Monday, November 12, 2007

Work Day Houston Zoo Discovery Garden - Saturday, December 8

Richard Klein has requested help to get the Discovery Garden in 'tip-top' shape, in readiness for the Zoo's accreditation. The Committee will be coming on December 9, 10, 11 and 12.

He would like to organize a work day for Saturday, December 8. Weeding, pruning, painting and general tidying of the flower beds will be the order of the day.

Please contact me if you are able to help

Look forward to hearing from you

ps. Maybe we could kick off the Christmas Season early with hot apple cider and mince pies!!!!!...while working hard of course!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Minutes from Core Committee Meeting on Thursday 11/1

Monarch Movers & Shapers
Core Committee
Meeting Minutes: November 1, 2007
12:30 PM, Monarch Learning Center

Core Committee/Faculty Members:
Present: Justin Fox, Dr. Marty Webb, Carrie Logan, Miranda Bennett, Julie Meaux, Stephanie Wheatley, Susan Meek, Marion Defalco, Dr. Neal Sarahan, John Barone, Kyle Nguyen, Caitlin Davis, Stephanie Kirkpatrick

Meeting called to order at 12:30 by Chairman Fox.
Agenda, member directories, and email group instructions distributed to members.

Opening greetings by Chairman Fox
Welcomed all members to second meeting of the 2007-08 school year; lunch commenced.

General remarks by Dr. Marty Webb, Head of School
Dr. Webb updated us on the current progress of the Capital Campaign, and some exciting news: Rose Cullen and Kathy Cullen McCord have been named as the honorary chairs of the campaign. We have also been in talks with several banks regarding bridge loans.
Dr. Webb also requested that someone purchase wheel covers for one of the vans, which has 2 covers missing. This was determined to be a project for the Builders Committee, and Carrie Logan volunteered to take care of it.
Dr. Webb reminded everyone that the Miracle Makers Morning Breakfast is fast approaching – it is Thursday, November 8th. Members were asked to continue inviting people to the breakfast. M&S members will also be involved in making follow-up phone calls to breakfast attendees to thank them for coming to the breakfast and to get their comments. This will be a project for the Developers and Heralds, specifically.
Dr. Webb announced that planning has begun for the groundbreaking for the new campus. This will largely be a ceremonial event, and we are hoping to receive some media attention. Dr. Webb requested help from the core committee with designing and mailing the invitations, making phone calls to follow up after the invitations have been sent, and setting up for the event, providing refreshments, etc. These will be projects for the Developers and Builders, respectively.

Remarks by Chairman Fox
Justin thanked everyone again for their attendance.
Justin then reviewed some of the goals that the Core Committee had set for the year during their October retreat, which included better group communications, request forms for faculty to use when asking for M&S help on projects, and possible changes to the Movers & Shapers orientation. Some of these changes are already in effect, and some are still in progress. Specifically, Justin Fox and John Barone will coordinate possible changes to the orientation, and they asked for other Core Committee members’ input on this subject.

Remarks by John Barone, Director of Monarch Learning Center
John recounted the tale of his encounter with the evil soap dispenser. A notable quote regarding his thoughts on whether the nozzle would function like whipped cream or traditional soap: “And I applied my knowledge of soap because it wasn’t a treat, it was a cleanser!” Marion Defalco presented John with gifts of antibacterial gel and gloves.
John updated us on the progress of his book, which will now be titled “A Place for All.” He has only one chapter to go! When the book is finished, the next step will be reshaping the content so that it can be applied to other religious traditions. (It is currently written for a Catholic audience). John requested that Core Committee members start thinking about and researching ways they can help with this endeavor, including researching publishers from various faith traditions. Dr. Webb applauded John for stepping outside the box and thinking of new and creative ways to generate revenue for Monarch through the MLC.

Developers Committee update by Julie Meaux
Miranda Bennett asked Julie whether there would be a formal M&S recruitment effort at the MMM Breakfast. Julie said that one was not planned. Members began discussing the ways we go about recruiting and keeping M&S volunteers. John Barone suggested we adopt a “buddy system” approach, rather than focus on mass recruiting efforts. With this approach, each Core Committee member would invite one person to join them on all volunteer projects, because cultivating relationships is a strength of the M&S Core Committee. Julie Meaux and Stephanie Wheatley expressed concerns as to how this would relate to the parent volunteers, and members agreed that parents were a different case and that as many of them should be involved in Monarch as possible. Julie and Stephanie also expressed concern that it was hard to get outside people involved because many M&S projects are rather last-minute.
Members agreed on several steps in regard to this discussion. An invitation to join the Movers & Shapers will be a part of the follow-up calls made after the MMM Breakfast. The M&S pamphlet Miranda created will also be included in the packets handed out at the breakfast. The new faculty request system and increased efforts at communication should alleviate some of the “last-minute” feel of M&S projects and permit others to be involved.
The Developers’ next project will be volunteering with registration and set-up at the upcoming MMM Breakfast. Other Core Committee members will be in attendance, and are welcome to help if they can.

Heralds Committee update by Marion Defalco
Marion told the Core Committee a bit about another group she is involved in, called Heroes with Handicaps. This non-profit charity was founded by Jonathan and Laurilee Etterbeck in order to provide financial support for U.S. Army special needs children. Marion asked Dr. Webb if Heroes with Handicaps might be able to link with Monarch online, and Dr. Webb gave her approval. Marty advised that Monarch recently has applied for a TRIAD grant. If Monarch gets this grant, then Heroes with Handicaps will work closely to coordinate future Monarch online information to reach U.S. military families with special needs kids to alert them to the posibility that financial assistance may be available to them at Monarch.
Marion passed out flyers for the upcoming Doctors Orchestra of Houston concert for Core Committee members to hand out or post. Monarch has been chosen as the beneficiary of the concert’s revenue. Members discussed having a Monarch booth or kiosk in the lobby during the concert, and Caitlin Davis offered the use of her portable Monarch banner.
Speaking of banners, Stephanie Kirkpatrick took this time to let the Core Committee know about the plans for an M&S wall in the MLC. She asked for help designing an M&S banner to be displayed on the wall and used at volunteer recruitment events. Miranda Bennett suggested that one of the recruits from the UST event might be able to do this, as she has a background in graphic design.
Marion asked about the egg project going on at Challenger, because group members had received an email about it. Dr. Neal Sarahan explained the project: Challenger students purchase eggs from a local farmers market, and resell them. They need help purchasing and transporting the eggs. John and Justin took this time to re-emphasize one of the suggestions from the M&S retreat, which was that each project be assigned to a specific committee in order to increase accountability and reinforce the purpose of each committee. Since this project involves direct student support, the Educators Committee will be responsible for finding a suitable volunteer for this project.

Educators Committee update by Miranda Bennett
Miranda shared her reflections about her experiences at the UST and Rice volunteer fairs. In light of some of this year’s ongoing M&S recruitment discussion, she has been thinking about the way we approach potential volunteers, as well as about our role as a Core Committee to serve both the Monarch school itself and our M&S volunteers. She passed out a summary of some of her reflections, which included a pledge of service both to the school and to the volunteers. John Barone suggested that these may be incorporated into the M&S vision statement.
John Barone informed Miranda of an ongoing student service project. He, Kay Kahl, and John Hardesty recently met to discuss a plan to provide a sort of descriptive “soundtrack” during DIR and music therapy sessions. This will be used to both describe and evoke student emotions and the themes of the session. Dr. Webb heartily applauded this very innoviative effort, adding that Monarch was fortunate to have such a talented and committed musician as John Hardesty to aid Kay in this endeavor.

Builders Committee update by Stephanie Wheatley
Stephanie shared an update about the success of the Monarch garage sale that the Builders helped organize and execute.
Stephanie also updated us on the progress made so far on the Discovery Garden project at the zoo. She said that the committee is unsure how they will proceed with this project, how often they will go, etc. Stephanie also said that we could use some extra volunteers for this project, as it is ongoing and there is a lot of work do to. Dr. Webb suggested including a call for volunteers in the next issue of the Monarch e-newsletter.
John Barone asked about the status of the search for a Fleet Manager, which Dr. Webb had requested at the previous meeting. Stephanie said that Penny Weiss had been looking into that, and she wasn’t sure what the status was. Members were asked to think about possible volunteers for this position.

Remarks from Monarch staff members
Caitlin Davis let us know that 510 people have committed to the breakfast so far!
Kyle Nguyen has recently updated the Monarch website with the latest Capital Campaign information. Miranda Bennett asked Kyle about a project she has been working on to proofread the website. She said since the website is so vast, it was becoming an overwhelming project. She asked that we choose a few key pages, perhaps some that get updated frequently, for her to review. Dr. Webb agreed to this and said she would help choose ten or so pages for Miranda to review.
Stephanie Kirkpatrick created an M&S member directory, as well as instructions for creating email groups, which were handed out at the meeting but which we did not have a chance to discuss. These were created so that all M&S Core Committee members can create a “Core Committee” email group in their mail system of choice that they can use in lieu of adding email addresses individually to each group email. Please let her know if these directions are unclear, or if you need help with this process.

Meeting adjourned at 2:00 PM.
Members will hopefully see each other at the MMM Breakfast on November 8th! They will officially reconvene for the next Core Committee meeting on December 6th.
Minutes prepared by Stephanie Kirkpatrick.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Capital Campaign Up to the Minute Update!

From Dr. Marty Webb:

I thought you might like to see the latest reports and happenings on the cap campaign which are posted to our website. Enjoy! Contact me with any suggestions, questions or comments, please.

Click here for the update:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Monarch's 1st Garage Sale is a big success!

The Monarch School held its first garage sale on Friday, October 26. We had such a positive response, that we decided to hold the sale again on the following Friday, November 2. The total amount raised was approximately $550.
Thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to ensure the garage sale was a success; Penny Weiss, Julie Meaux, Laurilee Etterbeek, Donna Selke, Kandace Shyer, Brenna Schwartz, Gaelle Rosseneu and Choo Saik Leong. Thanks to all the Monarch parents who generously donated items. Thanks to Sara Ranger for her awesome organization and a special thanks to the students for their excellent sales techniques and muscle power!

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