Jul 29, 2019

Summer Time Fun

Thanks to your support, our youth have been enjoying an exciting summer!  We have been managing approximately 50 students each week along with maintaining biweekly parent meetings. 

We have added a free Saturday dance class in coordination with Flo-Motion Houston.  The dance association is teaching the Houston Two-Step to children ages 11-17.

In addition, the children are learning healthy eating habits and food preparation as they assist the Executive Director in cooking and serving lunch to approximately 35 community elders.

The children received a special visit from some exotic animals as they prepared for their field trip to see the Lion King movie.  The interactive event included a petting zoo, face painting, balloon arts, and African Drum lessons.

This period also kicked off our critical "Cease Fire" initiative.  We've hosted three community meetings, including a press conference and call-to-action, addressing the astounding number of tragic child deaths in the Houston area.  Following the press conference, we hosted a youth services provider meeting in which 50 organizations signed on to The Village Collaborative.  While the collaborative is still a work in progress, we have all agreed to work together, increase communication, and support each other in our efforts to keep children safe.  The next meeting has already been scheduled and will be a working session. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.

May 9, 2019

Planning & Meeting

Tour of the center
Tour of the center

We are happy to say that we finally have our story prompts available on the Memria platform, which will help us continue the work of gathering essential feedback from the community and our stakeholders.  The link will be included a little further down because we would also like to hear from you.

During this time, we have been building partnerships and having conversations with the community.  One of our challenges has been technical, so we are very excited that Calpine is donating some expert IT assistance.  Their volunteer team will help us work more efficiently by updating our hardware, software, and network.  Over the last few months, we’ve had several network failures which disrupted our phones and computers for multiple days.  Calpine’s assistance will help further our ability to collect and share the stories that have helped shape our community for the last 50 years.

While we are updating our IT network, we are also growing our community network.  We have developed a new partnership with one of the local community civic associations and have been hosting monthly meeting at our Nia Becnel Family Center.  Houston is a growing city, and new people are continuously moving into the community.  Our new partnerships help us keep up with the changing needs of all our stakeholders.

In April, we hosted a Community Commitment meeting where we received thoughtful and informative feedback.  We also received the commitment of about 30 community stakeholders, including residents and business owners, who want their voices… and actions to impact the future of SHAPE.

We received a special surprise in March, when SHAPE was chosen as the event space for the album and movie release of recording artist, Solange. She visited the center and hosted a forum, which has brought more attention to our historic center and work.

As we continue to grow and prepare for the future, we would love to hear from you.  Below, you will find the link to our feedback project, We SHAPE History: Let Your Voice SHAPE the Future.  And, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you so much for your continued support!


May 3, 2019

Dare To Be Different

Program Director, SHAPE Youth Programs
Program Director, SHAPE Youth Programs

We are happy to report that our After School Enrichment Program attendance is holding steady at approximately 30 students.  One of the components that we count as a major success is the increase in parent participation.  Although we haven't done an official study, we believe the increased parent involvement directly correlates to the decrease in behavioral issues. 

For example, during one of the parent-led meetings, children learned that they hear an average of 200 negative things each day.  With the help of our Program Director, the children have committed to the Dare To Be Different program; and are actively combatting the negative by helping expose each other to 600 positive things each day!

We have also faced some challenges during this time.  A number of children from one area school are experiencing a decline in their grades.  SHAPE will take an active role in helping to identify and correct the issue.  Another area of concern is program tuition.  As part of our sustainability plan, SHAPE wants each family to invest in the program.  Children are not turned away for inability to pay, but as we plan for the next 50 years, we hope to inspire parents to invest in future programming.

Your contributions help the children continue classes in self-defense, yoga, and life-skills, along with weekly field trips for art classes with The Jung Center Houston and the Community Artists' Collective. 

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