In this issue: The 15th Annual Fall Luncheon, Third Ward Go Champion Award   , The 2nd Annual Fall Festival, The Go Pass, Socktoberfest, Documentary Screening of "PUSHOUT", Sneak Peak into 2020, A Gift from HEB, Health Research Institute Conference, and The 12th Annual Spring Breakfast

Welcome to the Change Happens! quarterly newsletter, The Changing Times . Our name highlights "change," but more than that, it embodies the evolution our clients and the community undergo when truly empowered with education, resources, and the knowledge of who they are and what they can accomplish. This year, Change Happens! has been busy empowering people to help themselves through comprehensive programs and services. With your help, Change Happens! has changed the life trajectory of many underserved individuals in the community. Read more about our work below and join us as we continue to #MakeChangeHappen !
Change Happens hosted its 15 th Annual Fall Luncheon on November 1, 2019 at the Junior League of Houston. This year’s theme of “Changing Lives. Trusting in the Power of Potential” highlighted the important work done in the community and served as a celebration of the organization’s 30-year legacy of making change happen in the Houston area. The luncheon chairs were the Honorable Ron Reynolds and Dr. Johnetta Reynolds.

Hosted by Debra Duncan of Great Day Houston, Change Happens! awarded the Honorable Garnet Coleman with the Community Hero Award and Dr. Elwyn Lee, Vice President for Neighborhood & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Houston, with the Making Change Happen Award.

More than 300 attendees were treated to the sounds of featured performer Brian Courtney Wilson . Mr. Wilson was accompanied by the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy choir. Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (YWCPA) is the only all-girls, college preparatory Houston ISD magnet school with middle and high school divisions.  The choir is directed by Starlic Williams and Dr. April Williams is the school principal. YWCPA offers a tuition free "private school" education for all qualified HISD students.

Susan L. Taylor , former Essence Magazine editor-in-chief and award-winning journalist, served as keynote speaker for the event. Ms. Taylor, often referred to as the “most influential black woman in journalism today," inspired attendees by sharing her experiences as well as her passion for and commitment to helping our community.

Embodying the organization’s mission of “empowering people to help themselves,” CEO of Change Happens, Helen Stagg reminded attendees that a 30-year history comes along once in a generation and does not happen by accident. Ms. Stagg noted that nonprofit organizations face significant challenges and it is not enough to be passionate and mission driven. She stated, “without a doubt, empowered people are our most important asset.” She ended by saying, “this day is a celebration of all the empowered people who are leading the way to help others.”

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Ms. Helen Stagg
Change Happens! CEO

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Houston held a Go Neighborhoods Banquet on January 23, 2020 celebrating LISC’s 10 years of helping neighbors build thriving communities across Houston. Change Happens CEO, Helen Stagg was one of three recipients awarded the Third Ward Go Champion award for her dedication in spearheading comprehensive, resident-led, and collaborative community development in Houston’s Third Ward. Other awardees include Assata Richards of Sankofa Research Institute and Healthy Women Houston.
Change Happens! Fall Festival was born out of a need to increase the organization’s footprint and visibility in the Third Ward community and surrounding areas. The event serves to build and foster partnerships with community stakeholders that are committed to servicing others.

The theme of the festival, in its second year, was “Welcome to Our Patch.” More than 300 attendees and volunteers attended the event. The event featured educational and health resources, health screenings, food, community vendors, games for kids, musical entertainment, prizes, and more. This year, a 1k Family Fun Run was added to kick-off the festival. The festival emphasized the importance of family while highlighting health and community involvement.

The community responded with positive feedback and plans to make the 3 rd Annual Fall Festival in October 2020 our biggest and best yet are underway!

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Change Happens! is working to make progress in more bike infrastructure in Houston. In 2019, B-Cycle and Change Happens! collaborated to launch the GO Pass, creating a cash-based, lower-cost alternative for residents of Third Ward. The GO Pass is $3/month with cash payment available and allows you to pick up a bike at any station, ride for up to 90 minutes, and then drop that bike off at any station. Anyone over the age of 18 who self-reports an annual income of $35,000 or less is eligible for a GO Pass membership. Since the launch, 22 new members have utilized the pass for 357 trips, totaling 1,467 miles traveled in and around the Third Ward-area stations. B-Cycle now operates 109 stations with 700 bicycles.

In October 2019, Change Happens! partnered with surrounding community members to participate in Socktoberfest. Socktoberfest is a month-long outreach effort to raise awareness of a unique need in the homeless community. This year’s identified need was socks. Socks are among the most needed items of clothing in homeless shelters and the least donated. The project’s aim was to reduce this need by collecting and distributing socks to individuals who are homeless.

To help make this initiative a success, Change Happens! developed teams and partnerships throughout the community. There were several donation opportunities, including weekly challenges to help increase the number of socks donated.

Together, with community partners, Change Happens! delivered 3,560 pairs of socks to homeless encampment areas throughout Third Ward Houston, including Wheeler Metro Station to Fiesta, Chenevert St. to Main St., The Beacon Center, Library and Tranquility Park, Chartres St./Commerce St., and Runnels St.

Change Happens! would like to thank our team and partners who helped make this initiative a success. We are looking forward to our next Soctoberfest as we continue to make change happen in our community!

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Change Happens!, The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and the Association of Black Social Workers are co-organizing a film documentary screening of "PUSHOUT," outlining the criminalization of Black girls in schools. This is an hour and fifteen-minute-long documentary, followed by a guided expert panel discussion. This film takes a deep dive into the lives of Black girls and their interactions with the school system. This event will discuss the school to prison pipeline by addressing the disproportionate pushout of Black girls from the schools. During the last weekend of Black History Month, learn how you can #standwithblackgirls by raising awareness and advocating for change. For more information, please visit .

Click the link below for free tickets:
H-E-B opened its long-anticipated MacGregor Market on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, bringing fresh food, a pharmacy and conveniences such as curbside pickup and home delivery to Houston’s Third Ward.

As part of the MacGregor Market celebration, H-E-B recognized Change Happens!, as a valued neighbor and made a generous donation in the amount $5,000.

The 90,000-square-foot store four miles south of downtown at Texas Highway 288 and MacGregor Way sits in an area with low access to quality food, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a census tract where at least 500 people or a third of the population live more than half a mile from the nearest supermarket.
The University of Houston HEALTH Research Institute held its inaugural Health Research Institute Conference on January 27-28, 2020 at the University of Houston Student Center. The purpose of the conference was to bring together health professionals, scientists, community leaders, policy makers, stakeholders, and more from around Texas to: disseminate best practices for preventing and treating chronic diseases in diverse community settings; foster intellectual incubators that generate novel solutions to current health challenges; and build sustainable partnerships and resources to coordinate activities aimed at achieving health equity. Change Happens CEO, Helen Stagg participated as a panelist on the topic of “ Uncovering needs in local communities while conducting health equity work and finding collaborative solutions.”  In addition, Change Happens staff member Edward Reddics, and local Evaluators, Dr. Sheara Jennings, and Dr. Jeffrey Guidry, conducted a presentation on “ Using Social Determinants of Health to Implement a HIV/Teen Pregnancy Intervention Through Community and School Partnerships.”  The conference was a great opportunity for academics to foster collaborative relationships with community decision makers; community leaders and service providers to participate in progressive and unfiltered conversations with policy makers, researchers, community members, and public health professionals; and students to learn about the current health issues affecting our community and find ways to get involved.
Pictured from left to right:  Robiel Abraha, Research Associate, Episcopal Health Foundation, Allison Rosen, MS Lead Coordinator Office of Outreach and Health Disparities, Baylor College of Medicine, Felicia Latson, LCSW, Director of Program, Social Determinants of Health, Diane Arms, Director of Behavioral Health, Avenue 360, and Helen Stagg, CEO, Change Happens.
Change Happens launched the " Thinking Brilliantly, Changing the World" Speaker Series as an opportunity to engage the mind and imagination. Our first conversation with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a Sermon on Race and Redemption , sparked an important dialogue about race and issues of social justice.

The second speaker in the Thinking Brilliantly Series will be with Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr. Dr. Glaude, currently a distinguished professor at Princeton University, speaks to the black and blue in America. His books look inside the black communities, uncovering deep issues and offering hope. His most well-known books are Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America .

Save the date – June 18, 2020 and join us to keep the conversation going. Our hope is that these conversations will create a space for enlightened, empowered, and compassionate action.

Change Happens! invites you to join us at our 12th Annual Spring Breakfast.
For 30 years, Change Happens! has been empowering people to help themselves. Please join us on Friday, April 3, 2020 at the Junior League of Houston to help “make change happen.”

The complimentary event serves as an opportunity to learn more about Change Happens! 30-year legacy, our mission, unique services, programs, future goals, and how you can help make a difference.
If you would you like to become a sponsor or make a donation, please visit:
An extraordinary organization trusting in the power of potential to change lives.
We believe in putting our clients first to create a culture of extraordinary care.
We believe in working with each other and our community with trust and respect.
We believe in excellence and we don’t settle for anything less.
We believe in our connectedness and in deep collaborations which create power and unity.
We believe in learning and finding new ways to bring innovative approaches to the work that we do.
We believe in personal accountability and accepting ownership. We stand and occupy a brave space to admit when we are wrong and we have the courage to change.
We believe in empowering every person we meet to achieve more and we strive to create opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
We value diversity in culture and thought.
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