About Janelle Romano

Janelle Romano joined the Interfaith team in 2018. She is originally from the Midwest, but has lived on the East Coast and in Mexico. Janelle relocated to The Woodlands four years ago with her husband and three children and they now consider Texas home. She is a graduate of both Purdue and Southern Methodist University and enjoys spending time traveling with her family and giving back to the community.

The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA) Dedicates New State-of-the-Art Micah Academic Center

The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA) held a dedication ceremony for their new high school building last Friday, September 27, 2019. Named The Micah Academic Center, the 63,000 square foot building is the 6th academic space on the school’s 40-acre campus. U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady and Dr. Dave Anderson, President of the Grace School of Theology and TWCA founding member, shared remarks after Head of School, Mrs. Julie Ambler, opened the brief ceremony with a prayer. A longtime supporter of the school, Congressman Brady said, “The Woodlands Christian Academy has a reputation for exceptional academics in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. I trust this new campus will enable you to continue that tradition and continue to serve as an excellent academic foundation for the youth of our community.”

Following the remarks, Gill Staley, CEO of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership assisted J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce with an official ribbon-cutting.

In addition to the state-of-the-art science and STEM laboratories, MakerSpace, art studio and gallery, fully equipped auditorium and lecture hall, and 22 classrooms, The Micah Academic Center will be able to accommodate the school’s growing student population.

The Woodlands Christian Academy is a PreK – 12th grade college preparatory school that integrates learning with biblical faith and challenges students to reach their highest potential – spiritually, academically, physically and socially. For more information visit twca.net.

Denim and Diamonds Gala

There was much to celebrate at this year’s Inspiration Ranch Denim & Diamonds Gala! The 11th annual event which was sponsored by Anadarko and held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott honored Richard and Anna Pender. The Pender’s 40 plus acre White Bridge Farm just north of Tomball became the beautiful, expansive new home to Inspiration Ranch this year. The other honoree of the evening was Arena Energy who has been a long-time champion of Inspiration Ranch and has made significant contributions including providing an indoor riding “arena” that protects the special needs riders, volunteers, staff and animals from the elements. The highlight of the evening though was the powerful testimony by Amanda Shirley, the mother of one of the Inspiration Ranch clients describing the impact and benefits for her daughter Dayton.

John & Natalie Ford, Minnie Telaroli, Mark Beach

The silent and live auctions throughout the evening were filled with fantastic packages including an eight-day oceanfront, all-inclusive, luxury trip to Jamaica donated by Fox Travel, a private chef dinner donated by Amerigo’s and a legendary golf experience at the Insperity Invitational among others. The gallery wall, items in the general store and the always popular wine pull and giving boxes went quickly as well as guests clamored to contribute to the heartwarming cause. Inspiration Ranch is committed to never turning away a family for their equine-assisted therapeutic riding and mental health programs due to an inability to pay. The generous contributions from the Denim & Diamonds gala help them provide access to the therapeutic benefits for the 50 additional families still on the waiting list to join Inspiration Ranch.

Silent Auction

Inspiration Ranch is a 501 (c) (3) premier accredited center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. Inspiration Ranch provides hope and opportunities for individuals with physical, emotional and social disabilities. To learn more, visit inspirationranch.org.

Amanda Shirley, Dayton Shirley, Kent Shirley

Keith & Taryn Gordon

Travis & Audra Palmer, Anthony Firmarture, Tracey Reyes, Elijah White

 

Michael & Susan Postus, Nathan & Kelly Dietrich, MG Tindall

Tim & Valerie Byers, Matthew & Stephanie Peloquin

The John Cooper School Develops Global Thinkers with Experience in Spain

The John Cooper School offers its students experiential learning opportunities during the summer.  This year 14 students and 2 faculty members traveled through the south of Spain, exploring the cities of Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Seville, Gibraltar, and Cordoba.  The purpose of the trip was to focus on global perspectives; it was designed to move students through awareness, understanding, appreciation, interaction, and experience in a foreign country and immersion in Spanish culture. The objective was to develop global thinking by learning social-mindedness, politics, environment, ecology, technology, economy, and culture. This learning happened by visiting historical sites, attending courses with instructors from the University of Seville, engaging in service, and living with a local family.

Sevilla

Upon arrival in Madrid the group travel to Toledo, the city of “Three Cultures” (Muslim, Jewish and Catholic), and stayed within the historical city walls. They visited the Cathedral, one of the most prominent Gothic buildings in Europe also home to El Greco’s masterpiece The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.

They traveled through Castilla la Mancha, with vast fields of sunflowers and scene of many of the adventures of Cervante’s Don Quixote. In Jaen, they saw expansive olive orchards where one of Spain’s main sources of income, olive oil, is produced. They even sampled chocolate produced with this golden treasure.

Gibraltar

In Granada, they were able to appreciate the beautiful Moorish architecture of the Alhambra and experience the diverse mix of cultures that coexist along its beautiful narrow streets. The group also engaged in a service project with senior citizens.  Each member of the group was paired with a senior who guided the student through the city, sharing stories about where they grew up, pointing out their favorite place for treats, as well as detailing historical events that have occurred during their lifetime.

During the five day stay in Seville, the students lived with an Andalusian family, sharing meals and family dynamics.  They attended cultural and culinary classes where they learned the history of Flamenco, how to cook paella and sample traditional tapas and “merienda”.

Cooking Paella

 

The group then traveled south to Gibraltar, part of the United Kingdom, and experienced crossing the border as most of its inhabitants do on a daily basis to commute to and from work. From the highest point in Gibraltar they were able to see the African shore of Morocco and visited with the famous Barbary macaques, an endangered species of monkeys at the Upper Rock nature reserve, where they also explored its cave full of impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations.

In Madrid, the group visited the Royal Palace, the Prado and Reina Sofia museums. They admired Picasso’s masterpiece “Guernica” and learned of its symbolism and history, other surrealists’ works from Dali and Miró captured their interest as well.

Plaza Mayor Madrid

Throughout the journey the students communicated in Spanish, engaging in conversation and making inquiries to their tour guides.  The group made 3D videos which will allow classmates to share their experience and enhance their learning through the use of this innovative technology.  In this way, the Cooper community as a whole will benefit from this experiential learning adventure.

Sevilla waiting for the bus

Royal Palace Madrid

Service in Granada

Classes

Introducing the Exclusive The Book The Woodlands Wish Guide

The Book The Woodlands is excited to announce that The Wish Guide, a chic, new companion publication of The Book will arrive in mailboxes this year WITH The Book The Woodlands!
The Wish Guide will resemble the beauty and sophistication of The Book with a thick matte cover and pages but in a more petite 7” X 10” size. The Book The Woodlands focuses on the people, businesses, and organizations that make The Woodlands an exceptional community while The Wish Guide will highlight unique local gift, dining and catering offerings available in The Woodlands to help you with your Holiday gift giving and entertaining.

Designed like a high-end department store look-book, the pictorial ads of must-have products and packages, engaging festive articles and community events calendar will make The Wish Guide an irreplaceable resource during the busy Holiday Season. Perfect to peruse again and again and durable enough to withstand sharing with friends, family, and guests. It is sure to find it’s rightful place on your coffee table during the Holidays with The Book TheWoodlands.

The Wish Guide will be direct mailed to area homes in The Woodlands as well as distributed in high-visibility locations throughout the area including Market Street and local hotels, reaching over 100,000 influencers locally.

The goal of The Wish Guide, as with all of the publications of Interfaith, is to raise money to serve our neighbors in need. Last year, with the help of our generous ad partners, Interfaith was able to serve over 8,000 individuals through the Holiday Giving program. “As our community needs rise, we at Interfaith continue to seek ways to build sustainability and grow revenue to provide the programs and services necessary to assist our neighboring families and seniors in crisis,” said Missy Herndon, President & CEO. “Through ad partnerships, businesses market their services and products, and fully fund the publishing of both The Book The Woodlands and now The Wish Guide. In turn, all proceeds of these publications fund Interfaith’s programs and services. We are so grateful to be in a community that cares.”

If you know of a business or event that should be considered for inclusion in The Wish Guide, please contact cmogler@woodlandsinterfaith.org

The Nightingale Society

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” – Florence Nightingale

Nightingale Society Scholarship Recipient Liliana Covaliu, originally from Romania, has a multitude of excuses not to continue advancing her nursing education, she is the mother of five, cares for her elderly parents and English is her fourth language. However, following in the footsteps of Nightingale, she is not one for excuses. Covaliu was thrilled to learn of the Nightingale Society and be one of the first scholarship recipients. Covaliu plans to apply again upon completion of her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) for another scholarship for her MSN (Master of Science in Nursing).

Liliana Covaliu and Diane Freeman

The Nightingale Society was created to help encourage continuous improvement and ease the financial burden additional training may cause for the nurses at CHI St. Luke’s Health. Diane Freeman, Chief Nursing Officer stated, “nursing requires constantly improving and specialization in training. Advanced training translates to improved diagnostics and better patient care.”

Inspired by Florence Nightingale, the Nightingale Society at CHI St. Luke’s seeks to aid nurses in their advancement in the valiant profession of nursing. Nurses provide compassion, comfort, and care; they are an essential component to the success of any hospital. The scholarship funds generated by the Nightingale Society are the result of generous contributions from donors including Brad and Kylene Beers, the Haag Family Foundation, physicians from the Caduceus Society including Dr. Peter Shedden, Dr. Vincent Aquino, and Dr. Syed Raza, Douglas “Woody” Lyons, Jr. and Michael and Vicki Richmond.

Dr. Vincent and Yvette Anquino

The first scholarships awarded by the Nightingale Society were distributed in the spring of 2019, with four nurses (Liliana Covaliu, Keira Ruben, Teresa McKenzie, Elaina Perry) each receiving $3300/year for 2 years. The funding can be used for technical training and advanced certification programs, advanced nursing degrees, employees who want to pursue nursing, clinical research and to retain top talent in nursing. Jim Parisi, President and CEO of CHI St. Luke’s Health announced the winners and remarked, “it is important for me and our organization to take time out to recognize our nurses and how much they do for our organization. Nursing holds a special place to me in my leadership role here, as I am a registered nurse as well. I may not be at the bedside with you every day, but I understand the challenges you face to meet your patients’ needs.”

For more information on the Nightingale Society, please contact Carolyn Hays at chays@stlukeshealth.org or 832.355.5855.

Scholarship Recipients with Diane Freeman

Dr. Peter Shedden, Jim Parisi, Diane Freeman, Dr. Vincent Aquino, Brad Beers

 

Summer Fun for Dads and Grads

Looking for a new and different experience for the Dad or Grad in your life this summer? Check out some of the hidden gems in our area for a new adventure to share with your special someone.

Take Flight- Helicopter Academy– Learn to fly a helicopter at the Helicopter Academy at the Conroe Regional Airport. An introductory flight lesson is $350 and includes an hour of ground instruction and a 30-minute flight. If learning to fly isn’t on your bucket list, try a 30-minute photo tour for two for $300. While you are there enjoy a bite to eat at the Black Walnut Café on the rooftop and watch the planes land and take off. For more information contact Matt Goodwin 602.432.1968, www.thehelicopterschool.com

 

Chef for a Day- TRIS- Experience a master at work. Shadow award-winning Chef Austin Simmons as Chef for the Day at TRIS The Woodlands. A personalized package may include selecting the cuisine and technique you would like to learn, prepping with Chef Austin and then tasting your creation at lunch, followed by a dinner at Cureight that evening. Price varies but starts at $400. For more information, visit www.triswoodlands.com or call 281.203.5641

 

Virtual Reality Lounge- Emergent VR Encounter- For the video game enthusiast, immerse yourself in virtual reality in the high-tech gaming lounge at Emergent VR Encounter. Featuring an expansive game library there is something for everyone. www.emergentvrencounter.com

Burn Some Energy- Texas TreeVentures- The new ropes course nestled in the trees at Rob Fleming Recreation Center in Creekside Park will have you soaring to new heights. The aerial challenge course is surrounded by the George Mitchell Nature Preserve and has adventures for both youths and adults. www.texastreeventures.com

 

Catch Some Air- Hangar 9 Wake Park- Just north of The Woodlands off I-45 is a hidden cable wake park, perfect for beginners to try wakeboarding. Don’t worry, if you are already a seasoned professional they have plenty of jumps and options for you as well. www.hangar9wakepark.com

 

Become a Warrior- Texas Axe Throwing– Yes, axe throwing is a thing, and it is now offered in The Woodlands. Texas Axe Throwing offers 2-hour “axe-periences” with expert Axe Masters available for individuals ages 12 and up. Winners earn the title of Lumber Queen or King. www.texasaxe.com

Women of Distinction

The 29th Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon and Awards was held on May 3rd at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The luncheon organized by the Montgomery County Women’s Council of Organizations, celebrates the outstanding volunteer and leadership contributions of women in Montgomery County.  Member organizations select and honor an individual volunteer who has made a significant impact to the organization through their outstanding volunteer efforts.

The sold-out luncheon featured Ms. Gigi Woodruff, Senior Leadership Development Manager at YMCA and Owner of Gigi Woodruff and Associates as the keynote speaker. Ms. Woodruff inspired the crowd as she spoke of overcoming low self-esteem as a child and becoming a force for good. She encouraged and challenged both the guests and honorees to embrace the differences we encounter, to thank our mentors and become mentors for the next generation.

New Danville Tea on the Lawn

The 2019 New Danville Tea on the Lawn held at the beautiful Madera Estates was held on April 26th. Richie’s Specialty Pharmacy was the Presenting Sponsor and Hoggatt was the Guest Speaker Sponsor for the elegant spring event supporting New Danville’s Day Program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Each year women flock to the event in their chic outfits and colorful hats and this year was no exception. The theme was “L’Art de Vivre” which means “the art of living”. Megan Jamaluddin, chair of the event expounded upon the selection, “The theme embodies the mission of New Danville to provide programs and services for their clients to help them to live vibrant lives where they can see the world as a place full of colors, textures and opportunities!”

(L-R) Tiffany Alexander, CeCe Ray, Allison Lime, Lisa Hill

Rev. Kimberly Constant of TWUMC graciously emceed the fashionable affair and helped showcase the wonderful work of New Danville. Guests were entertained by author, humorist and singer LaDonna Gatlin whose performance included an outstanding rendition of “This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman with the New Danville Silver Star Singers. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Guests dined on scrumptious delicacies from Churrasco’s while enjoying shopping in the Market Place prior to the program.

New Danville services adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in an environment promoting dignity, respect and individual choice.

To learn more about New Danville, please visit: http://www.newdanville.org/

The New Danville Silver Star Singers and Client Council accompanied by John Massey and Donna
( L-R) Honorary Chairs Bev Earl and Melissa Young with Event Chair Meagan Jamaluddin

Art Dash

The Woodlands Arts Council (TWAC) kicked off The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival with the much anticipated Art Dash again this year. The “Let the Art Choose You!” entitled event is one of the highlights each year in The Woodlands Art Community. The unique, exhilarating event was held at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and allows guests to preview the art featured in the arts festival while raising money for a multitude of outreach programs of The Woodlands Arts Council.

Deb Spiess and Nick Wolda thank the enthusiastic Art Dash guests

Festival artists donate works of art and friends of TWAC, arts patrons, artists, and board members gather to celebrate the kick-off event of The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival. The evening began with a preview period accompanied by the captivating sounds of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra led by Artistic Director Darryl Bayer. The excitement continues to build throughout the evening culminating in a race through the art exhibit when a guest’s number is chosen to select their piece of art within 60 seconds.

Proceeds from the event fund the nearly $20,000 in scholarships awarded each year to high school juniors and seniors, The David Gottlieb Teacher annual scholarship awarded to one visual and performing arts public school teacher, school field trips, programs for individuals with special needs and more.

For more information on The Woodlands Arts Council please visit: http://www.thewoodlandsartscouncil.org/

Denise Hayes

Lydia Harrell

Leo & Christina Brito

Art Dash Crowd

2019 Habitat for Humanity- Building Hope Gala

The 8th Annual, Habitat for Humanity MCTX Building Hope Gala was held May 4th at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. Celebrating Habitat’s 30th anniversary, it was presented by LGI Homes for the third consecutive year. The aptly themed Making Dreams Come True gala will make the dreams of homeownership a reality for many area families as the evening raised a staggering $700,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

The Making Dreams Come True theme was evident in the exquisite décor thanks to the vision of Michelle Leary and Ann Young, décor co-chairs. As guests entered the dining room through a tunnel of twinkling lights and a magnificent greened archway, they were captivated by the starlit sky, midnight blue and pewter table cloths adorned with silver and glass candelabra, and breath-taking florals bursting with white roses, hydrangea and lush greenery. The program was masterfully hosted for the third consecutive year by Houston’s favorite KHOU 11 news anchor, Len Cannon.

(L-R) 2019 Building Hope Gala Honoree and Habitat Advisory Board member, Larry Abston poses with Candi and Gerald Glenn, Habitat for Humanity Board member (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography).

All told, the 2019 Building Hope Gala raised an impressive $700,000 that will make a significant impact on building homes in the Cedar Creek neighborhood. The “Build a Home” call to action, silent auction and bid boards as well as live auction items including a Games of Thrones Northern Ireland trip, the ever-popular Pate Ranch Hunting weekend, an electric guitar signed by the Rolling Stones, and a stunning diamond tennis bracelet valued at nearly $20,000, donated by Mark Pharo Extraordinary Jewels all contributed to the noteworthy fundraising total.

Highlights of the evening included Vicki Johnson, Habitat’s Executive Director, presenting a special award to Mike Maher, Head of School at The John Cooper School, to recognize the milestone 20th Habitat home built. Larry Abston was also recognized and thanked for his many years of service to Habitat as a board leader, leading 100 Anadarko volunteers on home builds annually, and personally connecting with the Habitat families. Gala co-chairs Melissa Jacobson and Karen Lach presented Eric Lipar, CEO of LGI with an award in appreciation for their presenting sponsor donation for the past three years.

(L-R) Melissa Jacobson and Karen Lach, Building Hope Gala Co-chairs present Eric Lipar, CEO of LGI Homes, with a memento to thank LGI for serving as Presenting Sponsor for the past three years (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

Finally, the entire crowd was moved by the remarkable story of homeowners Veronica and Edmund Jones, who met in a Special Education class in high school. They shared their story of hardship growing up, finding each other, raising three children, and being turned down several times due to not meeting eligibility requirements before being accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program. Theirs was a story of perseverance, focus, and hard work which will reach a pinnacle this summer as they move into their own Habitat home.

(L-R) Mark Pharo, Pharo Luxury Jewels and Charlotte Ammerman. Pharo Luxury Jewels served as the VIP Party Raffle Sponsor, as well as the Live Auction sponsor. (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

Habitat for Humanity is changing lives. Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity MCTX has built more than 120 homes and 17-20 homes will be built in 2019 alone. In a survey conducted in 44 states, 90% of Habitat homeowners replied that they would not be able to own a home if it were not for Habitat. A Habitat home is a stabilizing force for a family. Better, affordable living conditions lead to better health and the financial flexibility to forward-looking choices.

(L-R) Rick & Carol Kovacich and Barbara & Stephen Crain, President of the Habitat MCTX Board of Directors, pause at the entryway of the 2019 Habitat Building Hope Gala. (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

For more information on the important work of Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County, Texas, please visit habitatmctx.org. 

Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, TX is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides affordable, sustainable homes to hard-working families and individuals. Because of their work, hundreds of Montgomery County’s most vulnerable children have a secure place to thrive, and the number of people helped is growing every year.

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