For Jennifer Dantzler at Including Kids, having the school in its owned building for the kids has been a dream since she began her journey for children and youth with autism almost 14 years ago. She started to think about it in the third year of being of service to this special community and has worked towards that goal and vision ever since. On July 15th at 9 am, that dream is coming true, as Including Kids will be breaking ground for their new facilities at 18401 Timber Forest Drive, Humble, TX 77346, which should be completed by August 2017.
The Process of The Dream
Including Kids has made use of the space they have in very creative ways, adapting to their surroundings, but on the look out for space that would be more functional and better serve her community. At first, she was looking at leasing buildings, but couldn’t find the right fit, and then a large piece of her dream came true.
Two board members donated a parcel of land that sits on an acre, and the idea of building a facility to Jennifer’s expectations started to come true. But, as she began to plan the building, she realized that an acre wasn’t enough. Lucky for her, there was a parcel for sale next to the existing land, and the fundraising began to purchase that property.
It was about three years ago when Including Kids bought the property next door, and the full process started.
Including Kids State of the Art Facility
The new campus that Including Kids will be occupying will be around 18,000 square feet and is being designed by BRW Architects in Kingwood and built by Bey Construction. It took some time for the architects to understand precisely what was needed for this school, as they had never had a project such as this, but it has come together, and Jennifer Dantzler couldn’t be prouder or more excited.
Some of the things that make this building state of the art are the faucets and hand dryers in the bathrooms will all be different so the kids can work on generalization into the community. The flooring has more cushion, so it is safe for children. There will be cameras in the clinical areas so the behavioral specialist can observe at any given point and observation rooms with one-way mirrors so the parents can see their children at work.
There is going to be a community skills room, which will feature a dentist chair, a hairdressing station, and a blood draw area. For the young adults that are attending Including Kids, there will be a mock interview room, and every lock will be operated with a key card, that the young adults will get to practice with. There will also be a mock apartment for the young adults to work on domestic living skills.
The new campus will have an outside sports field and track and playground, as well as a basketball practice court. There will be a garden for the young adults to grow vegetables that they can then sell at the Farmer’s Markets around Houston. The building will have an area for outreach initiatives that will include a resources library and a motor lab, and there will also be space for all the workshops that are held on Saturdays for the kids and parents right on campus.
This campus will serve the 2 – 22 population that is doing intensive one-to-one programming. The tuition rates will not be raised, and actually with the new building, costs will be lowered, which will allow extra funds to be put where they are needed, in improvements, continued building and growing Including Kids.
How You Can Help
Just Vibe Houston has had a long-standing relationship with Including Kids, and we adore what they are doing and how they are doing it. They are serving a need that is greatly needed in the Houston Community. We urge all of you to reach out and donate, as the fundraising hasn’t stopped yet for the new campus.
For a mere $68, you can help make a difference. If you are interested, The Essential Piece Campaign can be found here.
The plan for this is that this is going to be our foundation and by reducing our overhead costs, we are now able to use funds for future building and planning so that we can create more resources for the community since autism affects 1 in 68.