Arnold & Itkin Hosts Celebration to Shine a Light on The Monarch School & Its Students’ Work

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The Monarch School is a Houston institution, a unique organization that works with students (Monarch calls them “learners”) with neurological differences; the school’s innovative, therapeutic approach draws families to Houston from across the country. Head of School Patti Pace says, “Often the children who come to The Monarch School have struggled elsewhere, but we understand the obstacles young people with neurological differences face, and we create an environment where they can be successful.”

Arnold & Itkin Foundation Founders

Arnold & Itkin Foundation founders: Jason Itkin, Kisha Itkin, Tara Arnold, and Kurt Arnold

“We are happy that Arnold & Itkin can help support The Monarch School. The Monarch School is an important part of the Houston community. It provides hope and opportunity for families that have a hard time finding support in other places.”

Evidence of that success was on display Tuesday, May 15, 2018 on the rooftop garden of the Houston law firm Arnold & Itkin at an event designed to raise money and awareness for The Monarch School.

Kate Matthiesen is in Monarch’s transition program, which helps young adults with neurological differences live independent lives. An accomplished artist, Kate is proud to have her paintings showcased in Houston galleries, and she has earned thousands of dollars selling her work. An original painting she donated for auction at the event fetched $25,000 to help fund The Monarch School’s programs.

The work from other learners was on display at the event as well, including wooden pens handcrafted by Jordan and delicious culinary delights crafted in The Monarch School’s learner-run kitchen.

Monarch’s kitchen is just one of the programs designed to provide learners an opportunity to discover skills and talents that could translate into employment opportunities as they transition into more independent lives. Suzanne Reyes’ 21-year-old daughter is in Monarch’s transition program. “I can see possibilities for her now that I didn’t think were there before,” Suzanne says. “Monarch took the time to find her interests and to translate that into possible job options that she would enjoy and be satisfied with.”

Wamda Ahmed and Mike Dunn lived in Atlanta when they started looking for a school that would better suit the needs of their son Zachary. Wamda says it was Monarch’s “progressive model for neuro-diversity,” that drew her to the school. “The children are empowered so they can find their own voice and learn to speak for themselves.” Mike says, “The backbone of Monarch is not just the theory, or the model, or the books. It’s the teachers. They are so passionate, and you can see it in their eyes.”

It takes considerable resources to create the environment that The Monarch School provides. There are two of those “passionate” teachers that Mike describes for every four children in the classroom—and that doesn’t even count the support teachers and staff.

Tuition only covers 85% of the school’s operating budget, so The Monarch School relies on community support to keep their programs funded.

Tara Arnold and Kisha Itkin founded The Arnold & Itkin Foundation with their husbands, law partners Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin. While the Arnold & Itkin law firm fights for justice in court, the Foundation adopts a broader definition of justice, providing hope and opportunity to people in difficult circumstances. One of their first donations was a $100,000 grant to The Monarch School to fund the construction of The Living Building Classroom, a laboratory where students are encouraged to achieve net zero energy and water performance through a focus on wind energy, water harvesting, and conservation.

This year, The Arnold & Itkin Foundation hosted a Champagne Celebration and invited community partners to learn more about The Monarch School’s mission and to raise money for their programs.

The trial lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP fight daily for justice on behalf of their clients who have been harmed by others and who are often left to feel helpless and doubtful about their futures. The firm’s track record for winning record-setting verdicts and settlements on behalf of its clients has changed the lives of its clients and their families all over the nation.

When the law firm’s founders Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin toured The Monarch School and witnessed firsthand their focus on transforming the lives of their learners, they knew the school and its students were a perfect match for their charitable support. The event, aptly themed “Transforming Lives” and co-hosted by Scott and Jacklyn Freeman of Settlement Alliance, raised money and awareness of the incredible work the school does.

Kurt Arnold says: “We are happy that Arnold & Itkin can help support The Monarch School. The Monarch School is an important part of the Houston community. It provides hope and opportunity for families that have a hard time finding support in other places.”

Please direct additional inquiries to Shawn Vincent at 407-415-8095 or High resolution photographs available upon request.

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Shawn Vincent
Arnold & Itkin LLP
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