November 3, 2010
HFFK Encourages Registration and Attendance of National BigTent Conference for Youth Development

HOUSTON, Texas (Nov. 3, 2010) -- Houston-based Holthouse Foundation For Kids has pledged major support of the inaugural BigTent Conference for youth development as a Chairman Sponsor, the highest level of sponsorship available.

Michael Holthouse, who founded Holthouse Foundation for Kids in 1999, is making a special appeal to the greater Houston community, other Texans and those in neighboring states who can get to Houston within a short flight or easy drive to register and attend the BigTent Conference Nov. 18-20 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.


Hosted by Search Institute, the BigTent Conference is designed to attract thousands of youth-serving professionals, volunteers, and young people under one “big tent” to focus on the betterment of kids in every community in America. BigTent targets teachers, school administrators, business and community leaders, elected officials, faith-based organizations, youth programs, child psychologists, family counselors, parents and students. The conference combines presentations, practical workshops, celebratory community building, and a challenging call to action. This event aims to motivate and equip individuals, organizations, and communities to do their part to ensure that young people are ready for college, work, and life by age 21.


Search Institute teamed with Holthouse Foundation for Kids and many other sponsors and strategic partners equally committed to making a meaningful difference for youth through the BigTent Conference concept.  Search Institute is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, schools, and communities.

Holthouse will present two group workshops on youth entrepreneurship and community collaboration:  “Entrepreneurship Teacher Training Roadmap: Connecting Students and Teachers with Entrepreneurs” on Nov. 18, at 10:30 a.m. and “Sweeten Your Community with Lemonade Day” on Nov. 19, at 10:30 a.m.
“The fundamental issue in America with regard to youth development is that there are two halves to the learning equation – one is academic in nature and the other is social/emotional.  Focusing on academic performance only does not guarantee life success for young people,” Holthouse commented.

“We have to teach our youth what is needed to be happy, healthy contributing members of society. Families traditionally have been responsible for helping their kids develop solid character traits such as goal-setting, delayed gratification, innovation, resourcefulness, perseverance, teamwork, and concern for others.  However, thousands of kids are not getting any social/emotional guidance. For a host of reasons, parental leadership is lacking in many homes. In some cases, parents are either jobless or stretched too thin working multiple jobs to make ends meet. The reality is that an alarmingly high percentage of kids are dropping out of high school to seek menial jobs that lock them into a life-long pattern of long hours and low pay.  These kids unfortunately are giving little or no thought about how their decisions and actions now will affect them long-term.  In general, to kids who don’t get a high school diploma and others who think that a high school education is good enough, financial security or quality of life issues are foreign concepts,” Holthouse said.

Holthouse Foundation for Kids supports the growth of organizations that provide proactive programs for at-risk youth. Working with these non-profit groups, Holthouse Foundation for Kids promotes life skills, character education and entrepreneurship. The foundation strives to create opportunities for the youth of America to take ownership of their lives by becoming successful, contributing members of society.  Through these efforts, Holthouse Foundation for Kids looks to the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. 


Holthouse is a co-founder of Prepared 4 Life, which prepares middle school youth for life through fun, proactive and experiential after-school programs infused with life skills, character education and entrepreneurship. He is the inventor of Lemonade Day, a community wide education event teaching youth how to start, own and operate their very own lemonade business. Lemonade Day 2011 is set for Sunday, May 1, and will be hosted in 30 cities around the United States.

Holthouse is best known in the business world as founder and president of Paranet Inc., a computer network services company. As an Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year and a two-time “Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company” winner, Holthouse grew Paranet in six years to 27 offices, 1600 employees and revenues in excess of $100 million. He ultimately sold the company to Sprint in 1997.  Since then, he has focused on philanthropy, investments and a variety of business interests. Community involvement is a significant part of Holthouse’s life, and he has served on a variety of children’s and civic boards.


For more information on Holthouse Foundation for Kids, check out, email, or call 713/626-5511.  For information on the BigTent Conference or to register, please visit