One thing we’ve learned throughout these last two years is that we really don’t know what to expect. We do know that no matter what comes up, SHAPE staff, volunteers, and supporters, will rally to provide the best disaster response possible. As we continue to monitor severe weather, which may threaten the Houston area, we have been able to make some weatherization repairs on our family center building. The installation of new commercial gutters cost $8,000, and has already protected our building from taking in water during extensive rain events.
Going through the process of finding a reliable contractor was a challenge. Houston has faced so many closely spaced disasters that contractors are already busy with numerous projects. As the saying goes, “with necessity comes invention," so our recent challenges have given us the opportunity to begin brainstorming on a new program for construction training to assist with disaster relief.
We believe such a program will provide the community with more immediate assistance during times of distress, while also addressing economic development, and alleviating some of the stress that community members feel when searching for a trustworthy contractor. We look forward to keeping you updated as we begin to build out this program.
Aug 2, 2021
Impressive Gains Summer 2021
By Shondra Muhammad - Deputy Executive Director
Now that we are completing the last two weeks of our Summer Youth Enrichment Program, we are looking forward to the upcoming school year for our After School Enrichment Program. The summer program yielded exciting results with a higher than expected attendance. We were able to enroll 42 children, and actually had a waiting list. Last semester, we adjusted the age limits from 5-15 to ages 5-13, and expect to re-implement programming for the older children in the fall.
With the help of our supporters, we were able to add 2 full-time, temporary summer staffers, and hope to keep either one or both as permanent staff. The summer program was able to offer new classes such as Swahili, Intro to Cryptocurrency, Journalism and Media, and Literacy through Photography.
As we continue to work on sustainability for our youth programs, the parents have made a phenomenal effort in their contributions. Parents are consistently participating in the mandatory parent meetings every other week. And, the number of parents contributing toward the parent payment of the program tuition has increased from about 20% support to now having 90% of the parents making a full or partial payment.
May 19, 2021
No Lights, No Water, Time for Action
By SHONDRA MUHAMMAD - Deputy Executive Director
Just as we were beginning to make some progress through uncertainty that we all faced during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Texas was hit with an historic level of destruction from the 2021 winter storms. SHAPE was very fortunate to maintain electricity and water, which provided us with another opportunity to serve the community. Prior to the storm, we were able to hire two new contractors and transfer two of our existing contractors into a full-time and part-time staff positions, which brings our employees up to a total of ten.
The new additions were greatly needed as we worked to distribute emergency aid in response to the winter storms. As our city faced massive power outages and loss of water, SHAPE was able to serve as a temporary warming center, allowing a few elders to stay in the center overnight while their homes were without power. During the day, we were also able to provide a space for people to charge their phones, contact loved ones, eat hot meals, and fill their empty receptacles with water for various uses.
Along with that, within days of this disaster, we were able to distribute over 800 cases of drinking water. With help from our supporters, we were also able to provide more than $25,000 in direct financial assistance to people who suffered damages or hardship due to the storm. We are so grateful for all of your support, and we are now bracing ourselves for the upcoming hurricane season.