The Blueprint

July 2018 Edition

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"If we can dream it....We can do it!"

-Mayor Sylvester Turner

Asa Singleton Catches Up with Mayor Sylvestor Turner and Talks About Life, Violence, and Solutions

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On July 26, 2018, Asa Singleton, a current participate of the ReDirect Program and the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council, met with Mayor Turner at his office and was accompanied by Administration Manager Karlton Harris and Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock to discuss his current progress in the program and his perspective on the community. Asa Singleton is now working to become the Youth Voice for the Community Safety Education Act pilot program in an effort to minimize community tension and further promote the safety of both civilians and law enforcement on a continual basis.

In The News & Updates

Houston Will Have One Official MLK Day Parade in 2019

Houston Public Media - Mayor Turner Says Houston Will Have One, Official MLK Day Parade In 2019

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houston will partner with the Black Heritage Society, which organized the nation’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade 40 years ago. The MLK Parade Foundation has produced a competing event for the past two decades.

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Our Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health and MBK Houston will be working with our Houston Health Department and Houston Health Foundation and co-chair a planning team to organize festivities for our youth at the MLK Parade which is planned to take place in January 2019. Look out for more updates to come!

MBK Alliance Town Hall Recap
You can watch the video above in case you missed the live webinar hosted by the My Brother's Keeper Alliance. MBK Alliance is working to bring the right people, resources, and solutions to this challenge.

MBK Alliance will play three key roles to achieve impact:
  1. Accelerate Impact in Communities
  2. Mobilize Citizens and Institutions
  3. Promote What Works

-->Sign up for MBKA updates here

Take the MBKA Town Hall Survey

MBKA plans to host additional Town Hall meetings and want to hear feedback from you on topics you'd like us to cover and individuals you'd like to hear from. To help guide our future Town Halls, please complete this 3-minute survey.

All Children Matters Movement

This presentation was shown at the NAACP Convention on Sunday July 15, 2018 in San Antonio. All Children Matter Movement plans to become a national movement regarding gun violence. Please see the video that was created below:

Equity Intelligence Platform

Bloomberg Associates secured a $30,000 planning grant sponsored by BrightHive Company to support the implementation of the Equity Intelligence Platform (EIP) platform. You can view the one pager below:

Houston Chron: See early HISD test scores from 10 targeted schools

"For much of the year, Houston ISD's 10 longest-struggling schools have been in the spotlight, with their success or failure determining whether the Texas Education Agency closes campuses or replaces HISD's school board.

So will they make the grade this year? And will HISD avoid penalties?

It still is too early to tell, but preliminary results suggest several of the 10 schools will emerge from "improvement required" status this year."

-Jacob Carpenter, Houston Chronicle

--> Read the full article here

Cities United Roadmap Academy Fellowship

We have been selected by the Houston city lead and community to represent our city in this inaugural cohort of young leaders from across the country! As a participant, we will engage and interact with our mayor and city lead, as well as community and faith based organizations, and national experts to deepen youth-adult partnerships in our city.

Throughout the Fellowship, we will gain insights regarding Cities United strategies to make sure every community is safe, healthy and hopeful, personal leadership, policy and legislative processes, and capacity building.

The Roadmap Academy Fellowship seeks to build the pipeline of leaders committed to making sure all children grow up in safe, healthy and hopeful communities, while reducing the homicide and shooting rates of African American men and boys.

Building a Community of Practice

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July is Minority Mental Health Month

Why are the topics of mental health and mental illness not regularly talked about in diverse groups of people, such as people of color, LGBT+ individuals, and refugee and immigrant communities? Could it be that mental illness doesn’t occur in these communities and among its varied people?

Of course not. Mental illness can occur in all people and across all communities.

Through our 2017 Minority Mental Health Month campaign, #NotACharacterFlaw, we asked the question: How does your community talk about mental health or mental illness?

The answer most people came to, was clear – we don’t talk about these issues.

However, we believe and know that people do talk about these issues, but they express themselves differently. The phrases and expressions that people use to talk about these issues oftentimes never touch on terms like “mental health” or “mental illness.”

The fact is - the way in which individuals talk or don’t talk about mental health and mental illness is influenced directly by the society and culture that a person is a part of. The way we talk about these issues is a learned behavior.

That’s why, this year, we are focusing on highlighting and validating the voices and experiences of individuals from across a range of communities through our #MyStoryMyWay campaign.

We want to listen and learn from you as you help to shed light on the way diverse communities (i.e. people of color, LGBT+, refugee and immigrant communities) perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness.

Click here to learn more about how you can get involved with #MyStoryMyWay!

African American Police Officers League (AAPOL) Grand Opening Celebration

On July 17, 2018, The African American Police Officers League (AAPOL) celebrated the 2018 High School Scholarship Recipients and the BIG move back the Palms Center in the heart of our community. MBK Houston is proud to support the efforts of the AAPOL and their ability to create scholarship opportunities for our youth.

Featured: Karlton Harris (COH and Administration Manager), Eric Carr (HPD and President of AAPOL), Melvin Hughes (COH and President of the HOPE), and Noel Pinnock (COH and Bureau Chief)

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The Power of Social Connection

We are highlighting the Making Connections partnership in San Diego. As you know, UWEAST and its partners are doing incredible work to increase social connection and improve health for young immigrant men in their community.

At a time when diseases of despair like suicide and substance misuse are on the rise, community-led efforts at Making Connections sites across the country, including the UWEAST Making Connections Hub in City Heights, San Diego, show how we can turn the tide.

Avenue 360 Health & Wellness Grand Opening of Griggs Clinic

On July 23, 2018 Avenue 360 Health and Wellness had a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and opened a new home in the Third Ward/Sunnyside area. Special guests included Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson and other special guests. Over the years, Avenue 360 has been providing access to quality medical, behavior health, dental, housing and support services to promote healthy people and communities. They have become the home for medical care and other services to the Heights, Memorial City, Spring Cypress, and Montrose communities. Now they have expanded to the 3rd Ward/Sunnyside communities to make health care more equitable and accessible.

Postive Youth Development

Hire Houston Youth Intern Spotlight: Kristie Mejia

"I did NOT want an intern because I was resistant to: having an additional team member, training, sleeping, dress code violations, on the phone, slow to adapt, 3 hour lunch breaks. I just didn't want to deal with a new person, especially after getting a 'bad' one the last time.

Kristie was awesome!!!! Since she has been here, she has impressed us a great deal.

  • She dressed and behaved professionally.
  • She smiled and interacted with everyone.
  • She checked the mail as a regular routine, and delivered it. We gave her a key and she owned the duty.
  • She mailed packets interoffice, and delivered confidential correspondence and other items to ADs and business management.
  • She never complained.
  • She left her personal problems at the door.
  • She attended our budget academy which included SAP interactive learning, something the pro's don't get, and she understood all of it. To the point where she asked questions that the pro's never ask. She gets it.
  • She completed a department roster for general fund and special fund.
  • She learned how to create a budget for grants, and reviewed the budget for the Crisis grant for calculation errors ($6m).

I can go on and on, and so can my team.

I would love to host her or someone like her next year."

-Shameka Marshall

Hire Houston Youth Males Open Dialogue

The Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing/Prevention Institute program hosted an open dialogue with the male HHD summer interns on Tuesday. The open dialogue focused on teen dating violence from a male gendered lens, The Man Box, and masculinity. The dialogue lasted for four hours and was filmed to develop several short narratives. Following the dialogue, many of the interns indicated that they found the dialogue beneficial and appreciative that they had a safe space to engage in conversation.

MBK Houston Milestone Snapshots

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Houston Basics: Explore through Movement and Play

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 City-wide Celebration

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On July 19, 2018, HYPE Freedom School's Citywide Celebration took place at the 3rd Ward Multi-Service Center and brought together all five HYPE locations:

  • K. Smith Elementary School (powered by My Brother’s Keeper)
  • Bruce Elementary School (powered by My Brother’s Keeper)
  • Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church
  • Cullen Missionary Baptist Church
  • Blueridge Methodist Church

Two themes (Stop the Violence Read to Lead and Every Vote Counts) were covered during the curriculum and celebration to help our children understand the importance of using their voice and asserting positive values when it comes to voting and stopping the violence in the community.

HYPE Freedom School Finales at K Smith and Bruce Elementary

MBK/HFS serviced over 100 scholars this summer from grade levels including K-8th grade. These locations include Bruce Elementary and K.Smith Elementary both in the MBK feeder pattern. The scholars showcased mini excerpts from what they learned this summer at the HFS finales on July 24 for Bruce Elementary at the 5th ward MSC and July 25 at K. Smith ES. For example, "I can make a difference in myself, I can make a difference in my community, I can make a difference in my family, I can make a difference in my country and much more.

Former President Barack Obama's Summer Reading List

"Over the years since, I've often drawn inspiration from Africa's extraordinary literary tradition. As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways."

1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.

2. A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence, and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.

3. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.

4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.

5. The Return by Hisham Matar
A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons.

6. The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.

You can meet the 200 members of the inaugural class of African leaders and follow along with the entire trip right here

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Circle of Men: A Message of Reciprocity

Mr. Omowale has been working to put together an MBK Boy's Choir and there has definitely been some unforeseen setbacks to the development of the program. One of our Circle of Men mentors was kind enough to share with us a text message thread that shows a conversation with another student. This mentor volunteered to pick up the MBK Boy's Choir and wanted to put together an ensemble of 5 or 6 teen boys, so he enlisted this student's help. We decided to keep names confidential, though you can follow along on the conversation below:
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The Men of LEGACI student success program

The Men of L.E.G.A.C.I. Student Success Program at the University of Houston-Downtown will be hosting the 'Fall 2018 Beginning Semester Workshop'(must RSVP by August 10), for all UHD LEGACI students and mentors in preparation to start the academic year on the right foot.

L.E.G.A.C.I. students will be assigned a mentor, an academic calendar, course scheduling updates, student support guided planning and lunch will be provided.

Saturday, Aug. 18th, 9:30am-2pm

201 Girard Street

Houston, TX

*Mentors 10:30am – 1:00pm – review of program and institutional goals, academic calendar, student engagement requirements and community partnership support

Milam and Travis Room - Welcome Center 3rd Floor

Attire: Casual

*Detailed agenda coming soon

Contact: for additional updates

The Minority Male Recruitment Department partners with middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and community agencies to create pathways into UHD for an increased number of men from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. The department also collaborates with UHD’s student support system to develop initiatives that increase the retention and graduation of these groups.

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Diploma to Dollars

Marcus Glenn, provides classroom instruction on virtual welding in the Diploma to Dollars classroom at historic Phyllis Wheatley high school. Students are using a simulator to rehearse the welding process. They are graded on their accuracy after completion.

Prior to beginning the classroom, students were shown how automation of welding would help them to achieve a livable wage.

The software and simulator were provided by an MBK partner, Texas State University and the Black United Fund of Texas.

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Career My Way Program

The Career My Way program is a collaborative program of Capital IDEA Houston.

Career My Way Emphasizes self-discovery, career exploration, whole-person development and academic preparation to empower decision making for postsecondary or employment opportunities.

Career Your Way (CYW) is an innovative approach with the aim of exposing Opportunity Youth (OY) to educational, employment or short-term job training. Opportunity Youth is a term used to refer to those ages 16-24 who have or may not have earned a HS diploma or GED. This age cohort population is also either unemployed, underemployed and not connected to post-secondary education.

The following partnership has designed a self-discovery program to recruit, engage, inform, expose and empower Opportunity Youth ages 18-24 who have earned a HS diploma or GED to choose from three options. Reflective of participants’ personal preferences, desires and goals (long and immediate):

  1. Post-secondary education
  2. Earn and Learn through Apprenticeships and On the Job Training
  3. Short-term train and employment

Reflective of participants’ personal preferences, desires and goals (long and immediate): The partnership includes Capital IDEA Houston, Houston Community College, Harris County Department of Education, BridgeYear, Fast Forward Analytics and Power Up with Mahdi.

The program will begin on Monday, July 30th at St. James Episcopal Church, 3129 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX 77004.

Check out the Events section below for more details.

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Youth Workforce Council Summary

The MBK Youth Workforce Council & Leadership met on July 17, 2018 to work on the platform to help push Milestone 5 work forward. An abstract of the Youth Workforce Council Summary is below:


Aligning community resources to establish conditions that will resort into more favorable jobs and career outcomes for disadvantaged youths 16 -24.

MBK Youth Workforce Council Purpose:

To oversee the strategic direction of the initiative. Make key decisions to drive the mission of the initiative forward; Give feedback and provide implementation ideas to all parties linked; To establish region-wide agenda to help young adults (16-24) achieve successful assimilation into today’s complexed labor force.

Outlining objectives of YWC:

Work strategically with existing efforts in region to gauge and measure results; Develop strategies to compliment all focal areas of the council’s initiatives; Sell and market YWC goals to potential philanthropic partners (Greater Houston Partnership/Houston Endowment/Simmons Foundation/Others)


No single entity or presence can singlehandedly tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems that we face in this space. However, the best practical approach that will offer a galvanizing effect in this effort is to create a highly-specialized and unified consortium, consisting of an eclectic group of stakeholders, who collectively possess an unyielding and uncompromising spirit to combat these challenges.

Employment Opportunities

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CPTED Youth Violence Prevention Artwork

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Team worked with our HYPE Freedom School youth to learn the basics on how to assess your community and be aware of natural surveillance and safety measures that can be taken to reduce crime and violence. This artwork is a collective piece created by each school location and was unveiled at the HYPE Freedom School Citywide Celebration. It will be displayed at a selected HISD school for the entire 2018-2019 school year.
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Cities Unitied Youth Meeting

To elevate the Youth Voice Cities United hosted alonog with MBK Houston and the Mayor's Office a roundtable discussion that enabled youth to provide their voice and concern on a variety of topics that included community safety, violence prevention, recreation, and educations.
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Youth Violence Prevention Coalition

Houston Youth Violence Prevention Coalition meeting was held on Tuesday, June 26th. We worked with local organizations such as AVDA, Houston Police Department, Crime Stoppers, Prairie View A&M, KIPP Charter, and The African American Police Officers League for a resource mapping workshop. The goal of this meeting was to better understand the roles of our partners and more effectively align our services to address Youth Violence and Teen Dating Violence as a part of our CDC 1605 Grant.

Youth Lead Launch Event

A launch event/press conference is being planned for September 25th from 2:00-3:00 PM at Attucks Middle School, 4330 Bellfort. Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, who is providing funding for the case manager position, will attend along with representatives of other stakeholders agencies, MBK and HHD administration. Cookies and punch will be served in the school auditorium.

Stakeholder agencies include

  • HISD
  • Harris County: DAs Office, public Defenders Office, Protective Services, Juvenile Probation
  • Judge Mike Schneider, 315th District Court
  • HPD
  • Mayors Anti Gang Office

Non profits:

  • Houston ReVision
  • Crime stoppers
  • Neuhaus Education Center
  • Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
  • Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans

Please see below under Events for event map and details.

Thinking for a Change: An Integrated Cognitive Behavioral Change Program

MBK ReDirect Diversion Program's Thinking for a Change (T4C) is a fun group facilitated program that provides RDP young men with group lessons that focus on THINKING! There are 25 lessons that build each week to teach our young men how to make better decisions in their every day life. Each group lesson will provide the opportunity to learn different ways to think about various subjects, practice time and homework.

T4C will be held twice a week on Monday and Wednesday's from 2pm-4pm. T4C is a mandatory court approved program that is one of the final programs needed for young men to graduate from the ReDirect Diversion Program. A schedule and additional information will be distributed at orientation.

Back to School Events

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Mayor's Back 2 School Fest (Registration Required)

Saturday, Aug. 11th, 10am

1001 Avenida De Las Americas

Houston, TX

The Mayor’s Back to School Fest is designed to help economically disadvantaged Houston- area elementary school students and their families as they prepare to return to school. With the help of many great partners and sponsors, backpacks, school supplies, health screenings, immunizations, and social service resources are provided to thousands of students, free of charge.

Due to limited space and supplies, you must PRE-REGISTER to attend this event.

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Back to School Extravaganza

Friday, Aug. 17th, 9am-2pm

2020 Mangum Road

Houston, TX


Please contact the Homeless Education Office if transportation is needed at 713-556-7237.

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Teens Against Dating Violence Twitter Chat

Wednesday, Aug. 15th, 5pm

This is an online event.

Back to school: Make your actions impactful.

Join the chat on Twitter @PADVTEENSCENE

Other Upcoming Events

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Cyber Safety

Thursday, July 26th, 6-7pm

4400 Bellaire Boulevard

Bellaire, TX

Free and open to all.


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Saturday, July 28th, 11am-2pm

6500 Rookin Street

Houston, TX

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HIPPY Awareness Community Event Ft. Fatherhood Panel

Saturday, Aug. 4th, 9am-12:30pm

7034 Tierwester Street

Houston, TX


* Learn about the HIPPY program

* Connect with HISD and community resources

* Fatherhood Panel discussion

* Must RSVP, bring ticket, children must be in attendance

* Children will receive free backpacks (while supplies last)

* Fathers will receive free caps and t-shirts MUST RSVP



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Manna Pantry Food Fair

Saturday, Aug. 11th, 9am-12pm

2101 West 34th Street

Houston, TX

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4th Festival Houston Black Heritage Music & Arts Fest

Saturday, Aug. 11th, 9pm to Sunday, Aug. 12th, 11pm

1001 Avenida De Las Americas

Houston, TX

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The 2018 MOLA Awards

Sunday, Aug. 19th, 6:30pm

3400 South Main Street

Houston, TX

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2018 National Cities United Convening

Tuesday, Aug. 21st, 8am to Friday, Aug. 24th, 5pm

Knoxville, TN, USA

Knoxville, TN

This year's convening will provide an opportunity to connect with peers from across the country, access national experts, and experience coaching and capacity-building strategies for cities committed to ensuring Black men and boys and their families are living in communities that are safe, healthy and hopeful.

In recognition this 5-year convening anniversary, we will take time to celebrate and honor our past achievements while uplifting our current milestones and lay out the road to 2025.

Please register by Wednesday, August 1st. Hotel reservations are made via the registration site. If you have questions, please contact Althea at

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Leading Through Change

Thursday, Aug. 23rd, 9pm to Friday, Aug. 24th, 11pm

301 East 8th Street

Austin, TX

TNOYS and partners are excited to be hosting the Leading Through Change conference in August -- it will be a great opportunity for nonprofit executives to get the kind of quality training they need to build and lead effective organizations.

Visit here to register or learn more information.

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Youth LEAD Launch Event

Tuesday, Sep. 25th, 2-3pm

4330 Bellfort Avenue

Houston, TX

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Get Up and Go!

Sunday, Sep. 30th, 2-3pm

6315 Winkleman Road

Houston, TX

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Lifting Families Together Gala 2018 Fundraiser

Saturday, Oct. 20th, 6-8pm

1811 Briar Oaks Lane

Houston, TX

VIP Reception 6pm

Program/Dinner 7pm

Silent Aucton


Live Entertainment - Jazz Guitarist Joe Carmouche & Friends

$100 per person Donation



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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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