The Village Press - Village Learning and Achievement Center



The Village Press - Village Learning and Achievement Center
The Village Press
Village Learning & Achievement Center Newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 1
Services offered:
Houston Endowment, Inc. Grants $150,000
• Day programming
• Employment support
• After-school care
• Residential services
• Respite care
• HCS Provider—Village
Home & Community
• Recreation
• Transportation
Inside this issue:
Expansion News
Spring 2009
Executive Director’s 2
Message –
“It’s the Programs”
Picnic On The Park
Ladies Luncheon &
Family Festival
Grant Update
Book Fair Success
New Staff Faces
Cricut Donation
Kiwanis Aktion Club
Thank You for Your 7
Houston Endowment, .
Inc. granted $150,000
in April to Village
Learning & Achievement Center to acquire
land in Kingwood just
off Northpark Drive
near our current facilities.
The Center is
purchasing 3.581 acres
of land on Chanay Lane
to expand programs
and services to indi- LAND PURCHASE—Tracts G, H, I and K above are the reserves
viduals with disabilities Village Learning & Achievement Center will purchase to expand
in the local community. residential and day programs.
Village Teams with Huffman ISD to Provide Training
Staff to Assist Huffman Families
Village Learning & Achievement Center is teaming with
neighboring Huffman ISD to provide In-Home Training and
Advocacy Programs for families in that school district who
have children with disabilities. The Center has contracted for
a number of years with our local
Humble ISD to provide staff to conduct in-home training to help students transfer skills learned at
school to the home and community. In addition, specially
trained staff have provided advocacy support to families to
assist them in accessing appropriate special education services
for their children.
The new agreement makes these services available to the
more than 200 families with children with disabilities in Huffman ISD, which educates 3,000 students across five campuses.
Training Begins with 15 Students
Kathy Krenick, Special Education Services Director for Huffman ISD, worked with Village’s Executive Director Lisa Prusak to write the initial contract to provide in-home training to
15 children. The training includes:
• Observation of the children in their classrooms
• Development of individual home program plans
• Pairing staff with each child and scheduling services
Village Learning & Achievement Center
also is assisting in developing a transition
program—a plan that envisions each child’s
progress from school into college, work or
the community at adulthood — for more
than 100 students from the ages of 14-22.
Village also will be consulting in the general
education classroom for students whose
behavior is disruptive. Our goal is to provide teacher support and alter behaviors
that may be hindering the learning process
for the child and his/her classmates.
Upcoming Events
May 11th, 2009
Golf Tournament, 1:30 p.m.
Tour 18
November 7, 2009
Gala, 6:30 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Houston
North -Greenspoint
“The Moonlight Garden Ball”
Page 2
The Village Press
Executive Director’s Message
Have You Seen Us Lately?
Lisa Prusak
Executive Director
We’ve been growing. I am amazed at what we have accomplished in nine short
years. It seems like yesterday that we were talking about starting the day program.
We opened the doors in a strip mall for six Villagers and now serve 170 individuals
and 300 families through our various programs. Each program was started because a
parent, family member or person with a disability called us and expressed a need—a
need for transportation to a job, to the Center, to a doctor’s appointment, church,
or other activities. A need for housing, day time activities, advocacy, recreation and
leisure activities and more. Each time those calls came in we would discuss how we
could help meet the needs of the individual and their family. It truly is all about the
programs and, in turn, all about the Villagers and their families. We continue to expand the programs and services that we offer to ensure we meet the growing and
changing needs of families of children and adults with disabilities in our community.
Growing In Numbers……
We currently serve more than 170 families on a monthly basis
107 Villagers walk through our doors at the Plum Valley Center every day
We have 68 employees
We provide services to 65 Villagers in their homes through our Home & Community Services Program (HCS).
We provide residential services to ten Villagers in apartments
Village at Stoney Glen has 13 Villagers who live at the house fulltime
48 Villagers per day use our transportation services to go to and from work and the Center.
86 Villagers at the Day program use our transportation services weekly to go on outings in our community
We have helped more than 100 families with advocacy in Humble ISD and surrounding school districts
Growing Needs...
The numbers speak for themselves. We are serving more families than ever before. The phone calls
from families keep coming. They are asking for assistance with affordable housing in the community. They
need to know about transition programs for young adults with more significant behaviors that are aging
out of the school system with very few options other than institutional settings. They ask about childcare
and after-school programs for younger children, and tutoring and more. We continue to discuss all the
needs of the families in our community, to make plans for the future, to expand our services and the support we offer, to work to reach more families and their loved ones with disabilities.
Harvesting Your Help
It is truly amazing what a parent, a family, our community can do to meet the needs of these children
and adults. Together we can continue to grow our existing programs and develop new ones that will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and create a better community. I invite you to come and take
a tour to meet us and see what we are up to and to see where you can start your seed of involvement by
giving of your time and talents.
Lisa L. Prusak
Volume 4, Issue 1
Page 3
Picnic On The Park...More Events, More Fun Each Year!
Flowers, fun, fashions and stories made the Picnic on the Park
Annual Ladies Luncheon and Easter Bonnet Contest a success!
Over 240 people attended the event at the Houston Airport
Marriott in a show of community support and to raise funds for
our mission at the Village Learning & Achievement Center.
As the ladies arrived, Shane Hetherington set the mood on
keyboard, while the judges reviewed lovely bonnets worn by
many of the women.
“We’ve discovered that every bonnet has a story,” said
Gwendolyn Condoleo Crawford, one of three judges, “We
are looking for originality, creativity and uniqueness and what
we have discovered are fascinating back stories.”
One story came from Jane Mayer winner of the “Judge’s
Favorite” award. “This is the first time I’ve worn it since 1955
on the day I got married,” said Ms. Mayer, Other contest winners were “Most Festive,” inspired by butterflies and worn by
Virginia Schilling, one of our organic garden volunteers.
Wanda Wofford won the “You’ve Got To Be Kidding” award
for a hat of wine corks and feathers. The Mint Bank sponsored a table hosting many faculty and staff of Lone Star College-Kingwood, who won “Best Group.”
Family Festival - Fun for 4,000!
The biggest event for families with kids in Kingwood’s Town
Center is the annual Picnic on the Park featuring games, egg
hunts, inflatable’s, dunk tanks, food,
coloring contests, Jello wars, rock
walls, and more. This year’s event
drew 4,000 people for a day of fun the
Saturday before Easter. A rock wall
was the highlight of the new “Teen
Zone.” Mark Linabury of Kingwood emceed the event that
featured dancers from Quest High
Volunteer model
School and “Kingwood Idol” karaoke
Carley Prusak is
competition. Photographs were taken
escorted by Joe
by Steve Tarver Photography and
are available at
Bonnet winners, from left: Jane Mayer, Virginia Schilling,
and Wanda Wolford with Mike Byers.
A highlight of the luncheon was the opportunity to be served
by a Celebrity Waiter, one of the well-known local business and
community leaders who earned tips for charity as wait staff.
Serving were: David Bubier, Rick Alspaugh, Mike Byers,
Charlie Campbell, Joe Cleary, Philippe Cras, Billy Dawson, David Dickson, Chet Harris, Dan Huberty, Curtis
Maxey, Robert Scarfo, John Sheridan, and Larry Shiflet.
They raised over $ 2,000 in tips for Village Learning & Achievement Center.
The fashion show, presented by Tracy Stunja, featured
designs by Etcetera, and image consultant Cathy Fitzpatrick
Cleary highlighted the year’s trends. The models were Amy
Cowand, Mary Lee Irwin, Rosie Glass, Kathy Mayeux,
Sarah Nowak, Carley Prusak, Kim Riley, Margret Rose
Roberto, Lindsey Stiglets and Joy Walter.
Joe Cleary receives a
tip while Eggbert
looks on.
Children hunting Easter Eggs at
the Family Festival.
For Carley Prusak, who attends the Village’s after-school
vocational training program, the day was a dream come true
and a step toward her goal to work as a professional model.
Jennifer Arceneaux, also a recipient of Village services,
took the microphone to tell how the Center’s programs are
changing her life. She now works at the local Goodwill store,
making her own money and living at the Stoney Glen residential facility. Joe Stunja, the luncheon’s emcee, ended the event
by pointing out that everyone — the waiters, the vendors, the
volunteers — all were heroes by helping.
“Best Group”, top row, from left: Devon Alexander, Andrea
Lee, David Bubier, Debbie Esparza, Kay Fitsimons, Michelle
Lee and Diane Blanco. Bottom, from left: Sharon Gould,
Cheryl McGeough, Hildy Bubier and Sarah Berry.
Page 4
The Village Press
The Village Garden is a Victory
In an effort to broaden life experiences for
our clients, the Village Learning and
Achievement Center began an organic
vegetable garden this Spring at our residential facility, Village at Stoney Glen.
Many wonderful volunteers, including Kingwood Garden Club, installed 1,000 feet of
growing beds along with bins for composting and a site for a future tool shed.
The first crop is already producing. Currently growing are tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, green beans, sunflowers,
cucumbers, a large variety of herbs along
with beds for flowers and beneficial insects.
Coming soon will be okra and cantaloupe.
We also planted a variety of citrus trees.
These include lemon, Satsuma and grapefruit.
A trip to the garden can be a wonderful
experience. There is discovery in every bed.
New plants blooming and setting fruit. Butterflies and ladybugs flitting. It is an experience that all should have. In the future, we
hope to have a hard surface installed so
clients with special mobility needs can
travel the garden and enjoy watching it
Grants & Funding News
Baylor Methodist Community Health Fund of the Greater Houston Community Foundation - $25,000 Toward hiring
a certified nurse’s aide for the Village Nursing Program. We thank Charlene Slack Balderas for visiting our program and recommending us to the foundation committee. The goal of our Nursing Program is to expand nursing care to accommodate the number
of clients served and to train employees, families, caregivers and volunteers in CPR and CPI (Crisis Prevention and Intervention).
First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood - $20,000 For the past eight years, First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood has provided its financial and community support. We are thankful to their Mission Committee for continuing their support this year.
Their ongoing commitment has made it possible for the Center to grow to serve over 170 clients.
Administaff, Inc. - $20,000 To raise funds to complete the exterior renovations needed at our day program center. We have
been in our new building for over a year and a half and are still unable to utilize the outdoor grounds. We greatly appreciate Administaff for donating a portion of the $150,000 needed in order to complete the project. Administaff donates thousands of dollars, as well as numerous volunteer hours, every year to our mission. We appreciate their vital support.
State Representative Joe and Nancy Crabb - $10,000 Towards Village at Stoney Glen renovations required for assisted
living licensure. When we contacted Joe to let him know that we needed extensive renovations to our residential facility to become a licensed assisted living facility, he came right over with a check to help pay for the construction. Both Nancy and he have
been great supporters of ours. We greatly appreciate their commitment to providing community services for individuals with disabilities in this area and throughout the State of Texas.
Donne Di Domani - $10,000 The funds received from Donne Di Domani will be used toward program services not covered by
our service fees. Joan Imperato, RE/MAX Associates Northeast realtor and a member of Donne Di Domani, was instrumental in
obtaining the grant from this local organization of Italian-American women that fosters an awareness of Italian culture and heritage.
Each year they sell their famous spaghetti sauce at the Nutcracker Market at Reliant Center with proceeds donated to non-profit
organizations throughout Houston. We thank Joan and all of the members of Donne Di Domani from the bottom of our hearts
for helping us.
Newfield Foundation - $2,500 Towards the establishment of a Structured Learning Center. John Austin, a parent of one of
our Villagers, works for Newfield Oil Company. Every year he supports grant funding for the center. We thank John and the
Newfield Foundation Committee for seeing the value of what Village Learning & Achievement Center brings to our community.
Newfield Foundation’s funding makes it possible for us to continue to establish and expand community-based alternatives and organizational services outside institutional settings.
Community Service Organizations
National Charity League - Kingwood - $1,500 Purchase of Hand Bells, Photo Equiqument, and Display Case
National Charity League - Livable Forest - $500 Purchase of Cricut (Electronic Cutter) for Vocational Ceramics Program
National Charity League - Kings Trail - $500 Purchase of 2 Listening Centers
Kingwood Women’s Club - $500 Operational Support
Humble Intercontinental Rotary Club - $500- Operational Support
Fall Creek Social - $600– Operational Support
Volume 4, Issue 1
Page 5
Book Fair Focuses on Literacy and Fun
reading and participation both at
the center and at their homes,”
said Smith.
“Awesome Actually!”
Those were words that spoke
volumes about the event. Scholastic—the people who are famous for book fairs at area
schools—brought a unique
event in March to the Village
Learning & Achievement Center.
More than 265 books were set
up for display and browsing by
clients and their families. The
result was over $1,500 of profit.
“The outcome from this project was beyond anything we had
anticipated” said Andi Smith,
Director of Education Programs.
During the month of January
the Center’s theme was
“Literacy.” Each class read “Bud,
Not Buddy” by Christopher Paul
The Cat In The Hat (Steve Russom), Kyle
Brusatori and Thing One (Andi Smith) at
Scholastic Book Fair.
Curtis. In February the classes attended performances of the play at
Main Street Theatre.
Continuing the reading momentum,
we hosted the Scholastic Book Fair at
the Center March 16-20. “It was my
hope that each Villager would find
these books useful and encourage
Literal Involvement
As a way to get everyone involved, each day had a special
theme and teachers were invited
to make wish lists of books they
wanted for their classrooms. By
the end of the week, more than 50
books were donated to the classrooms.
“I would like to thank each client
and their families who made the
Scholastic Book Fair successful,”
said Smith. “Working together and
encouraging each other is what
we are all about. We are always
looking for new ways to educate,
share and get our clients involved.”
Village Learning & Achievement Center’s New Faces
A quick walk through the Center at Plum Valley or Village at Stoney Glen and you’ll see new
faces as our family grows with new staff members. Here’s who’s new:
Christine Bornman, Assistant Development Director, assists
Kim Brusatori, Development Director, on our fundraising
events and keeps our sponsors and volunteers informed and
Melinda Langeland, Direct Care Staff (Center), Lead Instructor in the Production Department. She assists the Vocational Manager, Jennifer Montgomery, to plan and implement
the programs that are offered at the Day Program.
Mistie Fowlks, Job Coach Assistant, Supported Employment Jackie Robertson, Home and Community Services Staff
Dept., assists with coaching the Villagers in finding employment. (HCS), works with the Villagers during their day-to-day activities at the apartments where they live and at the Day Program.
Fernikya Garrett, Home and Community Services Staff
(HCS), provides Residential Support Services to clients that live Steve Russom, Supported Home Living (HCS), assists with
in apartments in the community.
the Center functions as needed.
Daniel Hemberger, Driver for the Transportation DepartWillie Thomas, Residential Support, Stoney Glen, works
ment, transports clients to and from home, work, college, doc- with our House Manager, Mary Holt, to assists the Villagers
tor’s appointments, or wherever they may need to go.
with their daily activities in the evening and on weekends.
Kathryn West, Residential Support, assists the House ManEboni Hughes, Home and Community Services Staff (HCS),
works in the apartments providing residential support services. ager, Mary Holt, at the Stoney Glen Residence.
Fredric Kirschke, Instructor, Center Day Program, assists
Villagers with their goals and objectives and daily activities.
Page 6
The Village Press
Jiminy Crickets! - NCL Ceramics Program Grant
Cricut Makes Patterns – But Does It Chirp?
Clip and cut. Crisscross patterns or letters. It almost does it all. And it makes our Villagers’ ceramics look more professional.
to the bowl, cup or plate, the Villagers paint it and
the lines are kept clean and professional looking.
The machine is fairly quiet which is good because
the production room is buzzing with activity.
Thanks to a grant of $400 from the National
Charity League (NCL) Livable Forest chapter,
the production room has its newest tool, an electronic cutting machine named “Cricut.” A production room volunteer and NCL member, Truett
Vondrak was instrumental in getting the grant
awarded to purchase the Cricut.
New product buzz
Board of Directors
Spring brings new products and plenty of places to
sell them. We
now have personalized picture frames,
pet food bowls
and treat jars, a
new line of
travel mugs
that fit in a cup
holder with a
lid, a new platter that is
painted with
our signature
Texas motif, a
new piece to our party line that has 5 bowls inside
a large circle tray, and a huge personalized popcorn bowl. If that’s not enough, the hit of the Ladies Luncheon and Easter Bonnet Contest was our
new Jelly Bean Coffee Mug. We can’t keep them in
Kimberly Brusatori
The Cricut can cut material for decorations, signs,
stencils, note cards, bulletin boards, and almost
anything the Villagers can think of. So far it has gotten a workout making stencils being applied to ceramics prior to painting. Once the stencil is applied
Come by the center to look at the items available to order or call Jennifer Montgomery at 281358-6172.
Kiwanis Service
Call to Aktion for Adults with Disabilities
The Kiwanis Club in Kingwood, Texas has agreed to partner with Village Learning & Achievement Center to create an opportunity for adults with disabilities to join a new Kiwanissponsored service organization known as the Aktion Club. Curtis Maxey of Main Street Bank
and Lisa Prusak, Executive Director, have worked to develop the club, which will provide
adults with disabilities the opportunity to:
Develop initiative and leadership qualities.
Serve their community.
Demonstrate the dignity and value of citizens living with disabilities.
Working together in service to the community fosters opportunities to
develop leadership skills, build a strong moral character, and encourage loyalty to community
and nation. The club also will give Villagers an opportunity to show all they have to offer to
the community and each other through service projects they will select.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child
and one community at a time.
Lisa Prusak
Executive Director
David Bubier, Chairman
Community Liaison
to the Mayor’s Office
Jeff Early
Northern Trust Bank South Texas
Marie Halvatzis
Chet Harris
Harold Hutchinson
Stephen King
CEO, GrowthForce
Ellen Nipe
Special Education
Humble ISD
John Pluhowski,
Vice President
V. Scott Pignolet,
Chairman Emeritus
Vice President,
Balmert Consulting
Robert Scarfo
Credit Services
Volume 4, Issue 1
Page 7
Thanks to Our Many Supporters!
Village Learning & Achievement Center appreciates the generous contributions of these donors
and program sponsors December 2008—March 2009:
Donors from $1-$249
Aetna Inc.
Allen, Christopher
Alspaugh's Ace Hardware
Ankrum, Roderick & Hazel
Arceneaux, Jennifer
Arceneaux, Maria
Arceneaux, Phyllis
Austin, Janet & John
Bassett, John & Heidi
Bertrand, Byron & Ginger
Bubier, David & Hildy
Bugner, Douglas & Barbara
Caldwell, W. Logan & Gwenn
Claverie, Edward
Coleman, Nathanial & Gwen
Collier, William & Gretchen
Cox, David & Christine
Dantzler, Jennifer C
Dehnert, Larry & Dorothy
Doleski, Thomas & Shirley
Drachenberg, Lauri
Driskill, Don & Bonnie
Elliott, Paul & Shannon
Forester, Brian
Fogle, George & Lynda
Foley, Gerald
Frantz Engineering, L.L.C.
Frantz, Mimi
Gentry, Nick
Glass, Rosie
Greenberg, Daniel or Lynda
Guy's Air-Conditioning & Heating
Harris, Winona
Hensley, Sarah Courtney
Hinze, Michael & Andrea
Hoglund, Cheryl
Hopper, Tommy
Housley, Thomas
Isaacson, Mark
Jackson, Christopher
Jaeger, LJ & Constance
Jones, Tiffany
Jordan, Jackie
Jorgensen, Stanley & Loweta
Kowalik, Kathryn
Lacour, Greg & Mindy
Larue, Ed D, Sally
Lee, Timothy & Andrea
Lopez, Israel
Martin, M.J or V.J.
Martin, Sandra Louise
McCreight, Glenda
McDermott, Joseph & Suzy
McKenzie, James and Carol
Miller, Robert & Carol
Moore, Richard
Moran, Matthew
Nipe, Ellen & Russell
Paul, Leonard
Payne, Mary E.
Pratt, Jeffrey & Tina
Reed, Troy & Regina
Richards, Zina
Roberson, Carolyn & William
Roden, Michael & Sharrie
Rogers, Everett
Rogers, Jeanne
Shimer, Ellen
Smetherman, Simon & Max
Smith, Steven J., Dr.
Sostack, Gary & Lisa
Stout, Sara
Stump, Sharon
Sumruld, Timothy
Thompson, John & Alice
Tillett, Jim & Deborah
Ullrich, Betsy
Valenzuela, Amanda
VanBrackle, Margie
Vicinanza, Mark
Voss, Laura
Voss, Margie
Walker, Yvonne
Wallinger, Wade & Ruby
Weirich, Harriet
Wilde, Michelle
Williams, Richard or Mary
Yeazel, Roy & Louise
Zeagler, David & Clare
Zivick, Ryan
Organic Garden Bed Sponsors
Leonard and Kim Brusatori
Charlie and Kyle Campbell
Mark and Pat Koenig
Harriet and Truett Latimer
V Scott and Peggy Pignolet
John and Susan Pluhowski
AIG Matching Grant- John Pluhowski
Steve and Lisa Prusak
Ben and Sheila Turner
In Memory of Bob Simpson
Leonard and Kim Brusatori
Daniel and Cynthia Cantrell
Liz Fogt
Sherilyn McClain
Donors from $250-$499
Austin, Janet & John
Ciura, Mary & Frank
Coleman, Bryan & Diana
International Ladies Club
Jewett, Suzanne
In-Kind Donations
Dick and Lynda Watts
Wayne and Judy Jones
Kingwood First Baptist Church
Seltzer, Jackson & Brenda
Wells, Robert & Susan
Donors from $500-$999
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Brusatori, Barbara & Raymond
CTE Marketing, Inc.
Hernandez, Linda & John
Humble Inter-Continental Rotary Club
Jones, Wayne & Judy
Kingwood Women's Club
McLea, Kimberly
Price, Ted"
Radley, Daryl W
Salter, R.H or C.J.
Simonetty, Christopher
Donors from $1,000 - $2,499
Brewster, John Jr. & Bridget
Brusatori, Kimberly & Leonard
Bulick, Woody & Susan
Campbell Chiropractic Clinic
Harris, Chester R (Chet)
Kirby Inland Marine
Koenig, Mark & Patricia
Molaison, Roger & Brandi
National Charity League Kingwood Chapter
Pignolet, V. Scott & Peggy
Pluhowski, John & Susan
Scarfo, Robert
Tetra Technologies
Donors from $2,500 - $4,999
Cleary, Joe & Cathy
McClelland, Dwayne & Karen
Newfield Foundation
Donors from $5,000 - $9,999
First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood
Watts, Lynda & Richard
Landis, Scott & Dana
Donors from $10,000 +
Administaff Services
Crabb, Joe & Nancy
Greater Houston Community Foundation
Annual/Monthly Commitments
Leonard and Kim Brusatori
David and Hildy Bubier
Chet and Celeste Harris
Suzanne Jewett
Scott and Dana Landis
Dwayne and Karen McClelland
Daryl W. Radly
First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood
Kingwood First Baptist Church
A special thanks to our past & present transportation partners:
Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware
Kingwood Women’s Club
Re/Max Associates Northeast
Sterling McCall Honda
Homewood Suites, Kingwood
Lone Star College, Kingwood
Senator Tommy Williams
Susan Brown, Keller Williams Realty
Village Learning & Achievement Center continues to experience pain at the pump due to the
great number of miles regularly driven by our five vehicles. Transportation is an essential component of the mission of Village Learning & Achievement Center, as we transport over 100 Villagers on a daily basis. If you are interested in advertising, please call Steep Creek Media (281-540-8742).
Rick Alspaugh—Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware
Susan Brown — Keller Williams Realty
Village Learning & Achievement Center - Creating Inclusive Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
We’re on the web!
3819 Plum Valley Drive
Kingwood, TX 77339
Phone: 281-358-6172