'Secret Millionaire' features 3 Houston non-profits

April 3, 2011 8:46:00 PM PDT
It's going to be an exciting weekend for three Houston non-profit groups. This Sunday night, those charities will be featured in a big way. When ABC's new hit show Secret Millionaire came to town, it surprised everyone -- even the charity volunteers who "star" in the show.

Every day, people perform their labors. For the people in this story, their jobs are labors of love.

For a dozen years in southwest Houston, the Sean Ashley House has quietly helped people with disabilities, with a focus on autism. There are enrichment activities for adults, children and several small group homes as well.

Last May, out of the blue, the organization's director, Kelly Benson, received a call from the producer of what they called a small documentary.

"About volunteering because the economy is so bad, a lot of people can't give now and so they were doing a documentary that it's just as important to volunteer," Benson said.

That small documentary was instead ABC's new hit show 'Secret Millionaire,' where rich philanthropists go undercover to see which small charities need their money most.

This Sunday night's episode features Sean Ashley House, plus two more small Houston non-profits.

Lazarus House in Midtown was also on the production list. It's a physical therapy and wellness center. Clients have conditions ranging from chronic pain and muscle loss to autoimmune diseases.

Some have progressed from wheel chairs to walking with the therapy there. Clients are referred through doctors or friends and most of the patients have limited resources.

"They don't have anything residual, anything left over to hire a personal trainer that can help them get to the place they need to be and that's why Lazarus House came around," Danielle Sampsey with Lazarus House said.

Like their patients, the staff, too, operates on thin resources, sometimes foregoing pay to keep the program afloat.

It's a similar story in east Houston for another charity visited by the Secret Millionaire couple -- No More Victims, created for children whose parents are in prison. It's founder is a former probation officer.

"To prevent more people being hurt and victimized, you're gonna have to take care of the child who's wounded and angry, who is going to make more victims," said Marilyn Gambrel with No More Victims.

They're three Houston groups dependent on others to help change lives. On Sunday, we'll see how those lives are changed in a way they never expected.

Secret Millionaire airs at 7pm every Sunday on ABC 13.


Load Comments