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To guide low-income youth in Corpus Christi, Texas toward pathways of success.  Our development programs embrace the dignity of the person through focusing on academics, character development, sports, individual attention and parental engagement.

WSHH is an Educational and Recreational Youth Center that serves 1-6 grade students who are from low income families in the Corpus Christi area. The Center provides academic enhancement, character formation, career opportunities, extra-curricular activities, and organized sports





Our Vision

West Side Helping Hand’s future will continue to advance new ideas and services that profoundly improve life for the youth on the West Side of Corpus Christi.            

We envision a community where at-risk children are hopeful and excited about their futures, and confident and capable of realizing their full potential in school and later in life. They build healthy and respectful interpersonal relationships with family and friends.

Our Future

As West Side Helping Hand continues to grow as a service to Corpus Christi’s youth and families, the Benefactors, Board of Directors and staff believe the time is right to develop and share a forward-looking vision with the community at large.  WSHH’s vision is rooted in practical, real-life wants and needs. It reflects high ideal of love and hope – the hope for a highly desirable future for our youth that will bring out the best in themselves, their families and our community.

Board of Directors


Tom W. Pauken


Mr. Pauken is a businessman, lawyer, and published author. He served on President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff and is a former member and chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission. As chairman, through May 2012, Mr. Pauken oversaw the development of the Texas Back to Work program and the Texas Veterans Leadership Program (TVLP). Earlier, he served as chairman of the Texas Republican Party from 1994 to 1997.

Mr. Pauken received a BA in political science in 1965 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. From 1967 to 1970, he served in the army with a tour of duty in Vietnam. Mr. Pauken obtained his Juris Doctor degree from SMU at Dallas in 1973.

Dr. Sean Hutzler

Dr. Sean Hutzler is an Emergency Medicine physician in Corpus Christi. He completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine at Corpus Christi’s Christus Spohn Hospital, at Memorial and Shoreline, in 2018.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Hutzler received a BA in History from Texas A&M University at College Station in 2010. His medical degree was received from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2015. He moved to Corpus Christi in 2015. Here, he met his wonderful wife Betsy, with whom he has two beautiful children.

Martin Schoonover

Major Martin Schoonover retired from the United States Air Force after 22 years of service.  Presently, he is the CEO of Oak Tree Wealth Management.  Prior to his creation of the Oak Tree Wealth Management firm, he was the principle of Most Precious Blood Catholic Elementary School. 

Major Schoonover has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Jorge Mendizabal


Dr. Jorge Mendizabal, MD, is a Neurology Specialist in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Christus Spohn Hospital, Corpus Christi Memorial, and Corpus Christi Medical Center. He has authored numerous publications in his field of specialty. Dr. Mendizabal has been in practice for more than 25 years.

Dr. Mendizabal graduated with honors from medical school in 1991, receiving his medical degree from the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Faculty of Medicine. He interned at the University of South Alabama (neurology) and the Baptist Medical Center South (internal medicine).

Diane Leonetti LaRue

Diane in a member of the Board of Directors of the Corpus Christi American Heart Association and a member of the Westside Helping Hand board of Directors. She also is a member of Downtown Rotary and has served countless hours as a volunteer for charitable causes around the Coastal Bend, working with the business community in a support role.

Diane was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She moved to South Texas in 1994 with her family after her husband, John, was named Executive Director of the Port of Corpus Christi. Diane is a proud wife and mother to their four adult sons. Much of her family time revolves around her 96-year-old mother, who now lives with Diane and John. She dedicates the rest of her time, extensive knowledge, and experience, to helping others. She is grandmother to four grandchildren and friend to many. With husband John now serving as CEO of the United Chamber of Commerce after his retirement from the Port of Corpus Christi, she enjoys spending spare time with the family’s 4 rescue dogs and dropping by the occasional estate sale. Her friends say she is a fantastic example of wisdom, leadership, and tenacity who always is willing to lend support.