Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Friends of the Women's Center Montgomery County are really a good thing, they make the world go round more happily

One thing the Women's Center here in Montgomery County is appreciative of is the business community and organizations which help them help the victims of abuse. The Commentary today salutes the following establishments for their support to the center and encourages its readers to support them for their generous donations.

Shelli Moran (right) operating partner for Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, stands with Sarah Raleigh, executive director for the Montgomery County Women's Center, holding items from Fleming's recent food drive. Flemings hosted the food drive for the Women's Center's dwindling food pantry in an effort to stock up on items needed by women coming to the agency for counseling support and legal services. With the challenging economic climate, more clients have been seeking food items from the agency's small food pantry. Donations are always needed and appreciated for standard staple food items such as canned vegetables and meats, soup, boxed meals, pasta, juice boxes and more.

Montgomery County Women's Centera Pacesetter agency for the Montgomery County United Way Campaign, recently hosted an Italian luncheon fundraiser benefiting United Way. Food was generously provided by members of the MCWC Board of Directors. The Women's Center is a United Way agency and serves victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, support services and legal advocacy.

Pictured are staff members Sonia Rodriguez, accounting clerk, and Lauren Stratton, education specialist. 

Spring Moms and Babes organized by Lori Carrese (second from left) made a generous donation of baby items, games, DVDs and diapers to the Montgomery County Women's Center for women and children currently residing in the agency's emergency shelter for abused and battered women.  Spring Moms and Babes provides play dates, story time and family fun for those in the Spring, Tomball and The Woodlands area and can be reached by going to  

Elizabeth Glass, (left) manager of Rags to Riches resale shop stands with Eva Morgan, a volunteer, as they stock the shelves with a huge donation of women's career suits. 

Northwest Houston BPW donated the women's suits to the agency so that women in shelter and working women could benefit from the brand new, stylish career suits. Rags to Riches is located behind Pappas BBQ at I-45 and Woodlands Parkway and can be reached by calling (281) 292-0443.

Rags to Riches resale shop, located in the Wood Ridge shopping Center behind Pappas BBQ at I-45 and Woodlands Parkway, received a huge donation of women's career suits.

"The suits are brand new with the tags still on them," Elizabeth Glass said, manager of Rags to Riches. "The suits are gorgeous and are in a variety of sizes. These name brand suits won't last long especially at our discount prices."

Rags to Riches is the resale shop associated with the Montgomery County Women's Center and all proceeds go towards the agency's emergency shelter for abused and battered women and their children.

"These suits would lift any one's spirit," Donna Wick said, director of outreach and communications for the agency. "Everyone is living a little differently these days - more frugally. These brand new suits were donated by business women, so they are very nice."

The suits were donated by Northwest Houston Business and Professional Women which unites professional women, supports business and community relationships, provides educational opportunities and leadership skills.

"Between our Upscale Resale Boutique featuring designer fashions and now these very stylish suits, women are going to have a field day shopping with us," Glass said.

Amazing Spaces recently provided storage facilities for the Montgomery County Women's Center while the agency was rebuilding storage units damaged by Hurricane Ike at the women's shelter for battered women and children.

Pictured are: (left to right) Chris Swetnam, assistant manager; Donna Wick, director of outreach and communications for MCWC; Jeremy Garman, area manager and Kim Sommers, manager.

The shelter can accommodate 60 women and children needing emergency shelter for a period of 60 days and last year served approximately 900 women fleeing violent homes.

Connect 2 Health Wellness Center, specializing in chiropractic, prenatal and pediatric care, recently hosted a Grand Opening Fundraiser Event for the Montgomery County Women's Center and presented the agency with a check for $1,200.

Pictured are: (from left) Cafe Del Mar owner, Mario Gapultos with manager, Tiffany James; Amanda Stephens (front) Connect 2 Health; Rodney Anderson, owner, Crescent Moon Wine Bar; Donna Wick, MCWC; and Dr. Amber Smith, Connect 2 Health

Dr. Amber Smith can be reached at (281) 419-8555 or by going to The Women's Center was selected by Dr. Amber Smith as the Center's charity of choice because of the recent spike in domestic violence calls in Montgomery County.

Sue Moehring, (far right, kneeling), VBS outreach and mission director for Tree of Life Lutheran Church in Conroe organized a VBS hands-on mission project called: Operation Kid to Kid whereby children created a stuffed toy to give to a child currently residing at the Montgomery County Women's Center emergency shelter for abused and battered women and children.
Operation Kid to Kid reaches out to Children in Shelter - the Vacation Bible School program at Tree of Life Lutheran Church in Conroe organized a mission project called Operation Kid to Kid whereby children at the church could reach out to children residing in emergency shelter.

"This was a way our children could spread God's love to another child," Moehring said. "We also asked that the children expand their giving by bringing in specific items the women's shelter was in need of, like: school supplies, toiletries and baby items."

Moehring chose the Women's Center as the agency of choice because the shelter was in the same county as the church and she, personally, taught school for five years in the Conroe ISD.

"I know those students have many needs and those needs are fulfilled by the Women's Center," Moehring said.

"We were touched at the outpouring from the children and their families," Donna Wick said, director of outreach and communications for the Center. "Tree of Life Lutheran Church has made a huge difference in the lives of the children that are currently residing in our shelter. And once those children move on to higher ground, more children will be right behind them. We are reaching out to the community to continue to assist the Women's Center in meeting our growing and immediate demand for school supplies, toiletries and baby items."

Tree of Life Lutheran Church is located at 3201 N. Loop 336 West in Conroe and can be reached at (936) 539-9530.

Scott Bauer, co-founder of Lifestyle Fitness Center, stands with food items donated by club members in order to stock the food pantry at the Montgomery County Women's Center. The food pantry serves women seeking counseling, support groups and/or protective orders at the agency's administrative offices located at 1600 Lake Front Circle in The Woodlands. Lifestyle Fitness Center is located at 9110 Forest Crossing Drive and can be reached at (281) 292-4883.

Cynthia Martinez, education specialist for the Montgomery County Women's Center, stands with Harold Wise, general manager of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers/Shenandoah in front of a banner announcing the restaurant's canned good food drive in efforts to help stock the food pantry at the Women's Center. Every Monday, customers will receive $3 off their food bill (excluding alcohol) when they donate two canned-food items. Red Robin is located at 19433 I-45 in Shenandoah and can be reached at (281) 465-9896.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is coming up in October? "Use your Voice, make a choice" and the annual "Walk a Mile in her Shoes"

October is the month of many things. First and foremost Fall color begins to move our way. Of course it will not be Fall until November here, but Fall tradition originates from the Northeastern states. It is an important month for observances, from Halloween to special organization recognitions. Of special significance to IndianSpringsGuy in this month will be the activities related to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is also Crime Prevention MonthBreast Cancer Awareness Month, Country Music Month, Hispanic Appreciation Month, and many others. For a complete list, I recommend

Domestic violence is something everyone should contemplate. Many people are victims, fewer but many are abusers, and the issue exists everywhere you go. Your neighbor may be impacted by this terrible behavioral and criminal issue. The problem may exist in your family. Wherever or however, we all should be aware of its presence among us and help to eradicate it from our society. 

During this month, we will see several local events conducted in the spirit for the recognition of domestic violence in our community and the need to fight it. We also will see people asking for support for the victims and initiatives to educate the public on what domestic violence is and what services are available to victims. Below are the main events  of the month hosted by The Women's Center of Montgomery County. 

1. October 17 at 9:00 AM (Saturday) - Use your voice, make a choice Teen Conference. Free educational program sponsored by Baker Hughes. 

2. Oct 11, 2:00 PM at Market Street (Sunday) "A Real Man March" otherwise known as "Walk a Mile in her shoes"  - this is a serious but fun event primarily sponsored by Verizon. Note the red high heels of the guys. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grand Opening of Reaching Pines - Apartment Housing for Recovering Victims from the Women's Center

A huge milestone, one significant step forward, occurred this morning when the Women's Center of Montgomery County Texas held its ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of these apartments for healing battered women and their children.


In this photo is 

Nell Belanger front and Donna Wick
behind her.



It is so difficult for a woman who has been controlled, to start all over independently. This facility project will provide a huge enabler towards a new healthy life for both women and their children. While transitioning, those who previously cried behind closed doors, now will besubsidized with housing and taught how to take care of themselves while they live here. Normal duties of the head of household such as budgeting, managing a checkbook, finding employment, etc will be taught over the maximum two years of stay here.3 Not only will they have financial assistance but they can share and grow together. Located near other neighborhoods and a school, the apartments are beautiful and will beckon to those needing to escape and start all over. Walking through these doors will be difficult, yet reap bountiful rewards. Those who helped make this happen attended the ribbon cutting ceremony to help celebrate the milestone, including the mayor of Conroe Webb Melder who cut the ribbon, Precinct 3 Commissioner Ed Chance, and Executive Director of Montgomery County Women's Center Sarah Raleigh. Also present was Marsha Willams (wife of Senator Tommy Willams). Mentioned with special thanks by Sarah Raleigh were Tom Cox who "drove" the project, Cook Construction of Cleveland (notably Dan Cook and his son who was the construction manager), and The Woodlands Development Company coupled with The Brickman Group1 who provided all the landscaping and the automated watering system. For their generosity and support, Catherine and George Lindahl, Candi and Gerald Glenn, and Houston Endowment Inc2 were recognized. 



As Mayor Webb Melder cut the ribbon, he stated "This is truly the Lord's work." The mayor was also recognized by Sarah for his role of minimizing administrative costs and speeding up the permit processes.

In her recognition speech, Sarah Raleigh thanked Tom Cox for his special and tireless effort as he "drove" the project to completion. One of the apartment buildings is named in his and his wife's honor - the "Tom and Mary Cox Building". 














She also thanked two special employees, committee co-chairs Nell
Belanger (left) and Marion Fischer (right - yellow), of the center for their energetic help to complete the project.

As a staff member of the Women's Center, this young lady was making sure everyone was comfortable and the event was proceeding without a hitch. 

Ground breaking for the 24 apartment complex started back in November of 2008. A hillside had to be cleared and dirt removed to be able to provide level ground for the foundations. From there, it was all "downhill". "The construction was straight forward after we got going", noted the construction manager who complimented the architect on his work.

These apartments are very pretty inside. One apartment was
furnished as a model to show how the they can or will be furnished. I think it is relatively safe to say that victims with
or without children who want to start out on their own will be encouraged to do so here. One of five battered women go back to their battered lifestyle after escaping, primarily because they do not have the resources to make it independently or just don't know how. This is designed to give them that transition to a
more normal  life.

Like Martin Luther King's universal words of wisdom and emotion:

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." .... "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" ...
So our prayer goes out for these ladies in despair yet with hope. Yes mayor, this is indeed a work of the Lord. The women contained behind those closed doors - let them be free at last from those who abuse them.


Donations can be sent to MCWC, c/o Reaching Pines Project, 1600 Lake Front Circle Suite 100, P.O. Box 8669, The Woodlands, TX 77387-8669.

1 Brickman Group
2 Houston Endowment Inc
3 Women's Center Reaching Pines Project Page

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our children are returning to school

It's that time again in The Woodlands to start school. TISD (Tomball) starts classes on Monday, August 24th 2009, MISD (Magnolia) on Tuesday, August 25th, and CISD (Conroe) on Monday, Aug 24th. There may be a challenge for parents who want to take their children to school by automobile if they must travel on The Woodlands Parkway. There is considerably more congestion now with the construction on the parkway, so give yourself more time and avoid the parkway if you can.

Don't forget to inform the school district of your need for bus transportation. They have to plan their routes based on your input.

For older children, encourage them to join clubs or other extracurricular activities at school. These are supervised and keep children involved in productive activities. For example, there are no less than 49 organizations in The Woodlands High School offering extracurricular activities. Get them involved from the beginning. Don't wait until later. Do it now if you have not already done so. Statistically, involvement is a means to keep them off of drugs, away from the wrong crowds, and challenged to set higher expectations of themselves. Parents, take the tiger by the tail and help them work through the shyness or lack of interest in activities at school. That will save you a lot of pain in the future. Students who are not involved are more apt to partake of drugs, especially alcohol.

As a driver, be careful! There is a new law that may be implemented soon in the districts. If posted for the school zone, cell phones are not allowed to be used and the penalty for breaking this law is stiff. We are all interested in the safety of our children. Please obey the law. A posted 20 miles an hour means a maximum of 20 miles per hour, not 25 or 30. A stop sign means a complete stop and looking both ways before proceeding, not a slower speed while speaking on your cell phone. If you are in a hurry and feel like you cannot obey the law, please do not route yourself through a school zone. Some children will cross the street on a whim at unexpected moments, regardless of age.

No matter the mode of transportation, never allow your student to be alone on the way to or from school. Plan the safest route to walk or bike. Practice the route several times, teaching your child how to safely cross streets and what to do at an intersection. Discuss the importance of walking/biking directly to and from school. If your child is a bus rider, discuss safety issues and bus etiquette.1

If you are traveling to and from school with your student, make sure to lock all doors at your home before leaving. If your child goes home alone after school, make sure the rules at home are clearly understood, that doors remain locked and are not opened for strangers or guests not approved in advance by parents.

With a small amount of planning now, you and your student can have a pleasant and safer experience for the beginning of the school year and beyond. Have a safe and productive school year!
1Nelda Luce Blair, Chairman of the Township Board and Chief Bill Harness, Chief of Police, Conroe Independent School District

Monday, August 17, 2009

Administrative assistant for the Montgomery County Women's Center,Sonia Rogers, (right) stands with Susan Pronk, community outreach chairperson for Assistance League of Montgomery County. The Assistance League recently responded to the Women Center's immediate need for school supplies with a donation of backpacks and vouchers. The Women Center is still in need of school supplies for children of all ages residing at the agency's emergency shelter for abused women and children. School is about to open! Donations needed are: backpacks, notebooks, WalMart gift cards, markers, notebook paper, calculators, pens, pencils, folders, and more. Donations can be made at the agency's administrative offices located at 1600 Lake Front Circle, The Woodlands 77380.

The MCWC serves victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, support services and legal advocacy. All services are offered free of charge. For more information, contact Donna Wick at (281) 292-4155 ext. 228.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Family evenings - Summer Nights, Waterway Lights

The first in a series of shows on the waterway kicked off on Friday evening, July 31st on the Woodlands waterway. The series is produced by a partnership between The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Parks & Recreation Department of the Community Associations of The Woodlands. Every Friday and Saturday evening through September 19, 2009, there will be entertainment at Waterway Square from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

This weekend series will feature jugglers, mimes, face painters, stilt walkers, balloonists, magicians, and/or caricaturists with the backdrop of the colorful fountains. On Saturdays, various musicians will provide live entertainment. Mark your calendar to attend one or more of these events. Children and adults will be happy with the venues.

This series will be only one attraction of several on the waterway during the remaining months of the year.

Parking is available at 24 Waterway Parking Garage and the corner lot at Timberloch Place and Waterway Avenue for a minimal cost. Waterway Square, located along Lake Robbins Drive between Waterway Avenue and Woodloch Forest Drive, is open seven (7) days a week from 6:00 am to midnight.

The square features a 120-foot long, 10-foot high stone water wall where ribbons of water flow down seven terraced levels to a lower pond with 20 cascade jets. The water wall is flanked by stairs and stepped water cascades, all leading to an upper fountain containing 80 jets and three boomer jets that shoot water up to 75 feet high. The water jets, waterfalls and cascades are designed to create a variety of displays and effects ranging from the subtle flow of water over a stone wall to dancing columns of water, to intense bursts of water shooting several stories into the air. Waterway Square features seven speakers on the upper level and 12 speakers on the lower level. For directions and more information, about the event, visit and click on Events or call 281-363-2447. Google Map of the square.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crazy for You - a musical

Were you at the parade on July 4th? Did you see the performers of this play sing and dance. They were great! So much enthusiasm and talent. Are you going this weekend or next weekend to the show? We are! It is at McCullough and starts at 7:30pm except for one show on Sunday (see schedule below). Additional photos of the parade and related article can be found by clicking here.


Friday, July 17 ~ 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 18 ~ 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 19 ~ 2:30 pm
Friday, July 24 ~ 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 25 ~ 7:30 pm

Nancy Bock Center for the Performing Arts
3800 S. Panther Creek Drive

Class Act Productions is a non-profit performing arts group that provides education, training, and participation in professional-quality musical theatre productions for students in The Woodlands, Texas and surrounding areas. By participating, students learn teamwork and responsibility as well as the technical, performance, and artistic elements of musical theatre.

Lower photos courtesy of DWC Photography

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Behind some doors people are crying

Whether you live in The Woodlands, out in a remote place in the woods, in Conroe, in a high rise, in a single family dwelling, in a mobile home, in a car, wherever ... you will know someone. That is the motto of the Montgomery County Women's Center, because we are all surrounded by a social problem where some of the worst crimes occur. Ordinary people become criminals in the home. Citizens from all walks of life become victims of those who seek power over them, whether they be behind the doors of an automobile, a home or a bar. That is a sad statement. One of your neighbors is likely one of them.

Over the next few weeks, in partnership with Donna Wick, PHD., Director of Outreach and Communications of Montgomery Women's Center, will be writing various articles related to this subject, a series we call "Behind Closed Doors". We will keep the material from being too graphic. We want these articles to be suitable for all ages, like all the articles published in The Woodlands Commentary. You will hear about incidents, available services, trends, what to do if you know someone (and every body does at some point in their life).

Someone you know needs your help and the more informed we all are, the better equipped we are to respond to their needs. I hope you will spread the word to your friends everywhere. Home and relationship violence is not a problem only in Montgomery County; it is everywhere. We will not confine ourselves to processes here but will emphasize our role and issues in the broader scheme of things. Our county has some very talented people and our goal is to bring that talent to your awareness, along with the problem at hand. Right now, there are issues in law enforcement with burglaries, having a high community profile. What we am about to embark upon relates to crime with much worse impact than a burglary and often goes unreported.

So join me in my discovery as I share what I learn that goes on behind closed doors and what we can do to improve the quality of life for victims in the home. The impact of these crimes is simply devastating to families in all economic situations and living conditions. I want to thank Dr Wick for her enthusiasm and willingness to engage on this topic with me. She is also a writer, so you will see some of her work in these articles. There will of course be several expert sources for what is written. Watch for articles as they are released.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Support Bonnie Hubert!

Our hometown neighbor Bonnie Hubert is heading for Chicago to compete on July 17-18 in the Mrs International USA pageant. She dedicates an enormous amount of her time and energy in support of CASA, a children's advocate group. We all love her for who she is and what she does and are wishing her success for herself and her cause. You can vote for her as "audience favorite" and impact the outcome, as well as contribute to the American Heart Association (AHA). HALF of all of the online vote proceeds will go to the AHA and 1/2 to the winner.
Click here to cast your votes for her while making a contribution to the AHA.
Click here to See her profile in the Whos Who of The Woodlands.

Go Bonnie! We are behind you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

2009 Fireworks in The Woodlands Texas - where to view

It is best to read this before going to the fireworks display unless you arrive very early. It is a popular event here. Many people have their favorite places to go. Here is some advice for those who do not know where to go.

This year will the the 12th annual display. I am lucky to have been at the 2nd but missed the first year. It's a great show for the family! Presented by Woodforest National Bank, the 20-minute show begins at dusk (approximately 9:15 p.m.). For the best views of this year’s fireworks extravaganza, grab a lawn chair or blanket and head to one of these locations: · Waterway Square (one of the locations for the Red, Hot & Blue Festival) · North Side of The Woodlands Waterway · East of Waterway Avenue Bridge · Turning Basin by Town Green Park Parking is available for $5 in the Town Center Parking Garage located on Six Pines Drive, the parking lot at the corner of Lake Robbins and Six Pines Drive, and 24 Waterway Parking Garage located on Lake Robbins Drive. Visitors may park for free at the orange, yellow and green lots along Timberloch Place. Trolleys will operate from 11 am to 8 pm on July 4.

July 3rd,4th,5th in The Woodlands - Trolley route modified

You might be one of those folks who want to leverage the Trolley system on July 3rd, 4th, and 5th. These three days, the system will be moving people on different routes about Town Center in The Woodlands, Texas(see below). July 4th will be a hot day, but based on last year's attendance and crowd enthusiasm, along with the local flare of the parade and fireworks display and other festivities, it will be well worth the time and discomforts of heat. Make sure to drink plenty of water.

Beginning Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5, The Woodlands Waterway Trolleys will operate from 11 am – 8 pm Friday and Saturday and noon – 6 pm on Sunday. This will enable visitors to leave their automobile in any available parking spot and hop aboard at one of the eight convenient stops, including: · Concierge Desk at Market Street – The Woodlands · Town Green Park (Entrance on Lake Robbins Drive) · The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (Main Entrance) · The Fountains at Waterway Square · The Restaurant Basin (near The Woodlands Mall) · The Woodlands Mall South Entrance

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July 11 Wellness Center fundraiser for the Women's Center

The local "Connect 2 Wellness Center" is hosting A Grand Opening fundraiser celebration benefiting the Montgomery Women's Center (MCWC) at the Wellness Center on Saturday, July 11, 9am-5pm. This will feature a live band, moonwalk, snow cones, cotton candy, face painting and more. Cafe Del Mar of Spring will provide Free breakfast and coffee. Anderson has donated a wine dinner as the Grand Prize for one luck winner.

Pictured is Donna Wick, director of Outreach and Communications for the Montgomery County Women's Center, (left) standing with Rodney Anderson, owner of Crescent Moon Wine Bar, and Dr. Amber Smith and Amanda Stephens, of "Connect 2 Health Wellness Center".

For more information about this event: Connect 2 Health (281) 419-8555 or, Connect 2 Wellness Center

The MCWC serves victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through emergency shelter, legal advocacy, and counseling support. All services are free of charge. The 24-Hour Crisis Hotline is (936) 441-7273.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Woodlands Community, promoting organizations in The Woodlands

For pleasure or for cause, we have excellent opportunities for attending events here in The Woodlands. There are a number of hard-working residents in south county helping others right here in our home town, as well as many volunteers helping to deliver a better quality of life for residents and nearby communities. These efforts usually go far beyond the boundaries of The Woodlands, Texas, and sometimes even go unnoticed. Therefore, this blog has been established to bring events and organizations forward to the readers of The Woodlands Commentary. If you have an event or organization that you wish to be available to the public in this area, please send me a draft of what you want to say. This blog will be especially interested in events with a theme to help people in times of trouble or difficulty. The more refined the story is, the more of a chance I will be able to publish it. Individual's efforts are recognized in the "WHO's WHO of The Woodlands" blog. Organizations and causes are recognized here.