Councilman Jerry Davis, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, HDHHS Director Stephen Williams, local businessman Lee Zieben, and non-profit, ProUnitas all come together for the benefit of Kashmere Gardens Community

Groundbreaking new Pilot Project in Kashmere Gardens at the Gulf Coast Arms Section 8 housing development.

What: HOUSTON, T.X., November 22nd, 2014 –  City of Houston council leaders, directors, businesses and non-profits are all coming together for a common cause; Community.  These leaders decided to invest time and resources in the Kashmere Gardens area in order to foster community support and wellness.  The first focus area for these support systems will be a 160 family development recently re-built by the Zieben Group.  The vision for this new community from all stakeholders is that it would be a catalyst for future projects by providing services to its residents in the form of health, wellness, education and workforce development.

Who: These projects have been led by Councilman Jerry Davis’ office in working to bring the people and resources into the same room to collaborate.  By introducing the stakeholders and helping to support these projects, the councilman has heralded in a new era of cooperation.  The genesis of the current Pilot Project was a growing concern for the lack of services available in the Kashmere area.  As community stakeholders, like HDHHS Director Stephen Williams, a longtime proponent for the area, came together to make a commitment with local developer, Lee Zieben and Adeeb Barqawi with ProUnitas. 

When: Saturday, November 22, 2014        Where: 6603 Hirsch Rd Houston, Tx 77026

            10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

HDHHS Director Stephen Williams guided the group to look at existing resources in order to capitalize on programs already in place.  He galvanized his staff toward action and in a very short time, a discussion on what could be done in the Kashmere area became a pilot project with a plethora of not only City of Houston resources but also local businesses and non-profits.  He knew that available resources was not the problem, connecting the different the groups to collaborate was the bigger issue. 

Key non-profits like ProUnitas provided the other part of the puzzle in creating an umbrella of providers within its network.  ProUnitas was created by Kashmere High School physics teacher Adeeb Barqawi, Mr. “B”, whose students received a proclamation from Mayor Annise Parker last year in recognition of their tremendous academic achievement outperforming 37 high schools on the physics district level assessment (DLA).  However, Mr. B realized that academic success alone would not give his students a passport to a better life. His students and others in the Kashmere Gardens area often go with basic needs unmet; nutrition, healthcare, and shelter. He realized that truly transformational change means that the entire family and community must be afforded the means to take advantage of existing opportunities.

About: Mr. B founded ProUnitas, with a vision that “One day all children -regardless of their socioeconomic status-will be immersed in a sustainable ecosystem of support within their communities by the collective action of government, nonprofits and business”. This Saturday, he will see that happen with support from the City of Houston, Councilman Jerry Davis’ office, HDHHS offices, The Zieben Group, Houston Police Department, the Constable’s office, The Houston Food Bank, Houston Public Library, Vecino Health Centers, Fiesta, Walgreens and many other partners who will all be contributing to the Wellness Benefits Fair as the first of many upcoming events in this area bringing families together with needed resources and opportunities.