The Blueprint

June 2018 Edition

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“There are consequences to inaction. There are consequences to indifference. And they reverberate far beyond the walls of the projects, or the borders of the barrio, or the roads of the reservation. They sap us of our strength as a nation. It means we’re not as good as we could be. And over time, it wears us out. Over time, it weakens our nation as a whole.”

-Former President Barack Obama

June 12 is now MBK Houston Day!

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Three years after Houston released its Local Action Plan to help the city's Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC), Mayor Turner joined with the Houston Health Department to share the achievements of My Brother's Keeper Houston and point to its work as a national model.

In 2014, President Barack Obama announced the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Initiative, which aimed to address opportunity gaps among BYMOC by offering new support from cradle to career through young adulthood. As part of this initiative, President Obama issued the MBK Community Challenge, a public call to action that asked municipalities to implement local action plans focused on expanding opportunity at key inflection points across a young person's life.

Houston was one of the first cities to accept the challenge and in May 2015, it launched its MBK Local Action Plan, creating a full-time staff dedicated to the work and investing the vital resources to make the plan a reality. After three years with the support and guidance of Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic municipal consultancy, Houston is one of the first to share its work publicly and well positioned to lead the discussion on what other municipalities can do to enter into this work successfully. Bloomberg Associates worked with the City to develop their Local Action Plan and has been an advisor to their efforts for the past three years including helping to launch Team Up: a sports careers initiative in MBK neighborhoods last year.

MBK Houston currently operates in three “feeder pattern” communities, which are

clusters of neighborhood schools that allow children to transition from a large

number of elementary schools to a smaller number of middle schools, and finally to

one or two large high schools. In order to pilot efforts in targeted schools, MBK

Houston currently operates its Systems of Care/wraparound services in Bruce

Elementary school, Fleming Middle School, and Wheatley High School.

Throughout these efforts, the city has collected data to track the programs’ results,

select highlights include:

Increasing Literacy

  • A Houston replication of Boston Basics – a citywide coalition originating in Boston that utilizes five evidence-based parenting and care-giving principles critical to brain development during the first three years of life - reached 26,064 individuals in MBK neighborhoods
  • Total number of books checked-out of the Fleming Middle School library, in 2016-2017 was 1,172, up from 5 in 2015-2016. This increase was a result of a coordinated effort by the school administration to focus its systems of care counseling, college fairs, and onsite supportive groups to promote student utilization of the library.
  • At Bruce Elementary School, there was a 10% increase of 3rd graders passing their STAAR standardized reading exam from 2017-2018 to 2017-2016

Increased Police and Youth Relations

  • 5,300 Houston police personnel will participate in a four-hour training on youth safety, aimed at reducing social distance between at-risk youth and law enforcement. This is a result of the Texas statewide Community Safety Act Curriculum, which MBK Houston will be leading the efforts in the city of Houston.

Providing Second Chances

  • A Houston replication of the Clean Slate initiative, which aims to give persons arrested for a crime a ‘clean slate’ by having their arrest and conviction records expunged resulted in 82% of participants in the Clean Slate Cooperative receiving services, such as criminal record expungement, sealing, non-disclosure, or identification restoration.

Supporting High School At-Risk Youth

  • A total of 700 school credit hours have been recovered among 145 at-risk youth in Momentum Academy, an alternate learning experience and a partnership with HISD and the City of Houston's multi-service centers, to help put students back on the path toward expected high school graduation.

In addition to the city and its core partners, the initiative also engaged several

private partners who helped to oversee and support the work. These key

stakeholders are Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults, Harris

Center for Mental Health IDD, Houston-Galveston Area Council, Houston

Independent School District, Houston Community College, Communities in

Schools of Houston, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Public Library, 315th

Juvenile Court, Workforce Solutions, and the Association for the Advancement of


MBK Houston Case Study: 1st in the Country!

"Houston seized this opportunity because the city understood the need for such an initiative. With a current population of more than 2.3 million people, the City of Houston is one of the most populous and ethnically diverse cities in the United States of America. Boys and men of color make up 75% of the male youth population. The city’s diversity was not lost on the city leadership - whose commitment to improving the lives of all Houstonians made the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative an imperative.

Bloomberg Associates - a philanthropic municipal consulting firm - has been working closely with Houston since the city took up the MBK Challenge. Over the past four years, Bloomberg Associates has been providing pro bono consulting services to 25 cities that have taken up the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge. Through our work, we have taken note of the cities that have been leading the charge with the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative - MBK Houston is one of them. Within the 180-day timeline set by the Obama Administration, Houston produced and launched its Local Action Plan in May of 2015.

This brief is intended to offer a glimpse into the inner workings of the MBK Houston efforts and shed light on the efforts needed to champion this work within City Hall. Now, more than ever, we need change agents who are willing to champion the causes of boys and young men of color boldly and unapologetically. Communities across the country have responded to this call to action. Our goal here is to tell the unique story of Houston with the hope that it may inspire others. "

-Bloomberg Associates Social Service Team

Read the Full MBK Houston Case Study

A City’s Collaborative Effort to Improving the Lives of Boys and Young Men of Color

MBK Night at UniverSoul Circus

Noel Pinnock was a guest ringmaster at the UniverSoul Circus and spoke on our MBK Houston movement with all in attendance. Some footage can be viewed on our social media. The ringmaster directed the audience to shout M-B-K while giant balls were kept afloat in the crowd. The show contained a wide variety of acts represented mainly by African, Asian and Hispanic ethnic performers.

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In The News & Updates

MBK Houston on NPR News

Mayor Turner’s MBK Houston Post-Council Presser was featured on NPR on June 14, 2018 at 8:04 am. Click the link below to listen!

Bloomberg Associates Roundtable

Featured: (Left-to-Right) Noel Pinnock, Stephen Williams, Judge Michael Schneider, Marcel McClinton (Co-founder of Orange Generation), Niiobli Armah (Bloomberg), CM Cisneros, Juliet Stipeche, Scott Packard (HHD Chief Communication Officer), and Porfirio Villareal (HHD PIO).

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On June 13, 2018, Bloomberg Associates facilitated a roundtable at City Hall to discuss MBK Houston’s impact with regards to moving the needle in all of the Milestone goal areas. Below are the 7 major take aways:
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Equity Intelligence Platform Pilot

Houston has been selected to participate in the Equity Intelligence Platform pilot (EIP). The goal of the initiative is to provide local governments with an easy way to pull the data out of their agencies, integrate, and present them to communities and local partners to provide clarity on where and why disparities exist for disadvantaged members of the community.

The most important features are:

  1. Data will be longitudinal
  2. Updated in real time and
  3. Shared across agencies.

This interagency effort will enable both population and individual level data to be disaggregated by gender, age, ethnicity and geography so Houston stakeholders can see disparities not just across communities, but also between subpopulations (e.g., female v male, black v white).

The EIP is being developed and deployed at no cost to the City and is a joint project of Bloomberg Associates and the Obama Foundation. We are asking your support in laying this out as inter-departmental priority for the Houston Police Department, Parks Department, Library Department, and Department of Neighborhood as well as Legal and HITS as we seek to roll this technology out in the next few months and be the 1st in the country to accomplish the effort.

Building a Community of Practice

Houston HITS Home HIV Testing

We will be participating at the Houston HITS Home HIV Testing event. The event will take place over 3 days, June 27-29, 2018 from 9-3 pm at Walgreens 5200 Westheimer. There will be a nice cool tent and plenty of privacy for individuals and couples to safely get tested for STDS and HIV.

#WeThrive Summer Food Distribution

MBK Houston is participating with the #We Thrive food distribution events taking place with Acres Home, Kashmere, and Fifth Ward Multi-service Centers.
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Juneteenth Parade

MBK Houston also participated in the Juneteenth event in Acres Homes on June 16th.

Kingdom Men's Conference

On Sunday June 8, 2018 at 6 pm, First Metropolitan hosted it's annual Men's Conference. This year's theme was "Men Modeling Maturity"and gave the community an opportunity to gather, fellowship with brothers and engage in sessions, have conversations that positively impacts life and helped attendees become the man that God wanted them to be. Our team member Paul Johnson had the honor of representing MBK Houston and wanted to give a praise to our other team member.

"Extra Shoutout to Willis Robinson for connecting me to such a great network, it's evident that your hard work and dedication keeps the MBK name alive in our religious communities Kudos!."

Faith-Based Connections

Our Faith-based administration manager Willis Robinson has been reaching out to local faith-based organizations to help foster connections with our communities in regards to improving youth and adolescent health; whether its through program referrals or just influence from being deeply rooted in the community. Here are some updates from Mr. Robinson:

  • Met with Rev. C. Scott of Lilly Grove MBC to provide information on the possibility of partnering together on mentoring youth through the church and to look at aligning his young adult ministry with the Ambassadors of Compassion. There is an ongoing discussion on how this can or will be done. More information is needed to foster some ideas.

  • Met with Dr. Douglas Posey along with Ms. K. McNeil to discuss exposing 9th graders to the field of Medical Forensic. The plan is to begin with one Church Mt. Corinth Baptist Church discussing the benefits of this class to young black men to perhaps consider the field. He is also interested in getting the parent involved to keep the students interest and give the parents information and knowledge of how this work is done.

  • Met with the leadership of Abiding Faith United Methodist Church to discuss next steps in developing this partnership. Mr. Leftwich, the Bureaus partnership developer was in attendance and he was going to contact his city of Houston’s Parks and Recreation insider to make the connection for them to utilize the city’s recreation center in their community. Currently waiting for a status update.

If you know any faith-based organizations who would like learn more about ways they can stay plugged in and/or want to learn how we can collaborate in the community, then you can reach out to

Postive Youth Development

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

Tia, Frank, and Katherine facilitated workshops with the girls that are a part of the E.S.T.E.A.A.M. Career and College Preparatory Girls Summer Program at Atherton Elementary School. The 3 spoke on Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships and provided youth with skills to differentiate between characteristics of a healthy and unhealthy relationship.

Mass Clinic Days

On June 5th, Katherine Caballero and Nurse Mary Simon hosted two mass clinic days with 100 students from Wheatley High School as part of our Comprehensive Screening Program. The program offers free comprehensive wellness exams and physicals to students of Wheatley and Booker T. Washington High School. Students received wellness exams, physicals, and education on healthy eating habits and nutrition. Another mass clinic day was held at Booker T. Washington serving a total of 53 students.

Youth-Adult Partnerships

The THAI HYAC hosted the "Youth-Adult Partnerships in Programs and Evaluation" session at the 35th Annual Texas Network of Youth Services Conference. Attendees learned how to bring both youth and adults to the same table to work toward a shared purpose or goal. Through sharing firsthand experience, participants also were informed of best practices for elevating youth and adult voice in their own work. Finally, attendees of our session learned how to use evaluation practices to improve services by incorporating both youth and adult feedback into their quality improvement processes.

Youth Hub: Chess Club

Saturday Chess Club is constantly growing, welcoming 2 new members to the team. Everyone is welcome, rather you already know how to play, or just want to learn! Saturday, June 9th, students had the privilege to learn from a United States Chess Federation (USCF) player, Sam Bronx, who has a USCF rating of 2000+. The image shows him playing 9 students in a game of chess at one time. Chess Club meets every Saturday, from 9 a.m. – Noon at the Denver Harbor MSC – 6402 Market Street, Houston, TX 77020.

MBK Houston Milestone Snapshots

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Houston Basics: Overview

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 Summer Literacy Program Registration is (Still) Open!

HYPE Freedom School is available at 5 locations with 2 campuses powered by MBK Houston and all are ready to bring a fun and exciting summer literary program which helps eliminate summer learning loss. Our program kicked off on June 18 at K Smith Elementary and Bruce Elementary. As of the 1st week we have served 77 scholars in total for both sites participating in this summer literacy program. K. Smith has 33 scholars and Bruce has 44. This includes grade levels of K-8 and 6 high school interns. We also have many of our scholars that will be filtered into the Boys and Girls Club after Hype Freedom School ends on a daily basis in the evenings. Moving forward, this will be 6 weeks Monday-Thursday summer literacy program that will service our MBK Feeder Pattern.

This summer session included special training sessions on June 25-26 from our Youth Violence Prevention Team covering CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) curriculum and TAPS Academy as well as a campus tour of Prairie View A&M on June 29, 2018 as part of the HYPE program's weekly field trips.

Summer registration is still open for families to register their K-8th Graders. 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

Read Aloud for MBK Week at HYPE


Please support MBK Week at HYPE Freedom School on

  • July 2 8:45AM-9:30AM
  • July 3 8:45AM-9:30AM
  • July 5 8:45AM-9:30AM

at Bruce Elementary School or K Smith Elementary School.


Serving as a Read Aloud guest is a great way to positively impact HYPE Scholars. After registering (with the button below), you simply select a location, arrive at the scheduled time, briefly share your background with scholars and read a short- length story!

Mr. Omowale Allen volunteered as a read aloud guest in the first photo.

Photo Courtesy: Kesha McNeil

HYPE Parent Meeting

Here are a few pictures of the very first MBK HYPE Freedom School (Fifth Ward) 2018 parent meeting in preparation for our HYPE Freedom School Summer Program.
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Congrats Class of 2018

Kudos to Class of 2018! We are one month into summer already and already a month away from school again. Whether you are preparing for college, not sure what college to attend or graduating high school the next year we are hoping you are prepared to take your SAT (Suite of Assessment) to help you place into the colleges of your choice. Here are some helpful tools to get you started on preparing for your SAT test:

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YABC Project in Acres Home & Gulfton

We have now concluded our focus groups in the Gulfton community and now compiling the data to develop a report based on the feedback obtained. This information will assist in the final modification of the training curriculum to start our leadership training mid-July into August. We have started our focus group facilitation in Acres Home at the following points: Acres Home MSC, Shepard Library, Lonestar College, and New Life Tabernacle. These sites will be hosting focus groups to assist the Y-ABC project in obtaining the necessary content needed to modify the training curriculum. We plan to start the leadership training in Acres Home mid-August into September.

If you know anyone who is between the age 18-30 and would like to attend our leadership training in Acres Home or Gulfton please contact Frank Garcia at

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TX Certified Community Health Worker

Our CHW Class of 2018 internships have been underway since April and it is almost coming to an end for some and also leading into future work opportunities for others. We are fast approaching our next session that starts around August or September! If you know anyone who was considering a career in public health but didn't have the funds, time, or background? They can be among the 40 students between ages 18-30 selected to receive a full scholarship for CHW State Certification Training plus 6 months of Internship!

Please contact Larry Prescott at to stay in the loop!

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Hire Houston Youth Summer Jobs: Orientation

The Hire Houston Youth Summer Jobs Program Houston Health Department orientation took place on Monday, June 11, 2018 at the Sunnyside Multi-service Center. This was their official first day of work and they started off by learning the definition of Public Health, explored how public health initiatives are a part of everyday life and were able to ask questions with our line-up of guest speakers that comprised of HHD employees from HIV, Immunization and Tuberculosis.

Making Connections with Workforce Solutions

We are working with Workforce Solutions to bring together various partners related in the fields of workforce and certification training. Current partners are SER Jobs, Workforce Solutions, HCC Continuing Education, TSU, UH, and JUMA. Planning is in place to meet with all partners to establish a Milestone 5 committee to identify outreach opportunities associated with the high school within the MBK Houston feeder area. We are also planning an outreach event in the Fall that will promote and recruit the community to the various opportunities our partners have to offer. HCC, Workforce Solutions, and SER Jobs is also participating in the #We Thrive food distribution events to connect the community with current certification and summer intern positions.
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Virtual Welding Instruction

MBK Houston, in partnership with the Houston Black United Fund, Houston Community College (HCC), Texas State University and the Launch Pad are providing virtual welding instruction at Phyllis Wheatley High School. Students enrolled in the summer Bridge program are being prepared to weld through simulated computer training. This project emerged from the Area Action Team while discussing Milestones 5 and 6. This training will augment skill building for entering the world of work successfully. Training is also friendly to ex-felons (Milestone 6). Our partner, Launch Pad has the ability to pair the virtual welding certificate with a construction trades certification.

Marcus Glenn of the Black United Front is the chief facilitator. Dr. Wakefield of Texas State University has generously provided the virtual welding machine. This pilot program should provide the experience necessary for a mobile and more expanded effort in the fall of 2018.

HILSC is hiring: Program Coordinator

The Houston Immigration Legal Serices Collaborative (HILSC) is looking to hire a program coordinator. Please view the job description below:

The Program Coordinator is responsible for assisting with operations and logistics of programs; providing communications support; coordinating projects to carry out the Collaborative’s short- and long-term goals, strategies, plans and policies; and providing administrative support the organization. HILSC responds to the changing needs of immigrant communities, so the Program Coordinator must be flexible, adaptive, and willing to learn. The ideal candidate will be proactive, detail-oriented, and practical, with strong project management, interpersonal, and organizational skills. HILSC is a small, creative organization that encourages staff to express and implement new ideas.
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CPTED & TAPS Academy gets HYPE!

Through HYPE Freedom School Youth Violence Prevention (YVP) implemented CPTED (Crime prevention through environmental design) and TAPS Academy for two days each for a total of 4 days with middle school and high school students at 5 locations throughout the City of Houston. These classes also involved a collaborative art project that will be combined from all 5 locations to make a beautiful canvas and paper flower collage with the words “Stop the Violence - Read to Lead” painted on by local Houston Artists. We will culminate YVP programs with a campus tour of Prairie View A&M on June 29 where students will be greeted by center staff and the Dean of COJJP (College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology), participate in a scavenger hunt, experience mock trials with Dr. Penn in the courtroom, campus tour of the juvenile justice operation and go bowling with Houston police officers, YVP team and HYPE team.

CDC two-day Site Visit

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention participated on a two-day site visit facilitated by the Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health to review the progress of the 2.0 million dollar grant that is currently in year 2, approaching year 3 in implementation. A major focus for the grant is the Hope for Houston Peace Youth Violence Strategic Plan that will be unveiled in August at the Cities United National Convening.
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Houston Youth LEAD Program: Updates

The Houston Juvenile LEAD program continues to develop with implementation completed in August. The Harris County Commissioner’s Court and Office of Budget Management are creating a case manager position for Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis. This case manager position will be assigned to the Houston Juvenile LEAD program at Attucks Middle School. We are working on dates for a return visit from the LEAD National Support Bureau who will be conducting in-service training for teachers, case workers, and HISD-PD on the principles of LEAD. The Policy Coordination Group for Houston Juvenile LEAD met on June 13th.

The members of the PCG are stakeholders of the LEAD pilot project and responsibilities include guiding the development of policies: referrals, eligibility, and service provision. The partner agencies of the PCG include: Houston Independent School District, HISD-Police Department, HPD, HHD, Harris County Protective Services, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Harris County Public Defender’s Office, Judge Michael Schneider, 315th District Court, Harris County Precinct One, Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Neuhaus Education Services, Council on Recovery and Crimestoppers.

The District Attorney’s Office submitted a memo to the PCG providing in writing the offenses that are considered eligible for the pre-charge diversion. Several low-level felonies have been added to the Class A and B misdemeanors.

Youth Justice Council

The Youth Justice Council met on June 13th. Members of the Youth Justice Council are involved in a workgroup analyzing the denial of school enrollment for youth who have been incarcerated through the juvenile justice system.

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Wear Orange Day Recap

The Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health, My Brother’s Keeper Houston Movement, partnered with Mom Demands Action for the “Wear Orange Day” (WOD). My Brother’s Keeper Houston assisted Mom Demands Action 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 enjoyed fun activities, learned about gun safety, honored the victims of gun violence and celebrated youngsters who are driving new energy in the gun-sense movement.

On stage our Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock gave a key note speech (coming to YouTube soon) and met with Marcel McClinton who was involved in a church shooting and now the Founder of Orange Generation and Sante Fe School shooting survivor Bree Butler.

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Other Upcoming Events

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Luc Mbah a Moute Soccer Charity Game

Saturday, July 7th, 9pm

Rice University Holloway Field

Interested groups will need to provide their own transportation and chaperones, and we’ll need to know the name of organization(s), their contact person and the number of students they'd like to bring.

[This event is *FREE* for the kids and their chaperones/parents.]

Luc Mbah a Moute is a current basketball player for the Houston Rockets.

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The Colony Writers of Color Summit by VIP Arts Houston

Saturday, July 14th, 10am-1pm

500 McKinney Street Houston, TX 77002

There are few places where writers of color (WOC) can come and collaborate. Join us for the first quarterly summit for WOC of all genres. The summit will present opportunities, writing tips, inspiration, and community to help support your writing goals.This free event is sponsored by VIP Arts Houston in partnership with The Houston Public Library, Tintero Projects, My Brother's Keeper, and The Mayor's Office of Education.

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