Gala momentum building – register today!

Excitement is building for The Arc of Katy 2019 Gala Celebrating Hometown Heroes on Friday, May 3.  Registration is open through Tuesday, April 30!  Get your tickets here and be sure your friends have signed up, too!

Join us to celebrate hometown heroes, our founders and special volunteers, and help us raise funds to support programs for people with IDD and their families

Master of Ceremonies Art Rascon, ABC 13’s Emmy-Winning news anchor will direct the program and we will celebrate:

Suzette Steward Coates,
Katy Area Hometown Hero for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Rusty Wylie, Chick-fil-A Katy
Katy Area Hometown Hero for A Great Place to Live

Rhonda Johnstone
The Arc of Katy 2019 Ann Davis Founders Award

Dennis and Jeanne Ann Combrink
The Arc of Katy 2019 Volunteers of the Year

 The Gala begins at 6 pm with cocktails in the newly-renovated ballroom of Omni Houston Hotel at Westside.  The evening will be packed full of fun, great food, dancing, photo opportunities, great live and silent auction items, jewelry raffle and games — all to raise funds for The Arc of Katy.

Glenn Beckendorff will lead the live auction – so plan your strategy for bidding on:

  • Breckenridge, Colorado Getaway in vacation cabin that sleeps up to 12 as featured in the HGTV hit show House Hunters
  • Crawfish Boil for 26 of your family and friends
  • Silver Oaks Cellar experience and wine country getaway
  • Luxury backyard makeover
  • Katy Firehouse dinner for six
  • Houston Art House tour for 10 guests with author of Outsider Art in Texas
  • Paintings by The Arc of Katy program participants
  • An all-inclusive 5-Star getaway to Azul, Jamaica

Program participants from The Arc of Katy will perform a tribute to honorees and we will enjoy the Taylor High School Jazz Ensemble during our reception.  D.J. Ed Madanio will keep us moving on the dance floor until 11 pm.

Be a hero.  Join the fun.  Register here.

* * * * * *

Thank you to our amazing sponsors!

The Arc of Katy Benefactor

Kingsland Baptist Church

The Arc of Katy Leader


The Arc of Katy Supporters

Frost Bank      Houston Methodist West Hospital      Katy Family YMCAs

Mac Haik Chevrolet      Members Choice Credit Union      Lewis & Chakilla White

Gala Underwriters

Amber’s Designs Fine Jewelry      Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More

Country Park Portraits      Curry & Co. Consulting      Petals by Design

Tide Dry Cleaners      The Entertainment Company      Larry and Patricia Wright

Friends of The Arc of Katy

                        Amy Campbell      Camp Journey Parents      Cherie & Ian Duddridge

                    Chick-fil-A Katy       Don & Ida Faye Elder

                   Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Community

                          Fred & Patti Shafer                 Katy Area Chamber of Commerce

                         Mike & Therese Lattal             Pat & Tiffany Doucette

                         Prosperity Bank                          Rose Schwartzel

                        State Representative John Zerwas       Steve & Margaret Laney

                                                    Westside Chevrolet Katy

                                  * * * * * *


Chick-fil-A franchise Owner/Operator Rusty Wylie and Camp Journey owner Suzette Coates have been selected as the Katy Area Hometown Heroes to be recognized by The Arc of Katy in 2019.

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 program participants, members and families.

The dictionary defines ‘Hero’ as one who is admired for achievements and noble qualities; one who shows great courage. Both Wylie and Coates were selected by a committee of Katy area citizens as individuals who fit that definition.   The Arc of Katy will celebrate them at the organization’s 2019 Gala on May 3 at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside.

Also to be honored at The Arc of Katy’s annual gala are Rhonda Johnstone and Dennis and Jeanne Ann Combrink. Johnstone has been selected by the organization’s Board of Directors to receive The Arc of Katy 2019 Ann Davis Founder’s Award and the Combrinks have been named as the organization’s Volunteers of the Year.

Wylie is being honored as the Hometown Hero for A Great Place to Live for community service, support of numerous non-profit organizations in the Katy area and the contributions by his three Chick-fil-A restaurants.  The organizations that Wylie and the Katy area Chick-fil-A stores support regularly include Compassion Katy, Clothed by Faith, Katy Christian Ministries, Grace Fellowship, Kingsland Baptist Church, The Fellowship of Cinco Ranch, Second Baptist Church, Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD) Education Foundation, Katy ISD schools, Faith West Academy, The Ballard House, Living Water, Young Life, Hope Impacts, Friends of Sundown and others.

As to why they support so many organizations, Wylie said, “We want to be an indispensable blessing to our community. Katy is our home. We want to be part of the Katy story of giving and serving others.”

Serving others is also an attribute for Coates. Through her 15 years of work with individuals with special needs, Coates is being honored as a Katy Area Hometown Hero for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Coates operates Camp Journey that offers several programs for individuals with IDD and other disabilities.

She reports that the inspiration for her work generated from a friendship in elementary school with a young boy with Autism.  “He would come over on his bike and play a little with our friends and that always touched my heart, and I felt the need to befriend him,” said Coates.  “I feel like it’s my calling in life, my life’s passion.”

Coates began her career in 2004 in the Special Education Department of Katy ISD. While still teaching in Katy ISD, Coates started Camp Journey in 2008 and later expanded it to include summer camp and after school programs. For her work, in 2013, Coates won “Teacher of the Year” honors from the LIVE with Kelly and Michael television show. In 2015 she began to work full time on Camp Journey.

Johnstone is being recognized with The Arc of Katy Ann Davis Founder’s Award for a lifetime of service to individuals with IDD.  “As a child, the words ‘be a friend to everyone’ surfaced in my mind and I feel like God has impressed upon me to do that,” she said.

Johnstone started her career as a recreational therapist in Beaumont, Texas, for high school students with emotional disabilities and also developed day activity camps for students with developmental disabilities. Her career took her to Enid, Okla., and then to the Briarwood School in Houston and finally to Katy ISD.

Johnstone helped launch The Arc of Katy Day Program and after retiring from Katy ISD, also served as executive director of The Arc of Katy. Today, she continues her work as an instructor with The Arc of Katy’s Be Strong Program which provides water therapy, water aerobics, weight training and various other exercises for participants of the day program who wish to enhance their health and well-being.

The Combrinks will be honored as The Arc of Katy Volunteers of the Year for their many years of service to the organization. They served on the social committee for several years prior to their daughter Joy’s death in 2006.

“Joy was born with Down Syndrome, so we wanted to be involved in her activities as much as possible,” said the Combrinks. “After we moved to Katy, we were thrilled to find The Arc of Katy. Joy was always very sociable and especially enjoyed attending the day camp and social events with her friends.”

Dennis and Jeanne Ann continued work with the social committee after their daughter’s death, serving as co-chairman of the committee since 2015.  Dennis also is a member of The Arc of Katy Board of Directors and the Program Committee.

All honorees will be recognized at The Arc of Katy’s 2019 Gala Celebrating Hometown Heroes on May 3 at the Omni Houston Westside. Registration to attend or sponsor the event can be found here.


The Arc of Katy’s new Empowerment Through Knowledge series continues with free sessions for caregivers on March 28 and April 25 focused on effectively accessing services and education programs of benefit to individuals with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities from childhood throughout their lives. The evening education sessions are designed to enhance knowledge and skills of persons who care for, live with, educate or otherwise serve individuals with I/DD and other special needs.

Each session will be held from 6:30 to 8 pm in Meeting Room A at Kingsland Baptist Church, 20555 Kingsland Blvd., Katy, TX 77450, accessible through Parking Entrance #3.

Register here for Navigating the System: Accessing Services for Your Child Now and for the Long Term to be presented on March 28 by Mary Jane Williams who serves as the Executive Director for Family to Family Network. Family to Family Network provides resources, trainings, and networking opportunities for parents of children with a disability. Ms. Williams will discuss long term services and supports and how they can be accessed when trying to navigate a system that is confusing and filled with unfamiliar acronyms and terms.

Register here for Navigating the Special Education Process to be presented on April 25 by Fred Shafer, Chairman of the Board for The Arc of Katy with 40 years of special education experience in the public school setting, and Marchelle Peters, who serves as an Instructional Officer for LIFE Skills and Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities for the Katy Independent School District Special Education Department. Participants will gain information on navigating the special education process including evaluations, eligibility, IEP development, ARD meetings, and effective communication and collaboration with the school.

Color for a Cause 5K on April 13 benefits The Arc of Katy

Join the 2019  Color for A Cause 5K Fun Run and Walk  on  April 13, 2019,  benefitting The Arc of Katy.

Students from Cinco Ranch High School’s Future Business Leaders of America are hosting a Color for a Cause 5K fun run to raise funds to support The Arc of Katy programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental (IDD).

The run will be held on April 13 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Cinco Ranch High School, 23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd. in Katy.  Participants can run or walk.  Also, a special track area is available for those participants with special needs.  To register online, go to, or you can download the paper registration form here.

The cost to participate is $25 each if registered by the early bird registration deadline, Feb. 28; $30 each if registered by March 31; and $35 each from April 1 through the day of the event.  Each participant will receive a t-shirt; sizes are not guaranteed for registrations submitted after March 31.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13 as we fill the air with color and stretch our legs with steps for a great cause!

The Arc of Katy 2019 Gala Opportunities

The Arc of Katy Board of Directors invites you to participate in our 2019 Gala – a memorable evening of dining and entertainment to raise funds to help maintain programs that empower and enrich lives of individuals with I/DD and their families.  The event will be Friday, May 3, at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway.  Please consider becoming a Gala sponsor, underwriter or donor for the live or silent auctions.  For more information on sponsorship or to purchase tickets to attend, visit our 2019 Gala registration site.

Empowerment Through Knowledge Training Series

The Arc of Katy is initiating a new service called Empowerment Through Knowledge (ETK) that will focus on EMPOWERMENT  by providing training opportunities to increase the knowledge and skills of persons who live with or serve individuals with intellectual, developmental or other disabilities.  The first series of trainings will address the grief that parents may experience when their child is born with a disability or the diagnosis becomes apparent as the child grows, navigating the Medicaid process and  navigating the often times complex special education process.  Participants can get more information and register for the trainings by clicking here


The Arc of Katy Presents at the Katy Rotary Meeting

The Arc of Katy was invited to present at the January Katy Rotary Meeting.  Billy Schuiten, Becky Biancamano, Dawn Wethey, Day Program Coordinator and Margaret Laney, Board Member shared information about The Arc of Katy programs and services and ways to support the organization.  Thank you to the Katy Rotary for inviting The Arc of Katy to share our story.

Amy Campbell Elementary Dedication

Congratulations to Katy ISD Amy Campbell Elementary and Namesake Amy Campbell on the school’s dedication.  Amy served as special education teacher in Katy ISD for over 30 years.  She is a founding member of The Arc of Katy and serves on the Board of Directors.  Pictured with Amy is Courtney Doyle, KISD Board President, Ken Gregorski, KISD Superintendent and Jaime Shipley, Principal of Campbell Elementary.