Clear Lake Chatter: Macy’s Baybrook donates prom dresses

Macy’s Associates Christye Aldridge and Michelle Cheung, from left, join Assistance League Vice President Philanthropic Programs Brunella Altemus, President Elect Charlene Donovan, President Brooks Cima, Operation Cinderella Chairman Jayne Dannecker and Macy’s Baybrook Director of Sales & Customer Experience Joshua Acevedo for a photo as they begin lining up the gowns.


By Mary Alys Cherry

AS THE COVID-19 Pandemic wears on, some high school students and their parents no doubt have been wondering about this year’s prom. Some may be wondering if money will be available for their child’s gown or tuxedo. And then, just as we could use a little good news, comes some very good news: Macy’s has partnered with Assistance League of the Bay Area to distribute more than 600 articles of clothing to local community members in need.

 The donation, valued at $15,000, Assistance League Vice President and Marketing Director Jill Smitherman tells us, includes a variety of apparel, including prom dresses and children’s formal wear. Assistance League will distribute the donation to support Operation Cinderella, which provides economically disadvantaged high school senior girls and boys with everything necessary to have a positive prom experience.

 “Macy’s is committed to giving back, sharing joy and being there for the community in times of need,” Macy’s Baybrook Director of Sales & Customer Experience Joshua Acevedo said. “This unprecedented time has brought challenges to many families in the communities Macy’s colleagues live and work, and Macy’s is proud to support incredible organizations — such as Assistance League — whose impactful work plays a vital role in strengthening and enriching the local community and beyond.”

 A number of Assistance League members, including President Brooks Cima, Vice Presidents Brunella Altemus and Jill SmithermanOperation Cinderella Chairman Jayne Dannecker and President-Elect Charlene Donovan and her husband, James, joined Joshua and his associates at Macy’s Baybrook, at curbside pickup — thrilled to load the $15,000 worth of donations in their vehicles and unload them over at the CCISD Learners Support Center where Operation Cinderella donations are stored and distributed.

“Although Operation Cinderella’s busiest times are in the spring of each year, it’s never too early to donate a new or gently-used evening dress, jewelry, shoes, or purse to make a senior girl’s prom dreams come true. Donations can be dropped off at the Assistance League Resale Shop at 100 E. NASA Parkway, Suite 80 in Webster,” Jayne said, reminding all to check the website for its hours of operation.

 Assistance League of the Bay Area is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that changes lives through philanthropic programs in the Houston Bay Area community. For more information on the organization, visit the website at

 More information about Macy’s is available at

Assistance League President Elect Charlene Donovan, from left, Vice President Resource Development Kathleen Courville, Operation School Bell Chairman Sarah Foulds and President Brooks Cima are very pleasantly surprised to learn the Leslie Alexander Foundation had awarded the local organization $50,000.

Envelope has a $50,000 gift

ASSISTANCE LEAGUE members were in for an even bigger surprise when they were opening their mail recently. A $50,000 surprise from the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation.

Yes, you guessed right — former Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander. Seems the foundation officials apparently read about the League’s work with homeless students and were impressed and wanted to help.

 The much-needed funds were a welcomed addition to the all-volunteer non-profit’s budget just as plans were underway for its largest program, Operation School Bell, which provides new school clothing for needy students throughout the greater Houston/Galveston Bay Area.

“The grant will help provide at least 500 students with clothing essentials to begin in person classroom attendance,” a smiling Operation School Bell Chairman Sarah Foulds said.

Clear Lake Panhellenic President Darla McKitrick, left, and President Elect Kathryn Vernau are looking forward to the coming year, which begins Sunday, Sept. 13 with their annual Fall Friendship Tea at Bay Oaks Country Club.

Darla McKitrick to head Clear Lake Panhellenic

CLEAR LAKE PANHELLENIC members remembered the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” when it came time to install their new officers this spring. When you want to avoid meeting in person and taking a chance of getting COVID-19, you meet via Zoom, which they did.

 New officers are President Darla McKitrick, 1st Vice President and President Elect Kathryn Vernau, 2nd Vice President Becky Hensley, Secretary Janet Jones, Treasurer Lisa O’Brien, Parliamentarian Sheryl Williams and Corporation Sandy Records.

Sheryl Williams was named winner of the Citation Award.

 While meeting virtually they also announced that they would hold their annual Fall Friendship Tea (with social distancing and masks required) at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake on Sunday, Sept. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m.Jill Reason, a recent president of the sorority alumnae organization, suggested that those interested in joining the group should consider coming to the event.

Soraya Shah and Charlotte Nevins practice as they await their turn to tryout for a role in “The Nutcracker.”

Ballet dancers getting ready for productions

THE BAY AREA Houston Ballet & Theatre’s little ballerinas are busy these days planning for their upcoming fall and winter productions as the ballet celebrates its 45th season. First is “Dracula,” which is on the calendar for Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18 with open air performances Oct. 23-25.

 Then comes the annual presentation of the holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker,” with performances the weekends of Dec. 4-6 and Dec. 11-13 In the Bayou Theatre, followed by open air performances Dec. 18-20.

 A total of 159 young dancers have auditioned for parts in the productions, Executive Director Jill Reason tells us. She suggests that folks can keep up with their news by looking for announcements on the ballet website, or on social media,

Lunar Rendezvous postponed until ‘21

During these unprecedented times, The Lunar Rendezvous Festival decided to postpone the 2020 festival and combine it with the 2021 festival, Advisory Board Chairman Jill Reason tells us.

“Under this structure, we will have a queen, captain and queen-alternate for both 2020 and 2021. We look forward to a spectacular festival in 2021. We plan on the 2020 court to be active throughout this time. Using Federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a guide, we hope to be able to create and hold selected events starting in the Fall of 2020.  We hope that the news will be viewed as a positive decision, one that will give all participants the full Lunar Rendezvous experience.”

The Lunar Rendezvous tradition spans 55 years. “In these 55 years, we have continued to grow and move forward to create excellence in our youth and for our community. We hope everyone looks forward to being a part of this vital part of history,” she added.

Keels & Wheels plans celebration in 2021

An email went out Aug. 14 to members of Lakewood Yacht Club saying that regretfully, the 25th anniversary of Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance is being postponed from this October to next year – May 1 and 2, 2021 – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As you know,” Chairman Bob Fuller said, “we had hoped to hold the show in October. We have delayed this decision till now in hopes of a positive development in the prevention and treatment of the disease. It is painfully clear that if we held the show, we would not be able to ensure the well being, health and safety of all involved. We will therefore celebrate our 25th Anniversary next May.

“Thank you, to all of you who have supported Keels & Wheels as a sponsor, volunteer, exhibitor or simply in attendance to enjoy the show. Please plan to join us next May. Hopefully we will all enjoy a return to normalcy by then.”

As for the raffle, he said the raffle drawing for the 2020 fully loaded Jeep will still be held on Sunday Oct. 18, at 3:30 p.m., adding that raffle tickets are still on sale at the Club Office, or online at

Four UHCL faculty members honored

The four recipients of University of Houston-Clear Lake’s 2020-2021 University Faculty Fellowship awards are

  • Associate Professor of Psychology Nicholas Kelling, College of Human Sciences and Humanities;
  • Department Chair of Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Humanities Shreerekha Subramanian, College of Human Sciences and Humanities;
  • Associate Professor of Biology and Biotechnology Larry Rohde, College of Science and Engineering; and
  • Professor of Accounting Barry Marks, College of Business.

“University Faculty Fellowships are awarded to faculty for their accomplishments and contributions to UH-Clear Lake for exemplary teaching, research and service,” said UHCL President Ira K. Blake. “Fellowships are awarded for one academic year. Recipients receive funds to be used for educational materials, research seed money, travel to conferences, workshops and seminars. Congratulations to the recipients of UHCL’s University Faculty Fellowships for 2020-2021.”

The names of the recipients will be added to a plaque in Atrium II of the Bayou Building along with the previous recipients of this award.

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