The program is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and recognizing employees’ volunteer work in a variety of causes to ensure that needs are being met in their communities.

Kirksey Architecture celebrated its 30th year of planting trees in honor of its clients. Employees gathered Dec. 10 to plant 330 trees at Memorial Park in Houston. One of the largest urban-park projects currently underway in the nation, Memorial Park Conservancy aims to add more than 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking, running and equestrian use and expand and connect parts of the park that are currently disconnected. For Kirksey, the December event marked more than 10,000 trees planted throughout the Houston area. Averaging around 300-400 trees planted per year, Kirksey estimates that it has helped offset 224 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the last 30 years.

ACE Mentor Houston held its fifth annual Build It Forward fundraiser at Marek’s Houston office on Dec. 3. The charity event partners ACE students with mentors and industry professionals to build outdoor furniture that is then donated to local Houston charities. This year, the students built storage benches, which went to 20 local Houston charities and nonprofits, including the Community Family Centers, Inspiring Possibilities, Friends4Life Animal Shelter and others. In conjunction with the building event, a college and career fair was hosted for students to learn about design career opportunities after high school. The day drew more than 120 participants and raised nearly $55,000 in scholarship funds for high school students.