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Grateful to the Community

Local Nonprofits serve vulnerable populations

If you're looking for ways to give back to your community, you'll be happy to find that there are massive ways in Montgomery County to offer assistance. While the approaches may differ from serving a single population to helping anywhere to ensure worthy causes have the funding they need, New Danville, the Conroe Noon Lions Club, and the Woodforest Charitable Foundation are each supreme examples of success when it comes to service.

"It's a very specific population that needs our help," says Mike Painter, the CEO and President of New Danville. Kathy Sanders founded New Danville in 2005 to serve the needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization started in a military tent and today is housed on a 43-acre campus in Willis. Their goal is to provide their "wranglers" (the participants in the residency and day programs) the opportunity to live, learn, work, and grow. Currently, they service 36 full-time residents and 115-day program participants.

Operating in many ways, like a public school, New Danville traveled 102,000 miles getting wranglers to and from campus last year. Once there, wranglers take art classes, learn independent living skills like cooking, and participate in animal therapy. 

Mike says the biggest fear of many parents of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities is what will happen to their children once they're gone. New Danville hopes to meet this need with Vision 2025. This expansion plan will double their resident capacity and build two assisted living facilities on campus for those wranglers who age out of independent living. "That would mean they can stay here at New Danville throughout their entire lives," says Painter.

New Danville offers opportunities for groups to volunteer and participate website in the Annual November golf tournament. 

New Danville is a master class in meeting the multiple needs of a single community, but theirs is not the only successful approach to serving. "Wherever there is a need, there is a Lion." That's what Jason Miller, President of the Conroe Noon Lions Club, says of their approach. The Conroe Noon Lions Club was charted in 1939 and has grown to be America's second largest. newdanville.org

"We Serve" is the official motto, which is broad for a reason. The five global causes of Lions Clubs are diabetes, vision, hunger, environment, and childhood cancer. While an entire list of what the Conroe Noon Lions Club does couldn't fit in one article, here is a sampling of their various yearly projects: numerous scholarships for area students, conducting vision screenings all across Conroe, running an eyeglasses recycling center, delivering food baskets to the elderly at Christmas, mentoring children at Reaves Elementary, hosting a fishing tournament for special needs children, putting on a style show to empower the disadvantaged, honoring a hometown military hero, contributing money and time at Texas Lions Camp (camp for children with various disabilities). They also put their hands to work with other area nonprofits, including Yes to Youth, Family Promise, the Montgomery County Food Bank, and Sleep in Heavenly Peace, to name a few. 

This year's President of the Conroe Noon Lion's Club, Jason Miller, focuses on "choosing to serve." The idea is that service is not something we have to do; it is something we get to do. If you're looking to help all sorts of people and causes in the community, Lions Club is a great place to be for adults, and you can be a guest on Wednesdays at noon to learn more.

Conroe and the broader Montgomery County area are full of those willing to work for the benefit of others. Still, it takes more than manpower to support the massive effort of meeting community needs. It takes those willing to donate. Amy Sechelski, office manager of the Woodforest Charitable Foundation, says, "Here at the foundation, we're honored to be able to partner with such great organizations that are really fulfilling the needs in our community."

Amy says that the leadership of Robert and Kim Marling and the rest of the Foundation's board of directors is the reason that "we can continue to give." According to their mission statement, The Woodforest Charitable Foundation "is dedicated to enriching lives and communities through social and public service programs. The Foundation supports 501(c)(3) charitable organizations in the communities served by Woodforest National Bank." They aren't kidding about the dedicated part. Recently, the Foundation distributed more than 4.2 million dollars in Montgomery and Harris County.

The Foundation targets four community service areas in their donations: hunger relief, housing, health, and family support. A few of the local groups they support are the Montgomery County Food Bank, Interfaith of The Woodlands, Children's Safe Harbor, YES to YOUTH, Family Promise of Montgomery County, and Montgomery County Women's Center. You can learn more about the Woodforest Foundation through their website: woodforestcharitablefoundation.org.

Our local nonprofits serve our vulnerable populations in the community, and we appreciate their work!

Jason Miller, President of the Conroe Noon Lion's Club this year, puts a focus on "choosing to serve." The idea is that service is not something we have to do; it is something we get to do.

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