Local Gala Supporting Area Children with Autism A Success

28 04 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

With 2008 figures recently released by the Centers for Disease Control that autism is occurring now in 1 out of 88 children, and with April being Autism Awareness Month, the 6th Annual Boots and Bling Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012, spread the message that “we are all in this together.” Hosted by The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center and generously sponsored by Altus and ZT Wealth, Including Kids, Inc., a 501(c) 3 organization, was able to raise approximately $160,000, all of which will go towards supporting Houston-area children with autism and other developmental disabilities realize their full potential through their full-time intensive one-on-one program, multiple inclusion programs, after-school tutoring, free community outreach and developmental programs, free parent training, sibling support groups and so much more.

There was something for every one of the 300 attendees. The classrooms created baskets for silent auction to compete for a paid lunch off campus. Fun games qualified winners for a variety of prizes. Busy bid boards hosted a large array of varied packages.

Busy bid boards

The live auction items included unique trips and dinners, but it was a video message from actor Mario Lopez (click here to see his video to our guests inviting gala attendees to be generous in their bidding to spend a fun day with him during taping of the show “Extra” that met with not only loud enthusiasm, but also a very high bid. State Representative Dan Huberty offered dinner at The Veranda for another high bidder. Pat and Ray’s Studio provided pictures of the children in their boots and bling.

Teacher Courtney Simon and student Patrick Bowen, courtesy of Pat and Ray's Studio

Including Kids could not be successful without the support of its generous sponsors and donors. Emcee for the evening was the wonderful Dean Ryan of Insperity. In attendance were ZT Wealth’s Kraig Killough and his wife, Mary, who brought along Houston Texans Chester Pitts and LaToya Hutchins. Also in attendance were Innovative Solutions, Clint Fowler, and his wife Jamie, Insperity’s Corrin Price and her husband Joe, Clint and Christle Johnson, Mark and Allison Elliott and Including Kids board members. All showed their altruistic support of Including Kids through sponsorships, auction purchases and donations. Enthusiastic volunteers from Best Buy extended a helping hand to ensure everyone had a good time.

(L to R) Clint & Kathy Fowler, Kraig Killough, Jennifer Dantzler, Sounia Sememar

The Woodlands residents: Jean Paul & Wendy Buisine, and Michelle & Gordon Dobson (also Board members of Including Kids)

As Jennifer Dantzler, BCBA, M.S.Ed., Executive Director of Including Kids, addressed the crowd, things turned quite emotional. She thanked not only the people who support the school, but also the parents who entrust their children to her and her staff. A slide-show of accomplishments of the children followed. Guest speaker, Dr. Heather Harnett, shared their family’s journey into the world of autism. Because of Including Kids, her daughter has graduated and is now attending regular kindergarten where she is about to perform a solo singing part in a play. By the end of her speech, there was not a dry eye left in the audience.

Dr. Heather Harnett, keynote speaker

“For every child, time is of the essence,” according to Jennifer Dantzler. “We know the earlier the intervention, the more favorable the outcome. However, we have also seen amazing strides from children as old as 14 years of age who had no previous intensive intervention. We encourage you to check out our website at http://www.includingkids.org to learn more about our programs.”

About Including Kids, Inc.

The mission of Including Kids, Inc. is to provide educational and therapeutic instruction using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis for children with autism and other related disorders endeavoring to facilitate their inclusion in the community and inspire them to become productive citizens.

Additional Photos

The Woodlands businessman, Mike Norat, and his wife, Glicel

The Woodlands residents Jeffrey & Hilda Bowen

Best Buy volunteers helped make the night fun.

Join Team Patrick!

14 11 2011

I knew it was a long time since I’ve posted, but I had no idea it’s been almost 2 months. After Halloween is over, things seem to go into high gear, don’t they? Unexpected illnesses throw the whole schedule off. Tonight I’m starting our annual Christmas letter because I have about 200 cards to send out via regular mail not to mention the ones I send electronically. I just opened the mail I’ve been neglecting for a month. I have no time to even start a game of Skyrim. The Fringe fall finale is this Friday (what????) Its nuts! I was supposed to have attended Wizard World in Austin today for a day trip with my husband to visit Alaina Huffman and Julia Benson of Stargate Universe, but the flu decided to pay us a visit on Monday night to Tuesday morning and then Patrick proceeded to get sick. I haven’t read Joe Mallozzi’s blog in over a week, something I make sure to attend to every day. I also need to work, help Patrick’s school, and put up at least a Christmas tree.

I did accomplish quite a bit today considering I’ve been out of it for about a week. One of those items includes a fundraiser campaign for my son’s not-for-profit autism school, Including Kids. I know that budgets are tight and dollars are precious, but autism waits for no one. I would like to invite you to read our story, about this wonderful school and the difference you can make with even a small donation (even $5.00 helps).

My family thanks you for the support you have always shown us. I don’t know how we would have gotten this far without the financial, emotional and spiritual support of friends, family and even strangers.  If you feel like you might be able to contribute to this wonderful school, please follow this link:


Thanks for joining Team Patrick. Although I set the goal at the level that was requested by the school of each of the parents, I would truly like to exceed the amount. The amount is tax-deductible.

Blessings to all.



Earth Day 2011

22 04 2011

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 in the United States and went international in 1990. It is a day that is “intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment.”

It would be difficult to calculate the number of people who actual recycle because many take their waste to other places because curbside service is not offered. There are estimates in percentages that 77% of the US recycles (which I would beg to differ with if you saw how many people on my block did NOT participate in fantastic curbside service). Australia is only 7%. Ireland is approximately 90%. Of the United States figures, 88% of the eastern part of the US recycles, with 86% of the western part, followed by 70% of the Midwest, followed by 68% of the south (come on Texas–we’re at the BOTTOM of ANOTHER list?).

The Woodlands, Texas, my current residence, provides wonderful opportunities to recycle practically everything. At curbside, the only things they don’t pick up are plastic bags, shrink wrap, Styrofoam, computers, TVs and electronics, ceramics, Pyrex, windows and mirrors. We have two recycling complexes located conveniently in the community. Out of the previous list, the only things they don’t take are the ceramics, Pyrex, windows and mirrors. Printer ink cartridges can be returned to a bin in the entrance way of both Best Buy and Target (there may be others, but those are the ones about which I know). Within the city of Houston, twice a year, an H.E.B. grocery store (pharmacy) who will take all prescription medication not being used in order to save our drinking water from being contaminated. I would love to see some place close start taking alkaline batteries. Although we try to use rechargeable ones, I have been collecting the ones I used to use and they are waiting for some place to appear so I can recycle them.

Earth Day The Woodlands 2009

Yet, for the ease and convenience our community provides to our residents, only about 25% of the houses in my neighborhood use their recycling bins. There are a few of us who actually have two recycling bins. Sometimes two bins are not enough for me. I have tried to find reasons why my neighbors would opt out, but either these people don’t recognize the need for recycling or they are just too lazy to develop the habits necessary. It is not a difficult process, but does require a change in habits. Some people refuse out of protest because they don’t believe in climate change.

This isn’t about climate change. This isn’t about Al Gore. This isn’t about the profit some corporations are making off the “green” label. You are a homeowner of planet Earth. Would you let your “home” become dilapidated, in disrepair, rotting away without performing at least routine maintenance? How would you feel when you saw your neighbors not doing things to keep up the maintenance of their “home” which then decreased the value of your home? Think of recycling as basic maintenance of planet Earth.

The world’s bad habits have caused some of these things to happen:

1. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Located in the central North Pacific Ocean, estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Plastic is breaking down, which the fish are now eating–fish that might make it to your dinner plate some day. Add this on top of the mercury toxicity levels in fish. There is now a possibility that the nuclear waste from Japan’s natural disaster will make its way here. We will then have nuclear, glowing fish.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

2. The Atlantic Garbage Patch: Less well known, it made the news in 2010. The highest concentrations of plastic extend from Virginia to Cuba.

Atlantic Garbage Patch

3. Prescription drugs in our water: These are being passed through the urine and also from people putting their unused or expired pills down the toilet bowl. It includes antibiotics, anticonvulsants, hormones, steroids, and mood stabilizers.

Go to this link to see the list of drugs found in the drinking water in several cities across the United States: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-10-drugs-tap-water_N.htm

Polluted Drinking Water

4. Corporate and country irresponsibility has contaminated air and water supplies and has been responsible for numerous spikes in disease clusters.

While taking on the world is never an easy task, we can break it down. We can claim personal responsibility of what we do in our lives. While I try to be responsible every day in practicing what I preach, there is always room for improvement.

Commit to cleaning up your home, planet Earth, today, before the next landfill is built behind the real house in which you dwell.

For more interesting recycling facts, please visit: http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html