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!


In the News – January 2022

The Montgomery County Community Foundation continued its generous support of New Danville with a recent contribution of $5,000 to pay for an ice and water station in the Classroom Building and a water station in the ETC building. “Hydration is very important for everyone, but particularly so for adults with IDD,” said Eva Aguirre, President and CEO of New Danville. “We appreciate the Foundation’s recognition of how important accessible, easy-to-use hydration stations are to the health and wellness of our Wranglers.”

Pictured: (L-R) Dion McInnis, Director of Development; Eva Aguirre, President and CEO; Rev. Jon Beadle, member of the MCCF Distribution Committee.


Upcoming Events – January 2022

Spring Thing, April 22, 2022  To hat or not to hat, that is the question. Mark your calendars! The Spring Thing (formerly known as Tea on the Lawn) is back!  Troy Ball will be our speaker. Originally scheduled for the events that were canceled, 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.

Reminder: Our Holiday schedule can be found at https://www.newdanville.org/holidays/

New Danville will be CLOSED the following days in 2022:

Staff In-Service Day (New Danville Closed)Monday, February 21
Memorial DayMonday, May 30
Independence DayMonday, July 4
Labor DayMonday, September 5
Staff In-Service Day (New Danville Closed)Monday, October 10
ThanksgivingThursday, November 24
ThanksgivingFriday, November 25
ChristmasFriday, December 23
Christmas Monday, December 26
New Year’s Friday, December 30


Fundraising Factoid

It costs $20 per day to feed and care for the animals (miniature horses, miniature donkeys, goats, and chickens) that are part of our animal therapy program. Please consider adopting a day, a week, or a month. You can make recurring gifts if you prefer. Just note “animal therapy” with your donation.  Donate.NewDanville.org


Live – January 2022

Wrangler Wresolutions

The start of a new year and the time that many people resolve to make changes, large or small, to improve themselves in one way or another.  In a recent conversation with Wranglers Kaylyn, Pam and Richie, we gained great insights on what we call Wrangler Wresolutions.

Pam shared a resolution that many folks have at the start of the year: “I want to lose weight. It is a struggle to get the weight off.  I really need to stay away from junk food.”

Richie agreed. He wants to tackle his weight, too. “We get off our diets during the holidays and it is hard to get back to a good diet,” he said. “I enjoy the Morning Mile walk here, but I need to do more walking.”

Kaylyn’s resolution took a different angle, “I want to come to New Danville as often as possible without feeling like I need to call my mom every 24 seconds.”

All resolutions face challenges, some in our control and others less so. The Wranglers agreed that tackling resolutions is not a solo experience; goals involve family and friends.

Pam hopes her family and friends can be on the same page with her goals to help minimize food temptations.

Richie focused on the loss of socialization that comes with masks and he looks forward to masks being a part of history.

Kaylyn’s challenge is twofold, “I need to get off my phone and start walking more,” she said.

We all face resolution challenges, whether our goals are subtle or profound, big or small. Perhaps the insights and the commitment of the Wranglers to their goals will help you with yours.

Perhaps some changes coming to New Danville in 2022 will help the Wranglers whose goals include weight control and exercise.  Stay tuned!


Learn – January 2022

Learning confidence heading into a new year

When asked “How have you learned to have confidence going into 2022?” Wranglers Kevin, Robert, Mariann, and Lisa shared ideas that were more grand than simple tips…they were wise insights.

While confidence is thought of as an individual trait, Wranglers also emphasized the role of family, friends, and social contacts as key to their sense of confidence.

Kevin summarized the group’s thoughts when he said, “Don’t be afraid to learn new things.” Words to live by.

Kevin believes his confidence will increase when the pandemic is over. “I will be able to take care of my family then,” he said, elaborating with examples of being able to get together with them, socialize with them, and such, all of which produces a better outlook and optimism. He learned that video calls, writing notes, and making calls are not substitutes for family time, but they help fill the gaps in contact created by the current conditions.

Lisa agreed. Being with, around, and in contact with her extended family is crucial and she believes her confidence improves with that contact.

Mariann said that she is learning to feel more positive about herself, and feeling that way improves her confidence. “I have things to learn and work to do,” she said. After some thoughtful consideration, she said, “I come to New Danville ready to take on the day and forget the past.” Kevin noted, “Mariann seems to get stronger every day.”

“Expect greatness every day,” Robert said. “Understand that the road of life is not just for the mountaintops; it is the whole road. Learn while in the dips so you can understand the top,” he remarked, reminding the group that learning that perspective will definitely affect confidence.

Learning something as complicated as confidence is certain to come with challenges and hurdles. These Wranglers easily identified the biggest impediment to their learning.

Kevin: “Do it without giving up.”

Lisa: “Have faith in yourself.”

Robert: “See it in yourself before others will be able to see it in you.”

Mariann:  “Have faith in who you are.”


Work – January 2022

It takes work to tackle something new

“Effort only releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Whether it is climbing a mountain or learning how to tie your shoes, learning something new requires work and persistence. In a recent conversation with Debbie Rigsby, the Direct Support Professional who works with our Wrangler IIs, we learned about sharing some of the things they were proud of learning that required extra work and effort.

Wrangler IIs at New Danville have been putting the focus and attention it takes to learn new things. Nothing new can be learned without those two things, and effort, too.

Aaron can now find books at the Montgomery County Library on his own and is a big fan of Disney books. When asked if he likes going to the library, he replied with a big smile and a “Yes!” He proudly showed off his sheet of paper with words that begin with the letter “A.”

Debbie said that the class is working on a variety of things that take repetition and reinforcement, as all lessons require. “They don’t give up,” she said. “We all work on it together.”

Along with everyone learning about manners, patience, and common courtesy, there are individual success stories of proud Wranglers IIs. Patrick can find his computer on the shelf by himself and Triston can now better communicate by touching pictures on an iPad which then conveys the word for it. (For more information about the grant from the Madelyn Cooke Foundation that made the technology available to New Danville, read here.) Learning new things takes work and 2022 will reveal another year of Wrangler IIs performing work to learn new things.


Grow – January 2021

Looking forward to growing in 2022

George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be who you might have been.” Central to the poet’s message is growth.

Wranglers LeeLo, Jayden, and John shared some thoughts about growth; they all spoke about what they might be in the future, thanks to growth in 2022.

“I want to be more independent,” LeeLo said. He explained that to be more independent would require him to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Physical development is his top priority because mobility challenges most impede his sense of independence, he said. “I would love to be able to run someday,” he said.

John plans to grow in his maturity because he wants to be seen as a role model someday. He also hopes to continue to grow and develop as a person who someday lives at New Danville. “I would like to be able to say in the future that ‘I grew at New Danville and now I live there.’”

Jayden wants to grow and develop his skills and knowledge to better take care of the miniature horses and miniature donkeys that are part of the animal program at New Danville.  “I learned to love horses because of the ones my grandfather had,” he said, “and I want to learn a lot so I can help with the horses when John (Massey) can’t.” (John Massey is the Direct Support Professional who oversees the animal program. Read his story here.)

Every growth phase faces challenges of some type along the way. It takes wisdom to think ahead about the challenges to identify them and to resolve to take action against them.

“I don’t want to stumble,” LeeLo said, ”but if I do, I will get up, dust off, and keep going. I need to be patient with it all.”

John suggested perspective as a challenge and solution. “You can’t lose perspective,” he said. “Look back at times when you were younger and don’t necessarily do again what you did then.”

Jayden echoed LeeLo’s message regarding patience. “Be patient. Be patient. With all that is going on.”

It sounds like Wranglers will be doing some special growing in 2022.


A Wrangler’s Tale – January 2022

Rob:  Everyone has a story that they want understood by others

Rob’s been around. And around and around, mostly in his bright blue golf cart in which he spends a few hours a day driving around the New Danville campus.  Rob has been around in life, too, and when asked if he wished others understood more about him and his story, he quietly nodded in response.

Rob loves mobility. A big fan of trucks and SUVs, Rob enjoys going to the Houston Auto Show with his father.  He particularly likes the Nissan trucks, Frontier and Titan.

His mobility includes a variety of home over the years.  He has lived in Hope Village in Friendswood and Brenham State School and other communities, as well as at home with his parents over the decades before arriving at New Danville two years ago. As he shares his life story he recalls people’s names clearly and quickly. “It is easy to remember people’s names,” he said matter-of-factly.

Rob’s mobile nature has transported him to a variety of experiences. He has sung in several church choirs and does so now. He also participates in Special Olympics in bowling; he would like to get back to participating in track-and-field, too. He has held a variety of jobs over the years, though he admits that finding employment now is particularly challenging. Ironically, transportation challenges are one of the issues for him.

Among his life’s accomplishments, Rob cites two growth phases with great pride “when I developed as a man.” In high school he encountered a bullying situation. He learned first-hand the effects of bullying. “Don’t be a bully,” he said. “Find someone else to help resolve the problem.” More recently he has reached another growth step of which he is most proud. “My mom and dad are looking for providers for me. There are some things that I just can’t do very well. I’ve tried, but I need help cooking and cleaning, and stuff. I’m just not good at it.” Reminded that it takes courage and humility to admit the need for help, Rob said, “Yes.  I’m trying.”


Guest Voices – January 2022

Perspectives on Jazzy Junque since its inception

Thirty-seven years of combined experience leads to memories and perspectives on the establishment and operation of Jazzy Junque, an upscale home décor store in the Outlets at Conroe shopping center. Nanci, Gay, and Carol have been with the store since its beginning, and before.

Jazzy Junque started as a once-a-year sale of home décor items for the benefit of New Danville 14 years ago. After five years of hard work and successful sales, the decision was made to go set up a year-round storefront. Nanci and Gay started with the operation in its original format and are still on board today. Carol joined the team after the store opened.

Nanci related the moment when she said to another volunteer, “the thrill is gone.” They were pushing a sofa down the sidewalk in the shopping center, preparing for the annual sale. They knew that an ongoing operation was the answer.  The three shared stories of the “early years” when hardly anything was turned away because there was treasure in each and New Danville needed the funds. Carol said, “We painted or glued or whatever it took to get items into good condition.” Fast forward and the store space has expanded, including an expansion two years ago, and the need for storage to hold inventory has never been greater.  Quality items come from individuals, estates, and more, providing a constantly changing inventory for shoppers to choose from.

“We are a team, a family, a tribe,” Nanci said, “and customers have become friends over the years. The volunteers work hard because we all believe in the cause.”

The store contributed more than $150,000 in net proceeds in 2021 to New Danville. President and CEO Eva Aguirre said, “Our commitment is to focus on providing quality programs and fair prices to our clients. Our priority is to serve our clients, not make a profit off of them, which means that Jazzy Junque, our special events, and fundraising initiatives are essential for New Danville to complete its mission.” When asked about anything about serving at Jazzy Junque that might have come as a surprise, Gay said, “We’re too busy to be surprised about anything.  We always have so much going on.” It is also no surprise that the Jazzy Junque team is always looking for volunteers. (People interested in volunteering can fill out the contact form here.)


Development Corner – January 2022

Donor recognition:  Changes in how we say “thank you”

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”  ~Zig Ziglar

There are a thousand ways we can express our thanks and gratitude. The Wranglers do a great job saying “thank you,” and all of us at New Danville share their appreciation of what donors make possible here.  2022 will add two more ways we can say show our gratitude.

The Gratitude Wall:  We will soon install a special display to honor those who support New Danville’s work. Located in the Classroom Building, it will present the names of individual donors and business partners based on various giving levels and types. (A conceptual drawing can be found in this article from The Wrangler Gazette.) The wall will be updated at least twice per year based on annual giving. Everyone on our mailing list should have received a copy of the donor brochure in November; it explains the various recognition levels and benefits.

Donor Recognition Event:  In the coming months, we will host our first donor appreciation event to honor, thank and recognize those who, in 2021, contributed $100 or more. We will also recognize two award recipients, one for philanthropy and one for volunteerism. More news on the event will be rolling out soon.

We look forward to 2022, no matter what it brings, because of the people we serve and the people who support us.

Dion McInnis, Development Director

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about naming opportunities at New Danville, securities as gifts, in-kind donations, planned giving, or other options.  You can reach me at Dion.McInnis@NewDanville.org, or at 936-253-5757. Thank you for your interest.

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.