And so it is at New Danville. Although we are not planting a garden, although we really do have a great vegetable garden, our garden consists of the beautiful people we serve. Much like the flowers and trees we see blossoming, each of our adults is a unique, one of a kind, and ready to bloom.
These past five months, New Danville has seen a rapid growth in the number of clients we serve. Like flowers popping up everywhere, so is our enrollment in the day program. Since March, we have added eleven new participants to the program, and a few more are due to come in June-July. This is one of the fastest growth rates I have seen in my five years here. At the core of this growth is the quality of the program we have.
Summertime is an active and joyous time at New Danville. Not only does it bring new clients through our summer program, opened to students 16 years old and up throughout the Montgomery County area, but it also brings new and fun activities. Coming up in June is “Water Day,” a fun-filled day with water slides, dunking booth, and many other activities. We will also have an outdoor fun day with games and treats, among many other activities.
The Summer Program for older students in high school will run through July 29th from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. This is a wonderful way for students nearing their transition to get an idea of what a day program is all about. Although we welcome all, slots are limited. If you are interested in the program or know someone that might benefit from it, please visit our website and contact us to set up a visit.
As reflected in the quote above, our program is our garden. We believe in our program, in the adults that we serve, and in the promise of tomorrow.
Wrangler Fun: The Wranglers have a lot of fun to look forward to, including a field trip to Buc-ees and a water day at New Danville. Keep an eye open for photos to appear in future newsletters.
2nd Annual Play a Round for the Wranglers golf tournament is coming on November 17, 2022 at Woodlands Country Club. Mark your calendar! Information about registration and sponsorships will be distributed soon.
Fundraising Factoid The outstanding news is that New Danville’s enrollment is up and climbing. A great value, New Danville provides affordable programs that empower Wranglers to live, learn, work and grow. Program fees do not cover the actual cost to provide the variety of classes and activities available to Wranglers. Please help us cover the difference with your online gift at https://newdanville.networkforgood.com/
If you attended our Spring Thing last month you likely met Dave Clements, a volunteer since the beginning of ND. Dave is a professional photographer and also manages his own non-profit that helps children with a rare disorder called Rett syndrome. If you want to learn more, visit dwcphotography.com and www.Raisingahand.com.
All indications are that the 2022 Spring Thing was our most successful such event. That achievement would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors and supporters.
Wranglers’ Ballad Debuts New Danville’s new original song, Wranglers’ Ballad, was debuted at the Spring Thing fundraising event. You can watch the music video here.
Houston Texans honor 2021 Community Quarterback Award Honoree with Reception
“I came here with nothing,” Michael said, “and now I have everything I ever wanted…a roof, food and a wife.” Life’s circumstances have challenged him to the point that his arrival to New Danville four years ago felt like the last chance to get things right. Having lost everything to Hurricane Harvey, the time for a fresh start from scratch was in order.
“Once I got to New Danville, things began to get better,” Michael said.
Michael enjoys the quiet rural environment. He, his wife and their dog are making the most of the opportunity at New Danville. They enjoy the chance to settle down. He grew up in a military family, so there was a lot of moving as he grew up, and more moving as an adult.
He attributes the New Danville environment to helping him focus on the things that matter to continue his development. Attending church services and bible study complement his other interests. “I’ve learned a lot from a lot of people over the years,” he said, “and now I’m trying to use that.”
Michael has had to be resilient. He attributes resilience to a perspective that he has gained because of his experiences, which is “just take one day at a time.”
“I’m not getting older,” Michael said, “I’m getting better. One day at a time.”
The Wranglers’ favorite thing about the newest class offering for day program attendees? The smell!
They call the class Blushing Beauty, but it could be called Lotions and Potions. Wranglers get to make their own beauty products with the scent that each is looking for. “They come up with some interesting combinations,” according to Direct Support Professional Melissa Varney. “I admit, the production area where class is held sure smells nice after each class.”
To personalize their output even more, class participants get to design their own labels for the bottles that hold their special lotions.
“The Wranglers do it all,” Melissa said. “They do the research for various recipes, test the various recipes to see which ones they like and then decide what to make. Frankly, some of the things they have made are better than what can be found in stores,” she added with a proud smile.
Wranglers learn kitchen skills – measuring, blending, mixing and pouring – while creating their products. “Like everything at New Danville,” Melissa said, “we try to use every class as a way for Wranglers to learn skills they can use in life and not just in class. We continue to move their boundaries and then empower them to reach that limit; then we move the boundaries again. We don’t think about limits; we think of possibilities.”
Wranglers enjoy the creative and practical lessons learned in class, but they enjoy using their products even more!
“I am a hard-working man,” Ivan said. “Maybe because I am a Viking. My ancestors came from Norway.” As he talked about work, he said, “New Danville changed my life. Work changed my life.”
Work is not just about earning money, though Ivan admits a paycheck is pretty motivating. Work is about helping people, including yourself, he explained.
Ivan has worked at a variety of companies ranging from production, fast food, senior care and landscaping, among others. Working hard does not mean just working at a paying job, according to Ivan. He cites classes, particularly scrapbooking and woodshop, as places to work hard and to grow.
“I learned to be positive from my parents and from work,” Ivan explained. His job coach while he attended high school in Conroe taught him many things, too, he said. “She taught us to have a good attitude. Be on time. Be responsible and have good hygiene. The hardest part is showing up on time. I miss her and the school.” He graduated in 2004.
“I like to be busy,” Ivan emphasized as he described the various jobs he has held, the classes at New Danville that he loves and how he helps his family with lawn maintenance. “I am never bored at New Danville. I don’t like to be bored.”
Ivan hopes to someday be a resident in Meadowbrook, New Danville’s residential community. In the meantime, he enjoys all aspects of the rural environment and attending day program activities. Ivan says he learns by doing more so than just listening. “In work I learned a lot. I learned to help other people. I learned to help people with special needs.”
For the first time in New Danville’s history, there is now a waiting list for enrollment in the Wrangler 2 program that is for clients with more challenging needs. At the current pace of growth for the day program, a waiting list may be necessary well before the end of 2022 as growth in headcount and client-days continues. There has been a waiting list for Meadowbrook, New Danville’s residential community, for years. To Bryan Gill, program manager, all that is good news.
“There is so much positivity,” Bryan said, “on the team, with our guests and visitors. It is great to see, and we see it in our numbers. Enrollment is up 20% in the first four months of the year.”
Bryan shared the story of a family who moved from Pearland (70 miles away) to get their loved one closer to New Danville so he could easily attend the day program often. Another new client decided on her first day that she wanted to change from three to four days per week of day program attendance. Another client from Huntsville (25 miles north of New Danville) now wants to attend five days a week and was disappointed that the day program is not held on Saturday and Sunday, too.
Growth shows in many areas. For example, New Danville has added Huntsville to its transportation route. New clients are joining, former clients are coming back, current clients are adding more days: “It is a fun time,” Bryan said.
“We used to have two tours (for prospective clients) per month,” Bryan said, “and now we are doing from six to ten per month. The good word is spreading.”
For more information about New Danville programs and services or to request a tour, contact Bryan Gill, program manager, at 936-534-9111 or Bryan.Gill@NewDanville.org.
Movin’ on in to the MB Side: Wil comes to Meadowbrook
Wil is proud of his various accomplishments: He collects hats and caps, plays the guitar, loves gardening, competes in the Special Olympics, shares smiles, and much more. His most recent achievement brings a lot of the other accomplishments together; Wil is now a resident of Meadowbrook, New Danville’s residential community.
Wil was on the waiting list for two years, but he and his parents say that being able to live at New Danville was worth the wait. He smiled as his parents explained how important it is that he, and all people with special needs, be given appropriate challenges so each can grow to their own potential. Indeed, Wil and his parents aspire to the limits of what live, learn, work and grow can be for him.
His mom said she first learned about New Danville in 2010 during exhaustive research about special needs programs in several states. She explained the feeling that the family had when they visited New Danville for a tour. “We all knew immediately that this is the place, the environment, for Wil. His sister called it as soon as we drove past the entry gate.”
Though Wil has held a variety of jobs over the years, including at fast food shops, a laundry and a thrift store. “But now he can just chill for a while,” his mom said. His dad added, “Wil loves to paint by number, ride horses, play guitar. He can do more than most people think. We feel good that he is in a place that understands to not place artificial limits.”
Of the many options for activities at New Danville, Wil said, “Gardening is my favorite.” He has learned how to plant, water and harvest, a perfect complement to live, learn, work and grow.
B-4 there was COVID, there was King’s: Bingo key to New Danville
“I wish more people knew what we actually do. What we do is phenomenal. We help so many people,” Cassie Raether said. She is the manager of King’s Bingo in Webster, TX; New Danville is one of five charities that benefit from the bingo hall’s net proceeds.
“Frankly, I’m not sure where we would be without the support of King’s Bingo,” said Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville. “The past two years have been a challenge, but their support had a tremendous influence as we navigated the pandemic situation. I learned that no matter what is going on in the world, people will still play bingo. Thank goodness for that! Not to mention the many years of support we received from them in our fledgling years as a nonprofit.”
Patricia Greenfield CEO and Founder of Texas Bingo Solutions echoed both Cassie’s and Eva’s sentiments. Texas Bingo Solutions oversees the financial and accounting functions of several bingo halls, including King’s Bingo. “I have a wonderful job.” she said. “Because of Cassie and her team, who work tirelessly, the hall is profitable and all of the profits from the conduct of bingo are distributed to the Kings Bingo charities that are doing great work with that money in the community. We know you can do so much with the money. Bingo is a social thing for everyone. People have fun, make friends and help charities. I wish more people knew about the charity component.” New Danville has partnered with Texas Bingo Solutions since 2012.
Cassie has been the manager at King’s Bingo for six years. She started working with them not long after they opened in 2012 as a second job. Her role changed over the years until she was named manager after three years there. “My role is to make it as enjoyable as possible for people to spend their money while having fun, all for good causes. Our entire team has fun meeting and exceeding our revenue goals by creating a dynamic environment for our players. Everyone has a wonderful time and then we get to support charities. What a great job!” King’s Bingo has a special imprint of New Danville. The wood letters that spell out “bingo” in the hall were made by Wranglers in woodshop class. Starting in May, they will also begin to occasionally show New Danville’s new, original music video, Wranglers’ Ballad to help players better understand what they are supporting.
Windmills endure. They provide necessary relief in all conditions and all seasons. Their work is not glamorous but it is sustaining. Windmills are also part of our identity at New Danville.
We chose the windmill as the representation of our new planned giving recognition program. Donors who include New Danville in their planned giving and estate plans are members of TheWindmill Society. Members will be recognized on the donor recognition plaque on our Gratitude Wall, in our annual report and other channels, unless a donor prefers to not have recognition.
Are you a member? Contact me to let me know that New Danville is in your plans. Do you want to learn more about the ways that planned giving instruments can be used to support New Danville in creative ways? Let’s talk. I can be reached at 936-253-5757 or Dion.McInnis@NewDanville.org.
Thank you for the many ways you make it possible for Wranglers to live, learn, work and grow.
We are pleased to introduce Live, Learn, Work and Grow: Wisdom from Under the Windmill, an inspiring, motivational, immediately usable presentation by Dion McInnis, development director. Bring this to your organization, association, business or group; everyone’s life can be better with the 15 nuggets of wisdom for living discovered at New Danville. Contact Dion at Dion.McInnis@NewDanville.org to book the presentation for your event.
New Danville is a 501( c ) (3) nonprofit rural community in Willis, TX for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. New Danville provides our clients an opportunity to live enriched and purposeful lives; we proudly call them Wranglers.
“Success is a continuing thing. It is growth and development. It is achieving one thing and using that as a stepping stone to achieve something else.” John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell is an American author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books on leadership. I came across his quote in searching for something inspirational for my article this month. After initially reading it, I went on in search of something else, but found myself coming back to this quote. Something about it resonated with me and what New Danville has been through in the last couple of years.
For us here, we have been on a slow and steady mission to continue to improve our services, while strengthening our financial footing. With the addition of our development director, Dion McInnis, and the support of our board, we have strategically laid out our stepping stones for some exciting changes for New Danville. Included in that is our steady growth in numbers of attendees in our program. Most of the families that request a tour say that they heard “about all of the great things happening at New Danville.” This is truly a heartwarming thing to hear. With the addition of new clients, our total participation will soon exceed our pre-COVID numbers. Every day I see new faces walking around, popping up like beautiful spring flowers.
We are in the midst of our “new future.” We are laying the seeds that will benefit the needs of our special population for many years to come by carefully planning our expansion. It is truly an exciting time and we are so proud to be a part of it.
In closing I will use another quote from Maxwell that reflects the spirit at New Danville: “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing the seeds that benefit others.”