In the early 1970's, when Friendswood Development Company and King Ranch, Inc. began developing this area, many families moved to the Livable Forest. Many women left established homes and familiar surroundings to become strangers in this new community. Two of these early Kingwood residents, over a cup of coffee, saw a need to organize a group to help women assimilate into this new community. From their early coffees sprung the idea of forming a non-profit social club committed to welcoming newcomers and helping them get acquainted through social activities and community involvement.
A kick-off meeting/membership drive was held at the Trailwood Community Room on March 1, 1974, and 116 women joined. When homes were no longer large enough to accommodate all the women, the tradition of monthly luncheons evolved and the ladies traveled to the Greenspoint area since there were no facilities available in Kingwood. Then in 1985, after many conversations and negotiations with the Kingwood Country Club, the luncheons were moved to the Club. They continue to be held there on the second Wednesday of each month, from September to May.
In 1990 the "cup" became the club logo, a symbol of how Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood began. The shape of the "h" is patterned after the Kingwood sign (at that time) as you enter Kingwood Drive from Highway 59N. The heart and coffee cup represent friendship and the social functions of the club. The oval surrounding the logo is in the symmetry of the "Keep Kingwood Beautiful" slogan. Forest Green and the Red Heart were the chosen colors to be used.
The cup represents the cup of sugar borrowed from the woman next door, the tea and conversation shared with the lonely lady down the street, the cup of hospitality offered by established club members when they invite a new guest to join them at their luncheon table, and the cup of holiday cheer lifted as our members celebrate the festive holidays. It also symbolizes the cup of kindness shown by our Kingwood Heartbeat Bears, giving teddy bears to traumatized children and lonely forgotten adults, as well as the overflowing cup of generosity manifested in the donations we give to service organizations.
As we celebrate our anniversary each year, let's reflect on how many changes have occurred, how we've grown and developed, and how many found friends and lifelong relationships we have formed through Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood.
1974 The first luncheon was held at the Sheraton Inn on March 13, 1974. 116 ladies attended. The cost was $2.65; dues were $5 yearly. Early interest groups were: Book Club, Bridge, Cards, Crafts, Exercise and Diet, Yoga, Gourmet and Sports. Membership had grown to 183 by July.
1975 February Luncheon was "Aerobic Dancing". This was the new fun way to be fit. In April, a "Progressive Dinner for Couples" was held.
1976 A Community Action Group was formed. This group promoted the need for a traffic light at Loop 494 and Kingwood Drive. A Barn Dance was held in October.
1977 The program for one of the luncheons held at the El Dorado Country Club was on "Make-Up", given by "Miss Classified" of the Chronicle.
1977-78 "Las Vegas Night" was a couple's event. Luncheons were held at the Forest Cove Country Club. One speaker delivered "How to Get Children to Eat Vegetables" and "How to Stretch Food Dollars".
1978-79 Some of the luncheons were held at the Atascocita Country Club. One speaker delivered "The Advantages and the Disadvantages of a Mobile Society" and "The Importance of Community Involvement".
1979-80 Hi Neighbor Club 6th Birthday Celebration. New Interest Group, "Hi Neighbor Singers", performed at luncheons. One of the program speakers was a Channel 2 weatherman.
1980-81 By-laws changed to reflect active membership shall terminate after 5 years.
1981-82 Membership now 625. Members living in Atascocita broke away and formed their own local club.
1982-83 Membership now 658. Newsletter prepared by Kingwood High School students.
1983-84 Membership now 758. $500 donated to Northeast Medical Center for a new Pediatric Wing.
1985-86 November Luncheon held at Airport Marriott Hotel. Program was "Bargain Shopping" Lunch and Look Activity Group took a trip to Houston to the El Mercado Shopping Center.
1986-87 Dues increased to $10 yearly. Monthly luncheons moved to Kingwood Country Club. Programs included a Style Show from Macy's and "My Friends and I" (a vocal group).
1987-88 Membership growing. We had an all-time high for a luncheon with 224. $750 donated to KEMSA for the new paramedic truck. "Member of the Year" tradition was established.
1988-89 The Club logo was used on reservation name tags and stationary. Membership Directory and Newsletter were established, as well as an introductory letter about Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood and given out to Home Finding Centers and Real Estate Agents, for new residents moving to Kingwood.
1989-90 The Club name was officially changed to Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood. The Club's logo was adopted. Officers helped raise consciousness of membership concerning storage of toxic waste in our area and prompted the Volunteer Group of "FIST" (Friends Insist Stop Toxic Waste). This was a long, hard battle that was eventually won.
1990-91 New newsletter format was established. All-time high of 67 activity groups. To avoid raising the cost of membership, newsletters and membership directory were underwritten by sponsors.
1991-92 Membership reached 784. Waiting lists for monthly luncheons were at an all-time high. Past Presidents of Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood were made lifetime members.
1992-93 Membership reached 837. Community service donation of $1500 was split among HAAM, Kingwood Heartbeat Bears, Career Resource Center, Kingwood College Vocational Nursing Program and 3-H Camp Scholarship fund.
1993-94 We celebrated our 20th anniversary. Motto for the year: "Bloom Where You are Planted". Membership continued to grow. Community Service contribution of $1000 was made.
1994-95 Proposed a bylaw change to audit Club's financial records. (It was completed in 1996). Community Service contribution was $1050.
1995-96 "Hat Box Auction" tradition began. Annual membership dues ($10) date due was changed to September. New members could join at any time. Community Service contributions totalled $2000.
1996-97 Luncheons featured style shows and good membership turnout. The Mardi Gras Faberge Egg Costumes came from New Orleans for a style show. The "Hat Box Auction" continued to raise money for Community Service projects.
1997-98 Poetry abounded as well as great speakers, but fashion shows continued to bring out the most people. The Club sponsored a gold team for the 3rd annual Key Klassic Charity Gold Tournament. Bylaws were changed to allow election of any member in good standing, eliminating the restriction of membership of less than five years.
1999-2000 Celebrated the silver anniversary of the Club. Bylaws corrected to include Standing Committee Chairpersons and Historian. "Hat Box Auction" and Community Service projects donated $4000 to the community.
2000-01 Programs included "A Millennium Beginning" and the unforgettable "Outlaws and Outlandish Women of Early Texas". Christmas Brunch was changed to a luncheon with 172 ladies attending. "Heart of Hi Neighbor" tradition began.
2001-02 First Hi Neighbor president to preside during the "Enduring Freedom" war waged on terrorism. New Member Coffees were moved to the Heritage Center in Town Center. 130 new members joined this year.
2002-03 Hi Neighbor Club received the gift of an original theme song. Community Service projects provided new shoes, backpacks and school supplies. Mentors were provided for elementary school children. Prom dresses and business interview clothes were provided to high school senior girls. Cell phones which call 911 only were provided for victims of abuse.
2003-04 Many new members joined through Hi Neighbor coffees. Community Service projects included "Dollars for Scholars", which provided summer school scholarships and "Cinderella for a Day", which provided prom dresses, accessories, make-up, hair styling, and a photograph for area teens.
2004-05 A new guest policy for luncheons was enacted whereby non-members could attend an unlimited number of luncheons for an additional fee. New Member Coffees brought in over 100 new members. Community Service projects included donation of school supplies, cell phones for victims of domestic abuse, and a food drive to replenish local food banks. Greeters were added this year to greet and seat members.
2005-06 Established a tradition of a summer lakeside retreat for all board members. Monthly luncheons were themed with decorations, food and lively entertainment. The January "Auction" complete with our own auctioneer, raised our Community Service donations to $4000.
2006-07 Joined Kingwood Chamber of Commerce for the first time. Created a brochure to distribute to local businesses, as well as "Hi Neighbor business cards" for Officers' use. "Sharing and Caring" themed year included contributions to Harkins House and Dress for Success. A new cover was designed for the Membership Directory. New Member Coffees ventured into various locations in the community and brought in 99 new members. Website was updated and included luncheon reservations by e-mail. First bus trip to Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo "Ladies Night Out" event. Contributions of $2400 given to various organizations.
2007-08 Many revisions of the Bylaws were adopted; this year was about implementing the changes. During the Planning Session in August the Governing Body adopted a Policy and Procedures manual. This is the beginning of a how-to-guide for future boards. We went on a bus trip to Brady's Landing for our November luncheon. In December we honored Anne Mattox, the co-founder of Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood.
2008-09 "Making our Community into a Neighborhood" was our theme as we introduced our members to each other by listing their village, and many shared their stories with us. We developed a Helping Hands group to support our ladies in times of crisis, but thankfully the list was never used. The newsletter was sent electronically for the first time, as "Going Green" was another of our projects. We donated funds to ur very own Heartbeat Bears, as well as Familty time.
2009-10 Our 35th anniversary was the year to step back and focus on the fact that Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood is first and foremost a social club. Our efforts were concentrated on the monthly luncheons and our activity groups. We highlighted a different group each month with an article in the newsletter explaining a little more about the activities of that group. Many activity chairs spoke at the monthly luncheons. They told us not only how their groups originated, but how they had evolved. It was a year of reflection and simplicity.
2010-11 Planning, planning, planning, then back to basics and simplifying the operation of our Club while providing quality luncheons and support for our activity groups were our goals. We welcomed New Members with gift bags at each luncheon. We supported Family Time Women's Shelter with over $4,500 in donations; Heartbeat Bears with numberous auctions/fund raisers and Kingwood Library with a new portable PA System. We implemented a Membership Renewal Contest and passed on a bank balance of over $7,800. Fashion, dueling pianos, Christmas Bazaar, Magic, Mardi Gras, HiN's 37th birthday, Elvis, Karaoke . . . We had FUN!
2011-12 The biggest change this year was moving our monthly luncheons to other restaurants in the Kingwood area. We had our September luncheon a the Kingwood Country Club and then (due to conflicts) we had our October luncheon at a new restaurant in Kingwood; Sorrento's. After that we found a new home at Raffa's Waterfront Grill on Lake Houston. We also sent out our bi-yearly Directory in October. We made donations to Family Time, The Mission, American Heart Association and MD Anderson. Busy year! Fun year!
2012-13 We dined on great food while conducting our meetings at Raffa's and enjoying he programs. Our Community Service collections yielded wonderful donations for Family Time, Cards for the Troops and Northeast Mission. We had a special donation event in December, where the Heartbeat Bears and our Hi Neighbor luncheon collections were joined to provide a major toy drive for Family Time. Then in march, we had a "Dress for Success" collection for Family Time-The Door. Additionally, we gave checks to Blue Star Moms, Family Time and Kingwood Library. It was a great, fun year.
2013-14 Wow! The September luncheon started off the year with 218 in attendance for the fashion show at Kingwood Country Club. Yes, this year we will be having our luncheons at both Raffa's and Kingwood Country Club. Hi Neighbor Club - Kingwood had a major celebration of our 40th birthday at the March luncheon and honored our past presidents. They are a tribute to the club's longevity and continued success!
2014-16 Our very first Pinktober luncheon was held to honor our own Survivors and raise awareness for Breast Cancer. New Member Coffees moved to the Kingwood Community Center. Bylaws were placed on our website for easy access by Board Members. We held our first Kentucky Derby Celebration at the May luncheon where we raised just over $1000 with our first ever Activity Group Auction/Raffle. Fourteen of our Activity Groups donated prizes that were "bid on" with raffle tickets. Proceeds were distributed to: Houston Area Blue Star Moms, Project Mammogram and our very own Heartbeat Bears!
2016-19 Our 43rd year as a club was an exciting time! With a new president and a new social director supported by some of the more experienced and steadfast members of the Board, we introduced a few changes to the monthly luncheon themes which were very well received. 2017 was a tougher year for Hi Neighbor, as the flooding from Hurricane Harvey devastated Kingwood and profoundly affected so many of our members. With both of our luncheon venues also destroyed, we had no place to come together. It was during this time that we realized the strength of our friendships as we supported and helped each other through the recovery. The club leadership came back strong and found a way to keep going for our members. We found a new luncheon venue at Walden on Lake Houston Golf & Country Club, and have been meeting there since. Because so many of our members were dealing with so much change, the 2017 Board graciously decided to extend their positions for another term. For 2018, the Board already implemented major changes: the first, amending the bylaws to allow all committee members who attend the Board meetings to vote; and second, a New Member Ambassador program to make new members feel even more welcome.
Roll Call of Past Presidents
1974 Founders - Anne Mattox and Sandi Jung
1974 President - Sue Mayes
1975 President - Nancy Burns
1976 President - Karen Cassidy
1977 President - Mary Kay Sacken
1977-78 President - Karen Soneon
1978-79 President - Ginny Tourek
1979-80 President - Halene Crossman
1980-81 President - Donna Miller
1981-82 President - Carol Irvin
1982-83 President - Marianne Lincoln
1983-84 President - Leah M. Barnes
1984-85 President - Deanie Berry (Elected) Barbara Gere - Vice President completed term as President.
1985-86 President - Barbara Gere
1986-87 President - Jo Helen McGee
1987-88 President - Juanita Goss
1988-89 President - Sue Clark (Elected) Loretta Core - Vice President completed term as President.
1989-90 President - Pat Potempa
1990-91 President - Bobbie Owens Sanchez
1991-92 President - Beth Tobias
1992-93 President - Connie Chandler
1993-94 President - Paulette Schliep
1994-95 President - Janine Spiller
1995-96 President - Sandy Economy
1996-97 President - Frances Bean
1997-98 President - Sally Braunstein
1998-99 President - Marsha Eggleston (Elected) Cheryl Burnett -Appointed by the Executive Board to complete term as President.
1999-00 President - Cheryl Burnett
2000-01 President - Ellen Bitner
2001-02 President - Linda Herndon
2002-03 President - Sheryl Abbott (Elected) Leanne Luciano Elected President by the Governing Body and completed term as President.
2003-04 President - Leanne Luciano
2004-05 President - Carolyn Armstrong
2005-06 President - Mary McClellan
2006-07 President - Billie Breland-Smith
2007-08 President - Patricia Burt
2008-09 President - Cherryl Young
2009-10 President - Mary Ann Lapeze
2010-11 President - Vicky Williams
2011-12 President - Barbara Lagucki
2012-14 President - Lee Ann Sprick
2014-16 President - Debbie Campbell
2016-20 President - Sherran Domescik