The Arc of Katy Announces 2020 Hometown Heroes

Katy Christian Ministries (KCM) and Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics team leaders Don Wolf and Sandi Dancel have been selected as Katy Area Hometown Heroes to be recognized by The Arc of Katy at its April 3 annual gala at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside.

The Arc of Katy launched the Katy Area Hometown Heroes program in 2018 to demonstrate the organization’s pride in the community and to recognize those who make it a great place to live for its members, program participants and their families. Both KCM and Katy Wolf Pack’s Wolf and Dancel were selected by a group of Katy area citizens from among nominations submitted to The Arc of Katy.

KCM will be honored as the Hometown Hero for A Great Place to Live for the support it provides to 12,700 local people annually through 20 programs that make up the organization’s four core service streams: social services, food pantry, crisis center and resale store.

“Many people have the misconception that Katy does not have need for services like those offered by KCM,” said KCM executive director Deysi Crespo. “However, the need is here and prevalent, and there is no better way to serve than to help those in our own back yard who may be going through various hardships.”

Beginning in 1984, the non-profit KCM has grown and adjusted to meet the needs of the area through a variety of programs such as crisis hotline, counseling, food fairs, school supplies, job readiness, health benefits and many more.

“As a Christ-centered ministry that loves and meets people right where they are, our programs are a beacon of hope for those in darkness,” said Crespo of the organization that utilizes 91 cents out of every dollar to directly support its programs. “As we engage with our families, it is our goal to spread God’s love though our actions, by listening, comforting, making connections and providing tangible resources to meet various needs.”

Meeting the needs of others over the course of their lives also is the reason Don Wolf and Sandi Dancel were selected as the Katy Area Hometown Heroes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). Wolf and Dancel both taught special education. Both worked different jobs that benefit and support individuals with I/DD. But perhaps most impressive is the fact that both have led the Katy Wolf Pack
Special Olympics program for 21 years. Over that time, the Katy Wolf Pack has become the state’s largest Special Olympics team with around 250 athletes.

“My favorite thing about working with the individuals with I/DD is being able to put a smile on their faces,” said Wolf, who, on behalf of Katy Wolf Pack, also served as a torch bearer for the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay Team. “I would encourage others to treat those with I/DD like they would treat anyone else because I prefer to see differing abilities instead of disabilities.”
Dancel concurred, “You learn not to put limitations because our participants constantly surprise you with what they accomplish.”

Both Wolf and Dancel became interested in individuals with I/DD when they became acquainted with children with I/DD while in school. Wolf was a senior in high school when he worked with a young girl with Down syndrome. “That child inspired me to get my college degree in Special Education,” he said.

Dancel first met children with specials needs when two of her elementary friends had sisters with I/DD. Those interactions planted a seed in her that led to a life of mostly working with those with I/DD.

“How could you not love working with people with I/DD?” she said. “Every day is an adventure that is filled with honesty, love, laughter and learning.”

Their impact on the Katy community continues when both KCM and Wolf and Dancel are recognized at The Arc of Katy’s 2020 Gala Celebrating Hometown Heroes on April 3 at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside. For more information about The Arc of Katy 2020 Gala and opportunities for sponsoring, underwriting, donating auction items or attending, please visit the event website here.

Funds generated from the gala will support ongoing delivery of high quality, safe, affordable programs that provide skills development, social enrichment and community service activities for adults and teens with I/DD. As the Katy Area community and special needs programs in area schools grow, additional funding is needed to expand services and resources for more youth and adults with I/DD and their families.

The Arc of Katy Announces Founder’s Award, Volunteers of Year honorees

The Arc of Katy today announced its 2020 honorees for the Ann Davis Founder’s Award and Volunteers of the Year. The honorees will be recognized April 3 at The Arc of Katy’s 2020 Gala Celebrating Hometown Heroes at the Omni Houston Westside.

Therese Lattal will be recognized as The Arc of Katy Ann Davis Founder’s Award recipient. Don and Sheryll Butler will be honored as the organization’s Volunteers of the Year.

“The Arc of Katy is proud to recognize Therese Lattal and the Butlers for the amazing contributions they have made to the quality and growth of our organization,” said Fred Shafer, president of The Arc of Katy. “As the need for our services continues to grow, we can meet those needs with first class programming thanks to the efforts of supporters like these.”

The Arc of Katy provides opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to enable them to be included as respected and active members of the community throughout their lifetimes. 

“It’s such a blessing to work with the amazing individuals at The Arc of Katy,” said Lattal, who has supported the organization in a variety of roles during the past 15 years.

Lattal has served as a volunteer and as both an instructor and director for The Arc of Katy Day Program for adults and teens with I/DD.  In 2013, after hearing pleas from parents ‘to keep their children and adults moving’, Lattal started the Be Strong Program. She worked with Rhonda Johnstone (2019 Ann Davis Founder’s Award recipient) to develop an exercise program for participants in The Arc of Katy Day Program. The Be Strong Program now includes aquatics classes (both therapeutic and aerobic) and access to treadmills, stationary bikes, weights and various other muscle strengthening equipment. 

“Our goal is to improve our participants’ stamina, flexibility, balance and self-esteem,” said Lattal of the Be Strong Program. “It has been such a joy to see this program grow and to see individuals’  self-confidence and physical well-being improve.”

Over the past 15 years, Lattal has seen The Arc of Katy Day Program grow from eight participants to more than 50.

The Arc of Katy 2020 Volunteers of the Year, Don and Sheryll Butler, also became involved with the organization 15 years ago, when they started searching for an adult day program for their son Keith.

“The Arc of Katy was a great fit for us, and we had no idea how much it would change our lives,” Sheryll Butler said. “We are grateful for the experiences Keith has had at The Arc of Katy which gives participants the opportunity to socialize, learn, make new friends and be a part of their community. We are most amazed by the compassionate staff and the attention and care they give to all participants.”

The Butlers have volunteered for numerous events and projects with The Arc of Katy, such as the Color Run for a Cause, the Barn Dance, the Piccadilly Market and even “some labor-intensive moving of supplies”.

The Butlers and Lattal will be honored at The Arc of Katy Gala April 3 at the Omni Houston Westside. For more information about The Arc of Katy 2020 Gala and opportunities for sponsoring, underwriting, donating auction items or attending, please visit the event website here:  https://thearcofkaty.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/TheArcofKaty2020Gala/tabid/1110283/Default.aspx. The Gala is The Arc of Katy’s major fundraiser for the year. Funds generated from the Gala will support ongoing delivery of high quality, safe, affordable programs that provide skills development, social enrichment and community service activities for adults and teens with I/DD. As the Katy Area community and special needs programs in area schools grow, additional funding is needed to expand services and resources for more youth and adults with I/DD and their families.

            For more information, contact Margaret Laney at 832.541.3809.

The Arc of Katy is a 501(c)(3) under federal tax guidelines.  Our mission is to provide opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) that enable each person to be included as a respected and active member of their community throughout their lifetime.

The Arc of Katy announces Sandi Dancel as Day Program Coordinator

The Arc of Katy Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Sandra (Sandi) Dancel has been named Day Program Coordinator effective Dec.12, 2019. In this role, Sandi is responsible for coordinating and administering the day-to-day operation of The Arc of Katy Day Program and Summer Program for adults and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Program Coordinator ensures that the Day Program provides quality, age-appropriate and engaging activities.

Sandi joined The Arc of Katy as a part-time instructor in 2019. She worked previously as office manager for Hands-on Tasks, a para-educator for Katy Independent School District and office manager for Avery Reporting. Since 1999, Sandi also has worked as a volunteer with Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics, where she is now Head of Delegation for a Special Olympics team of over 200 athletes.

A native of Iowa, Sandi moved to Colorado in 1968, and then to Katy in 1993. She attended Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Arapahoe Community College in Denver, Colo. Her studies focused on Special Education, Victim Advocacy and Business Administration.

The Arc of Katy ornament at Texas State Capitol

State Representative Gina Calanni invited The Arc of Katy to decorate the District 132 ornament for the Christmas tree on display during the winter holiday season at the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.

The Arc of Katy participants Brandon, Star, Aryn and Mary joined our volunteer artist in residence Liz Mason in creating the ornament.

2020 Gala announced with call for sponsors, underwriters, donors, volunteers

All are invited to participate as sponsors, underwriters, donors, attendees or volunteers in The Arc of Katy 2020 Gala – a fund-raising social event Friday, April 3, 2020, that supports programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.   

This year’s Gala committee is planning another memorable evening of fine dining and entertainment at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, according to Fran Dahl, who is chairing the 2020 Gala Planning Committee along with Cherie Duddridge and Krista Kiblawi.

“We invite individuals, companies and organizations in our community to consider supporting those with I/DD by becoming a Gala Sponsor or Underwriter or as a donor for our Live or Silent Auctions,” Dahl said. “We also are seeking volunteers to assist with various aspects of planning and carrying out the event.”   

The Gala is The Arc of Katy’s major fundraiser for the year, according to Fred Shafer, President of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Katy. “The funds generated from our Gala support high quality, safe, affordable programs that provide skills development, social enrichment and community service activities,” he says.

”Broad support from our community allows The Arc of Katy to continue our current day program, social and recreational events, and other programs for individuals with I/DD,” Shafer says. “Net revenues from the Gala in 2019 were about $80,000 and the 2020 goal is to generate at least $100,000. We need additional funding to maintain and expand our programs and resources for more youth and adults with I/DD and their families in our community.”  

Event sponsor, underwriting, live or silent auction and other donation commitments made by February 17, 2020, will guarantee recognition in pre-Gala promotions and print materials on the evening of the event. Sponsor, underwriting and donation forms are available online at The Arc of Katy 2020 Gala Website here

If interested in volunteering or if you have any other questions, please contact the committee chairs at Gala@TheArcofKaty.org or call The Arc of Katy at 832.754.9802. 

 

Dr. Karen Jaggers presents information to assist families of youth with autism

Dr. Karen Jaggers, guest speaker for The Arc of Katy Empowerment Through Knowledge (ETK) educational event in October, makes her presentation, “Surviving the Roller Coaster of Life with Autism,” available here for those who want it for future reference who attended and also those who were unable to attend.  Her presentation is one of four ETK sessions hosted by The Arc of Katy in the past year. Check our website for future sessions to be scheduled in 2020. 

“Hosting ETK sessions for family members living with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (IDD) is an important part of our mission,” said Fred Shafer, President of The Arc of Katy. “This ETK session was especially helpful because when a child with autism is introduced into a family, the dynamics often change dramatically.”

As a parent of a son on the autism spectrum, as well as a counseling professional, Dr. Jaggers presented a unique perspective of effective strategies to maintain sanity, marriage and family. “Living with someone on the autism spectrum brings additional challenges and stress to life,” Dr. Jaggers said. “So it’s important to have strategies for dealing with these challenges.”

Dr. Jaggers, a Licensed Professional Counselor and partner of Stokan, Jaggers and Associates, has dedicated the past 15 years of her life to helping families and individuals in the Katy and Houston area as a disability advocate, behavior and educational consultant, speaker, and group leader specializing in helping children on the autism spectrum and their families. Additionally, Dr. Jaggers is co-founder and past president of Katy Autism Support, a member of the Katy ISD Special Education Advisory Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals of Houston.  She holds a holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, a Masters in Mental Health Counseling, and a PhD in Behavioral Sciences.

The Arc of Katy engages in #GivingTuesdayKaty and worldwide day of giving

The Arc of Katy and 10 other nonprofits are joining with #GivingTuesdayKaty as part of a global day of giving taking place Tuesday, Dec. 3 — the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States — to harness the collective power of people, communities and organizations to encourage giving and celebrate generosity worldwide.

“This year #GivingTuesdayKaty is not just focusing on donations; it is also focusing on people wanting to volunteer with an organization in the Katy community,” said Sarah Beaton, organizer for #GivingTuesdayKaty. “Volunteering is an opportunity for the people of Katy to give back to the nonprofits that serve their community.”

Month-long activities of #GivingTuesdayKaty will build up to a family-focused community event 5:30 pm to 8 pm Dec. 3 at No Label Brewery, 5351 1st St., Katy, at which The Arc of Katy and other nonprofits will share information on their organizations, enjoy food trucks and entertainment, and participate in fun activities to promote community spirit and volunteerism.

Activities and promotions for #GivingTuesdayKaty kicked off with a press conference Oct. 29 at which City of Katy Mayor Bill Hastings and Councilman Chris Harris delivered a proclamation from the city recognizing the day of caring and promoting community participation. #GivingTuesdayKaty kicks off the charitable season in the United States and globally, when many people focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

“Because of generosity of our community, The Arc of Katy continues to open doors of opportunity for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families,” said Fred Shafer. “We rely on volunteers and funds generated from events such as #GivingTuesdayKaty to maintain high quality, safe, affordable programs that provide skills development, social and recreational experiences for our participants. Also, our program participants enjoy being engaged in community service; participating in #GivingTuesdayKaty events is another opportunity for us to show appreciation to the Katy community and help others.”

In addition to The Arc of Katy, nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesdayKaty include Attack Poverty Friends of Sundown, Carrie’s Heart, Christ Clinic, Clothed by Faith, Compassion Katy, Hope Impacts, Katy Responds, Krause Children’s Residential, Nerdy Girl Success and The Ballard House.

 

Family, friends, “pardners” invited to Barn Dance

The Arc of Katy will hold our annual Barn Dance, 1 to 3:30 pm, Sunday, Nov. 10.  Family, friends and community partners are invited to purchase admission, sponsor the event or donate to support a program participant.

The family-friendly event will be held at 26855 Westheimer Parkway, Katy, Texas 77494.  Admission is $25 per person or $100 for a family of four or more.  Also, family and friends can sponsor individual participants of The Arc of Katy with Boot Scootin’ Buddy donations of $25 or more.  And we are seeking event sponsors who can contribute $3,000, $1,500 or $500 to help underwrite costs of the Barn Dance.

“The event includes music, dancing, cake walk, games, raffles, socializing and great food,” says Carolyn Kares, The Arc of Katy Program Committee co-chair who also leads planning of the 2019 Barn Dance. “Event proceeds will be used to fund The Arc of Katy’s day and summer programs, social events and activities for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that they have the opportunity to be fully engaged in our community.”

“Instead of sitting isolated at home, our program participants are active members of their community, having fun with friends, visiting community attractions, participating in recreational events and activities and conducting community service projects,” Kares said. “We rely on community support including direct donations and various fund-raising events so that we can maintain and expand the high quality, affordable programs that provide recreational, social and life skill development opportunities in a healthy, safe and fun environment for people with IDD who live in and near Katy.”

The Arc of Katy is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that provides opportunities for people with IDD to be included as respected and active members of their community throughout their lifetimes.

Sponsor or register and purchase admission to the Barn Dance here.

 

Willie’s Grill and Icehouse Spirit Night for The Arc of Katy on Tuesday, Sept. 24

Visit Willie’s Grill and Icehouse for dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 4 pm to closing and let your Willie’s cashier know you are dining in support of The Arc of Katy. Willie’s will then donate 15 percent of your check to The Arc of Katy programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please invite your family, friends and neighbors.  Willie’s Grill and Icehouse Katy is located at 19905 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX, 77094.