Thank you to everyone who joined ACE Houston's 11th Annual Build It Forward event on February 10th at OP! In the spirit of our exciting 15th year of mentoring in Houston this year, it was our largest BIF yet, and we couldn't have done it without each and every person who contributed. 

Students from all six of our mentor locations across Houston attended Build It Forward and had the opportunity to learn how to use tools, work with professionals from the industry, experience innovative technologies used in building and design, and give back to their communities. It was an exciting day for our aspiring young contractors, architects, and engineers! 

We're so proud of our build teams, comprised of ACE students, mentors, volunteers, and industry partners, who worked together to make 30 desks that were donated to this year's nonprofit recipients. Thanks to our delivery volunteers who helped make sure the desks arrived safely at their new homes! 

Of course it wouldn't be Build It Forward without DJ Freddy B there to pump up the jams, and we were so lucky to have Jose Gonzalez and his cook team from Taquiza and Eve Powell with Champs Italian Ice back to fuel our hard work through tacos and snow cones once again. We even raffled off tickets to Travis Scott's Celebrity Softball Game thanks to a generous donation from Karen Franklin with the World Youth Foundation. All around, it was another wonderful year of giving back to our community with our hands and our heart! 

Want to relive the big day or are you suffering from FOMO? Check out our photos here!

Did you take photos at Build It Forward? Please share them at the link above or send via email.

We want your feedback! Take our brief survey to tell us about your experience, so we can make next year's event even better.


Thank you to our event hosts: OP Houston!

Special thanks to Sam Marnoy, Jaime Gonzalez, and all our friends at OP for hosting us again this year! We appreciate all the time and efforts that go into creating the perfect venue for our event. 

Thank you to our Build material sponsors!

Not only did MGC, Inc. donate materials for 15 desks for the second year in a row, they helped create drawings and a design that our volunteer teams could build. Thank you to Tony Pace and Rudy Martinez for all your efforts! 

Woodmark LLC is a longtime sponsor of ACE Houston and our Build It Forward event. Since 2019, they have donated time and materials for our projects, including 15 desks this year. Thank you to Chris Stankovsky for the support once again! 

Thank you to our Technology Fair Partners!

Our students (and mentors!) loved our first ever Technology Fair that featured cutting edge innovations from the AEC industry! From drones to robots, and from 3D printers to virtual reality, it was a great opportunity to learn about the future of design and construction. Thank you to all of the companies who joined us and brought a different side of the industry to life for our students! 

Thank you to our Tool Bag Sponsors!

Thanks to our generous sponsors, each of our students took home a fully loaded tool bag that they will use for years to come! We appreciate everyone who helped us put the tools of the trade into the hands of the next generation of designers and builders. 

2024 Nonprofit Recipients

We were proud to partner with the following nonprofits to help us find new homes for each of the homemade desks our build teams made!

Build It Forward Through the years

2022-2023 : 10 years of Building it Forward!

Our 10th Annual Build It Forward was held on February 4, 2023, and it was such a special day celebrating a full decade of sharing the talent of our industry with the Houston community! Once again, our partners at OP hosted us in their space as our teams of students, mentors, and volunteers worked together to build two different options for our nonprofit recipients: mobile work benches and upright tool benches. MGC, Inc. and Woodmark donated the supplies for our teams, and our list of partner organizations included Houston Area Women's Shelter, Boy Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity, and Nature Discovery Center.

DJ Freddy B brought the jams, our very own Jose Gonzalez and his crew of helpers from Taquiza served up tacos and quesadillas, Champs Italian Ice handed out delicious snow-cones, and each student went home with a fully loaded tool bag (thank you to all those who contributed via our Amazon Wishlist!) – it was a truly celebration 10 years in the making. 

Special shout out to our friends at MGC, Inc., Polk Mechanical, and Sunstate Equipment for helping us put together a trades fair for students to experience various careers within the industry first-hand.

Thanks to the ACE Houston community for 10 years of Build It Forward, and here's to another decade of giving back to our community with our hands and our hearts!


When our 2021-2022 Build It Forward rolled around on February 12, 2022, we were so excited to be building in person with our students and volunteers once again! OP hosted the event for their second year, and we took on our most ambitious build project ever. It's a bench, it's a table, it's a SUPER convertible bench table! Despite the challenging project, our build teams knocked it out of the park. Some of our nonprofit partners this year included Gigi's Playhouse, Nora's Home, and the Boys & Girls Club of Houston. During the event, we also offered a trades fair, where several of our trades partners set up booths to give students an opportunity to try various skills with their own two hands. At each booth, students added a tool to their new ACE tool bags, and ultimately left with a full set of tools to use at home.

2020-2021: Build it Forward At Home

The 2020-2021 mentoring year threatened to cancel our annual Build It Forward event. We were not able to meet with our students in person due to Covid, but that didn't stop us. Thanks to the help of our board members, mentors, volunteers, and generous donors from the community, we pivoted the event to Build It Forward At Home. The Request for Proposal from our weekly mentor sessions challenge students to individually design a treehouse for someone who, completely hypothetically, needed a break from being stuck inside their house all day. For Build It Forward At Home, we challenged students to turn their treehouse designs into small-scale models for birds. Volunteers packed up boxes of tools and supplies, and students picked up their boxes at drive-through events. Despite the event looking a bit differen this year, our students did not disappoint -- their birdhouses were creative, thoughtful, and impressive.


Our 2019-2020 Build It Forward event took place on January 25, 2020. Our friends at OP hosted us in their incredible office space for the first time. Teams of students and volunteers worked together to build picnic tables for local nonprofits like Covenant House, Combined Arms, and Helping a Hero. Little did we know, this would be our last opportunity to have all of our ACE Houston students and mentors together in person for almost two years, as the world shut down due to Covid just weeks later.


Our 2018-2019 Build It Forward event took place on November 17, 2018 at Marek Brothers. Our build teams composed of students, mentors, and volunteers worked together to build picnic tables and benches. Our nonprofit partners this year included Star of Hope, Project Row Houses, Friends for Life, and Boy Scouts of America. We also hosted a career and college fair for students during the event. Our friends at BridgeYear set up simulations for our students to try their hands at electrical and plumbing work, and representatives from colleges like UH, UTSA, Blinn, UHD, and HCC joined us to talk to students about post-secondary education options in the AEC industry.


Our 2017-2018 Build It Forward event was held at Marek Brothers on December 2, 2017. Our volunteers and students once again built picnic tables for our nonprofit partners. We also held a college fair during the event, so students could talk to representatives about their post-secondary education options. 


Our 2016-2017 Build It Forward was a celebration of five full years of giving back to our community using our hands and our hearts! On December 3, 2016, we once again were hosted by Marek Brothers, and our teams of students and mentors built benches to donate to nonprofits around Houston. Recipients of benches included the Foster Family YMCA, Bethel's Place Empowerment Center, Summer House Houston, and Generation One. Students also had the opportunity to visit booths at our college fair during the event.


Our 2015-2016 Build It Forward event was held on November 21, 2015 at Marek Brothers. This year we built a bench + table combo to give to our nonprofit partners, like Inspiring Possibilities, The Joy School, and Morning Glory Ranch. We also offered a college and career fair for our students to explore opportunities in the AEC industry.


Our 2014-2015 Build It Forward took place at Marek Brothers on November 22, 2014. Our students and mentors built benches with a lid that opened to reveal storage space, and they were a hit with nonprofits who received them. These partners included Habitats for Horses, Casa de Esperanza, and the Houston Humane Society. We also introduced a college and career fair to the event for the first time this year, and representatives from Rice, UH, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and more joined us to talk with our students about their plans after graduating from high school.


Our second annual Build It Forward event took place on November 2, 2013 during the 2013-2014 mentor year. Once again, Marek Brothers hosted us in their space, and this year we built benches to pass on to nonprofits all over Houston.


Our very first Build It Forward! This event was the brainchild of one of our board members, Angela Cotie. It took place on April 27, 2013 and raised funds for our scholarship program. We built sheds to pass along to our local nonprofit partners, including Ronald McDonald House, Moody Gardens, the Nature Discovery Center, The Joy School and the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.