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.

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.

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/

 

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.

Woodlands Weather Dude

I enjoy weather forecasting and communicating weather risks to people and I have made a career out of it over the last 25 years. In late August 2015, almost on a whim, I started posting about local weather interests on Facebook and Woodlands Weather Dude was born. At that time, the closed group contained only a few dozen members. Now over three years later, the group has grown to over 9,000 followers spread out across The Woodlands and Montgomery County. Although I would like to take full credit for the popularity of the group, I believe there are some larger things at play here that are responsible for this growing popularity.

 

First off, whether we know it or not, the weather touches our lives on a daily basis.

According to a recent Power Research Center study, weather far outpaces other daily news topics on a local level. Over 70% of adults in the Houston area say that the topic of weather is “important for daily life”. In second place was the news topic involving Traffic & Transportation at 52%. Even Government and Politics were only at 26%. Let’s face it; people want to know if the weather is going to have an impact on their kid’s birthday party, commute to work or on their weekend camping trip. Having a cell phone with weather apps or social media, including Woodlands Weather Dude, makes it easier than ever to have access to current and future weather at your fingertips.

 

Secondly, the weather hasn’t exactly been boring around here. In my 27 years of living in Houston, I believe the most active stretch of significant weather occurred here recently over the last few years. Hurricane Harvey (2017) and the two 2016 Floods both had huge impacts on our community and has stirred even more personal interest in the weather, especially during the tropical season.

Finally, I believe the popularity of the WWD Facebook page may also be an unfortunate byproduct of storm anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Dr. Asim Shah, a Baylor College of Medicine mental health expert, “Close to a year after Harvey, we are still seeing [patients with] depression and anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder as well”.  Although I don’t interact directly with most of my followers, I have had many conversations with fellow co-workers who have been directly (or indirectly) impacted by Harvey or prior storms.  Some of them still suffer from insomnia and storm anxiety and have admitted to becoming obsessed with the weather, especially during thunderstorms.

Weather in Texas can be very scary for many in our area. What I attempt to do on my Facebook site is to provide my own unfiltered view on how a certain weather event is going to pan out.  And I always try to do it without any needless hype, although I have to admit some of our recent weather events over the last couple of years warranted some more serious weather language. During quieter times, I sometimes like to have forecasting contests. So if you have a good idea on when we will see our first 100-degree day or when we encounter our first freeze of the year, give me a follow! If you are a successful forecaster, you could even win a small prize. -WWD

Jeff Royed graduated from the University of Oklahoma where he received his B.S. in Meteorology. Jeff has lived in The Woodlands with his wife and two boys for over eight years. In his spare time, he enjoys running and biking on the local trails. He also likes taking his boys on short camping trips.

 

 

 

 

Inspiring Mom- Jo Anne Johnson

What has been your most challenging part of motherhood?

Especially as your kids grow older, I would say it’s teaching them virtues in failure – allowing them to accept and own consequences for their decisions/actions, yes, but also encouraging them to rise up to their God-given potential, and you only get there by trying.  “The only true failure is when you stop trying,” as my parents would say.  Allowing them to fail is one part of this, but leading by example is the flip side of that coin… They’re always watching, so how do I accept life challenges as an incredible opportunity?  Ultimately, we’re teaching our children to stand on their own two feet with strength and confidence in knowing God made them with special intention and purpose, so “rise up” and make the world a better place.

 

What inspires you as a mom?

I’m inspired by Holiness in others, and am inspired by the reality that, by a divine plan, we were chosen to be mothers for our children… What an awesome responsibility as both Nurturer and Teacher!  I am blessed by great friendships and believe me, I take notes from friends with older kids… They’ve encountered life situations and instilled values where I can see their kids flourishing, and it’s super inspirational.  And not just great testimonies for hard work paying off with college or career opportunities, but awesome examples in volunteerism, stewardship.  If I open my eyes, there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day.

 

How do you find time for yourself/spouse/children?

I heard this years ago, and have never forgotten it:  “How do you spell Love?  T-I-M-E.”  A professional business coach also made this sobering point, “Your family deserves what’s best of you, not what’s left of you” when you walk in the door.  That awakened my senses, and inspired me to structure my business so that I am present… I love to escape with my son and do things he wants to do – just mother/son time.  Admittedly, a gun range or video game challenge is not always my cup of tea, but there’s a lot of sharing!  With my daughter, she likes foodie outings, and have done quick overnight trips together – very special.  And hubs… We try to find simple moments like coffee on the back patio before the house wakes up, or a quiet dinner together.  We even took a dance lesson in the last year. 😉  Lastly, self-care… I think many mothers would admit self-care often times comes last, and am reminded of the airplane analogy of putting an oxygen mask over our face first so we can help others around us.  We’re not effective serving others unless we’re taking care of ourselves.  It’s a work in progress.

 

What are your favorite things to do/places to spend time with your children in our community?

I would say one of our favorite things to do as a family is going out to eat together!  What does that say about us?! HA!  We live in a resort-like community, so we’ve enjoyed a lot of fun outings through the years… July Fourth parade is an annual tradition, picnics or concert-going in the park, being a spectator at professional golf tournaments, church socials… Window-shopping around Market Street… Volunteering as a family… So many wonderful venues and memories to create!

 

What advice would you give new moms?

Oh my… I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice, but would simply say to “be present.”  I look back in the early years of my current career when my kids were young, and it’s a blur. I was inspired to get into a coaching program, which allowed me to implement better systems and structure.  One of the core principles I was coached on included creating a Perfect Calendar.  So, that would be my advice… Make sure your top priorities are on your calendar – time for yourself and time for your family.  Other activities, work commitments, etc, will fall in place around the latter.

 

Jo Anne grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a full-ride music scholarship while simultaneously pursuing a professional career as a violinist with The Lincoln Symphony Orchestra among other solo & ensemble outlets. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, Jo Anne continued a professional music career while exploring a “daytime” career in Corporate America with a Fortune 500 Company. Within a short period, her tenure in insurance claims included: National Catastrophe claims, Fire/Auto claims, Special Investigation, Attorney Negotiations, and Management. Since 1996 Jo Anne has worked, lived, and played in The Woodlands.  She began her real estate career in 2008 which she has grown into a top-producing team – Jo Anne Johnson Real Estate Group.  Married for over 20 years to Troy, a native Houstonian, whom she met in Denver, CO, on business in the early ‘90s, Jo Anne is also the proud mother of two amazing kids! Between band practices and sports fields, she considers herself the luckiest woman in the world!

 

 

Woodlands Wedding – Jenny & Jon

This local wedding feature spotlights the love, courtship, and marriage of Jennifer (Jenny) Hiser and Jon Bailey. Both transplants to The Woodlands, Jenny, and Jon share a magical story of love and friendship in our community.

Did you grow up/do you live in The Woodlands?
Jenny was born and raised in New Orleans where she lived most of her adult life before moving to the Woodlands in 2012. Jon has been a Houston resident since 1992 before moving to the Woodlands in 2014; he considers himself a Texan though he was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina.

How did you meet?
Although we lived 10 minutes apart, we met online and talked by phone several times before our first date at Crisp in The Woodlands. On that date, the chemistry between us was so obvious that another guest at the restaurant told us, “I want what you two have!” We both privately took that as a “sign” to pay close attention to!

Courtship:
After that prescient beginning came the courtship…a wonderful time of adventure discovering and falling in love with each other. This was done in the context of family and friends, Friday night movies on the couch and Saturday night galas, Astros games, college football games, concerts, parties, and staycations. Trips to Dallas, New Orleans, Napa, Destin, and Colorado showed us how well we worked together as a team. We survived and thrived in the midst of chylothorax (Google it) and wrestled with what makes a successful relationship while waiting out a tornado warning during Hurricane Harvey in a closet. We laughed, cried, worked, and played; we prayed and worshipped; we talked for hours on end, and explored who we are and what we need and want in a partner and spouse. We became best friends.

Proposal:
Jon knew Jenny was a romantic at heart; she subtly let him know she dreamed of a fairytale proposal with Jon on bended knee, ring in hand, in a beautiful private setting – after he had asked her father for her hand in marriage (she’s also a traditionalist!) After Jon spoke to her father (he said, “go ask her mother!”), and her childhood best friend (she’s like a sister), and had purchased the ring, he whisked her away on a surprise “vacation” to Gateway, Colorado – home of red rock canyons, a beautiful secluded resort, and all the outdoor activities Jenny dreamed of one day doing, like hot air ballooning over Arches National Park! He had planned to surprise her with his proposal on the third night, but on the second day, she was so unaware of his plans that she asked him “why haven’t you taken this relationship to the next level!” Jon felt like he was one day “too late”! But it worked to his advantage because the next night she was completely surprised when he took her to the outdoor amphitheater on the resort property, where he had reserved a private dinner for two at sunset, complete with a custom meal and wines. When the main course was finished, Jon asked for the leftovers to be boxed, having arranged for the ring to be brought out in the box instead of the food! Then, under a desert rainbow (another sign!), he got down on one knee and proposed amidst surprised tears of joy from an elated Jenny!

Engagement:
Jenny and Jon were engaged for a little over 9 months. Those 9 months flew by with Jenny, her mom and best friend & Matron of Honor, Julie Comeaux planning the wedding. In between planning, Jenny and Jon had fun celebrating with family and friends starting off with a small engagement party thrown by Jenny’s parents when they returned from their proposal trip. Several parties followed including a Couples Engagement party in September, thrown by Jenny’s cousin Susan Aucoin in New Orleans, and a couples shower at the home of Nicole and Will Murphy hosted by Jenny and Jon’s good friends, the Comeauxs, Herndons, Murphys, and Muehslers. It was a beautiful and fun night filled with laughter, dancing, and good food. Jenny’s Aunt’s Kathleen Dolan and Shelly Dolan threw her a New Orleans themed bridal shower in New Orleans complete with king cakes, seafood and games in January, and in early March, Jenny’s good friends (Julie Comeaux, Elvira Lee, Jenny Coyle, Jena McCrann, Grace Bailey, Abby Munoz, Heather Bailey, Tricha Stilley, Amy Foreman, Kim Hardy & Sondra Ruhman) threw her a Mardis Gras themed bridal shower in the Woodlands at the East Shore Clubhouse. The pre-wedding festivities concluded with one last, fun, girl’s night celebration with Jenny’s close friends at Cupcakes & Bubbles in Creekside Village.
For each event including the wedding, Jenny had her makeup done by Morgan Horres at Lady Paint Makeup Artistry and her hair done by Monica Fridell at The Beauty Lounge. They truly made her look like a runway model.

Wedding:
The wedding was held at the Robb Chapel at The Woodlands United Methodist Church. It was officiated by pastor Mark Sorensen and coordinated by Lindsay Landin, both of the church. The reception was held at the Glade Cultural Center (formerly The Woodlands Homefinder Center) on April 6, 2019. The wedding was attended by 175 people, 70% of whom were from out of town.
What were the most special highlights for you at your wedding?

Unquestionably the highlight was our “first dance”. We took 3 months of dance lessons to learn a choreographed dance to a medley of three songs we selected (“At Last” by Etta James, “Bust a Move” by Young MC, and “Boogie Shoes” by KC & The Sunshine Band). The 3-minute dance introduced our reception guests to all the twists, twirls, and funky moves the two of us could muster and ended with Jon dipping Jenny’s wheelchair for a kiss on the last beat. It was a huge hit with our guests and fired up the guests to dance the night away. Jenny hand-picked the DJ and the entire playlist, which reflected her energetic party personality. We received tons of compliments on our first dance, and our guests said it was one of the best wedding receptions they had attended.

Another special highlight for us was the speeches and toasts at the reception by Jenny’s father, John Hiser, by Jenny’s matron of honor, Julie Comeaux, and by Jon’s best man and brother, Craig Bailey. Their thoughtful heartfelt humor and insight into us produced tears and laughter for us and our guests that we will always remember. We are so grateful to be so well loved by so many.

What memories/highlights include a connection to The Woodlands?

After visiting several venues for the reception, we instantly fell in love with the Glade Cultural Center. Glade was the perfect venue for us: as an art museum, it offered the classy elegant style that we wanted. Plus the scored concrete floor made it easy for Jenny in her wheelchair! We chose to do our bridal and first look portraits in the Glade gardens which offered the beautiful green and floral color of springtime that we desired. Dragos Tapu was extraordinarily helpful and always went the extra mile to accommodate our wishes. Wicked Whisk provided a flawless beverage experience for our guests.

As a wheelchair user, Jenny had specific wedding dress designs in mind; she searched the whole Houston metro area for the right store, but only Brickhouse Bridal in The Woodlands could provide the simple classy look she wanted with the modifications she needed.
We both have been a member at The Woodlands United Methodist Church for several years, and could not imagine getting married anywhere else but the Robb Chapel. Mark Sorensen, our pastor, and friend officiated the ceremony, and many guests told us how meaningful the service was to them. The sanctuary was beautiful and the photos in the garden by the chapel are among our favorites. The church soloist, Stephanie Taylor, and chorale, along with the string quartet coordinated by an employee of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands were among the many highlights of the service that we and our guests enjoyed.

For our first dance choreography and instruction, we chose the gifted and patient Jhondarr Lopez and phenomenal staff at Fred Astaire Studios in Hughes Landing. Jon especially is forever indebted to them!
The Woodlands Convention Center and Bureau was instrumental in assisting us with securing local hotels (The Westin, Hyatt Place, Hilton, and Embassy Suites) for our many out-of-town guests who also enjoyed several days exploring Market Street and Hughes Landing businesses such as Tommy Bahamas, Goode Co. Mexican, Plush Nail Bar, and Sugarfina. The rehearsal dinner was held at Tupelo Park in Creekside Park Village and catered by Goode Co. BBQ in The Woodlands. And the Presidential Suite at the Westin was a luxurious experience for the bride and groom’s first night after the wedding!

Honeymoon and Happily Ever After
Jenny and Jon vacationed in St. Lucia in the Caribbean for their honeymoon and now reside in Creekside Park Village in The Woodlands.

Inspiring Mom – Amy Young

What has been your most challenging part of motherhood?
I would say up until this point, the most challenging aspect of motherhood has been the constant worry of whether or not I’m doing everything right. Parenting is hard, and no one knows the right answer to every challenge faced as a mother. Fear of making the wrong decision, whether it be what I am feeding my kids or the decision to discipline them in certain situations, is a constant presence. As we are entering the preteen years in our house, it is becoming increasingly clear that raising kids in a technological world (that we never had) is now becoming the most challenging aspect of motherhood. Having to monitor screen time, website content, YouTube videos…these are things our parents never dealt with. Knowing that what they click, text, post or “like” as a teenager can follow them for the rest of their lives is nerve-racking. Trying to keep a watchful eye on it can be overwhelming but extremely necessary.

What inspires you as a mom?

Watching my kids grow into these individual little people who think on their own and have their own opinions inspires me. To think that I am playing a part in who they are becoming and equipping them with the tools to make tough decisions inspires me to be a better mom.

How do you find time for yourself/spouse/children?
That’s always a tough one because we are not the best planners. My husband and I do sneak away for date nights grabbing dinner or a movie when we can. We recently started having “family meetings” with the kids. It’s a time we carve out (usually Sunday evenings) to sit with the kids (no tv, phones, computers) and talk…just talk. Sounds awkward but they are great! We discuss our upcoming week, specific needs, anything big on the horizon, etc. We also pick a word of the week (e.g., love, humility, gratitude) and discuss how to implement that word into our day-to-day. It’s been fun listening to our kids open up and seeing them attempt to put these words into practice.

What are your favorite things to do/places to spend time with your children in our community?
With all of the amenities that our community has to offer, we love venturing out and trying new activities or the latest restaurants when we can. But with kids involved in sports and extra-curricular activities, it seems most of our free time is spent at sports and recreational complexes in and around The Woodlands. Sometimes this means spending our entire weekends watching our kids in games and tournaments, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What advice would you give new moms?
Never say, “My kid would never!” because it will come back to bite you. Trust me. Kids are kids, and no matter how perfect WE think they are, they are going to fail. They need to fail. It can be so tempting to want to swoop in and fix everything for them (guilty!), but let them figure it out. It is better to experience failures and disappointments now so they are better equipped to handle the larger challenges they will face as they become adults.

Amy and her husband, Scott, have been married for 19 years. After practicing
law for 9 years, Amy became a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Owen
(11) and Annie (10). She now dedicates her time to raising her family,
volunteering for various organizations including her children’s school (The
Woodlands Christian Academy), HOPE – The Will Herndon Research Fund and
Interfaith of The Woodlands, as well as helping with her husband’s dental
practice.

The Woodlands Christian Academy Celebrates 25th Anniversary – The Silver Ball

The Woodlands Christian Academy celebrated 25 years of providing exemplary Christian education and service to the community at the elegant Silver Ball, their annual auction and gala at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The Silver Ball, sponsored by Woodforest National Bank and chaired by Alison and Vernon Veldekens, is one of the largest fundraising events of the year for The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA).

The proceeds from the gala will go toward the final phase of the school’s newest academic building which is slated to open in the fall of 2019. The state-of-the-art, 63,000 square-foot building will include 15 classrooms, an art studio, science and robotics labs, and an atrium-style, 363-seat lecture/performance hall.

The glamorous evening was filled with incredible live and silent auction items led by Sponsorship Chairs Christin Allphin and Brandi Watterson, including a guided tour through South Africa, Ritz-Carlton private residence package in Grand Cayman, A Day in the Life of Tilman Fertitta, and a Summer Bash at the Ambler Ranch among others. The auction in conjunction with the sponsorships and donations helped raise an astonishing $2,085,000 for The Woodlands Christian Academy. DJ Men-Yo, former personal DJ for First Lady Michelle Obama, provided entertainment and kept the crowd dancing until late into the evening.
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 www.twca.net

Montgomery County Food Bank – Food For Life Gala

Montgomery County Food Bank’s third annual Food For Life Gala – themed “Havana Nights” – welcomed 500 guests at The Woodlands Waterway Resort & Conference Center on April 13. Presented by Anadarko, the event raised $400,000 for the Food Bank’s mission of providing more than 700,000 nutritious meals each month to the food insecure in Montgomery County.

 

During the evening’s program, guest speaker Dr. Curtis Null, Superintendent for Conroe Independent School District, spoke to the fact that 41 percent of students in Conroe ISD receive free and/or reduced lunch and how the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program is a great partnership with the schools to provide healthy diverse foods in students’ backpacks during the week and on the weekends.

 

“I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of the Food Bank’s staff and volunteers for creating such an amazing event that helps fund and honor the mission of Montgomery County Food Bank,” said Kelly Holmes, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Woodforest National Bank, and Chairman of the Board of Montgomery County Food Bank.

 

Allison Hulett, President and CEO of the Montgomery County Food Bank, echoed, “I am thrilled with the success of the Food for Life Gala, and believe it is a reflection of our generous community that does not want to see any family, child, or senior wondering if they will eat today. The spirit of Montgomery County was overwhelming; we are so lucky to have such willing support.”

 

Nelda Luce Blair emceed the moving event that continued its tradition of honoring leaders in the community that have contributed their time and efforts to support the food bank by presenting them awards. This year’s award recipients were ExxonMobil, Kroger, Quality Home Products of Texas, Carol Stromatt, and Society of Samaritans.  Co-chairing the gala were Shelley Madison and Rachelle Adamson.

 

Montgomery County Food Bank is 501(c)(3) chartered by the state of Texas and is a member of the Texas Food Bank Network and Feeding America. Its headquarters is located at 1 Food For Life Way in Conroe, near Hwy. 242 and I-45, just north of The Woodlands.

 

For more information, to book a tour or volunteer at the facility, or to make a monetary donation or food contribution, visit www.mcfoodbank.org or call 936.271.8800.

 

John Christiansen, VP of Corporate Communications with presenting sponsor Anadarko, and wife Rebecca Christiansen.

 

Guest speaker Dr. Curtis Null, Superintendent of CISD, spoke to the fact that 41 percent of students in Conroe ISD receive free and/or reduced lunch and how the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program is a great partnership with the schools to provide healthy diverse foods in students’ backpacks during the week and on the weekends.

 

Partner Agency of the Year Award – Society of Samaritans:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with recipients from Society of Samaritans – Shirley Jensen (President Emeritus), Chandra Adams (Executive Director), and Mike Lovelady (President).

 

Gala Co-Chair Shelley Madison; Allison Hulett, MCFB President & CEO; and Gala Co-Chair Rachelle Adamson.

 

Volunteer Service Award – ExxonMobil:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with Truman Bell, ExxonMobil HQ Community Relations Manager.

 

Betty Hardy Award – Carol Stromatt:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with Carol Stromatt.

 

Community Partner Award – Quality Home Products of Texas:  David Krath of Quality Home Products of Texas with Allison Hulett, President and CEO of MCFB.

 

Innovative Leader Award – Kroger:  Sparkle Anderson, Kroger’s Corporate Affairs Manager, with Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB.

 

 

 

 

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