Houston non-profit Change Happens wins a $100,000 grant to fund its projects to narrow the gaps in health, wealth, and opportunity for Third Ward Youth.

Houston non-profit Change Happens wins a $100,000 grant to fund its projects to narrow the gaps in health, wealth, and opportunity for Third Ward Youth.

The grant was provided by the Foot Locker Foundation Community Engagement Program and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), designed to bridge gaps in wealth, health, and upward mobility driven by racial inequity while supporting community-based organizations ran by people of color.

“Through our Each One Teach One program which started under the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, we will be expanding our mentorship program at Jake Yates High School,” said Helen Stagg, CEO of Change Happens. “It is clear from the research that pairing youth with mentors improves outcomes in academic achievement, social behavior, and reduce the use of substances. We are looking to recruit more mentors for the program this year. We need more role models to serve. 

This program is part of LISC and Foot Locker, Inc’s national efforts on fueling education and economic opportunities within the Black community. It draws from Foot Lockers Inc.’s $200 million commitment to its Leading Education and Economic Development (LEED) initiative.

Change Happens is one of 16 organizations to receive this funding, which spans 12 metro areas where LISC and Foot Locker have a significant presence. The goal is to provide assistance to minority-owned organizations often facing unique financial hardships. 

“We are so excited and grateful to receive the support from the Foot Locker Community Empowerment Program,” said Steven Benson, Program Coordinator for the Each One of Us mentoring program at Change Happens in a official statement. “The grant will allow the Change Happens mentoring program at Jack Yates High School to add 50 additional young men of color, ages 14-19, and pair them with a caring male role model/mentor that will help them set and achieve their dreams, goals, and aspirations. These mentorships bridge gaps in health, wealth, and opportunity for young men living in marginalized and vulnerable communities.”

Deschaumes Mason is an 11th grader at Jack Yates High School. For the last two years he has participated in the My Brother’s Keeper program, an experience he describes as “unforgettable.”

“This program has helped me mentally and emotionally. I’m paired with a mentor and we work to build my confidence and self-esteem and help me realize my full potential in a world that tells us otherwise,” said Mason. “I feel at home and the reason I keep coming back is because I want to stay consistent with something that makes me feel of value.”

Laura Onyeneho covers the city’s education system as it relates to Black children for the Defender Network as a Report For America Corps member. Email her at laura@defendernetwork.com

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...