The Arc of Katy honors our 2020 award recipients

The Arc of Katy recently honored our 2020 award recipients: Katy Christian Ministries and KCM Executive Director Deysi Crespo as Hometown Heroes for a Great Place to Live; Sandi Dancel and Don Wolf of Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics as Heroes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Therese Lattal as the Ann Davis Founder Award honoree, and Don and Sheryll Butler as Volunteers of the Year.

The Arc of Katy on Dec. 7 and 8 presented 2020 award recipients with the honors we planned to bestow on them at our Annual Gala in April. Although the gala was postponed until next year because of  the pandemic, The Arc of Katy wanted to publicly recognize our award recipients before the end of this challenging year.

“We are blessed to have many wonderful people and organizations in Katy that do so much both for the community and for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD),” said Fred Shafer, The Arc of Katy president. “At this time of year, we wanted to ensure we publicly recognized them for all they do to make our world a better place.”

KCM, a human services non-profit organization founded in 1984 in the Katy/West Houston area, was recognized at its Board of Directors meeting Monday. KCM was honored as The Arc of Katy 2020 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.

The Arc of Katy 2020 Hometown Hero for A Great Place to Live — Deysi Crespo, Executive Director of Katy Christian Ministries. Portrait by Country Park Portraits in Katy, March 2020

“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.” 

On Tuesday, The Arc of Katy publicly recognized Don Wolf and Sandi Dancel as 2020 Hometown Heroes for individuals with I/DD.

Hometown Heroes Sandi Dancel and Don Wolf with members of Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics.
2020 Hometown Heroes Sandi Dancel and Don Wolf with some members of Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics. Portrait by Country Park Portraits in Katy. March 2020.

In addition to teaching special education and working different jobs that benefit individuals with I/DD, both Wolf and Dancel have been instrumental in leading the Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics program for 21 years. The Katy Wolf Pack is the state’s largest Special Olympics team with about 250 athletes.

Also Tuesday, Therese Lattal was honored as The Arc of Katy  2020 Ann Davis Founder’s Award recipient and Don and Sheryll Butler were recognized as the organization’s Volunteers of the Year.

Therese Lattal, The Arc of Katy 2020 Ann Davis Founder Award recipient, with some participants of The Arc of Katy. Portrait by Country Park Portraits in Katy, March 2020.

Lattal has served as a volunteer and as both an instructor and the director for the Day Program of activities for The Arc of Katy participants. In 2013, after hearing pleas from parents“‘to keep their children and adults moving”’, Lattal started the Be Strong Program. Working with Rhonda Johnstone (The Arc of Katy 2019 Ann Davis award recipient), the two ladies developed an exercise program for participants In the Day Program. The Be Strong Program includes aquatics classes (both therapeutic and aerobic) and using treadmills, stationary bikes, weights and various other muscle strengthening equipment.

The Butlers became involved with The Arc of Katy 15 years ago, when they were searching for a day program for their son Keith.

Sheryll and Don Butler, The Arc of Katy 2020 Volunteers of the Year, with their son Keith, a participant in The Arc programs. Portrait by Country Park Portraits of Katy, March 2020.

“The Arc of Katy was a great fit for us and we had no idea how much it would change our lives,” Sheryl 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.”

Over 15 years, the Butlers have volunteered for numerous events 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”.

Like all organizations, The Arc of Katy has been impacted by the 2020 pandemic, but the organization has worked resiliently to develop ways to continue providing programs for its participants.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has helped The Arc of Katy both in 2020 and over the years,” Shafer said. “We absolutely couldn’t have celebrated our 30th birthday this year without your support.”

Helping to underwrite The Arc of Katy 2020 Hometown Heroes Program in 2020 are local companies, Country Park Portraits, Big Frog T-Shirts and More, and Curry & Co. Consulting.

Note: All portraits presented to awardees this week were taken in early 2020 prior to the community spread of and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Star Supporter giving program launched

As we launch our 2020 Yearend Giving Campaign, we introduce The Arc of Katy Star Supporter sustaining giving program. Will you commit to a recurring monthly donation to keep The Arc of Katy programs going for our participants and families? 

Star Supporter Monthly Giving Levels and Examples of What They Fund 

$ 35     One day of tuition for one participant

$ 50     Day program supplies for one day

$100     Usual day program cost per participant 

$150     Monthly cost to operate one of our busses

$200     One monthly social for all participants

$250     Day program supplies for one week

Convenient and secure on-line one-time or recurring donation options are available here. Our goal for our 2020 yearend fundraising is $30,000, an ambitious target, but one which we believe to be of premier importance in serving people with I/DD in the Katy area community. Please consider supporting The Arc of Katy by contributing whatever amount you can.   

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:

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

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!


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

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.