The Blueprint

September 2018 Edition

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“Success in addressing the persistent gaps in outcomes for young men of color in the country requires strong and unwavering leadership, trust, community-wide collaboration, and a strong management approach”

-Niiobli Armah

Bloomberg Cities Spotlights MBK Houston!

How Houston is helping young men of color reach their full potential

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[Excerpt from Bloomberg Cities: Medium]

As in too many cities across the country, statistics in Houston show a troubling trend. According to the city’s 2015 local action plan, black men in Houston are seven times more likely than their white peers to have an encounter with law enforcement. Additionally, young black and Hispanic men in the city are more than twice as likely as white men to live in poverty. ReDirect and other programs like it — aimed at improving school readiness, literacy, nutrition, and college preparation — have so far worked with more than 25,000 students in an effort to open opportunities and reduce disparities.

“Success in addressing the persistent gaps in outcomes for young men of color in the country requires strong and unwavering leadership, trust, community-wide collaboration, and a strong management approach,” said Niiobli Armah of Bloomberg Associates, who works closely with Houston and two dozen other cities on their My Brother’s Keeper implementation strategies. “Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country. If they get it right, we stand to learn a great deal about what local government can actually do to reduce racial disparities.”

-->Read the Full Story Here

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Houston, TexasMy Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Houston, an initiative of the Houston Health Department, and Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis have launched the country’s first law enforcement assisted program to divert young low-level offenders from prison to treatment and wraparound services.

The Houston Harris County Youth Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program kicked off Tuesday, September 25 at Houston ISD’s Attucks Middle School in the historic Sunnyside Community.

Nationally, LEAD programs target adults, however Houston’s program is the first in the county to leverage the model to serve youth who commit offenses at school and on school property. Such offences typically lead to arrests, costly court expenses and short stays in a supervised detention and confinement facilities. Harris County accounted for roughly 25 percent of the youth sent to juvenile prison last year, according to state data.

“Programs like LEAD align with the mission of My Brother’s Keeper, in that a huge part of our work is to ensure our city’s youth enter school ready to learn at all levels, graduate from high school and college or trade school and successfully enter the workforce thus dismantling the cradle-to-prison pipeline one life at a time,” said Noel Pinnock, Bureau Chief of the Houston Health Department Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health and director of MBK Houston.

-->View Our Full Press Release Here!

Photo Courtesy: Christine Barron, Community Relations Specialist (MBK Houston)
...Houston Harris County Youth LEAD Program Cont'd!

The City of Houston and Harris County, who typically coordinate very effectively in recovery efforts resulting from natural disasters, will be working collective across agencies in a similar way to become the “first” in the country to provide the LEAD® program specifically designed for youth.

Very special thanks to County Commissioner Rodney Ellis for committing financial and human capital to make this program possible. He is truly the anchor that has supported a shared vision to change the trajectory of our city's most vulnerable youth.

Additionally, the Houston Harris County Youth LEAD program couldn't happen without the endorsement of Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Executive Director of Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults, Joel Levine, Executive Director of Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Henry Gonzalez, and Interim Superintendent of Schools for the Houston Independent School District, Dr. Grenita Lathan as well as Houston's Mayor, Sylvester Turner, and Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo.

-->More Handout Pictures From the Kick-off Event Here!

Fox 26 News Coverage Soon

Our Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock will be on television soon to talk about Youth LEAD with Isaiah Carey, American Television Broadcast and Reporter for Fox 26. The footage will either be aired on Fox 26 tonight (September 27, 2018) or in the upcoming days within the week. Keep your eyes peeled!

In case you are reading this at a later date and missed it we will be uploading the video to our MBK Houston YouTube channel in our MBK Houston In the News Playlist for you to view. Don't forget to like and subscribe!

Photo: Isaiah Carey (Left) and Noel Pinnock (Right) standing near our Houston Health Department Community Garden entrance.

Photo Courtesy: Christine Barron, Community Relations Specialist (MBK Houston)

In The News & Updates

Equity Intelligence Platform (EIP) Update

The EIP project team that includes Houston Health Department, Bloomberg Associates, and BrightHive, conducted individual discovery sessions with Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Houston Police Department, Harris County Protective Services, The Center for Law and Science, and the Harris County DA’s Office. Additionally, we convened the EIP pre-governance board to provide an overview of the discussions, fine tune the project charter and address concerns related to the data sharing agreement. The team is crafting message maps that articulates what the EIP project is going to accomplish. Houston Information Technology Department (Reenie Askew) has contributed to the common purpose thus framing how all other agency will describe EIP among their constituents.

Thanks again to those who were able to participate in the meetings.The meetings went extremely well and have been very informative to the overall process. The EIP planning team is continuing to conduct tech discovery sessions with data source agencies and will continue to work towards getting the rest of the agencies finished. Stay tuned for more updates!
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Photo Courtesy: Christine Barron, Community Relations Specialist (MBK Houston)

Houston Mentor Alliance: Meets Next on October 16

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U.S.News: The Loneliness Effect

Reseach suggests social isolation and feeling lonely may rival obesity as a threat to people's health.

-->Read the full article here

Building a Community of Practice

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Photo Courtesy: Christine Barron, Community Relations Specialist (MBK Houston)

Data for Good Exchange 2018

The Data for Good Exchange took place on September 16, 2018 in New York, NY. Our Bureau Chief Noel Pinnock attended the D4GX on behalf of MBK Houston and sat in a data equity panel organized by Bloomberg Associates (BA), Niiobli Armah and Linda Gibbs. Panelist spoke on "how data scientists, corporations, policy makers and researchers can collaborate on data science projects that result in positive social outcomes, ensuring that the data science we practice focuses on everyone having a stake, making it solid, fair, and equitable."

Another BA representative named Victoria Cerullo left her comments below:

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for organizing the data equity panel for today's D4GX. The feedback was incredible and there are still people in the building talking about how your panel was the best one of the entire conference!! Always so great to collaborate with BA and showcase your impactful work!”

The Data for Good Exchange is part of a long Bloomberg tradition of advocacy for using data science and human capital to solve problems at the core of society. Join the ongoing conversation. #d4gx

-->Learn more about D4GX

Community Conversations: Make Your Voice Heard

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Education, UNICEF USA and Mental Health America Houston are hosting a series of community listening sessions, on youth mental health. These conversations will bring together community members, policy experts, representatives of the City of Houston Mayor’s office, and mental health professionals to share challenges our children are experiencing and what can be done to help them. Topics for discussion include mental health, school resources, and community support. The community’s ideas can make a difference in changing what is to what can be.

Please view the flier with all the community meetings and their locations. Please share this with your network.

Thank you for supporting us in making sure the community’s voice is heard.

It's Been 10 years! Relive the 2008 Election

A few weeks ago the Obama Foundation reached out and asked our national community to share their memories of the historic 2008 election. Thousands of responses in the forms of audio recordings, videos, words, and photos were collected with love. These memories were crafted into an online time machine to "preserve the story of that November night and the work that made it possible."

-->Check out the 2008 Election Time Machine

MHA's 2019 Call for Proposals is Now Open

Mental Health America is now accepting workshop proposals to MHA’s 2019 Annual Conference, Dueling Diagnoses: Mental Health and Chronic Conditions in Children and Adults, held June 13-15, 2019 in Washington, DC.

There is a lack of uniformity across the health spectrum in how illnesses are categorized and deemed as chronic diseases and chronic conditions. Not only does this create confusion, but it may lead professionals across the spectrum to focus on specific illnesses and disregard other aspects of the person being treated, including co-occurring issues like mental health conditions and broader societal conditions such as poverty, trauma, and racism. To effectively treat an individual, we must look at the whole person, which means examining the connections that exist between traditional chronic physical conditions and mental health concerns.

For more information and to download the full Call for Proposals and Application. Please note that all submissions must be received no later than November 30, 2018. Registration will open later this Fall and will be announced through News From National.

-->Stay tuned for more information

Mental Health America: Mental Health Voter Toolkit

Do you know your candidates' plans to protect access to mental health care?

Changes in health care and voting laws are happening at the state and federal levels, making it more important than ever for the mental health community to be involved in this year’s election.

Mental Health America has prepared this voter guide to help people affected by mental health and substance use conditions feel empowered and able to vote; that candidates at the federal, state, and local levels are hearing the concerns of the mental health community; and that all voters are encouraged to vote with mental health in mind this November.

This guide includes:

  • Voter Registration Information
  • A “November Elections Action Checklist”
  • Questions for Town Hall & Candidate Forums
  • Relevant Websites & Additional Resources
  • Review of Party Platforms
  • And Much More!

-->Download the Mental Health Voter Toolkit

Postive Youth Development

Lizbet Gomez is a CHCP Grad!

We are proud to announce that Lizbet Gomez has just recently graduated from the Massage Therapist program at The College of Healthcare Professions. She initially started out as one of our student participants and is a testament to the Momentum Academy program.


About Momentum Academy

Momentum Academy is a Houston Independent School District program that helps high school students who are struggling academically, pass their classes and graduate on time.

Momentum Academy is a good referral for students who have failed a grade because they provide original credits as well as credit recovery. Whatever barriers stand in between the student graduating on time, Momentum works to over come those problems.

-->Learn more here

Our Youth Voice: Asa Singleton

Eighteen-year-old Asa Singleton says he’s always dreamed of working for the city of Houston. He even interned for a city council member when he was 14. But two years later, when Singleton got in a fight that resulted in criminal charges, he feared his hopes for a city hall career — or any job at all — might be dashed.

Then Singleton heard about ReDirect, a city program that offers at-risk boys and young men of color mentorship instead of punishment and, upon completion, the possibility of erasing their juvenile criminal record. He signed up, quickly bonded with a mentor, and, seven months later, completed ReDirect’s requirements. Singleton’s record has now been expunged, and he is working part-time for the city while finishing up with school. “Honestly, if it wasn’t for [ReDirect], I would be in jail right now,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, there would be no me.”

[Excerpt from Bloomberg Cities Medium]

Start With Hello Week Sept.24-28

Start With Hello Week activities raise awareness and educate students and the community through trainings, advertising, activities, public proclamations, media events, student contests and school awards. You’ll be part of a nationwide movement to empower young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness!

If you still need to reach out to your school administration, you can use our Start With Hello letter template to contact a school or youth organization.

If you work for a school or youth organization and haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late. You can register for Start With Hello Week here.

Registration is Open for the 2019 National Mentoring Summit

The National Mentoring Summit is the only national convening of youth mentoring professionals, researchers, MENTOR Affiliates, philanthropic investors, and government and civic leaders aimed at collectively strengthening and expanding quality mentoring relationships for young people across the country. The ninth annual National Mentoring Summit will take place January 30 - February 1, 2019, at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown.

Register for the 2019 National Mentoring Summit by October 1, 2018 and enjoy an early-bird discounted rate on admission.

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day was recognized on September 10, 2018. It is always good to keep in mind that "people don’t just go from being perfectly healthy one day to having suicidal ideation the next, just as they don’t go from being perfectly healthy one day to having any other late stage chronic condition the next."

Fortunately Mental Health America (MHA) launched an online screening program in 2014 and has helped to screen over 3.5 million people around the country and have implemented screening programs in community centers, workplaces, and schools.

Feel free to help support MHA's screening program and help prevent suicide at its earliest stages - long before the Stage 4 crisis point.

MBK Houston Milestone Snapshots

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Houston Basics

What basics have you been working on this month? Parents and caregivers please remember that there is no such thing as not having enough time. We all need to MAKE time to implement these basics. It would essentially SAVE you time in the future when you build a proper foundation for your child to build on.
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HYPE Freedom School 2018 City-wide Celebration Recap

Read Aloud 15 Minutes

Every child. Every parent. Every day.

Does reading aloud reading matter?

Don't good parents already read aloud?

Is 15 minutes enough to make a difference?

Find your answers in the full flyer below!

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Applications Being Accepted for Police Chief Acevedo's Youth Police Advisory Council

The Houston Police Department is inviting Houston area high school students to apply for the 2018-2019 Youth Police Advisory Council (YPAC).

Students will address issues affecting youth and the community, participate in community service projects and attend youth leadership conferences throughout the state. Additionally, the YPAC meets regularly with Chief of Police Art Acevedo and other top HPD officials.

YPAC members are required to meet five times during the school year at the HPD Edward A.Thomas Building at 1200 Travis in downtown Houston.

Applications are available online. The deadline to apply is Monday, October 1, 2018.

For more information, visit, email or call 713-308-3200.

HISD Presents: College Knowledge Fests

Houston ISD and MBK Houston will be hosting multiple College Knowledge Fests on October 11, 2018 from 9am-11am for these school locations:

  • Sam Houston High School
  • Wheatley High School
  • Scarborough High School

Students!! Try your best not to have a sick day and prepare any questions you may have ahead of time. Remember to take advantage of college fests. You can save a ton of time, gas and money from not having to visit every possible campus just to get some information that could be collected here. Save your campus visit for the handful of schools you DO decide to attend AFTER a good amount of research and reality checks.

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Rice University Offers Free Tuition to Middle/Low Income Students

Rice University says many undergraduate students from families with incomes up to $200,000 "will no longer be required to take out loans." Here, a statue of the school's founder, William Marsh Rice, is seen on its campus in Houston.

This article affirms the MBK Houston work with System of Care and Youth LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). Check it out below!

A Brookings report on "The promise of free college (and its potential pitfalls)" was shortly released after Rice University's announcement. We like their main take-away at the end.

"If carefully designed and implemented, free college may be one part of the solution."

Good thing we have our work here at the Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health and all of our Partners to help implement other parts of that same solution!

-->Read and Download the full report here

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Workforce Solutions Partnership of Appreciation

The Bureau of Youth and Adolescent Health’s Adolescence Health team member Constance Carron received an email of appreciation from Workforce Solutions.

“We want to thank you for your Partnership and Mentorship of our Workforce Solutions Youth Internship Program. You were instrumental in the molding and shaping our youth in gaining those key entry level skills needed to gain future employment. Your reputation and name holds volumes here at Workforce Solutions, your accomplishments with our youth intern partnership has been in a manner above that normally expected of a worksite, instilling self-assured and confidence in our youth and moral courage to excel. Myself and William Eason would like to show our appreciation by taking you to lunch (please let us know when your schedule permits). You and the City of Houston worksite had been outstanding and worthy of special recognition.”

-Personal Service Representative Director

Mayor Turner's 2018 Find Your Path Career Day Expo

Our Houston Health Department will be participating in Mayor Turner’s 2018 Find Your Path Career Day Expo on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at NRG Park, Hall E, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This important initiative impacts Houston’s future by planting the positive seeds of opportunity in the minds of our youth. Hosted by the City’s Human Resources Department, the 7th annual Expo allows approximately 10,000 high school juniors and seniors to discover a wide variety of career opportunities available in the public and private sectors. The Expo also includes a college fair with representatives from over 70 two- and four-year colleges and universities and a resource area. This unique event not only exposes students to hundreds of career options, but also bridges the information/resources gap that prevents many youth from additional education or career pursuits.

Volunteers are needed to make this event a success! If you are interested, instructions on how to sign up are below:

Sign up in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on
3. Sign up! Choose your spots - will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Work for Houston's Home Teams!

Juma is a national youth development organization that paves the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. Juma is now hiring cooks, food preps and cashiers to work at locations where the Astros, Dash, Dynamo, Rockets and Texans will be playing.

Please see the flyer for more details and contact members below for any questions:

Marvis Huff


Dollie Adams


Urban Scholars-Houston Location Managing Director

Founded in 2008, Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) is a community based organization, located in Inglewood, California. SJLI is dedicated to improving the education, health and well-being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training and community mobilization.

The City of Houston and Houston Health Department has partnered with the Social Justice Learning Institute to bring its Urban Scholars program to Houston. We are seeking an energetic, forward-thinking individual to serve as the Urban Scholars-Houston Managing Director to lead the implementation of the program citywide. The ideal candidate will have a collaborative spirit and positive attitude responsible for implementing and ensuring program outcomes while working with instructors, school administrators and community partners.


Urban Scholars is a program created to improve educational and socioeconomic outcomes for high school aged young men of color. The program positively impacts youth by improving academic performance, strengthening identity development and critical consciousness, creating pathways to college and employment, facilitating healing and post-traumatic growth, and mobilizing youth to be social justice leaders.


SJLI believes that community change is possible when it involves active participation and engagement of its community members and young people our organization serves.

Reporting to the SJLI Executive Director, the Urban Scholars-Houston Managing Director is responsible for achieving programmatic outcomes at the site level. The Managing Director will oversee implementation of SJLI’s educational programs, manage on-site staff, coordinate school service providers and support the program team in building school and community partnerships. Working closely with school administrators, teachers staff and other community service providers and partners, the Managing Director will ensure that each Urban Scholars school site is operating effectively and meeting the needs of students in alignment with SJLI’s mission and values, as well as the desired objectives of Urban Scholars and MBK Houston.

Apply for this Job

Urban Scholars-Houston Managing Director

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Houston Harris County Peacekeepers: First SB 30 Training

Monday, Oct. 1st, 8:30am-12:30pm

3611 Ennis Street

Houston, TX

8:30 - 9:00 breakfast/meet and greet.

9:00-10:00 Introductions and Purpose.

10:00-11:30 Community Safety Education Act training.

11:30-12:30 Teach back and teaching displays.

Please contact Dr. Everette B Penns ( for more information.

National Drug Awareness and Recovery Month

Millions of Americans suffer from substance abuse, which includes underage drinking, alcohol dependency, non-medical use of prescription drugs, abuse of over-the-counter medications, and illicit drug use.

National Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which works to educate Americans on how addiction treatment and mental health service can be an effective tool for people with substance use or mental disorder to live a healthy life.

Upcoming Events

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Get up and Go: Healthy Kids Running Series

Sunday, Sep. 30th, 2-3pm

6315 Winkleman Road

Houston, TX


Use promo code CITYFALL18 to pay only $10

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Wednesday, Oct. 3rd, 11am to Wednesday, Dec. 19th, 1:30pm

901 Bagby Street

Houston, TX

At Hermann Square Every Wednesday until December 19, 2018
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2018 Houston Stand Down

Friday, Oct. 5th, 10am-4pm

5225 Calhoun Street

Stand down is military terminology referring tot he brief period of time a soldier leaves an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength. Houston Stand Down is open to ALL Homeless Veterans, male and female, including those at risk of living homeless, who have served the Armed Forces of the United States.

Free Meals, Free Clothing, Showers, Haircuts, Medical Screenings, VA Benefits, Vocational Training, Mental Health Resources, Employment Resources, Education Resources, Dentistry Resources, Legal Advice, Sobriety Resources, Housing, Credit Counseling

Hosted by the City of Houston Veteran Affairs Office and the Department of Veteran Affairs

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NFBPA Central Texas Chapter's Bowl for a Cause

Saturday, Oct. 6th, 9am-3pm

12626 Fountain Lake Circle Stafford, TX 77477

Bowl for the Cause is one of the National Forum for Black Public Administrator’s signature fundraising events. This year, donors and bowlers come together to help raise funds to support community agencies that are changing the future of kids, fighting various diseases, delivering needed services to those in need, providing community-based programs, and funding critical research for cures.

-->Learn more information here

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AAMA Sanchez Carter School Fall Festival

Saturday, Oct. 13th, 9am-1pm

6001 Gulf Freeway

Houston, TX

  • Outdoor Festival on the Courtyard Square
  • Free Admission to the public. Entertainment, kid’s games and food
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Obama Foundation National "Online" Town Hall

Monday, Oct. 29th, 2-3pm

This is an online event.

Learn More at

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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