Dress White Event to benefit Children’s Literacy

By: Margie Taylor
| Published 08/20/2019

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CONROE, TX – It’s time for the Annual Dress White Linen Party hosted by Children’s Books on Wheels (CBOW). Although it started many years ago as a theme for the rich and powerful to raise funds for charity, the Dress White event hopes anyone with a passion for literacy attends the event. Students that have access to books for reading on a daily basis will perform better on reading and writing tests than non-reading students with increased opportunity for success in their life.

The 6th Annual CBOW Dress White Linen Party will have live music from Ray Parsee’s Allstars Review featuring Leslie Lugo and Thomas “Songbird” Dickerson on Saturday, August 31 st from 7:30 pm until 11:30 pm at the Sleepy Hollow Multipurpose Building, 9845 Sleepy Hollow Road in Tamina. A $35 donation contributes to funding literacy programs throughout the county with CBOW mobile literacy services. Funding from the Dress White Linen Party will assist with access to literacy for children and help cover operation costs for the CBOW Afterschool program weekdays for 40 school age children Pre-K to 12th grade.

“This is our midyear effort to support mobile literacy programs for children in our communities. Since CBOW serves the entire county, funding is greatly needed. People in Montgomery County have a big heart', said Rita Wiltz.

Rita Wiltz, founder and Executive Director of CBOW, established the mobile non-profit organization in 2004 to bring reading to children in all areas where they live that may not have access to books. Seventy five percent of the population served by CBOW are at or below the poverty level. Wiltz and her team travel to community events, churches, businesses, and other non-profits in north, south, east and west counties. The after-school site for the YMCA is hosted by CBOW along with Summer Reading Projects to donate books to children and their families at no cost. Each year about 5,000 books are distributed. 

The 6th Annual Dress White Party is proud to announce two couples that have given much to CBOW. The honorees this year are Eric and Dr. Courtney Banks, with Roger and Natalie Goertz.

“As consistent sponsors of CBOW, the Board and I wanted to honor these couples for their donations and time focused on supporting the literacy projects in our rural community”, said Wiltz. “Our unique Annual Dress White Party for a cause will help us to continue to provide outreach services under our three components: educational, financial and health literacy”.

Courtney Swisher Banks received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Texas A&M University, specializing in Prevention Science. She is an Assistant Professor of School Psychology and a licensed psychologist at Sam Houston State University. Her focus is research involving home and school engagement in K-12 schools, parent socialization of education and behavior engagement, and examining ecological factors that influence bullying.

Dr. Banks has been married to her husband Eric for 11 years and the two have three wonderful children: Camille, 8 years old, EJ 6 years old, and Cydni who is 3 months old. Eric Banks has been in education for 13 years, currently serving as the Gifted and Talented Instructional Coach for Conroe ISD. Previously, he has served as an elementary and middle school teacher, a K-8 Instructional Coach, and a STEM Instructional Specialist, in the Lancaster, Cedar Hill, Bryan and Dallas Independent School Districts respectively. Prior to working in Conroe ISD, he was a Lesson Study Specialist for the ESC in Region 6. Eric earned a B.S. from Texas A&M University and an M.B.A. from University of Phoenix.

Dr Banks and her husband have been volunteers of CBOW for many years.  Both are devoted to educating and
mentoring children from the afterschool program.  Dr Banks is on the leadership development team for CBOW
mothers and daughters.  She also volunteered for Project Camp Noah in Tamina as the Mental Health Specialist for all 45 children that attended.

“Working with Children’s Books on Wheels continues to be extremely rewarding”, said Dr. Banks. “I am able to
support youth and adults within the community who instantly become extended family members. Rita Wiltz is
such a blessing to the community, and I appreciate all of the initiatives CBOW provides to promote wellness and best selves.”

Natalie and Roger Goertz are a dynamic duo of longtime champions of literacy initiatives in Montgomery County. Upon taking the position as Executive Vice President of Mr. Rooter® in September of 2014 with husband Roger, (President) Natalie quickly branded herself as the “Mrs. to the Mr. at Mr. Rooter® Plumbing” and took the plumbing industry by storm. After receiving multiple offers from banks to be a part of their “Treasury Management Team”, Natalie joined Guaranty Bank & Trust in March serving as Senior Vice President in a dual capacity role of Treasury Management Officer and Community Development Officer.

Roger Goertz worked in corporate positions until June 2003 when he acquired an existing Mr. Rooter plumbing
franchise in August 2003. It started with 4 service vehicles and Roger built the business up to a fleet of 16 vehicles in 16 years. He sold the business August 1. “I have been President of five Corporations in my past 50
years of business experience plus a Small Business Owner and “business builder” 16 years!”

“More than a handful of years ago, we began donating a dozen or so hams and turkeys to Children’s Books on
Wheels the week of Thanksgiving for clients of CBOW”, said Natalie Goertz. The turkey donation has continued
with other donations of high-quality furniture, a fridge/freezer and endless business casual and business
professional men’s and women’s clothing.

One of the reasons Roger and Natalie chose to become involved with Children’s Books on Wheels is they believe their clientele is an underserved population in the community.

“Children’s Books on Wheels is more than just bridging the literacy gap through delivering free books to
underserviced children in the Montgomery County area.  They have expanded their services to support other nonprofits by providing struggling families with a variety of free services, such as after-school programing,
financial literacy and government assistance.  Their efforts spoke to our hearts and that’s why we wanted to
become involved.”

The Sleepy Hollow Multipurpose Building is the location for the Dress White Event located at 9845 Sleepy
Hollow Road in Conroe (Tamina) 77385. Dancing, music, and soft bites will be provided with each donation of
$35. Sponsors to date are HEB and Party City. Sponsorships are available at several levels starting at $750. For tickets contact Rita Wiltz at (281) 844-7596 or rw2619@msn.com. Donations may be mailed to 330 Rayford Road, #201, Spring, Texas 77385.

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