Development Corner

We now call them Sustainers, those whose persistent, consistent support through automated monthly contributions create a steady, predictable enhancement to the monthly budget of New Danville, enabling us to continue to improve the range of programs and services that we offer to our Wranglers.

In June 2021, New Danville implemented a new, expansive approach to engaging and celebrating our donors. For the next few Development Corner columns, I will highlight some of the new donor categories. If you do not want to wait for several months’ worth of Wrangler Gazette’s, I would be happy to send you a copy of the new brochure that describes the many ways we will be distinguishing and acknowledging donors, ranging from Sustainers to The Windmill Society for planned giving donors, and everything in between.

Sustainers will be recognized at three levels:

  • $20.05 and more per month (a tip of the hat to when New Danville was incorporated, 2005) provides $240.60 per year
  • $83.33 and more per month (recognizing the former Thousand Dollar Club from years ago) provides $1000 per year
  • $200.50 and more per month (again, a tip of the hat to our founding year) provides $2406.00 per year

All Sustainers will receive Jazzy Junque “cash” that they can use at our upscale home décor resale shop in Outlets at Conroe shopping center.

Beginning Spring 2022, we will host an annual donor appreciation event at which donors at all the recognized levels will be invited so we can show our appreciation while also creating a sense of community among those who help make the New Danville community what it is.

You can begin participating as a Sustainer by clicking this link, choosing a gift value, and selecting “monthly” in the frequency section of the form.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information.  Dion McInnis:  Dion.McInnis@NewDanville.org; 936-253-5757.

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.


Upcoming Events – July 2021

July 22:    The Texas Special Children’s Project is sponsoring a trip for our clients to NASA. Parents, please note the email sent to you on June 29 regarding this opportunity.

Hold the Date:  Charbonneau Family Building ribbon cutting September 3, 10 a.m. to noon.

“Into the Woods” Halloween Party: Join the Into the Woods Halloween Party on October 30, presented by The Woodlands Charities. Part of the proceeds will benefit New Danville. Reduced price for tickets until September 1. Please remember to identify New Danville as your chosen nonprofit.

Reminder: Our Wish List and other ways to support New Danville can be found here: newdanville.org/give


A Wrangler’s Tale

Justin’s mom never thought that she and her son would need New Danville’s services.  Thanks to a recent scholarship, his progress continues. The many lessons they have learned together is a Wrangler’s tale.

“I wish more people could learn from what Justin has – have a big heart, don’t judge, don’t hold a grudge. The world would be a better place,” Justin’s mom, Sandy, shared in a recent conversation. They have been through challenging times to have the gifts revealed though.

They both see New Danville as a gift and a blessing. Justin has been able to return to the day program thanks to the generosity of the Assistance League of Montgomery County who provided scholarship funds for day program fees. “I feel blessed to be at New Danville,” Justin said, “and appreciate being there. I feel blessed that this (ALMC’s scholarship support) is happening for me.” Five years ago, neither Justin nor his mom would have ever imagined that they would be part of the New Danville family.

Sandy first heard about New Danville years ago through its then-presence at Market Street in The Woodlands. Luckily, the memory stuck.  When Justin suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago and she found no brain injury centers that would take his insurance, she recalled New Danville. After some research, she concluded New Danville felt right for them.

Justin and his mom share an affinity for the outdoors, animals and art. Justin enjoys experiencing all that, and more, at New Danville.

“He has come so far,” she said. “He is not the same person he was a few years ago (after the injury). He is now able to create things and he loves to share them with others.”

Sandy feels the progress he made at New Danville before the COVID lockdown served him well during the 15 months he was unable to come to the day program. “He continued his improvement, but it was lonely.” Justin nodded and said, “I love New Danville. The people, going to class. I like art class. I created presents for my mom in art and for a friend in woodshop.”

Justin’s short-term memory remains an issue, though it is improving. She said that in 2019 Justin spent a lot of time with the miniature horses and could remember them at the end of every day. “That was pretty special,” she said.  “I was surprised and pleased that he has remembered for so long that he made those gifts. He would often not be able to remember what he did during the day by the time he got home. But he is improving. The doctor said that his brain is building new neural networks. His activities at New Danville are helping make that happen.”


What began as a prayer ended up being a blessing

Sherry Franklin, Retired
What began as a prayer ended up being a blessing.

It was 2007 and I was looking for a part-time job to help fill some gaps as I tried to start my own business. I put the need on a prayer list and at a meeting with a church group I was told of a part-time position at a new business close to my home. That business was New Danville, which I had not heard of, so I applied for the job as a driver. I guess I have held a dozen roles since then, and each one has helped make me a better person. The Wranglers have a way of doing that.

In about three years, I was working full-time in the day program. I guess most people think of me as the “woodshop lady,” which began at about that time. One of our board members made pens and we picked up the project in our woodshop. And to think, we’re now looking at making distinctive executive pens as one of our job creators. It was in pen making that we created the “Ooops Box” where mistakes in making were placed. The Wranglers realized that it is okay to make mistakes.  Oooops.  Put it in the box and move on.

So much has changed over the years, and I am proud to have been part of it all.  People have said that I was a “Jill of All Trades,” and it felt that way at times.  I had the pleasure of doing so many different assignments. Each one had a way of shaping me and teaching me a lot about life and about others. There were times when I was driving routes that some of the Wranglers would get in the van and it was clear that they had had a rough start to their day at home. I was determined to help give them a new, brighter start to their day.  That gave me a brighter start to my days, too.

At different times over the years, people – friends and family – would encourage me to look at other job opportunities. I couldn’t. There is nothing like working here. It chokes me up when I reflect on how much this job, the Wranglers, and everyone I’ve worked with here has meant to me.  But, it’s family, so no wonder.

I didn’t know anything about this world, the world of adults with IDD, when I began working at New Danville. I’ve learned so much along the way. I’ve learned how to do a variety of jobs, and I’ve learned patience for myself. I wished everyone could learn what I have learned by working with the Wranglers and the New Danville family: be nice, slow down, strike up conversations with people with IDD – they are funny, insightful  — and listen. Listening…it goes a long way.

Sherry began her career at New Danville in 2007 as a part-time driver. Her work ethic, empathy and compassion moved her through a multitude of roles. She resigned in June 2021 but will remain in the hearts and lives of the New Danville family.


Catch and Release

A new addition to the list of activities available to Wranglers is storytelling. Okay, it’s not storytelling. It is fishing, but that’s the same thing, right?

Blue spincast reels and red tackle box

Thanks to the generosity of our neighbor, Ranger Oilfield Products, the Wranglers can now learn how to fish at the beautiful, stocked, easy-to-access lake on the company’s campus. The class is called Catch and Release, and the first fishing trip occurred in early June.

Adults with disabilities enjoying fishing

Colt is already hooked on fishing, all puns intended, even though he has not yet had a chance to take one of the trips. His taste for angling in pursuit of Micropterus salmoides (largemouth bass) now whetted, he proudly announced, “I got a new fishing rod. It is long, six-foot eight, and has a camouflage pattern. I will let others borrow it if they want.”

There will be plenty of opportunities for him and others to use it. According to Nicole Martinez, day program coordinator, “We have had to juggle our schedule a lot because of the rain and muddy conditions, but there is a lot of interest among the Wranglers to wet a line.” 

Adults with disabilities enjoying fishing

Debbie Rigsby, a direct support professional who works with our Wranglers IIs (clients who need more assistance and attention), took them on the first fishing trip.  “Even with their short attention spans, they had a lot of fun. We enjoyed taking fish off their hooks for them and rebaiting because we knew they were about to have fun catching another soon,” she said.

Several more fishing trips are on the schedule for the summer. As the trips continue, the stories of the ones that got away will certainly become more and more creative. Matt Harughty, director of sales for Ranger Oilfield Products, assured that there are some beauties in the retention pond turned catch-and-release fishing lake. “I hope I’m there the day a Wrangler gets a really nice one,” Matt said. “I’m sure the expression on their face will be priceless.”


I’m not good with free time

While he described his work experiences and philosophies, I interjected a question, “You think a lot, don’t you?”  He inhaled a bit and replied, “Yes.” Even when Robert Egley is not keeping his hands busy with work, his mind is working on ideas, concepts, plans and the next opportunity to “move things along.”

Adult with disabilities learns how to use scroll saw

Robert has lived at New Danville for several years and has worked in a variety of jobs off- and on-site. He has produced a lot of things, not the least of which are philosophies about life, work, business and time.

“I’m not good with free time,” Robert said, adding that staying busy is good for him. Over the years at New Danville, he has been very busy. He has had many jobs, both on-site and off.  He delivers mail on-site and has worked in the woodworking area as well as in production, which includes packaging a variety of food products and making beauty (spa) products. He has worked in the community at a restaurant where he was stationed next to the sanitizing water. He is very proud that the manager could trust him with chemicals such as those. He cites the restaurant job as his most fun ever, largely because he was able to be in the community working with others who enjoy work.

Of his many roles, the production of bath and body products clearly made a big impact on him. When asked what his ideal next job would be, he said, “To help build a new building, a store in town that sells products. I would call it Mind, Body, Soul.”

Quick with metaphors to help explain his perspectives and philosophies on all manner of things, he often returns to the value and purpose of work. “It is good to get people jobs…it is the stuff that makes life meaningful. Jobs here helps accomplish the line of ‘self-sustaining’ from our mission.” Robert looks forward to the day that the sound of bulldozers moving dirt at 6:30 in the morning wakes him up as they prepare the land for future buildings at New Danville. “I will look up the hill and say, ‘I want to help build that.’”

“I’ve always had that firecracker personality,” Robert said, “and I like moving things along. I want a grand thing to do.” When asked whether others would describe his personality similarity, he paused long enough to take a sip of drink before replying with a simple “Yes.”


Madalyn Cooke Foundation donation provides iPads and Laptops

It is good to learn some basic computer skills, but altogether different if the technology gives you the power to tell someone how you feel or where you hurt when you had no words for it before.  “Good” doesn’t even begin to describe the outcomes made possible by a recent contribution by the Madalyn Cooke Foundation to allow New Danville to purchase laptops and iPads.

iPad being used by New Danville client with app for adults with disabilities
Laptops used by adults with disabilities to learn keyboarding, art and more.

Last year, the foundation awarded a grant to New Danville for the purchase of a few laptops. The success of keyboarding and basic computer skills classes sparked ideas for expansion, and, thanks to the recent contribution that enabled the purchase of four laptops and seven iPads, the original building on the New Danville campus now includes a computer lab. The classroom for the Wrangler IIs is home for the iPads.

iPad being used by New Danville client with app for adults with disabilities

A variety of specialized apps are getting “test drives” on the iPads before the team settles on the best combination to meet the needs of the Wrangler IIs, but on a recent visit by Walter Cooke (former board member who set up the Madalyn Cooke Foundation in honor of his late wife) a few examples of their potential were on full display. Apps provide users with spoken words to communicate messages created by the user choosing icons and images. Another app allows a user to use images moved onto a body to indicate their moods (smiling, angry or sad face, for example) where they hurt, and more. Still, others allow for coloring pictures or putting together puzzles. All apps include positive reinforcements like bubbles, stars, or other graphical celebrations for successfully accomplishing the apps’ purposes.


The Social Club is back in business

It’s baaaaaccccck…and no one could be happier than the Wranglers. The Social Club is back in business, taking two social excursions per month so Wranglers can take in pizza, movies, mall trips or dining out. But, the Club is not just about having fun, enjoying each other’s company, eating yummy food, laughing, and all that good stuff.  “The Wranglers get to showcase their independence as individuals,” said Jennifer Mauboules, who now runs the program.

New Danville clients (Wranglers) enjoy Social Club visit to Cane’s for chicken dinner

2020 threw a wrench in the works of the Social Club’s plans, but the long-standing tradition has been re-engaged under new leadership after the retirement of Sherry Franklin who ran the program for years. Jennifer put a notice on the lunchroom wall at noon and by close of business the same day, all the seats for the upcoming trip were filled, she said. Of course, if a Wrangler cannot get a seat on New Danville transportation, they can have their parent/guardian provide transportation to and from the meeting place.

The group meets twice a month. As with everything at New Danville, the empowerment of the Wranglers is paramount. “They get to apply everything they’ve learned in day habilitation programs, under the guidance of staff. It helps us see other areas that we can help them learn and develop.”

Wranglers don’t attend all the activities, thus a range of offerings. Many will find the trips they like and learn how to save money for the excursion. “They learn how to save and budget, how to pay for their purchases, how to tip and so much more,” Jennifer added.

If you would like more information about the Social Club, contact Jennifer at Jennifer.Mauboules@NewDanville.org.


In the News – July 2021

News from local media and external sources, please follow the links to read the entire articles:

Play a Round for the Wranglers” Golf Event Scores an Ace New Danville’s first annual golf tournament was a resounding success and a good time was had by all.

Madalyn Cooke Legacy in Education Continues: Walter Cooke visited New Danville to see the benefits of the technology purchased with a gift from the Madalyn Cooke Foundation.

“The Pallet Lady” Retires from New Danville: After 14 years of service, Sherry Franklin has retired.

Sherry Franklin with the Charbonneau Family

Smiling faces make you happy, and good news makes you feel better

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

“Smiling faces make you happy, and good news makes you feel better.”  Proverbs 15:30

Dear Friends, Families, and Supporters:

As I was searching for an appropriate quote to introduce my message of “good news,” I came upon the above from Proverbs as the perfect introduction.

New Danville is full of smiling faces. The daily joy, laughter, and raucous energy is intoxicating and uplifting. It is truly joyous to see more and more of our Wranglers returning to the program, as well as several new faces that have come on board. 

And now for the good news: With the worst of COVID in the rearview mirror, life at New Danville is returning to normal.  Gone are the days of extreme social distancing and canceled community outings.  Not to say that we have thrown caution to the wind, we continue to implement smart safety and personal hygiene practices, but at least we have begun to introduce more community-based activities and events.  One exciting new activity during the month of June and July is the introduction of our weekly fishing class.  Thanks to a new relationship with Ranger Oilfield Products, which is located about a mile away, we are able to enjoy their beautiful, fully stocked fish pond for a day of fun.  We are so appreciative of their generosity and support of our Wranglers and our program.  Likewise, we will soon be having a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new building donated by Charbonneau Industries.  The building will be our new pallet production center.  Thanks to this partnership with Charbonneau Industries, we have been able to employ six of our clients for almost two years.  The value of work can never be underestimated and our new partners are making a world of difference for our agency and our pallet workers.  We’d love to see you at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new production center. (The event announcement is in the “Upcoming Events” section of this newsletter.)

On other program news, the large brown cabin has been turned into a computer lab! Thanks to the generosity of the Madalyn Cooke Foundation we were able to purchase the needed laptops and tablets to kick off this expanded program.  Likewise, the pantry in the cabin that supports our residents has been expanded with more variety, thanks to a new partnership with the Willis TLC Food Pantry.  Our residents in need not only have access to hygiene and cleaning products, but we have been able to add non-perishable foods to help them stretch their food budget.

Lastly, our first-ever golf tournament, Play a Round for the Wranglers, was a huge success.  We are so thankful for all of the hard work of the event committee, and the support of the sponsors, participants, and volunteers.  They truly hit a hole-in-one, netting about $115,000!

Thank you for your continued support.  Stay tuned for more smiling faces and good news.


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