Texana Center awards announced at “Reaching for the Stars” gala

Texana Center once again held their annual Reaching for the Stars Awards Ceremony.  This year’s event was graciously hosted by SpringHill Suites Marriott located in Brazos Town Center in Rosenberg.  The packed room nibbled on refreshments donated by McAllister’s Deli and Kroger Marketplace, also in Rosenberg’s Brazos Town Center.  The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement as the winners were announced with a drum roll and the traditional opening of the envelope!  Congratulations to all of our winners!!  Texana Center is extremely lucky to have this kind of support in our communities.

Several winners include:

Lou Larsen Volunteer of the Year – Tom Larsen and BJ Donegan

Lou Larsen Volunteer of the Year – BJ Donegan:  The Volunteer of the Year award was renamed this year as a tribute to a great volunteer and last year’s winner that passed away not long after she received the award.  It was a perfect fit to give this year’s award to BJ Donegan, who has really stepped up since Lou passed away.  Honestly, without BJ there would be no Arts & Crafts Program at the Learning Center in Missouri City.  She is very creative and whatever supplies are donated she finds a way to used it.  She was also the first volunteer to approach local retailers to ask them to sell our clients’ products.  You will often find her at the weekends at local crafts fairs selling Texana clients’ item.  She always has the client’s best interest at heart.

Major Supporter of the Year – Andi Wallis, Texana Community Relations Manager; Renee Jaramillo, FBJSL Treasurer; and Michelle Beeson, FBJSL Board Member.

Major Supporter of Texana Center – Fort Bend Junior Service League:  The Fort Bend Junior Service League has been very supportive of the Texana Children’s Center for Autism.  To date, they have awarded two grants which have allowed us to improve the technology available in our Autism program.  The first grant allowed Texana to extend the monitoring system so that parents can visit the Autism program at any time to see their child’s progress without interrupting and we can record treatment sessions so that parents and other family members can learn the techniques being taught in the program.  The second grant we received allowed the Texana Children’s Center for Autism to introduce iPads and SmartBoards to our children with autism.

Intellectual Disabilities Supported Employment Employee of the Year – James Coventon, Texana Job Developer and Christine Burkhart.

Supported Employment Employee of the Year – Christine Burkhart:  The Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Supported Employment Program Employee of the Year award is given to an employee who has exemplified a strong desire to work, do well and has become a real partner in the workplace.  Christine Burkhart has been employed with Pooh’s Panda Special Needs Academy since November 2006.  Pooh’s Panda is a program for students with Developmental Disabilities.  Christine works the after school shift.  She is responsible for assisting the students off the buses as they arrive and helping them into the building.  She also interacts and engages the students in individual and group activities.  During her employment Christine has also attended Houston Community College Vast Program to increase her education.  Her dedication to her job and her continuing education makes her an excellent choice for this award.

Supported Employment Employee of the Year – Rosalyn Jenkins, Texana Employment Specialist and Kyle Singletary (Kyle is from Missouri City)

Supported Employment Employee of the Year – Kyle Singletary:  The Supported Employment Employee of the Year for Texana’s Behavioral Healthcare Division is a person who has never lost sight of his employment goal – construction work.  On Kyle’s days off from a former job, he would meet with his Texana employment specialist to help with his construction job search.  In September 2011, he was offered an interview with a construction company.  Kyle passed his interview and the required OSHA tests for employment.  Since Kyle began with the company, they had a lay-off and he was one of four who remained employed.  His resilience and determination are a key factor to his success – Kyle we are very proud of you congratulations on becoming our Supported Employment – Employee of the Year.

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