Members updated on The Arc of Katy’s current state and future focus

About 40 members of The Arc of Katy participated in the online Annual General Meeting on Sept. 15, receiving updates on the organization’s governance, current state of affairs and 2020-2023 strategic plan.

The Arc of Katy President Fred Shafer presided over the meeting; Board member Amy Campbell provided the invocation; Board member Fran Dahl presented the Board Development Committee’s recommendations for Election of Board of Directors; and Treasurer Mike Lattal provided a review of the organization’s financial situation and budget plans.

Re-elected to the Board of Directors were Cherie Duddridge, Don Elder, Ida Faye Elder, Carolyn Kares, and Shafer. Continuing their terms as members of the Board are Donna Bode, Campbell, Ellen Candito, Dahl, Pat Doucette, Amber Jarvis, Carolyn Kares, Krista Kiblawi, Margaret Laney, Lattal, Mary McGovern, and Marchelle Peters. Officers are Shafer, President; Duddridge, President Elect; Lattal, Treasurer; and Candito, Secretary.

Shafer recognized and thanked Bode for serving as longtime secretary for The Arc of Katy. She passes that role to Candito and remains on the Board of Directors. He also recognized the dedication of Dennis Combrink who recently ended his service on the Board of Directors and who continues as a member of the Program Committee and lead of the Socials Subcommittee along with his wife Jeanne Ann.

Shafer presented recommended changes to the organization’s bylaws and those were approved. He also informed members of a recent Board of Directors decision to increase membership dues for individuals and families to $75 a year.

Highlighting the organization’s 30th anniversary, Shafer recognized its significant impact and the many contributions of families, volunteers, staff and others to enable its past and ongoing success and sustainability. He also recognized the ongoing good work of staff and volunteers to engage participants and families as the community responds to a global health and financial crisis.

He and Lattal discussed the difficult financial consequences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and actions being taken to help increase revenue and reduce cost.

Shafer also discussed growing coordination with other chapters of The Arc of Texas and The Arc of the United States to share learnings and advocate for government policies important to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. One area of focus is advocacy to Texas Health and Human Services to allow funding for virtual based services in addition to in-person programs.

Shafer also presented The Arc of Katy strategic plan goals:

Goal 1:  Employ an Executive Director to provide leadership that supports the vision, mission and overall operation of the organization

Goal 2:  Develop a Comprehensive Fund Development Plan for fund development, management and sustainability to support the organization’s vision and mission.

Goal 3:  Establish a volunteer program that engages community members in the programs and services of the organization and serve as an ambassador and advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Goal 4:  Expand and enhance the Board of Directors to serve as the governing body to ensure sound, ethical, legal and financial management policies that support the vision and mission of the organization.

Goal 5:  Increase and expand program and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Katy and surrounding communities.

In addition, Shafer informed members that discussions are ongoing with a property owner who has offered to build a new facility and donate its use to The Arc of Katy. He explained that updates will be provided as planning continues and more information becomes available.

The Arc of Katy celebrates 30th birthday with festive parking lot parade and more

The Arc of Katy celebrated our 30th anniversary with a parking lot parade and Facebook Live event that were huge successes.

“We are so thankful for all the support for our hugely successful 30th Anniversary celebration,” said Fred Shafer, president of The Arc of Katy. “During these times, when it’s easy to get down, the caring Katy community and our participants’ families really showed how to adapt and rally together to help us celebrate this milestone.”

The drive-through, parking lot parade featured 36 vehicles, many decorated specifically to celebrate the milestone with The Arc of Katy, which provides quality programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Additionally, the City of Katy provided a couple of motorcycles to lead off the parade as well as a police car and a Fire Truck. Contributing to the parade fun were a Katy ISD police car and Katy ISD Officer Teddy Cop Luis Santiago. The Katy Area Chamber also participated in the parade, as did several custom cars, including a 2014 Lotus Evora S and a 2016 Polaris Slingshot.

“Our participants had a blast both being in the parade and seeing all the fun vehicles,” Shafer said. “And our Facebook Live event that broadcast the parade was a big success too. Although this was not a fundraiser, one kind gentleman drove up at the end of the parade and provided a $2,000 donation!”

The donations didn’t stop there. All told, The Arc of Katy received in excess of $4,400 in much-needed support as a result of the celebration. In addition to the monetary donations, The Arc of Katy received donations of cookies from Ooh La La Dessert Boutique and gift cards from Chick fil-A. These were given away in goody bags to parade participants.

The Arc of Katy also received video birthday wishes from Texas State Rep. Gina Calanni, City of Katy Mayor Bill Hastings, Katy Area Chamber President/CEO Matthew Ferraro and The Arc of Texas Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Martinez. These videos were broadcast during the Facebook Live event.

“We are so blessed to have the support of the wonderful Katy community,” Shafer said. “Our participants truly enjoyed celebrating our 30th Anniversary. What a day it was!”

For more information about, or to make a donation to, The Arc of Katy, go to: www.thearcofkaty.org.

You can play “Birdies for Charity” for The Arc of Katy

The Arc of Katy is participating in the Houston Open Birdies for Charity, a fund-raising program designed to give local charities the opportunity to generate contributions through the Houston Open.

The Houston Open will award the top three donation-collecting charities and one randomly drawn charity a bonus donation. 100 % of donations designated to The Arc of Katy will be distributed to us from the Houston Open. In 2019, the Houston Open distributed $615,000 to local nonprofits.

To donate to Birdies for Charity, make a pledge of one cent or more for every “Birdie” made by the PGA Tour Pros during the Houston Open. If 1,500 birdies are made during the 2020 event, donations will range from $15.00 for a 1 cent per birdie pledge to $1,500 for a $1.00 per birdie pledge. The minimum birdie pledge is $.01 and the maximum per birdie pledge is $1.00.

Another option, is for people to make a flat donation not tied to birdies. The minimum donation is $20.

Pledges can be made now through Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Last year, 1,244 birdies were made at the Houston Open. The event is being held at a new course this year.

Grand prize: All people who donate or pledge are eligible to enter the “Guess the Birdie” contest. Guess the total number of birdies that will be made by PGA Tour Pros during the Houston Open, Nov. 2-8, 2020. One grand prize will be given to the person who guesses the correct number. In case of ties, winners will be randomly selected. One lucky supporter of the Houston Open Birdies for Charity program will win an Astros “Suite Night at Minute Made Park” in 2021.

To participate, donate or pledge here.

Advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

The Arc of Katy is joining with other chapters of The Arc across Texas and the United States to provide information and advocate for priorities and policies important to our participants and their families.

Working with other chapters of The Arc of Texas

The Arc of Texas is connecting local chapters that operate day programs including The Arc of Katy to share learnings and resources and support each other in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One issue addressed in recent state chapter calls is support needed by many families from Texas Health and Human Services Commission to allow providers to bill Medicaid for providing virtual day habitation during the current spike in COVID-19 cases and to continue the guidance as program providers re-open so families have another tool to support people with I/DD in our communities while mitigating risks of the pandemic.

If interested in helping with advocacy on this issue or if you want more information, please email Fred Shafer at fredshafer@thearcofkaty.org.

Take the pledge to vote with The Arc

The Arc of the US is running a campaign in July to encourage everyone eligible to vote.  It’s how we can help choose the people that run our government. Our federal and state representatives make laws, decide how money gets spent, and much more that makes a big difference for people with disabilities and their families. You can check out resources available through The Arc below. Please make your vote count!

PLEDGE TO VOTE      REGISTER TO VOTE NOW

It’s 2020 Census time and your response is important

The Arc of Texas reminds us that being counted in the 2020 Census is every person’s right, and not being counted leads to fewer resources for people with special needs. Enjoy and share episode 1 and episode 2 of this mini-soap opera series created by The Arc of Texas, REVUP, Texas Center for Independent Living, and Texas Advocates to spread the word about the 2020 Census.

ABC-13 Houston TV zooms in on The Arc of Katy

Reporter Pooja Lodhia of ABC 13 KTRK Television in Houston zoomed with participants of The Arc of Katy on July 22 and featured us in a series of news stories focused on the Katy-Fulshear area. Tune in here to see the report. Here’s the article.

The Arc of Katy celebrates 30 years serving the community

By Pooja Lodhia

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 6:42PM

KATY, Texas (KTRK) — The Arc of Katy is celebrating 30 years this week.

The non-profit, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has been offering virtual meetings while being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Arc makes me feel like a social butterfly,” said member Jennifer Lee.

A group of educators and parents formed The Arc of Katy to make sure people were getting social interaction once they left high school.

Members who range from ages 16 to 60 years old can sign up for classes or attend social functions.

“We had one participant that came to us about a year ago. She’s probably in her 40s now, and she just looked around and she said, ‘I haven’t had friends since high school and now I have friends again.’ That’s what the Arc is, a way for them to connect,” said program coordinator Sandi Dancel.

Due to COVID-19, the physical building is closed and fundraisers have been canceled.

The non-profit is now primarily functioning through community donations.

“Typically, on a day like this, we would have 30 to 35 participants,” explained president Fred Shafer. “They would be playing games, doing arts and crafts and socializing.”

Plus, the members are also feeling the impact.

“I’m ready to go back because I miss my friends and my staff, and playing UNO and going bowling,” said member Mary Harris.

Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.


The Arc of Katy “zooms” through summer 2020 with our friends

The Arc of Katy participants are enjoying opportunities to “zoom” through summer 2020 thanks to the creativity and determination of our talented staff and volunteers.

The Arc of Katy summer program participants are happy to be connected. When asked what they enjoy most about The Arc of Katy, their most used word is “friends.” They enjoy seeing, spending time with, and sharing experiences with friends.  

On June 15, The Arc of Katy successfully opened our summer program with both in-person and online activities for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We returned to online sessions only on June 29 in response to an increased public health COVID-19 threat level in Harris County, Texas. We are remaining agile so we can respond effectively to the evolving situation and are regularly monitoring and following guidance from public officials and health experts.    

While we hope to return to in-person programs soon, our summer staff continue to develop programs that keep our participants connected online. Program participants are enjoying social activities such as online dance, sing along, UNO, Bingo, and Pictionary as well as learning and crafts activities such as gardening, physical fitness, pet care, making spiced pickles, and creating humming bird houses.

Thanks to all the staff, volunteers and parents who are helping us to safely zoom through summer 2020 with our friends.

The Arc of Katy plans 30th birthday celebration

The Arc of Katy is planning our 30th birthday celebration with a car parade and Facebook and YouTube live events beginning at 3:30 pm on Monday, Aug. 3 — recognizing an important milestone while practicing friendly social distancing in response to ongoing public health threats of COVID-19.

We’ll hold a birthday celebration car parade through The Arc of Katy facility parking lot for participants, members, staff, volunteers, and current and past members of our board. In addition, we will simultaneously have a 30-minute 30th birthday live-streamed celebration event on Facebook Live and YouTube Live

https://www.facebook.com/thearcofkaty/live_videos/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNUrOrO6h2I

Those who want to participate while socially distancing in person are invited to decorate their car or truck and join the lining up of vehicles that will begin facing north near the intersection of 9th Street and Avenue C in Old Town Katy at about 3:10 pm. We will have a goodie bag for founders, participants, volunteers, and staff who participate. Let us know if you plan to parade with us. RSVP here or call (832) 759-7052. Even if you forget to RSVP or don’t have time to decorate your vehicle, please join in our parade. We look forward to seeing all our participants, families and supporters.

Join us on Facebook Live and YouTube Live. Friend, follow and subscribe to our social media pages so you see updates. We also will post updates on this website.

The Arc of Katy was created 30 years ago by family members and teachers determined to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities had opportunity to fulfill their potential as included, respected and active members of our community throughout their lifetime, and to build a network of support for families.

With generosity of our community, we have delivered opportunities for hundreds of people with I/DD and their families throughout the past 30 years. With your ongoing engagement, we continue to maintain and expand programs and build new programs to help more children, teens, adults with I/DD in our growing community.

It is time to celebrate and recognize our founders, participants, and supporters for all we achieved together as we focus on plans for a bright future.

https://www.facebook.com/thearcofkaty/live_videos/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNUrOrO6h2I

The Arc of Katy featured in Katy Magazine Online

An article by reporter Natalie Cook Clark in the June 13, 2020, edition of Katy Magazine Online features The Arc of Katy’s redesigned summer program and upcoming 30th anniversary.

“Katy non-profits continue to struggle in the pandemic,” the article reports. “The Arc of Katy will launch new summer programs next week that include both in-person and virtual options. The non-profit that provides opportunities for local people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is celebrating 30 years of service…” Read more here.

Houston Junior Forum helps fund summer program

The Houston Junior Forum presented a grant of $5,000 to The Arc of Katy this month to help fund our 2020 summer programs for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

On June 15, The Arc of Katy launches a re-designed summer program in line with current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. A limited number of participants and staff will meet in small groups Monday through Friday at The Arc of Katy program facility. Also, The Arc of Katy instructors are making available a new online curriculum on Tuesdays and Thursdays for program participants not able to join in person.

“The Houston Junior Forum has generously supported our summer programs in recent years; and we greatly appreciate their grant in 2020 because, as we reopen our facility to participants this summer, we are experiencing higher cost and greatly reduced revenue,” said Fred Shafer, president of The Arc of Katy. “The grant from the Houston Junior Forum helps us kick off a June 2020 fund-raising campaign in which we hope to raise at least $30,000 this month to help cover program costs as we cancel our annual gala, the linchpin of our fundraising programs, consistent with our community’s efforts to limit spread of COVID-19.”

The Houston Junior Forum is a non-profit women’s organization open to all women age 21+ who share a strong desire to make a difference for others through community service. The group of about 400 members provides services for more than 16 non-profit organizations. Some of its funding comes from sale of goods at the HJF Resale Shop located at 1815 Rutland Street in The Heights area of Houston as well as an annual fund-raiser event known as Conversations From The Heart.

We signed the pledge: Katy Area Return to Work Safely Task Force

With safety and health of our participants, staff, volunteers, and the community as our priority, The Arc of Katy has pledged to follow the Katy Returns to Work Task Force‘s 15 principles for a Work Safe Company.

As we prepare to reopen our facility to teen and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in mid-June, The Arc of Katy is implementing several new protocols and procedures consistent with those recommended by the Return to Work task force and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We encourage other companies and nonprofit organizations with which we do business in the area to do the same.

The Katy Returns to Work Task Force’s objective is to provide authoritative and timely information and useful resources on safely re-opening Katy’s businesses (from small to large). Working collaboratively, the Task Force strives to support reasonable and predictable paths for returning Katy businesses and their employees to work while avoiding a second peak in COVID-19 cases.

All Katy citizens and business owners have access to the Task Force’s website, for up to date and carefully researched materials in four primary areas:

  • Medical (including mental health)
  • Financial (available resources)
  • Strategy (where and how do we start?)
  • People (individual and organization-wide)

In addition, real-time data on local medical system capacity and upstream identification of hot spots of viral spread will be collected and monitored. Access to this vital information will allow businesses to take proactive steps to prevent a second peak and avoid subsequent consequences of increased economic hardship within the community.