Since Commissioner Adrian Garcia took office, he has made it his goal to strengthen, build and create growth in Precinct 2. He wants to see the communities he serves better than when he acquired them. This vision combines the realities and challenges in the precinct which includes; having amongst the lowest medium income, lowest homeownership rate, lowest education attainment rates and the highest number of children and adults without health insurance. To help address these disparities, Commissioner Garcia has tasked his team to revamp the way we work with communities by strengthening programs offered. The programs offered at our Community Centers and Parks now focus on improving the overall quality of life of residents by creating educational, empowering, and useful engagements that help close the gap that impacts our communities. The objective is to make Precinct 2 a place where people can work, play, and live.
Here is a look at what we have been doing to work towards this vision:
- One of the areas of focus has been to improve access to healthcare in our Precinct; thus, this commitment has led to a stronger partnership with Harris County Public Health. We have hosted several Health Villages in different areas of the Precinct where residents of all ages can access healthcare services. In 2020, we will be opening a new health clinic at Riley Chambers Community Center to help the surrounding community have convenient access to health resources.
- To provide preventative services in the Precinct, we have increased the participation of our homebound and congregate meals and commodities programs where seniors have access to healthy meals throughout our community centers. We are also collaborating with major health centers, such as Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center to increase cancer awareness in our communities.
- With Precinct 2 being the lowest in education attainment, our programming services work to increase the engagement with our youth and provide them with more opportunities that are fun and educational. We have added a new summer campsite at our Grayson Community Center. At the camp, students have the opportunity to be part of engaging activities and attend field trips. We have also opened our community centers and offered SAT Prep classes for our high school youth.
- Thanks to our Precinct2cares programs, we have been able to stand side-by-side with our community during tough times. Our Programming Services hosted food fairs for the federally furloughed workers, provided AC units for those without central AC, and equipped our community centers to make sure residents had resources available to overcome their losses from storm Imelda.
- Aside from empowering our Precinct 2 residents with awareness around health issues, we also create engaging opportunities to educate our community on social topics, such as human trafficking, fire safety, fraud, and county government. We are also doing Public Service Campaigns on our social media platforms to help build awareness about important issues.
- Our 2019 National Night Out throughout our Precinct 2 Community Centers provided much-needed resources to our communities. This event is essential to bring communities and law enforcement together and build greater relationships to help prevent crime.
- We are also offering opportunities for families to engage with their neighbors by organizing special events that highlight our Community Centers and Parks, which have been the home of “Movie in the Park” events that offer free, fun activities for everyone. These events have become perfect opportunities to engage with the communities we serve and provide different ways to connect. With over an average of 100 people in attendance per event, we have been able to put together the following:
- Movie Night in the Park: Spiderman at James Driver Park
- Halloween Movie Night in the Park: Goose Bumps 2 at Edna Mae Park
- Movie Night in the Park: Pokémon at North Shore Rotary Pavilion
- Movie Night in the Park: Coco at James Driver Park
- Fishing Tournament at Sylvan Beach Park
- Support with coordination of North Shore Futbol Club
- Along with our focus on youth, families, and seniors, we are also working on strengthening resources we offer to our veterans. We are committed to supporting those who stood on the front lines and have sacrificed so much for our freedom. On November 19, 2019, members of the community joined Commissioner Garcia to celebrate the inauguration of the former VV Ramsey Community Center into the VV Ramsey Veterans Center. Precinct 2’s Veteran Services Program was first displaced in 2017 after Harvey flooded the Highlands Community Center. The program moved temporarily to Pasadena, until they were able to find its permanent location at the VV Ramsey Center in Channelview.
- In partnership with Operation Yellowbird, a military veteran’s organization that constructs bike trails, we are working on a Bike Trail Project at Jim and JoAnn Fonteno Park. Operation Yellowbird's mission is to enrich the lives of our brother/sister Veterans by bringing them together in nature for camaraderie, networking, and support in an effort to reduce Veteran suicide rates and assist with the transition to civilian life.
- In addition to investing in the growth and success of the constituents, we are also investing in and developing our staff. In the past year, we have hosted trainings to ensure our staff is equipped with the necessary tools to support residents of Precinct 2. The training sessions include Mental Health First Aid Training, Active Shooter Training, and Shelter Training with American Red Cross.
The last year has been very busy and we are not stopping here. In the coming months, we will continue to work to create engaging programming that strengthens the communities of Precinct 2. Our goal is to increase programs, services, and opportunities that cater to the needs of our residents.
You, too, can become part of this movement by becoming a Precinct 2 volunteer! For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Chara Bowie at 713-274-2124. Together, we can make Precinct 2 a better place!