Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts

Rating: 4.95 stars   19 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth

Location: 1900 Kane Houston TX 77007 USA

Mission: Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) is a community-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the healthy social, cultural, and academic development of at-risk, youth through education in the arts.
Programs: MECA offers classical and ethnic arts education and support services to approximately 2500 students a year through the In-School, After-School, and Summer Arts Programs. MECA has served Houston's First Ward, Sixth+Ward, Near Northside, and Heights Districts since 1977, providing a variety of arts education opportunities, community performances, public art, and cultural celebrations. MECA's 28-year presence has given families and youth a positive sense of themselves, their community, and their culture.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

MECA continued a year of introducing and training students and adults alike in various arts in the past year, despite economic hardships. MECA was in three HISD schools teaching arts and music classes, and offered after school classes for their entire service area in classes ranging from ballet to Mariachi.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In Scholarship committee, each year I get the privilege of interviewing graduating seniors who have strong and varied backgrounds with MECA. These are students who have been with MECA since early childhood, and have continued through to graduation. They have taken full advantage of MECA's offerings, developing artistic talents, broadening their horizons with performance and travel experience, and becoming competitive academically. It's a joy to see their success and know they'll continue to college.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I continue to look for ways to market MECA and help make their offerings more globally appealing to a broader donor base.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

Through United Way

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Succession Planning

What is its top priority in the long run?

Self Sustainability

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I've been aware of MECA for several years, and over the last 4 years have been involved in the United Way allocations process that reviews MECA's programs and awards funding. Through that process, MECA was evaluated along with other not for profits serving the Houston community, and consistently they are recognized for the quality of their programs, the diversity of their offerings, and their focus on bringing arts to a subset of the Houston community that may not have access otherwise. Thanks to my exposure through the United Way, I joined the MECA board because I have come to believe strongly in the mission they strive to, and I see how critical their role is in the community they serve.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

reviewing their annual progress, experiencing their programs and even watching my own nephew get excited about the summer programs offered at MECA. At five years old, he was thrilled at African drumming!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Everyone I meet there, from students, parents, alumni, to advocates, all have a story about MECA having touched their lives in some way. Tiny ballerinas bring smiles to your face, while senior level musicians awe you with their talent.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated. In a word, that describes this staff who works long hours for little pay, and speaks of their students and work with MECA with determination to see it move forward, despite the financial set backs.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

take the program back to the schools that need it and fund itself. It could make the historic DOW school a renowned haven for arts and cultural learning for all students. It could expand its social services to give its students holistic support.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a donor of MECA for over 25 years or more. As a former school teacher and an active volunteer in the arts, I appreciate the many cultural and educational programs provided children ( for the most part from liminted resources) who live in the inner city of Houston. I have attended many cultural programs not only on the site of the Center but at other educational and cultural venues of Houston. Each child is counselled to excell to the best of their abilities. Parents are actively involved and in that way, not only appreciate the talents of their children, but expand in their own social and cultural education. There always haas to be an energetic and visionary person in each organization who formulates and guides the activities and goals of that entity. Alice Valdez has dedicated her life and talents to MECA and has been able to overcome the many adverse econmic and political roadblocks that the organization faced while conserving her
interest in the social, cultural and educational benefits that were necessary for the children , youth and families served by MECA.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the success of many of the children and youths served by this organization. Some have returned to be teachers and volunteers for the next generation. I also appreciate the programs in visual and performing art that are presented at MECA and at other venues of the City of Houston.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hope to see more financial aid available so that the programs would be always available under talented and well paid instructors and teachers. As with most educational arts, cultural and social agencies, funding is difficult, specially in these economic times.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

The purpose of providing educational and cultural programs to an inner city population of children and youth, under professional instructors and teachers and with the participation of parents.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

I have always been a donor and more funds are necessary due to the cutting of state government support as well as the limitation of funding from businesses, corporations and foundations due to the economy of our nation.

What would you tell others about this organization?

Please support a proven organization which will continue to serve the growing inner city population of Houston.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

My three daughters were fortunate to have been MECA Kids. I firmly believe the years they spent at MECA learning to dance, sing, act, play the piano, trumpet, violin, draw, paint.......made a great difference in their ability to achieve in academics. I am forever indebted to MECA, Alice Valdez and her genius, the instructors, staff and all the volunteers. MECA is worth your time, donations and attendance at their performances and activities. If you have children from the ages of 5 to 95 you MUST take them to MECA!! Thank you MECA!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the success of my children in their lives as adults because of the gift of Art shared by MECA.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

raise more money so they can touch the lives of more children.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I have enjoyed the shows I have seen and how the the children enjoy their performance. I've seen the parents and kids have fun in the activities they are doing. It would be great for the kids and parents to keep returning to MECA and to learn and grow more. The Viva La Amor concert was great and I enjoyed the different performances in this concert. The environment was like one big family.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the services they provide to the community.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all the shows they provide and Day of the Dead Festival.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very helpful, courteous and are always there to help you with your particular needs to the best of their ability.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

have a better services, and to help the children to their fullest ability.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

About six years ago I had a good experience along with my kids of what MECA had to offer through their services to the community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

by the impact it has on the children to not get involved with activities which are bad influences.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

to see how my kids have developed and grown with their peers into great young people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

to finish the restoration of the Dow School and to use the money to help disadvantaged kids with their problems.

Ways to make it better...

there were more funds

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the recession has created a great challenge in getting funds to keep the programs going at full force.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

This is my third year at MECA, and we have seen our daughter's talent develop. Through her time at MECA she has become more confident, disciplined, aware of time management and wants to become even more successful in her art area. No only has she learned how to dance at MECA it has also helped her to knowledge and pride for her culture.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the positive impact it has had on the growth and development of the kids talents.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

to see my daughter's growth in ballet folklorico and her fun experiences at MECA.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very diligent, dedicated to all the development of the all the children.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

to grow, to have more teachers, to have more costumes and be able to take the kids to more competitions.

Ways to make it better...

there was more communication and organization of programs

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

My daughter has been taking Ballet Folklorico for 3 years. This style of dance helps her to be more disciplined and responsible in all of her school work. Since she starting taking Ballet Folklorico she has been an Honor Roll student at school.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The Ballet Folklorico director, Mr. Lopez trys to ensure the development of the his students through dance.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

to get the chance to see my daughter perform and dance ballet folklorico with confidence.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

to help the kids to achieve their dreams and to make the Dow School a better facility for the children to work in.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

In particular, my daughter has had a positive and fun experience with the Ballet Folklorico dance classes and program at MECA.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have more programs for the kids to keep them away from bad influences.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

To see the progress in all the children, day by day. And the enthusiasm the teachers have for teaching the children.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The staff is always helpful and listen to help the parents with all their questions and concerns.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

More teachers and add central air conditioning to the building.

Ways to make it better...

they offered free classes for some of the more low income families

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

to do more for the community but very low on funds.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Well since I've been here in the last year and half I've gained a lot of experience working with others and just learning new things on my own. Being here really takes my mind off of other things, it's really fun.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get more money to make MECA prettier.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Is that I do what I enjoy which is dance.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very nice, patient and funny.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Really clean up this place by adding new things to it.

Ways to make it better...

there were more people here, if there were more people in my dance class then I could challenge myself and be better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Money

One thing I'd also say is that...

MECA needs to get the word out more about their classes and what they offer.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Any organization that has a passion for the youth of our country to become contributing citizens when reaching adulthood deserves much praise. MECA is this organization. The time and service that is given by all the staff goes above the call of duty. They are truly dedicated servants! They believe in kids!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in attending performances by students and alumni.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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