Message from Our Executive Director,
Captain Dave McCabe
HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you. Our exciting news is that we were privileged to have hosted 1,323 participants in 2015; we did so with more than 30 yachts (both sail & motor) and 90 volunteers. This was rather remarkable considering that we were plagued with poor weather in the first 5 months. (Most of that period was spent canceling reservations and re-scheduling and more re-scheduling!) However, despite the slow start we were able to accommodate almost all registrants. For those we missed due to scheduling conflicts either on our 'end' or yours, I invite you to quickly re-register and we will give you top priority.
Pausing for a moment, I think back to when I and many of our team began this charitable 'hydro-therapy' service 8 years ago. Wow, how time flies when you're having fun! Over that period we have enjoyed the humbling experiences of hosting more than 9,000, and have done so with a perfect safety record!
To those who sailed with us in 2015, we were honored to have you join us for our free joyful nautical adventure. And to all of you who have sailed with us in the past 8 years, we welcome you back in 2016. Remember, it is simple to register for an outing in 2016. Go to our website
and push the Registration tab. Registering will take only a few minutes. I recommend that you do it soon, even if you wish to come later in the year.
Before we 'move on' in this newsletter, I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to all our volunteers as well as the charities, corporations and individuals who have supported us through the years. It is due to your commitment and belief in our mission, that we have achieved so much in serving the special needs community. And Lord, thank you for giving me the strength and an outstanding group to work with to make this happen!
Wishing you a year of fair winds,
Volunteers Drive Our Success!
Meet Kelah Raymond-Garner, Veteran & Volunteer
The wings of the Sailing Angels Organization also embrace veterans. These courageous men and women find a valuable therapeutic aid in their transitional journey to civilian life.
"The experience is unsurmountable" says former Army Sergeant Kelah Raymond-Garner, war veteran who now works in the corporate world. We talked to Kelah during a morning sail with the Sailing Angels organization.
"Vets have an opportunity to sit back, and get into non-thinking mode, enjoying the calm of nature, not thinking about their ailments, or whatever has brought them to the place of being in a vet program, " she explains. She relates to them as they share their battlefield memories in the middle of the calm sail and feel peace and serenity as they share their experiences. With veterans "the camaraderie remains intact," Kelah notes. "Even though those sailing together
don't know each other, they have the same experiences, difficulties and challenges in common."
She affirms that the majority of "Modern" war veterans are not older than 29 years old. On this morning's sail, however, there was a much older veteran whose presence reminded her of her own father. Kelah's father was an ex-marine who overcame addictions caused by combat experiences and extended separation from loved ones. "The sooner the healing begins, the sooner you are healed," said Kelah.
Helping in this healing process is precisely the reason why Kelah decided to become a volunteer with Sailing Angels three years ago."With vets, I speak their language," said Kelah, who also works with veterans in her position in human resources. She assists veterans who are transitioning to civilian life, noting that they bring leadership to the corporate world and the discipline to execute company strategy. "They collaborate, foster camaraderie, have a high sense of loyalty, are open to diversity, and perform well in dangerous situations. All this makes them exceptional employees."
Kelah, through her job and her volunteer work with Sailing Angels contributes her "Grain of sand" to help veterans heal and move forward in the same process she experienced. "I've walked in their shoes and so I get it," Kelah concludes.
Join us at these Upcoming Events!
| Some of the events our Volunteers will participate in this Spring:
1st Cruise for DeBakey VA Medical Center "Rovers"
1st Cruise for Homeless Veterans
1st Cruise for Lone Star Veterans Assoc.
Mikey's Place - 7th Annual Special Needs Camp & Resource Fair - Memorial Drive United Methodist Church
Houston, TX 77079
ReelAbilities - Houston Film & Arts Festival
Sailing Angels Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon
Family Resource Fair for Children with Disabilities
College Park High School, The Woodlands, TX
1st Cruise for Williams Syndrome Families
Release of Shake Russell's CD including "Sailing Angels" Song
McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 7 pm
1st Cruise for Down Syndrome (DSAH) Families
1st Cruise for Grace After Fire Women Veterans
Loving Hearts Special Needs Group
Presentation to the Texas Rehabilitation Association
4th Sailing Angels Summer Sailstice Cruise
Special Needs Families Celebrating the Summer Solstice
Special Memories from 2015
Just prior to our sending out this newsletter, we learned that we have lost a vibrant, lovely lady and valued Sailing Angels volunteer, Barb Dupuy. On their sailing vessel Morning Star, Barb & Barry committed themselves to serving our special needs community. Our hearts and prayers go out to Barry and family. Barb, may you enjoy fair winds while looking after us from above.
A Parent Says: "Thanks, Sailing Angels!"
Dear Sailing Angels,
You are truly making a difference in the lives of individuals with
special needs and their families! An invitation for a boat ride, be it
|Ty steering the vessel with
Capt. John Allison
a sailboat, tug boat, or otherwise, is such a unique and exciting gift on its own. That is just the first step on this great journey.
The invitation itself is filled with warmth and details to ensure a
successful arrival and wonderful voyage. The crew greets the families
with excitement, enthusiasm, confidence, and genuine happiness. The participant(s) with special needs is immediately welcomed and made to feel wanted and important. The crew ensures that everyone is
comfortable and safe and then, the really fun part begins! The
participants are actively engaged in steering, sailing, manning the
vessel, or using equipment like a horn for the majority of the ride.
The excitement and pride they feel is evident and priceless as is the
family's gratitude! Once the boat is back in dock each participant
receives a medal and a certificate to commemorate this special
Thank you Sailing Angels for all that you do! Ty, my 11 year
old son with Down Syndrome, says 'you rock and when can we go again'!
A very grateful mom,
On the Radar!
SAILING ANGELS HONORED IN 2015
We are grateful and humbled by the recognition which our Sailing Angels Team received in 2015.Thank you Team, and to those recognizing our value in 'making a difference'.
Here are a few of the accolades:
- The State of Texas Recognition, presented by Governor Gregory Abbott & State Representative Dan Huberty
- The Wiser Program for Women, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
- The Rover Program for Men, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
- Houston's HERO, Houston Chronicle newspaper
- "Outstanding Organization," City of Houston CARE Award
- Inpatient Rehab, Polytrauma, and Amputee Clinics, Dept. of Veteran Affairs
- Tribute magazine, Houston's Combined Municipal Campaign
- Grace After Fire, Helping Women Veterans Help Themselves
- "Big Believer of the Year" award, by Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Publication of "Sailing Angels Crew on Nighty Night Sailboat," by Renne Siewers (a storybook dedicated to Sailing Angels)
We appreciate the boost these awards give to our volunteers and supporters!
City of Houston
Sailing Angels Foundation Receives CARE Award
Sailing Angels received the 2015 CARE Award for "Outstanding Organization" from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. Captain Dave McCabe, Marge McCabe, Debbie Hughes and Bob Hughes participated in the award presentation as part of the Houston Disability Awareness Month Kickoff and the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Held at the Reflection Pool at City Hall, participants had the opportunity to tour the Disability Rights Museum on Wheels, sponsored by the U. S. Business Leadership Network.
The event also featured informational booths and adaptive sports demonstrations, including an AIG booth hosted by Sailing Angels Board Member Debbie Hughes, who works for AIG and is president of its Employee Resource Group for Disabilities and Allies.
About Our Board
Lisa Hill Sostack, Founding Director
Lisa and her husband, Gary, have enjoyed annual sails with their twin sons with us since 2008. With degrees in communications and political science as well as an MBA from Tulane University, she is a valuable resource on the business side of our efforts and helped us launch our Constant Contact newsletter last year. Lisa has 25 years' experience as an advocate for people with disabilities and is a co-founder of Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT)-Houston.
Recognized at the local and state level for her efforts to improve services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Lisa has partnered with the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Developmental Disabilities Council, and other public and private agencies to create legislation, enhance training and broaden services.
"Sailing Angels is the type of program that provides meaningful support to families and individuals with disabilities," she notes. "It offers a unique opportunity to bond and grow in a fun and accepting environment."
In addition to her advocacy work, Lisa has maintained a career as an investor relations consultant to a number of corporations in the Houston area and is director of Twin Visions Corp., which manages community-based disability services and provides recreation opportunities through its Outbound Visions program.
Nighty Night Sailboat Series
Features Sailing Angels
A new addition to the Nighty Night Sailboat children's series is "Sailing Angels Crew on Nighty Night Sailboat." Written by Susan Renne Fletcher Siewers, the series is about Juni, a little girl who lives with her parents aboard Nighty Night Sailboat. This episode
describes how our organization brings water therapy to veterans, children with special needs and wounded warriors and tells the importance of doing good deeds. It has a poem and coloring pages.
; proceeds benefit Sailing Angels.
How You Can Help
We are fortunate to be able to provide our free service to the special needs community only because of those who believe in our mission and help us financially. If you see value in what we do and wish to support us as we embark on 2016, please consider designating Sailing Angels as your preferred shopping charity when you shop
(it costs nothing!) or
(designate charity #
on your Kroger card by visiting the customer service booth). Or make a direct donation at our website
You may also mail your tax-free donation (payable to the Sailing Angels Foundation) to:
Capt. Dave McCabe,Sailing Angels Foundation
1714 Festival Drive,Houston, TX 77062
Finally, if you work for a company that offers matching funds for charitable contributions be sure to let them know you've donated to Sailing Angels and request a match. Thank You!
Thank you for supporting our mission!
We hope to see everyone out sailing soon.