Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts

Rating: 4.95 stars   19 reviews

Issues:

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.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I first became aware of MECA in high school; I played violin at a performing arts high school school, but could not afford private lessons and was having trouble keeping up with my peers. A friend of mine suggested MECA, where she had been a mariachi student for many years. At MECA I received great personal musical instruction and the opportunity to perform in recitals every semester, which was great training for an aspiring musician. Not only that, but when I graduated high school, MECA gave me a scholarship, which went a long way in helping me attend college. Music taught me focus, discipline and the value of hard work, qualities that have served me well through college and as I establish a professional career. A place like MECA that offers great arts classes, especially at reduced fees for people like me who otherwise couldn't afford classes, provides a great service to the community. Over the last three decades, MECA has turned out hundreds of students who use their arts experiences to build successful lives. As a former student-musician, I cannot stress enough how my arts training prepared me to handle the challenges of life and to put in the effort to pursue my dreams. Knowing how much I benefitted from MECA, I wanted to do something to give back, so I began volunteering here after graduating college, and eventually accepted a position at the school. I know there are many others here who have continued to be involved in MECA long after their children stop taking lessons. MECA staff, students and family have incredible dedication to the mission because we have all seen the fruits of our labor -talented children nurtured into becoming successful adults.

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

dedicated, hard-working, friendly and eager to help the families and children served here.

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

restore the 98 year-old building that houses MECA, buy instruments and other equipment, and provide some great, quality programming for at-risk kids.

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  

6 people found this review helpful

I remember hearing about MECA when I was 8 or 9 years old. My mother took me to Ballet classes with Mrs. Villalobos. It was such a great experience for me and a way to express myself through dance. I loved it! I have such wonderful memories or MECA and know how they genuinely care for their students. Now that I am a parent I want my children to experience and have the opportunity to express themselves through the arts just as I did. My oldest daughter Monica took Ballet like me and she loved it too. Now Giselle my second to the oldest is taking Art Classes and is excited about it and looks forward to her classes weekly. It is such a wonderful, enriching organization and I cannot say enough about it. I tell everyone about it and of how beneficial it can be to their children. I have nothing but good things to say about MECA. I am also very proud to say that as a small business owner we were able to make a small donation this past year to MECA and the reason we did is because we really believe in their cause, their vision and purpose. I hope that we have MECA for many years to come and for many to benefit from it. Sincerely, Gloria Gonzalez

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

Their wonderful art and ballet classes.

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

Add more classes

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

Seeing my child expressing themselves through the Arts.

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

So friendly and eager to help and serve.

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

Change our city for the better.

Ways to make it better...

I had a great Experience!

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

Monetary, they are in need or more donations and donors.

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

Meca is a wonderful organization and needs our support!

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  

8 people found this review helpful

I have been with MECA for many many years. I first went to MECA when I took my five year old to take Violin lessons with Alice Valdez. I was a volunteer and she took classes at MECA and loved it! She is now 22 but I became a Board Member and have been for about 9/10 years. MECA is a great organization and helps alot of kids! I always recommend then to lots of people....it is a great place for kids to grow and experience and find their talents and keep them off the street. THey end up going to college and alot of them come back to give back and that in itself is a wonderful experience! I am very proud to be a part of this organization and will continue to volunteer and be on the board for as long as I can! It is all a great cause!

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

Being able to give bk to the community and help children find their path in their future as oppose to them being in the streets with gangs, drugs, etc etc!

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

WOW, the staff is incredible and alot of them work more hours than paid for. We recently had to cut hrs from 40 hrs to 20 hrs. due to low funds and some don't even recieve a check at all! But it is still a great place to be we believe in it!

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

Finish our restoration of our building which needs lots of work and it is all for our kids. We are very low in money and this would be a blessing for everyone at MECA. The students would have heat and air and better facility all the way around.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I attended violin lessons at MECA with Mr. Quinn as a child. I remembered walking into MECA every week and looking forward to my violin lesson. I was still in elementary school, but I know that my lessons with Mr. Quinn really helped me excel in music throughout middle school and high school.

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

their music department. I would come to MECA every week as a child learning how to play the violin and read music.

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

the staff, especially Mr. Quinn who taught me how to read music and play classical violin.

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

EXPAND!! I haven't visited MECA since I was in middle school, so it's been at least 13 years, but I remember it needed renovations.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1997-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I was a student in a hip hop dance class in the MECA dance program during the summer of 2007. I remember every week, going to class was something I always looked forward to! I always had a great time learning new dance combinations and I had a great dance teacher, Valerie! We were also very fortunate to be able to go to galveston to perform a dance and also participated in a dance recital towards the end of the summer. Dancing for MECA was something I will always remember as a friendly and fun environment. I would reccomend MECA to anyone who is interested in fine arts.

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

extremely nice and helpful! I remember my teacher had alot of patience with my fellow students and always brought alot of creativty to class.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

MECA helps children enjoy the classes they enroll in whether it is dance, instrumental music, voice, art or tutoring. They learn how to practice to improve, lessons they can apply to their academic studies and their careers. I love seeing the students in their lessons and when they perform in recitals or "gigs". MECA's staff is a group of dedicated teachers and administrators who serve the students and their families for any need that arises. Additionally, MECA provides performance space for emerging artists who are in the beginning of their professional careers.

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

I can see the children progress from beginners to advanced in their art area and to graduate from high school with a hope for their futures.

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

in love with MECA's mission, programs, and students.

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

begin the changes to the interior of their 100 year old building - install central air & heat, upgrade the plumbing, build another dance studio, build a state of the art auditorium. Create a trust fund to pay the monthly bills & offer more classes.

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  

6 people found this review helpful

MECA is one of the most sincere organizations I have ever come across. They give to the local community all that is possible with their limited funds. The results are way above average. There are few groups who contribute so directly to the people they are attempting to assist. The children profit immensely and I believe, it changes many of these children's lives for the better. They are able to experience arts directly as they never could given the meager income of many of their parents. The paid employees often work for half pay which may even be paid late. They depend on their other family members' income to survive sometimes in order to keep the doors open to the community they serve. The results are often amazing, with even sending students to Julliard on scholarship for college!

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

seeing performances of its students.

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

not change their methods. It works; they just need more money.

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

seing how well their slim amount of money is used to the best purpose!

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

outstanding and dedicated!

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

do an incredible amount of good for its community and students.

Ways to make it better...

more people knew and contributed so more students could be served.

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

money!

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

this organizaton more than any other I have been associated with is deserving of any and all assistance they can get!

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  

9 people found this review helpful

MECA has done so many things to enrich my life. I began my MECA experience as an art student at the age of 5 and even though I did not continue with my studies in visual art, I did return to MECA in 2004 as a hip-hop dance student. I returned two years later to become a hip-hop, ballet, modern, and salsa student. Eventually in my junior and senior years of high school, I focused solely in ballet and modern dance. I loved my teachers and the dance program because I received personal attention that helped me achieve my goals. I also received many amazing gifts from MECA, including a $2,500 scholarship to go to Spain on a trip with World Learning and The Experiment in International Living for 5 weeks. MECA put me in contact with the program's financial resources department which helped me take this life-changing trip. I also received tutoring and mentoring at MECA that helped get me through rough studying. Last, but not least, MECA gave me a $2000 scholarship for college to use on my books and such items at the University of Houston. I grew so much through MECA because I learned how to dance, and become more independent through them. I am a responsible, educated, eager to learn student because of the amazing programs at MECA. I spent so much time at the school that I felt like it was my second home. I met so many wonderful people including the staff and other students there. I love MECA and will always be thankful of everything they have given me.

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

all of my scholarships that I have received from them. They have helped me so much. I have also received an amazing dance education through MECA.

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

The people that work within the organization. They are all kind and want to help you whenever you need anything.

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

amazing people that donated their time and their talent to the school. Many volunteers came and went, but there were also quite a few that were always there to showcase their talent and help in whatever they could.

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

finish its' renovation project that will allow the original Dow Elementary School to stay in place and simply renovate the historic building. It could also use money towards its' art departments to buy more supplies and new technology for the students.

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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