From the CEO – May 2022

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”

                Audrey Hepburn

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.

From the CEO – April 2022

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

“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.”

From the CEO – March 2022

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

Spring: a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can be”

Author Unknown

The month of March reminds us that change is coming and that spring is just around the corner.  We notice new buds on the tips of trees, and maybe even new patches of bluebonnets.  It is a magical time filled with longer days, trees and flowers blooming, and the return of green lawns.

Here at New Danville, every day is a magical time.  We hear laughter and joy.  We experience first-hand our adults learning new things.  We get to hear stories of what happened over the weekend and who broke up with whom.  Our Wranglers help us to appreciate what is truly important in life: friendship, love, and the appreciation for the smallest of things in our lives. As you read this edition of our Wrangler Gazette, you too will see what a magical place we have here at New Danville.  A community filled with caring staff and with inspiring stories in the lives of our Wranglers.

The month of March also brings to mind all things celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  One of those things is the four-leaf clover.  A rarity of nature, it symbolizes Faith, Love, Hope, and Good Fortune.  We are fortunate in that what has been created at New Danville is reminiscent of the four-leaf clover.  We are filled with a sense of faith that no matter the hurdles before us, a higher power is guiding us forward.  We have love for those we serve and a genuine love for what we do.  We are full of hope for a bigger and brighter future, and we know that with a little luck, our good fortune will see our vision for the future become a reality.

All of us here extend our deep gratitude to all of our volunteers, donors, families and community partners in helping us continue to provide a place for personal growth and joy, where our Wranglers can live, learn, work and grow.

From the CEO – February 2022

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

 “A good life is a collection of happy moments.”  Denis Waitley

Like the quote states, it is time to create happy moments.  Dust off your hats and best heels! Spring Thing, formerly known as Tea on the Lawn, is back.  After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are back! Spring Thing will be held April 22nd at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  We are very excited and anxious to see all of our old friends.

This year we are delighted to have Troy Ball as our featured speaker. Originally scheduled for the events that were cancelled, Troy will share her story of life and resilience while raising two children with special needs, and also starting a distillery in North Carolina. She has attracted audiences around the country and her story is detailed in her book Pure Heart: A Spirited Tale of Grace, Grit and Whiskey. She also co-founded Thoughtful House Center for Children (now named the Johnson Center) in Austin, Texas, for children with autism and other developmental disorders.

As you may know, Spring Thing is New Danville’s major fundraising event.  Funds from the event allow us to continue to carry out our mission and make a meaningful impact on the lives of those we serve.  New Danville is excited about its future plans and your attendance at this event help make that happen. We are so grateful for all of our long-time supporters and look forward to making new friends.  You truly do make our work possible.

Gather your friends and make a day of it.  Purchase of tables and sponsorship opportunities are available now.  Don’t wait as things are filling up quickly!  For more information visit:  Individual tickets will be coming soon.

Looking forward to seeing all of you!

From the CEO – January 2022

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”   Mattie Stepanek

The mission of New Danville is to provide adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities an opportunity to live enriched and purposeful lives.  We could not continue to pursue our goals and mission if not for the expertise, leadership, compassion, and generosity of our Board of Directors. New Danville is extremely fortunate and grateful to the directors for their guidance that has shaped our growth throughout the years.  

Our members typically serve a three-year term with an option to renew a second term.  They volunteer their time and energy to directly impact our community and our organization. The 14-member rotating Board aims for both diversity of perspective and depth of expertise, and a strength is that with our staggered terms, the Board is always changing.  We would like to thank our outgoing members, particularly our Board Chair, Danielle Schneider, who has dutifully served during these turbulent COVID times.  Likewise, a heartfelt “thank you” to members that have stepped into officer roles: Board Chair: Christin Allphin, Lead, Healthcare Commercial Banking Group and Business Banking Team of Woodforest: Vice-Chair/Counsel: Brittany Sloan, Managing Attorney, Brittany Sloan Law; Treasurer: Reece Goodman, Managing Partner of TechCXO, LLC in Texas: and, Secretary: Odette D’Agostino, Managing Director of the billboard division of D’Agostino Outdoor.

Lastly, and equally important, we are pleased to announce the addition of new members to our board that have been added in the past few months, were nominated by the governance committee, and voted onto the board by the New Danville membership.  Those members include Pat Riley, Construction Manager, Blyel Engineering; Connie Mahaffey, Parent Representative; Deven Hennessey, Director Life Insurance Marketing, EMG Insurance Brokerage; Haley Garcia, Real Estate Broker and Team Leader, Haley Garcia Group; Troy Perkins, Vice President, Perkins Financial; and, Eric Rabel, Director of Development, Howard Hughes Corporation (The Woodlands).

We value each and every member of our executive board. We thank them for making the lives of the people we serve matter. For their ability to see a better world. For being all that they are and doing all that they do. We appreciate your service and look forward to your continued guidance as we move forward with our plans for a bigger and brighter future.

Thank You!

From the CEO: Dec 2021

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

“TEAMWORK – coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”   Henry Ford

Dear Friends, Families, and Supporters:

I would like to focus this month’s article on the incredible teams that we are blessed to have here at New Danville.  Teams can be defined as a group of people coming together to fulfill a goal or have a united purpose.  It is that sense of united purpose that keeps all of us, whether staff or volunteers, moving forward for the benefit of those we serve.  

Working alongside our incredible board of directors, our team of management staff tackles the strategic, operational, and fundraising objectives to help us continue to be a successful agency.  Likewise, the heart of our agency is the team of direct support professionals who serve and support our clients.  Their daily commitment to a high level of quality is truly inspirational.  Without them, we would not be able to accomplish our daily “small victories.” Our team of support employees, whether it is program support, landscaping, or maintenance, all make sure that the staff and clients live, learn, work and grow in a safe and beautiful facility. 

Lastly, our dedicated team of volunteers–whether it is a corporate group coming in for a one-day beautification project, those supporting our program areas, or our committed core of volunteers who operate Jazzy Junque six days a week—provide their selfless service that is priceless and leads to our success.  Amongst our volunteers, one was recently nominated as the Houston Texans Community Quarterback Award 2021 recipient.  This is an annual award issued by the Texans football organization for an outstanding volunteer selected from the Greater Houston area.  Although the efforts and accomplishments of this year’s recipient would not have been possible without the support of the entire Jazzy Junque team of volunteers, we are extremely proud of our very own Odette D’Agostino as this year’s award recipient.  Not only has she been recognized for her selfless service, but as an added bonus, New Danville will receive $25,000 from the Houston Texans organization.  

As Helen Keller wrote, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Not a bad way to end the year!

From the CEO – November 2021

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” William Arthur Ward

Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to the focus of being thankful. This time of year can give us that warm, fuzzy feeling when we spend time feeling thankful for the things our lives include. 

By now, most of you have received our year-end Annual Appeal letter. We are thankful for the blessings of those who have already made a donation as your support makes our reality and dreams possible.

As noted in our appeal letter, New Danville’s commitment was truly tested in 2020, along with the uncertainty of 2021.  However, because of our committed donors like you, we made it through the worst of times and are thankful for the struggles we’ve been through.  It has helped to make us stronger, wiser, and truly grateful.

As the year comes to an end, please consider us in your year-end giving.  We have a clear vision of our future, and it is a bright one.  Your support will truly help to shape “ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday as you share with friends and family.

From the CEO – October 2021

October is set aside as the month to recognize the value of employees with disabilities, including adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  This month we highlight the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), as well as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

People with disabilities have too often been excluded from participating in basic civic activities like using the public transportation system, serving on a jury, voting, or simply attending a high school sports event with family and friends. The ADA is a federal civil rights law that was passed in 1990 and went into effect beginning in 1992. Its purpose is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in employment and in accessing needed services in their communities. The integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream of American life is a fundamental purpose of the ADA.

NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy.  This year the theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In doing our part, we would like to highlight the many wonderful faces of some of our adults who are a thriving force in their respective places of employment.  We are very proud of their accomplishments and dedication to their jobs.  We’d like to see this number grow!  If you’d like more information on the value of employing adults with disabilities, I am but a call away.

Some of our clients that have jobs in the community or at New Danville
Some of our clients that have jobs in the community or at New Danville

We have plans for expanding our Job Readiness and Support Program for the benefit of our clients and area businesses. I would like to thank the Woodforest Charitable Foundation for their support of this initiative which you will be hearing more about in the future.

From the CEO – September 2021

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

During the week of September 12 – 18, New Danville will celebrate the National Direct Support Professional Week. This is a great opportunity to highlight our dedicated and innovative direct support staff.  Our Direct Support Professionals make up about 45% of New Danville’s workforce and are the backbone of our services. Their expertise and compassion play a critical role in the lives of the men and women we support. These front line professionals are the heart of our organization. The assistance and interactions they provide help people living with intellectual disabilities to engage fully within their community and experience meaningful and productive lives.

We are very proud and grateful for the contributions of all of our DSPs for making a tremendous difference in the lives of the people we serve.  Our DSPs inspire us each day with their passion, patience, and creativity.  Please join us in showing your appreciation for these dedicated professionals colleagues working on the front lines, not only this week, but each and every day.

We thank our Direct Support Professionals for their dedication and commitment to New Danville’s mission in supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live their best life.

I’d also like to take a moment to note that September is Spina Bifida Awareness month, as well as September 4th is Word Cerebral Palsy Day.  Both of these conditions may cause considerable limitations or cognitive impairment and are shared by some of the adults at New Danville.  Yet another reason to highlight the caring and dedicated professionals that strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

A great employee is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

“A great employee is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.”  Tammy Cohen

Although March 5, 2021, was the national Employee Appreciation Day, I want to take this moment to say just how very lucky New Danville is when it comes to employees.  In my time here, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most dedicated employees I have ever met.  Their job is not easy, but they do it with grace and genuine affection for those we serve.  They bring passion and dedication in making a positive difference in the lives of so many. It truly is an absolute privilege to have them on our team.  It is hard to express just how much we value each and every one of them.

Of particular pride is our very low turnover rate.  The national average for Direct Support Professionals is a shocking 51.3%.  For 2020, New Danville had a turnover rate of 2%.  For many agencies, employees leave faster than they can be replaced and this has a detrimental effect on adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The constant change in staff and lack of routine and consistency impacts not only operations but more importantly the quality of service being offered.  Luckily, our adults have support staff that are dedicated, passionate, and committed to our mission.  Their ability to work as a team and pitch in to help each other is admirable.  This past year with the COVID-19 crisis, our employees worked together to help us through the worst of times.  And, even though some had to be furloughed for an extended period of time, they have all returned to their positions.  We are the best at what we do because we have the best employees. Whether it is in direct support, maintenance, grounds keeping, or office support staff, we truly have the best of the best.

It is easy to hire people; it’s much harder to keep them, and especially hard to hire the right people that are committed to doing this kind of work.  On behalf of myself, and the entire management team, we would like to express just how valuable each and every employee is to the success of New Danville.  We look forward to our vision for the future and to what we can accomplish together.

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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