May 2018 Edition
“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf
In Memoriam of Mark Vinson III
Vietnam Veteran/1st Graduate of Kashmere HS
Sugar Land, TX
March 30, 1939 - April 24, 2018
On March 30th 1939, Mark was born to Nathaniel and Secana Vinson in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was the second of four children and was raised in the fourth ward of Houston, Texas. He graduated from Kashmere Gardens High School. In 1959, he joined the U.S. Army as an enlisted member and met his future wife, Helen Henley. In 1960, they married and later welcomed twin daughters, Valerie and Vickie. In 1966, Mark went to Officer Candidates’ School (OCS) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. Later that year, he was blessed with another daughter, Tracy.
Mark is a Vietnam Veteran who was promoted several times throughout his military career and eventually obtained the rank of Major. During this time, he completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Hampton Institute (University) in 1972, a Master of Business Administration degree and a Master of Science in Administration degree at George Washington University in 1978, and a Bachelor of Arts degree at Saint Leo College in 1979. He retired from the United States Army in 1980 after proudly serving for 21 years. That same year, Mark moved his family to Houston, Texas, where he attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. After graduating with his Juris Doctor in 1983, he went on to pass the Texas State Bar and was hired at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office that same year. He was promoted several times and eventually obtained the position of Chief Prosecutor. While at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Mark mentored and left a positive influence on numerous attorneys. In 2005, he made history by becoming the first African American to retire from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. He continued to practice law as a Criminal Defense Attorney and was also an Adjunct Professor at Texas Southern University. He was an active member of Windsor Village United Methodist Church and was on the board of Culture Awareness Ministry; an avid golfer and a member of the Greek fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Mark was also a devoted Dallas Cowboys fan.
Mark leaves behind his loving wife of 58 years: Helen A. Vinson, his three daughters: Valerie, Vickie and Tracy, his grandchildren: Kalen, Erica, and Mark IV, his son-in-law: Bruce Watson, his sister: Ladybyrd Johnson (James), his brother: Barney and a host of nieces and nephews and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents and older sister, Bobbie Bee Rhodes.
In The News & Updates
Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock and Prairie View A&M Student Elvin Quioto educated the public on how environment may contribute to the introduction of minorities into the justice system. Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock explained how discretion can be used by schools and officers to prevent youth from entering into the justice system for typical student behavior.
Best High School U.S. News Silver Designation for SECHS
South Early College High School is ranked #2515 in the National Rankings and earned a silver medal. Schools are ranked based on their performance on state-required tests and how well they prepare students for college. Read more about how we rank the Best High Schools. All rankings:
[Don't forget to check out their STEM inspired Diva Camp for Middle School Girls in the Summer Camp section below!]
MBK Executive Leadership Meets at City Hall
"Other factors that are pressing that are having to do with young men and young women's lives...we are having to deal with it all right now. Quite frankly on top of these children's lives, adults are not making it easy for them either. Having said that.. we can't throw up our hands and go home. We have to try to find how to change one person at a time, one family at a time, one student at a time. You know sometimes we see an ocean and if we tried to utilize our limited resources to fix every element in the ocean, then nothing will change because the ocean is so big. So what I've had to say to myself. Not try to address all of the ocean, but I'm going to concentrate and that's what we've done with Complete Communities. Instead of trying to fix every neighborhood to the same degree of emphasis and as painful as it is for groups and communities that is not the 5. We're not ignoring you. But if we are going to be successful, measurable, identifiable successes [then] we are going to concentrate our resources in these communities right now. We will say to them hopefully you will see what we are doing with these 5 and when we get to you we will come with the same degree of support and intensity and hopefully achieve the same great outcomes."
-Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner
Building a Community of Practice
2018 Bike Rodeo Rounded Up Success
Kings Bike and Hike Community (KBHC) in partner with Smith Academy hosted annual Bike Rodeo, held on Saturday, May 19. Approximately 100 children participated in the no-cost event. The event’s purpose is to teach children bike safety skills to improve their ability to ride independently in the community. While encouraging a healthy lifestyle through exercise and good nutrition, it also brings families and staff together for a fun-filled day.
There were a variety of activities and stations including bicycle races and obstacle courses; a video on bicycle safety; a bicycle maintenance area to inspect and fix cycles manned by iCycle bike shop; free healthy snacks and drinks courtesy of HEB, McDonalds and Walgreens; and literature handouts.
Each child, thanks to the generosity of Texas Children’s Hospital, received a just-right-fitted helmet to take home as an encouragement and safety measure for future bicycle adventures.
Twenty-five gently used bicycles were donated to assist with children that might attend as spectators, but did not bring bicycles.
Upon completion of the event a drawing was held, and four new bikes were given to students that had a winning ticket. The bikes were donated by McDonald’s owner Denise Beckham and Smith Academy. There were also other prizes and gift given donated by Metro and MBK Houston.
Parent’s involvement was vital to the success of the event. They helped with the setup, operated courses, and encouraged the children's participation.
One parent described the experience as “absolutely awesome”.
Fleming Middle School Teacher Appreciation
Friday, May 11, 2018, the HISD Wrap Around Resource Specialist, Thaddeus Ledet coordinated to have food provided to the campus of Fleming Middle School for “Teacher Appreciation”.
"The staff indulged and enjoyed a true staple of HOUSTON, TEXAS! BBQ at its finest!!!"
-Celestina Grande, Harris County Protective Services Supervisor MBK Project
Moonbeam Fruit Tree Planting
- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was in attendance and helped the plant some fruit trees. (Left photo)
- Paul Johnson and Joe Icet representing HHD with their tools. (Middle Photo)
- Adorable child digging with a shovel twice his size (Right Photo)
Benbrook PTO Leadership Training
MBK Houston recently conducted a leadership training for the PTO group in the Benbrook to develop a strategic plan for the following school year focusing on parental engagement. The PTO group at Benbrook Elementary of about 12 parents participated in a 2 day, 2-and-a-half-hour class identifying short and long-term goals, recruitment strategies, project planning, decision making, collaborations, and implementation. The parents will further expand on their projects to have it reviewed again prior to starting the new school year with MBK Houston.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Postive Youth Development
Denver Harbor Youth Activity Center
Think, Act, Grow (TAG) Supports Adolescent Health
There are 42 million adolescents in the United States. That’s 42 million opportunities to support good health and positive development. Everyone can play a part, including you! The HHS Office of Adolescent Health launched its national call to action to promote adolescent health, Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow® (TAG), in 2014 and has worked with HHD’s Office of Adolescent Health and other stakeholders across the U.S. to raise awareness and spur action, including highlighting Houston’s Teen Community Health Workers program in this TAG in Action. Learn more about how we can all promote adolescent health in the updated TAG Playbook. We’re pleased to support TAG and hope you will take a minute to learn more about this important effort.
Systems of Care (SOC): Ice Cream Social
Photos Courtesy: Roderick Peoples, SOC Senor Counselor
MBK Houston Milestone Snapshots
Houston Basics: Read & Discuss
Parenting is best when you get back to the basics. Please share these videos with someone you know who has children or works with children. Let's work together to turn unintentional micro-aggression to micro-impressions!
To view more Houston Basic videos click here.
HYPE FREEDOM School Summer Literacy Program Registration is Open
- Improve Skills and Confidence
- Parent & Family Involvement
- Develop a Love of Reading
- Eliminate Summer Learning Loss
- Youth Leadership Development
- Social Action
HYPE Summer Literacy Program at K Smith
Monday, June 18th, 8:30am to Friday, July 27th, 3pm
4802 Chrystell Lane
HYPE Summer Literacy Program at Bruce
Monday, June 18th, 8:30am to Friday, July 27th, 3pm
510 Jensen Drive
The McDonald's Pop Up
Circle of Men: Francisco (aka Frank) Garcia Appreciation Letter
"I wanted to express my gratitude for your partnership and extend an inspiring moment from one of our most challenging students. For the sake of confidentiality, I will refer to the student as Student A. Student A has been a part of many conflicts, fights, confrontations, and struggles academically, as well. Unfortunately, due to a fight I encountered him in our In School Suspension program. As he came in he was polite and calm, which is not his usual demeanor. By mid-day he respectfully asked permission to attend the MBK group led by Mr. Garcia. He explained to me that he knew why he was in trouble and understood his consequences but would do anything to not miss his MBK session. I asked him if it was helpful for him and he responded, “Yes, Miss, a whole lot.” We normally don’t excuse students from ISS but we made an exception.
The mere fact that a student who is actually serving their consequence, yet has a changed mindset to want to do better and be around better is impressive. Mr. Garcia has had a profound impact on these male students and Student A is just one of them, however many times that one creates a domino effect.
On that note, we appreciate Mr. Garcia and MBK and hope to continue forward with this partnership and other forms of outreach at Clifton Middle School."
-Tamika Bartley, M.Ed
HISD English Language Arts Instructional Coach & Magnet Coordinator
Circle of Men: Clifton Museum Field Trip
Ambassador of Compassion Honor Event
The Ambassadors of Compassion (AOC) Honor’s event took place on May 24, 2018 in the Learning Commons/Library at Wheatley High School from 2-4pm. The Honors Event has a rich history of celebrating the students’ accomplishments in completing the 15 week AOC program that has equipped them the heuristics to overcome some of life’s more difficult challenges through support group coaching and service related projects. Among the Wheatley students and volunteer coaches in attendance was Retired NFL Football player Spencer Tillman, AOC Regional Development Director Dave Gamache, Houston Health Department Director Stephen Williams, Houston Health Foundation Chairman William Burge, Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock and Wheatley High School Principal Mr. Williams who presented medals to the students. Volunteer coaches were able to give AOC shirts to their students and share stories that highlighted the group and service projects. We would like to thank all the coaches for dedicating your time and working for 15 weeks to our students!
- Dr. Cummings and Mr. Cummings
- Francisco Garcia and Noel Pinnock
- Spencer Tillman and Tia Johnson
- Jericho Leftwich and Domini Bryant
- Jeffery Floyd and Christine Barron
Congrats to Our New Coog Robert Yanez!
YABC Leadership Training
The Y-ABC project has now completed six focus groups in the Gulfton communities. This is associated with the youth capacity building piece for the complete community’s initiative. Our final focus group will take place and we will continue our recruitment for the leadership training to start in the summer.
The Y-ABC project is currently identifying groups and individuals that would like to participate in our series of focus groups that will be held in Acres Home.
If you know anyone who is between 18-30 and would like to attend our leadership training in Acres Home or Gulfton please contact Frank Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org
L.E.G.A.C.I. Student Success Program Recognition
o MBK Houston received an Recognition and Service in supporting student success at the University of Houston-Downtown in support of the vision of the Men of L.E.G.A.C.I Student Success Program.
o “Your efforts in encouraging students, promoting academic achievement, mentoring and career development are proven to b the necessary keys needed to unlock the door leading to a successful pathway for male students of color.”
Hire Houston Youth Summer Jobs
Workforce Solutions Needs You
National Gun Violence Awareness Day: "Wear Orange Day"
Why orange? It's the color that hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from gunfire.
"Since June 2, 2015, which would have been her [Hadiya's] 18th birthday, wearing orange has become a way of honoring her and the people who have lost their lives to gun violence. This is not an anti-gun or pro-gun argument. It's a safety issue. In our country, we have a right to bear arms. But we also have a responsibility to bear arms safely."
-Julianne Moore, Academy Award-winning Actress and Gun Safety Advocate
Source: People Magazine