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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Multicultural Education And Counseling Through The Arts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Provide performing and visual art

Programs: After school program - conducted in school year to teach the performing and visual arts to youth.

summer arts - summer camp type program providing classes in the performing and visual arts and recreational programs.

neighborhood schools - in school performing and visual arts instruction at local elementary, middle and high schools.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
11

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Janese R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

13

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

14

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

10

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

14

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.