Published 4:25 pm, Friday, January 12, 2018
Photo: Market Street – The Woodlands
Giving back is one very big aspect of Market Street in The Woodlands.
To show its love and support for the community, Market Street began a Change for Charity program in 2004. Each quarter of the year a new organization is selected to be a recipient of the program. CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, Foundation for Autism Care, Angel Reach and Canopy at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands have been announced as the 2018 program beneficiaries.
Noemi Gonzalez, marketing director at Market Street, said charities are asked to submit applications which are then vetted to see if they have been recipients before and to ensure that the donated money will go back into the community.
“We like to make sure that it stays in the community. So the funding that they receive has to go back into Montgomery County,” Gonzalez said.
Market Street has 68 parking meters, and 20 percent of the change that goes into them over the course of three months is then given to the designated charity. That amount is added to by The Woodlands Car Club, which hosts a Cars for a Cause at Market Street on the first Sunday of each month. The organization contributes a portion of its proceeds to the Change for Charity program.
“It really does support the charities that give back to our community. A big thing for us is to support charities and give back to our community,” Gonzalez said, adding that Market Street tries to select different categories when choosing program recipients-a mixture of education, health and other charities.
Executive Director Ann McAlpin of CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County said the organization was excited to find out that they would be recipients during the program.
“We were completely delighted,” McAlpin said. “We think that Market Street publicity is one of the best around. We really appreciate the opportunity to tell people about our mission.”
CASA will be the first quarter beneficiary of the Change for Charity, receiving donations that are made January through the end of March. As Montgomery County’s only court-appointed organization advocating for abused and neglected children, CASA trains advocates who are appointed by judges to watch over foster children and make sure they don’t get lost in the legal and social services.
“We have kids coming into the foster care system at a rate about 38 percent higher than last year and we are struggling to supply advocates. It costs about $1,500 to provide an advocate for a year. Every dollar that we get helps us to continue providing an advocate for those children,” McAlpin said.
The second-quarter beneficiary, Foundation for Autism Care, Education and Services (F.A.C.E.S.) is dedicated to raising funds to directly support and promote Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, education, services and treatment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. Currently one child in 68 is diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Lauren McCoun, fundraising director for F.A.C.E.S., said the organization is also thrilled to have been selected as a recipient.
“We’re very excited,” McCoun said. “This will help support our grants that we give out to children on a quarterly basis.”
The nonprofit provides grant scholarships to families who submit an application exhibiting their needs so that they may have access to therapy. The organization has awarded nearly $1 million dollars in the last 10 years to more than 60 families.
“We feel blessed to have been selected for this wonderful program and look forward to working with the Change for Charity group to raise awareness and support for children and families affected by autism,” McCoun added.
Angel Reach, an organization whose goal is to help children and youth achieve their full potential in spite of the obstacles placed on them by broken families and a broken foster system, was selected as the third quarter recipient. Executive Director Jean Radach expressed the nonprofit’s gratitude.
“We’re incredibly grateful. We get support, not only financial support but the community awareness, from something like this,” Radach said. The organization is always in need of more volunteers, and she hopes that this program will bring more awareness to the organization.
Radach emphasized that the donations will help “in so many different ways. The first thing that comes to mind is transitional living services.”
Angel Reach offers a safe, temporary residence to foster teens who have aged out of the system and helps them transition into society. The Transitional Living Program teaches them basic skills to live on their own.
“We provide them with all the gaps. We help them get a driver’s license. We help them get into college. We help them get a GED if they didn’t finish high school. We help them get into housing,” Radach said. “We provide mentors. We provide counseling. (The Change for Charity donation) will go towards all that.”
Canopy at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, which aims to enhance the quality of life for individuals affected by cancer and for those who support them during their journeys, was named the final quarter charity for 2018. Canopy provides a wide variety of programs and services addressing the emotional, physical and social needs of those touched by cancer. The organization could not be reached for comment by the time this article was published.
Gonzalez said Market Street’s partnership with local charities continues to make a positive difference in the community.
“Our shoppers have contributed more than $150,000 to the Change for Charity program since its inception,” Gonzalez said.
The Woodlands Car Club will host its next Cars for a Cause event to assist in raising money for charity at Market Street from 7-10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4.