The Blueprint

May 2018 Edition

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“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Photo Courtesy: Paul Johnson

Why wait for a challenge to come at you by surprise when you can grab these 7 challenges by the horns to make for a better life?

Click on the photo on the left to see what challenges await you.

In Memoriam of Mark Vinson III

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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 216th within Texas. Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement® course work and exams. The AP® participation rate at South Early College High School is 81 percent. The student body makeup is 42 percent male and 58 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 100 percent. South Early College High School is 1 of 52 high schools in the Houston ISD.

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

Our MBK Houston Executive Leadership Meeting took place on Monday May 21, 2018 at City Hall. We would like to thank Mayor Turner for his presence and leaving us with inspiring words to work by.

"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

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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

On Friday, May 25, 2018 the Unitarian Fellowship of Houston and The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) brought the community and its members together to bring the beauty and bounty of fruit trees in Acres Home by demonstrating fruit tree planting workshops by FTPF certified arborists.

  • 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

Our BYAH Team decided to join this year's show on May 9 to represent South Korea and The Philippines. Dr. AJ Rosario took the lead and invited special guests to perform a traditional Filipino Dance and cuisine from Jollibee. Christine Barron was able to speak on why to visit South Korea and Tia Johnson was kind enough to model in traditional Korean clothing (hanbok) while serving up kimchi with seaweed and purple rice. Looking forward to next year's event!

Postive Youth Development

Comprehensive Wellness Program

The Comprehensive Wellness Program partnered with Memorial Hermann School-based as well as partnering clinics to administer comprehensive wellness exams to 71 Wheatley H.S. students.

Denver Harbor Youth Activity Center

The Denver Harbor Youth Activity Center welcomes 12 new members to Perfect TEAMPLAY Chess Club. Members 12-year old Mylon Colquitt, 9-year old Marcuz Lang, 9-year old Garion Grandberry, and 13-year old Michael Chapa placed at the Chess Tournament hosted by Lanier Middle School. All took home a trophy, with Mylon taking home 1st Place. The tournament had over 200 players ages 6-14 register for the event.

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.

Teen Community Health Workers

Teen Community Health Workers from Wheatley High School and Yes Prep 5th Ward gave a presentation on HIV/STI awareness and prevention to their peers at Yes Prep 5th Ward on May 3rd.

Systems of Care (SOC): Ice Cream Social

MBK Houston and 5th Ward Enrichment held and ice cream social for graduating 5th graders. A student received new shoes from Kappa Alpha Psi for graduation and other students were donated ties and learned how to dress for success. The ice cream social focused on success and achievement!

Photos Courtesy: Roderick Peoples, SOC Senor Counselor

MBK Houston Milestone Snapshots

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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.
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HYPE FREEDOM School Summer Literacy Program Registration is Open

HYPE Freedom School powered by MBK Houston will be hosted at two campus locations to bring a fun and exciting summer literary program which helps eliminate summer learning loss. Summer registration is now open for K-8th Graders and scholars can apply today and look forward to:

  • 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

Houston, TX

HYPE Summer Literacy Program at Bruce

Monday, June 18th, 8:30am to Friday, July 27th, 3pm

510 Jensen Drive

Houston, TX

The McDonald's Pop Up

On May 4, 2018 the first 600 guests who donated a new or gently used children's book and/or participated in the Houston Public Library's story-time received a free McDonald's Meal. All donated books will be used to support the Groomed for Literacy program. Thank you to those who stopped by and helped us to help the future generations of tomorrow by donating books in support of literacy.
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Circle of Men: Francisco (aka Frank) Garcia Appreciation Letter

Francisco Garcia is a Community Involvement Coordinator with the Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health and works on many projects to improve the lives of our youth. His hard worked did not go unrecognized as he helped to lead the Circle of Men group at Clifton Middle School and moved the hearts of his participants.

"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

MBK Houston Circle of Men youth from Clifton Middle school went on a fieldtrip to celebrate their participation and commitment to the program. These young men participated in a weekly conversations on various topics and life skill lessons to further expand their self knowledge and inner talents. At the start of September of 2018, 13 students were identified and group in the Circle of Men Clifton program. These young men really took the time to self reflect, identify, and worked towards their self development. The field trip was planned by them to visit the Art Museum, Health Museum, and the Museum of Natural Science. We also stopped at Barnaby's to eat lunch and also celebrate Teacher appreciation week for our Clifton School counselor Mrs. Guel.

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
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Congrats to Our New Coog Robert Yanez!

Robert Yanez is our Denver Harbor Youth Hub Site Coordinator and has been working with our MBK Houston youth for over a year! He has been steady in pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration at the University of Houston and was able to walk with graduating class Spring 2018. Team BYAH is proud of you and your accomplishments and know that other students will look up to you and watch you along your journey to your dream career. Go Coogs!
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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

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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.”

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Hire Houston Youth Summer Jobs

The Hire Houston Youth Summer Jobs Interviewing Event was a major success! There were over 1500 students who applied for summer jobs within our Houston departments and other partners. A second interview session was held for college students who could not attend the first session. Placement for all selected students are underway and we are very excited to bring everyone on board for Summer 2018 with about 100 positions within the Houston Health Health Department alone! Thank you to everyone who dedicated their Saturday and volunteered to interview our opportunity youth.

Workforce Solutions Needs You

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National Gun Violence Awareness Day: "Wear Orange Day"

Wear Orange started in 2015, two years after 15-year-old high school honor student and drum majorette Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed on January 29, 2013, in Chicago - just one week after she performed with her high school marching band at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. An accidental casualty of gang violence, Pendleton was shot in a South Side park where she and friends had taken shelter from the rain. Refusing to stay silent about her death, and the gun deaths of so many others, Pendleton's friends decided to wear orange to commemorate her life and raise awareness.

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

Join us this Saturday and Wear Orange!

The Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health, My Brother’s Keeper Houston Movement, have partnered with Mom Demands Action for the “Wear Orange Day” (WOD). My Brother’s Keeper Houston assisted Mom Demands Actions to obtain gun-locks to distribute to parents for gun safety to protect children. This is a FREE community and family-friendly event on National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Families will enjoy fun activities, learn about gun safety, honor the victims of gun violence and celebrate youngsters who are driving new energy in the gun-sense movement.

WEAR ORANGE DAY Hosted by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense

Saturday, June 2nd, 9am-1pm

4900 Providence Street

Houston, TX

Other Upcoming Events

Safety Series in the Park: Teen Dating Violence

Tuesday, June 12th, 6-7pm

4400 Bellaire Boulevard

Bellaire, TX

Crime Stoppers of Houston presents an event

RSVP with

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School Safety Summit

Thursday, June 14th, 8am-4pm

7200 Northwest Freeway

Houston, TX

Crime Stoppers is hosting “School Safety Summit” on June 14th 2018 from 8:00AM-4:00PM at Region 4. This summit is open to school-based law enforcement, school admins, school staff, and community partners with an interest in school safety. Some of the topics of discussion will be mental health, human trafficking, internet crimes, and police-student interactions. If you are interested in attending please register using the link below:

Summer Camp Fun

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The Houston Health Department's Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health is here to serve youth, adolescents, parents, communities, and businesses in the greater Houston area.
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MBK Houston has been impacting more than 17,000 youth since 2015