Faces of The Woodlands November Winner - Missy Flanagan
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- This month marks the first winner of Woodlands Online, “Faces of The Woodlands,” a contest that highlights members of the community who go above and beyond to make a difference.
Missy Flanagan is more than deserving of this recognition. Currently working as a P.E. teacher at Kaufman Elementary, Flanagan dedicates her energy to her students and to those in need of a helping hand.
“I always wanted to teach,” Flanagan said. She taught math and science in the classroom for over twenty years before making the switch to physical education. Her favorite part of her professional life is the, “ah-ha,” moment her students experience when they grasp a concept. “I like knowing that I made a difference,” she said.
In 2016 Flanagan and a colleague won the KHOU Inspiring Curiosity Contest. They used the reward money to build an outdoor classroom in dedication of Stephanie Allen, a paraprofessional who was working toward achieving her teaching certificate when she passed away from breast cancer.
“She never was able to achieve it, but we wanted her to have her own classroom so that she could always be teaching,” Flanagan said.
This isn’t the only time Flanagan has used her position at the school to make a meaningful impact. Each year, her and her teaching partner gather socks for the homeless during the school’s annual Jingle Bell Run.
“That’s the most requested item by homeless people,” Flanagan said. “We send a note home and the parents send packages and packages of socks.” Flanagan then donates the socks to Love Out Loud, a non-profit ministry dedicated to meeting the needs of those who call the streets of Houston, home. “We raised 300 socks last year and we’re hoping to double that this year,” she said.
Flanagan’s outreach goes beyond the classroom. She leads a fitness class at the YMCA that benefits local charity organizations. Instead of paying to take the class, the women who sign up agree to help out a cause. This month they’re serving the Montgomery County Women’s Shelter by dropping off frozen meals on the weekends.
“The next thing we’re working on is helping out Freedom Place,” Flanagan said, a care and recovery center for underage female victims of domestic child sex trafficking.
“The Freedom Place has a successful program, but a lot of people don’t know about it,” she said. “They try to have a boutique on campus to give the girls an incentive to stay and keep getting help … We’re fixing to have [the fitness class members] bring in jewelry to benefit the women who have been rescued from human trafficking.”
Flanagan is involved with other life-changing organizations as well. For years she walked in the Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer in honor of her mom. Just recently, she returned from San Diego California, where she walked sixty miles in three days as part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.
She participates in Light The Night Houston, benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, in honor of her dad, who has a school named after him as a tribute to his philanthropic work. She also volunteers at nursing homes in her spare time, and plans fundraisers for community members in need.
Flanagan believes that giving back is something society is meant to do. “It’s like brushing your teeth, if you have the time you need to do it,” she said. “The only way people are going to get out of the muck they’re in is if other people give them a hand up.”
Her advice to others who are interested in making a difference: “I would say if you want to feel good, roll up your sleeves … It’s the most amazing and rewarding experience because you get so much more from it than you ever give. They bless you ten times more than you ever bless them … It’s an automatic euphoria.”
Our Woodlands Online team wants to thank Missy Flanagan for all that she has done and continues to do for our community. We also want to extend a special thank you to Radunare - Italian American Table, for gifting our contest winners with an authentic Italian meal for them and ten of their family and friends!
Know someone who you think deserves to be recognized? Nominate them for, “Faces of The Woodlands,” by sending their name and a brief explanation of their kind actions, to email@example.com
Watch Interview with Missy Flanagan