List of Class Projects
Leadership Houston Learning Lab at Felix Cook, Jr. Elementary
Located in Houston’s Fifth Ward, Felix Cook, Jr. Elementary School is on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Improvement Required (IR) list. The campus and surrounding community were severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and several students at the school are struggling to read at grade-appropriate reading levels.
As the "Best Class Ever", LH Class XXXVII developed the Leadership Houston Learning Lab at Felix Cook, Jr. Elementary School. The lab is equipped with computers, furniture and appropriate reading materials for below grade level readers. The project also encompasses upgraded classroom facilities for better instruction that creates intentional, curated programming towards stimulating literacy.
Project ROGO - “Resources On the Go”
Following Hurricane Harvey, Class XXXVI banded together to make a positive impact for those facing access limitations to needed resources by creating ROGO. ROGO, a multi-purpose mobile trailer, provides essential life supplies to youth in the Houston area, delivering those resources directly to youth in need. Working with our partner organization, Covenant House Houston, LH Class XXXVI purchased, outfitted, and stocked the mobile trailer based on the known needs of the youth they serve.
Rain Garden Project
We see it year after year, Houston is hit with torrential rains, and several areas of the city suffer from devastating flooding. The cost is millions of dollars in damages and sometimes, loss of life. While many debate that a solution to flooding isn’t clear, there are simple alternatives that every Houstonian can take part in. Leadership Houston Class XXXV, successfully completed the Rain Garden project in Memorial Park on April 1; and held a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 9th. Rain gardens are shallow landscaped depressions that capture, clean, and absorb storm water runoff. The depression in the earth, 6 to 9 inches deep, is filled with a mixture of sand, top soil, bark mulch, and compost that filters water. Native plants and grasses also help filter pollutants, evaporate moisture, and provide food and a habitat for birds and butterflies. Ultimately, the storm water runoff that rain gardens absorb mitigates flooding in Houston.
Rain gardens are a low-cost way that the city and Houstonians can contribute to decreasing the impact of flooding in Houston. Rain gardens improve water quality by filtering out pollutants and help beautify the city and its neighborhoods. Leadership Houston Class XXXV’s Rain Garden project is one collective effort to sustainable social, economic, and environmental impact on Houston, a legacy that will resonate into future generations!
See Houston, Love Houston, Be Houston
Leadership Houston Class XXXIV engaged in a project called “See Houston, Love Houston, Be Houston” to create art for a public space. Building on Houston’s diversity and creativity, the class worked with the Houston Arts Alliance to commission a local artist to beautify Houston and create a shared community experience. The result of this Leadership Houston class and all of the people and organizations that were involved is a 5000 square foot mural titled “Rail to the Sea” by Janavi M. Folmsbee at 1505 Sawyer St. The class would specifically like to acknowledge the Art Institute, Equipment Depot, Washington Avenue Arts District and Sherwin Williams for donations in kind and their support.
S.H.A.P.E. Community Center
Leadership Houston Class XXXIII took on the challenge of renovating the historic S.H.A.P.E. Community Center in Houston's Third Ward. Class XXXIII's renovation focused on S.H.A.P.E.'s computer lab and library, and included a total replacement and updating of S.H.A.P.E.'s technology assets (including a 50 inch smart TV, 16 top-of-the-line computers, and three laser printers), as well as all new furniture, over 1,000 new books, and new educational and entertainment materials for both rooms. Class XXXIII raised over $30,000 in cash and in-kind donations to refurbish the Community Center, and Leadership Houston fellows put in countless hours of 'sweat equity' by painting, patching walls, assembling furniture, and installing computers to make this project a success. S.H.A.P.E. and Class XXXIII reopened the renovated community center on May 21, 2015 just before the start of S.H.A.P.E.'s summer programming. Hundreds of children from the Third Ward community have been able to use the new spaces and resources provided by Leadership Houston.
Leadership Houston Class XXXII in collaboration with METRO and private donors participated in a project that has helped to build 4 adopt a stop shelters in various areas of Houston. Each stop features solar paneling, artwork from local artists and is our gift to the community in hopes of enhancing our existing public transportation system and improving the quality of life in Houston. The Adopt-a-Stop program, an existing joint effort between METRO Police and community volunteers, is designed to keep communities safe, clean and to provide shelter. Only 20% of current METRO bus stops have a protective cover and this project will help make the stop a more comfortable place for Houstonians to wait. To further enhance the bus stops, Leadership Houston Class XXXII created a plan that will be taken over by METRO and live beyond the Leadership Houston project.
Obesity threatens the health of Houston. To address it, Class XXXI, in partnership with community sponsors, established an innovative, public, accessible, outdoor fitness park with five pieces of moving, interactive gym-style equipment that can accommodate up to 12 people simultaneously for fun, social exercise. "LH Fit" was constructed at the McReynolds Middle School SPARK Park in historic Denver Harbor. It provides this under- served community with an accessible, social, multi-generational fitness zone that will encourage families to increase their physical activity and reduce obesity. Class XXXI intends for this amenity to be a model for the rest of Houston as a place where anyone can have a beneficial, enjoyable workout for free in the company of friends, neighbors and family.
Memorial Silver Triangle
Given the time line, Class XXX took on a very ambitious and large scale project. Through the teamwork of Class XXX, the involvement of community and professionals, the Memorial Silver Triangle, located at the intersection of Sawyer and Memorial, was transformed into a Plaza that overlooks the Buffalo Bayou. The Plaza and surrounding green space offers an open, spacious and welcoming place for community gathering and events. Class XXX raised over $150,000 in funds for the construction and future maintenance of the plaza. Leadership Houston is very proud of its 30th anniversary project. This project helped in the beautification of Houston and provides a clean, artistic, green space for the community.
Class XXIX had a very successful project in terms of funds raised, media coverage, and magnitude of the project. They created a multisensory trail for the visually impaired at the Houston Arboretum. The Palmetto Trail gives the vision-impaired a rare opportunity to do what the sighted take for granted: experience and learn about nature in solitude. The trail is also a great educational tool for fully-sighted participants to learn about our natural environment and how to better utilize senses other than sight. The Palmetto Multi-Sensory Trail is the first of its kind in the southern United States, which has the largest visually impaired population at an estimated 10.2 million people. The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center encourages school and family groups to use the trail to educate young and old people alike about nature, the environment, visual impairment and overcoming physical challenges using the other senses. The class set a Leadership Houston record by raising $67,000 for the construction and future maintenance of the trail.
Dr. June Holly Leadership Houston Learning Pavilion
Class XXVIII demonstrated unity early on by establishing collective agreement on their class project, rather than following a competitive process. The result was assistance with the development of the new Westbury Community Garden, featuring the Dr. June Holly Leadership Houston Learning Pavilion. The Pavilion was funded entirely by Class XXVIII efforts and contributions and is the cornerstone of the community garden. It serves as a memorial dedicated to Dr. Holly as one of the founders of Leadership Houston, who passed away in October 2009 during Class XXVIII’s program. The facility is used as an outdoor classroom to educate children about organic foods, healthy eating, nutrition, healthcare, and diet. The community garden provides Westbury residents with an opportunity and option to grow and sustain fresh produce for their neighborhood and families within the community. The community's elementary school has committed to serve as a partner and use the garden as a learning laboratory. Visit the garden at 12500 Dunlap.
This is Houston Public Art Project
Class XXVII wanted to raise awareness of Houston’s diversity through art, and highlight the city’s strength in education, the environment, healthcare, and leadership. In partnership with the Museum of Cultural Arts, Houston (MOCAH), the class designed a public art project representing these themes, secured a high-visibility location for its display, and raised more than $20,000 to fund the art. Much of the funding was personally contributed by classmates themselves. Class members also helped create and build the 6 ft. x 30 ft. custom mosaic mural during weekend workshops over a three-month period. The result, entitled “This is Houston”, was the first public art project in the city to honor Houston’s broad diversity and is permanently on display as a gift to the city of Houston at 2615 Montrose Boulevard. The artwork also contributes to the city’s public beautification efforts and demonstrates awareness of Leadership Houston, as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing local leaders.
Youth Leadership America
An alternate plan was utilized for the class project during Class XXVI. Instead of the entire class working on a single project, the class members were encouraged to break into small affinity groups and work on projects together. At the end of the year, there had been 10–12 different projects undertaken. However, the project with the largest number of class members involved was the creation and implementation of Youth Leadership America. This program was modeled after the Leadership Houston Class Program with the target audience being high school students. Twenty high school juniors from KIPP Academy were selected to participate in the 10-month program. They started with an opening retreat, met one day a month to study a different civic issue and ended with a closing event. The program was so successful that at its completion, the Board of Directors of Leadership Houston agreed to adopt the program and will continue to offer a leadership program for high school students.
Flight XXV: Your Passport to College
Landrum Middle School students and their families graduate today from a novel college-readiness program entitled Flight XXV: Your Passport to College. The event helps young students and their families learn about how to plan and prepare for the path to post-secondary education. The program also awards scholarship funds to participating students upon enrollment in college. Flight XXV is the result of a partnership with Landrum Middle School and the Houston based non-profit organization, Leadership Houston, Class XXV.
No summary available
Dogan Elementary School Remodel
Class XXIII adopted Dogan Elementary School, a northeast-area Houston ISD school for its required class project. Working with Principal Vanita Reed, the class remodeled the aging library and added books to its small collection. Work included fundraising, book acquisition, construction and special events planning, which brought community guest speakers to the library. The construction group worked on shelving, furniture and repairs to the room itself. The book group worked with the fund-raising group to purchase an additional 7,000 books for the library. These were library-bound books designed to handle heavy usage. The average cost for each was $20 per volume.
LEAP for Success
To address a specific need of “High-Risk/Low-Income Families” by developing a pilot program to assist in transitioning students from elementary to middle school. Research shows that “anxiety over transition to a new environment can be detrimental to the adjustment of adolescents. Students with low perceptions of academic competence and low intrinsic motivation expressed anxiety over their schoolwork when confronted with a new school context,” and, “providing students with transition activities at either the middle-level school or elementary school, or both, has been shown to reduce student apprehension while increasing a sense of belonging,” excerpts from Doctoral Dissertation, © 1999, Dr. Charles A. Cognato. As the Houston community rallies to support Houston ISD and other local school districts in increasing the graduation rates of its students, the LEAP for Success project is yet another step in helping students stay in school through building positive, engaging experiences, beginning years before students become more susceptible to the risks of dropping out.
The goal of this year’s Class XXI’s Project was to increase family literacy and to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. The class recognized that literacy is the cornerstone of a child’s intellectual, personal and cultural growth–so the collaboration was conceived. First Book–Houston is part of a national network of community volunteers dedicated to getting new books into the hands of children. Scholastic, a children’s publishing and media company, creates quality products that educate, entertain and motivate children in hopes of instilling the love of reading and learning. The partnership between LH, First Book and Scholastic Book Fairs has demonstrated that community organizations, working collaboratively can make enormous impact in helping children and families enjoy the pleasure of reading together, as well as helping to enlarge their understanding of the world around them.
Diversity in Common
Coming together immediately following the hideous events of September 11, 2001, Leadership Houston Class XX struggled to identify a class project that would have a positive, healing effect on the Houston community. The common thread that connected almost all of the project ideas was a desire to focus on children. Diversity in Common began as an art and literary contest for Houston area children age 5 to 18. Children were asked to respond to questions about themselves, their families, their communities and the future. Of the almost 250 entries submitted 83 were selected to appear in the book titled "Diversity in Common: Houston Children Celebrate Community". With this book we wanted to recognize—and celebrate—the wisdom of children, to take a break from our world-weary grown-up perspective and view our community through their eyes.
Fire Victims Kit
Class XIX’s recognized the need to assist victims immediately after losses due to fire. Their project was worked in collaboration with the American Red Cross and resulted in the development of a kit for victims of fire. The kits will be distributed through the Red Cross in English and Spanish.
Creating Leaders in the New Millennium
Class XVIII’s goal was to expose Houston’s youth from all walks of life to cultural, social, and technological opportunities of the 21st century and to prepare them to assume a leadership role in the future. Through their project, “Creating Leaders in the New Millennium,” they reached out to as many as 250 children who currently are being served by more than 13 Houston area agencies dedicated to the community. To accomplish their goal, the class divided the project into four phases: Two Cultural Extravaganzas (Once Upon a Toon, and Medea’s Children); Take Me out to the Ballgame (Enron Field); and Technology to Kids (T2K).
Golden Age Hobby House Renovation
Class XVII devoted countless time and energy to renovate the Golden Age Hobby House, a senior center in the Third Ward. Renovations included clearing the second floor of the house so the space was again usable, landscaping, roof repairs, painting and decorating. In addition, the class acquired donations such as computers, printers, games and hobby projects. But not all of the improvements were physical. To ensure the continued maintenance of the house, Class XVII held training sessions with the Hobby House Board to address funding strategies and opportunities. The project culminated in a ribbon cutting ceremony held at the house and attended by Leadership Houston members, media and Houston city dignitaries.
Elizabeth Baldwin Park Renovation
Class XVI chose the renovation and improvement of Elizabeth Baldwin Park as their class project. In cooperation with the city of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Class XVI decided that the improvements to the park could be completed in 24 hours, creating the “Park in a Night” program. Enhancements to the park included a soccer field, new swing set, playground equipment, park benches, 26 flowering trees and a drop-shot game.
Weekend Camps and ROPES Course
Class XV completed not one but two ongoing projects that impact the lives of many children and youth in Houston. The class raised funds and donated their time to host a weekend camp for children with AIDS. They also built a ROPES Course for an inner city YMCA.
Sharpstown Leadership Academy
Class XIV worked with faculty and students at Sharpstown High School to create the Sharpstown Leadership Academy. Class XIV members constructed a ROPES Course, helped write curriculum, scheduled speakers and tours and developed a mentoring program for the students. Leadership Houston is continuing to be involved with the Sharpstown Leadership Academy because of this class’ successful participation.
Fourth Ward Park
Class XIII chose the Fourth Ward Park as their class project. They hoped to significantly impact the community, reflect the high ideals of Leadership Houston, and of equal importance, leave a lasting legacy of the project. Together with the Houston Parks Board, the city of Houston Parks and Recreation Department and a private foundation, Class XIII identified a potential park space, which was converted with limited resources and within a short and defined time period. The community was very responsive and supportive. An outreach committee was formed to seek community consensus on the park design and amenities. The committee chose to plant trees, invest in picnic tables, barbecue pits, benches, walking paths and a reading area for children.
Dogan Elementary Mentor and Tutor Program
Class XII incorporated several events to create one great program for the students at Dogan Elementary School, the parents and the surrounding community. Dogan Elementary was adopted because it was an inner city school without an identified business/ school partner. Class XII developed the following: mentoring and tutoring of students specifically for developing test taking skills; substitute teaching; establishment of a student council and school safety patrol; recreational field trips (rodeo, NASA, opera, attendance of an HSPVA performance); books for the library; T-shirts for the school to sell; and creation of a SPARK School Park with trees planted by Leadership Houston Class XII members. Because of the class’ efforts Texaco has adopted Dogan Elementary.
Fifth Ward Enrichment Program
Class XI selected the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program (FWEP) as its class project. Class members held a career day for the FWEP students, primarily young, black males from Houston’s Fifth Ward, to expose these students to role models from a variety of occupations. The students visited class members’ places of business in order to see where an attorney, police officer, etc. work. The students were also given a bus tour of several local colleges. The final event was a banquet for the participants, their parents and the staff from FWEP.
Stereotype Awareness Program
A Lamar High School student wrote a play about ethnic stereotypes, which was brought to the attention of a Class X member. The class scheduled a performance of the play by Lamar students at the Main Street Theatre and distributed videos of the performance with teacher workbooks to designated HISD schools for use in stereotype awareness programs.
Community Garden Project
A community garden project at the M.C. Williams Middle School in Acres Home was the focus for Class IX. The class had a career day for students and planted a garden, which was maintained by the school children during the year and senior citizens during the summer. The food items from the garden help stock food pantries in the area with fresh vegetables.
Frederick Douglas Elementary School Library Book Drive
Frederick Douglas Elementary School (Pre-K through 6) had a school library that did not meet TEA guidelines because there were less than eight books per child. Class VIII decided to raise money and in-kind donations to bring the library up to standards. Book bins were placed at Randall’s, Brentano’s and other locations to collect donations. Funds raised by the class allowed the students to choose books from the public library’s Used Book Sale and a celebration carnival was held at school for the class, teachers and parents.
Academic Mentor Program
Class VII selected academic mentorship of students at Jeff Davis High School as their project. The project began with a school assembly for the 10th, 11th and 12th grade students. Class members continued to visit the school weekly/ bi-monthly for approximately six months. They discussed the importance of staying in school, options in the work place, problems they might be having, etc. The program is still in existence as Leadership 2000. Through the efforts of Class VII many students were the first in their families to graduate from high school.
Casa de Experanza
Casa de Esperanza, a home for children in crisis (HIV, AIDS, abuse, homeless) was chosen as the Class VI project. The class solicited donations from the community and corporations for diapers, baby food, clothing, toys, a van, etc. All items were in-kind donations or supplied by the class. The home was also painted, carpeted, restocked with supplies and landscaped. Medical supplies were also obtained for the clinic.