Community Partners

 Air Alliance

Air Alliance believes the quality of our air directly affects our quality of life, and through research, education, and advocacy they empower Houstonians to take charge of their health and environment. Programs include researching Houston’s greatest air pollution challenges to understand how to improve public health, offering programs to give environmental organizations and green businesses a forum to share their work and knowledge with the public, equipping the community with tools and resources about Houston air quality, and advocating for policies that promote health and clean air. Air Alliance has projects and programs working with the Fifth Ward, East End, and Third Ward.     

Past Projects
Air Alliance is a new partner for the 2017-2018 academic year.


BakerRipley

BakerRipley connects low-income families and individuals to opportunity so they can achieve the life they've imagined. It's the reason why BakerRipley exists and it's something that hasn't changed since 1907. BakerRipley believes that their neighborhoods are bridges to opportunity, that people can transform communities, and that everyone everywhere has something to contribute. Students in this placement would work mostly at the organization’s main office, and occasionally at one of the community centers.

Past Projects
BakerRipley is a new partner for the 2017-2018 academic year.


Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Buffalo Bayou Partnership seeks to make Buffalo Bayou a central, regional amenity. The organization is proud that their restoration and revitalization work has adhered to this plan’s overarching goals and planning concepts by balancing conservation and development and creating projects that serve multiple purposes - recreation, flood management and ecosystem restoration. Site-specific plans also have been completed for such areas as public art, lighting, and conservation management.

Past Projects

Developing the Community’s Vision for the 5th Ward 

2015-2016 Fellows, Caroline Brigham and Rachel Galton, designed and implemented a survey to identify how the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation and Buffalo Bayou Partnership could combine efforts to connect the Fifth Ward Community to Buffalo Bayou.

Historic Warehouses in Fifth Ward and East End 

2016-2017 Fellow, Michael Moran, took inventory and mapped the lots and industrial buildings along Buffalo Bayou. 


CAN DO Houston

CAN DO Houston seeks to prevent and diminish childhood obesity in Houston and surrounding communities through physical activity, nutrition, and healthy minds by enabling the broadest collaboration of individuals, institutions, and organizations. CAN DO Houston organizes and promotes a number of community-based and community-driven environmental and policy changes to promote healthy eating and active living. Examples of our activities include teaching healthy lifestyle classes (food preparation, nutrition and physical activity), classes on leadership and advocacy, establishing community and school gardens, setting up healthy corner stores, improving access to safe places to play, promoting complete streets, facilitating classes on parenting and family wellness, and supporting the efforts of other organizations with similar missions. CAN DO has programs and projects in the Fifth Ward, East End and Third Ward.

Past Projects

Strengthening Confidence of Let’s Move Magnolia

2013-2014 Fellows, Katherine Cai and Alyssa Lang, created and compiled a resource to support the Let’s Move Magnolia program which included exercise schedules, meal plans, and work out videos.

Healthy Lifestyle Program: Promoting Physical Activity & Healthy Eating with Low-Income Communities 

2015-2016 Fellows, Anna Klineberg and Courtney Wang, developed curriculum for a 10-week course to equip parents and caregivers with the knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy to implement practical, healthy changes in the home environment.

Gentrification in the Fifth Ward  

2016-2017 Fellow, Wesley Chou, used data from the Kinder Institute’s Houston Community Data Connection program to research and map how the Fifth Ward has changed from 2005-2015. He also researched and compiled a report about how three other metropolitan cities: Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles are addressing gentrification. 


Covenant Community Capital

Covenant Community Capital seeks to enhance the beauty, safety, and economic vitality of low-income communities by increasing their capacity to develop affordable housing, grow business enterprises, and build community and family assets. This organization oversees a variety of critical programs that work to reduce poverty in the Fifth Ward, including the Smart-Savings Program, financial literacy classes, and several affordable housing developments. Since its establishment, Covenant Community Capital has helped over 250 families purchase homes in their communities – a positive step towards breaking the cycle of poverty. Students in this placement would focus their work in the Fifth Ward.

Past Projects

Housing: Finnigan Park, Fifth Ward

2012-2013 Fellows, Naomi Fa-Kaji, Kanwal Hooda, and Virgnia White, collected data from the Harris County Appraisal District and created a database of Finnigan Park properties. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) they mapped senior residents in the neighborhood that the agency serves.

Understanding Success and Failure in Achieving Homeownership

2014-2015 Fellows, Meredith Bouchein, Danya Kachkou, and Jesal Shah, researched the success and failure rates of clients in homeownership according to various environmental, socioeconomic, and demographic factors.

Providing Affordable Vehicles to Clients through a Sustainable Business Model

2015-2016 Fellow, Jiao Sun, researched state and local regulations as well as best practices for creating a vehicle donation program that would provide affordable vehicles to neighborhood residents. 


Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation

The Fifth Ward CRC is a catalytic organization dedicated to the collaborative fostering of holistic community development. Their vision is to sustain and build the Fifth Ward as a beautiful and better place to live, work, and play. The Fifth Ward CRC coordinates a variety of programs to fulfill their mission, including Real Estate Development, Homeownership Promotion & Preservation, Asset Management, and Community and Supportive Services. Notably, in this past year, Starbucks Coffee Company partnered with the Fifth Ward CRC to provide thousands of volunteers in this community. Students in this placement would focus their work in the Fifth Ward.

Past Projects

Moving to the Fifth Ward

2013-2014 Fellow, Daniel Cohen, surveyed participants of a housing fair on homeownership and different socioeconomic and demographic factors.

Developing the Community’s Vision for the Fifth Ward

2015-2016 Fellows, Caroline Brigham and Rachel Galton, designed and implemented a survey to identify how the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation and Buffalo Bayou Partnership could combine efforts to connect the Fifth Ward Community to Buffalo Bayou.

Discovering the Needs of the Fifth Ward Businesses

2016-2017 Fellow, Gillian Perkins, did a 3-month study of 5th Ward businesses on the climate for small businesses in the 5th Ward and the areas where small businesses in the neighborhood need support. She worked with Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation staff and local businesses to support the creation of a business association of 5th Ward businesses. 


Fifth Ward Enrichment Program

The Fifth Ward Enrichment Program is a youth leadership and development program for at-risk males, ages 12-19. The core program of this organization is the “School-Based Projects,” which aims to link together all school, after-school, and home activities. Accordingly, the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program engages 200-300 high-risk minority youth each day in a positive and educational after-school environment. Mentoring, academic tutoring, and leadership training form the key components of this program. Ultimately, this organization seeks to empower boys to become responsible men and productive members of their families and communities. Students in this placement would work at the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center.

Past Projects

Moving to the Fifth Ward

2013-2014 Fellow, Daniel Cohen, surveyed participants of a housing fair on homeownership and different socioeconomic and demographic factors.

Developing the Community’s Vision for the Fifth Ward

2015-2016 Fellows, Caroline Brigham and Rachel Galton, designed and implemented a survey to identify how the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation and Buffalo Bayou Partnership could combine efforts to connect the Fifth Ward Community to Buffalo Bayou.

Discovering the Needs of the Fifth Ward Businesses

2016-2017 Fellow, Gillian Perkins, did a 3-month study of 5th Ward businesses on the climate for small businesses in the 5th Ward and the areas where small businesses in the neighborhood need support. She worked with Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation staff and local businesses to support the creation of a business association of 5th Ward businesses. 


Pleasant Hill Leadership Institute

Founded in 1925, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church has worked for decades to facilitate the educational, cultural, and spiritual leadership of the Fifth Ward community. They are engaged in a variety of community outreach programs related to senior citizens, immigrants, and children, amongst other population groups. In many ways, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church acts as a community center for the Fifth Ward, sustaining the tight-knit, vibrant culture that characterizes this community

Past Projects

Pleasant Hill College Readiness: Beyond the SAT

2013-2014 Fellows, Daniella Maldonado and Fernanda Pierre, researched college readiness indicators, compiled resources, and taught workshops on college readiness skills and competencies to high school students in the after-school program.

Mitigating Summer Learning Loss: Designing an Engaging Summer Reading Curriculum

2015-2016 Fellows, Blessing Falade and Daniel Millar, designed a summer reading curriculum based on English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for each grade level. The designed projects and writing assignments addressing one or more of the following areas: written and oral conventions, research, and creativity.

Understanding the Afterschool Program Expectations of Houston Area Families

2016-2017 Fellows, Olivia Aguilar and Imani Butler, surveyed attendees of Pleasant Hill’s festival about their experiences with after-school programs as well as the needs and gaps they see for this programming in their neighborhood.


School Literacy & Culture

School Literacy and Culture (SLC) at Rice University promotes effective teaching in the preschool and primary years through rigorous professional educational initiatives that emphasize reading and writing, culture, child development and research. SLC has worked for several years with Small Steps Nurturing Center, a preschool and kindergarten in the Fifth Ward. Interns choosing to work with SLC spend one day each week working directly with children at Small Steps Nurturing Center and another working in our office at Rice or in the field at the Rice OWL Lab, an innovative program at the Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Education Center in Houston’s Gulfton community.

Past Projects

Promoting Early Childhood Literacy Skills through Story Baskets

2014-2015 Fellow, Olivia Lewis, researched the evidence behind the use of story baskets with young children in promoting English literacy and language use. She then created and delivered 34 story baskets to Small Steps Nurturing Center campuses and held sessions with parents about the benefits of using story baskets and how to create their own.

The Executive Function of Storytelling

2016-2017 Fellow, Salem Hadgu, did a literature review of research around executive functioning in children and used the information to create a research proposal, update the School Literacy and Culture website, and create and give PowerPoint presentations.

Extending the Impact of the Rice OWL Lab

2016-2017 Fellow, Talia Liu, studied interactions with children in the OWL Lab focusing on children’s use of extended discourse, and she provided analysis and recommendations to the OWL Lab. 


Small Steps Nurturing Center

The mission of Small Steps is to provide an exemplary early childhood education that fosters the social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth of economically at-risk children and their families. Small Steps works by employing highly qualified and committed teachers, ensuring low teacher-student ratios, and providing students with nutritious meals and transportation. This organization also has a wealth of data, both anecdotal and empirical, that indicates its effectiveness in providing quality, transformative early childhood education. As of June 2011, Small Steps had expanded to two locations, and had graduated 243 students to kindergarten or first grade. Students in this placement would work at Small Steps' Fifth Ward campus.

Past Projects

Teacher Language Training

2013-2014 Fellows, Kiara Sanchez and Allison Shields, researched best practices for speech teachers based on speech and language data and gave analysis and recommendations to Small Steps Nurturing Center teachers.

Bridging the Literacy Gap: An Experience-Based Approach

2014-2015 Fellows, Jayme Smith and Vickie Wang, developed activities focused on acquisition of words and development of language skills for children at Small Steps Nurturing Center. They planned and implemented a visit to the Houston Zoo with parents and children that was complemented by activities to increase language skills and word acquisition including a zoo song, zoo bingo, and conversation practices. They also developed and implemented activities around vocabulary immersion and art that would increase language development through a child’s experiences.

Early Childhood Education: Developing Motor Skills

2015-2016 Fellow, Sarah Hernandez, researched motor skill development in early childhood and designed a gear and puzzle kit. She then used a 3D printer and laser cutting to create these kits which involve gear parts and puzzle pieces that can be arranged in 3D space and donated the kits to Small Steps Nurturing Center. 


YES Prep Fifth Ward

YES Prep Public Schools exist to increase the number of low-income Houstonians who graduate from a four-year college prepared to compete in a global marketplace and committed to improving disadvantaged communities. YES Prep students are typically economically disadvantaged, Hispanic or African-American, and first-generation college bound. Their unique and replicable educational model is marked by small classroom sizes, rigorous curriculum, an extensive student support system, service learning, and personalized college counseling. Now composed of ten different campuses throughout the Houston area, YES Prep is committed to providing a quality college preparatory education for all students.

Past Projects

Express Yourself

2011-2012 Fellow, Cynthia Novoa, held dance workshops and choreographed a dance performance that students learned and performed at the Rice Owls Dance Team Spring Show at Rice University.

Titans Take the Stage

2013-2014 Fellows, Tasneem Islam and Annie Zeumer, led workshops with students on performing monologues, acting, and auditioning. They planned and implemented a final student performance and field trip to see a play by Rice University’s Theatre Department.

The Future Voices of the Fifth Ward

2013-2014 Fellows, Cara Miekka and Christapher Vasquez-Corpus, created curriculum, activities, and lesion plans for a creative writing class. They had students practice writing and self-reflection on their own life experiences. Students practiced writing techniques, writing autobiographical stories, and creating a class anthology as the final project.

Medical Professions Talent Time at Yes Prep

2016-2017 Fellow, Josh Marrs, led a weekly workshop introducing students to many different medical professions. He engaged students on learning about resources and opportunities for high school students to volunteer and engage in preparation for a medical profession, and he coordinated students attending a camp for high schoolers interested in a medical profession. 


Tentative Partners


Cane River Gardens, Inc.

Cane River Gardens, Inc. seeks to enhance the quality of urban life and strengthen community bonds by creating and sustaining an organic community garden and farmer's market.


EPSI Staffing, Inc.

Executive Personnel Services, Inc. (EPSI Staffing) is a full service human resources firm managing staffing services for both commerical and public-sector clients nationwide. In , EPSI opened a branch office in the heart of the Fifth Ward Community with a community-rooted mission to prepare and connect ready-to-work residents with immediate job opportunities. They work with social services agencies and offer a "real-world" component to their existing job readiness programs.