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Featured Community Engagement Grants

A Helping Hand
care packages 

Miya Parker, student in the College of Public Service and two student volunteers distributed care packages to include masks, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, facial towel, deodorant, and sanitizer to over 300 individuals including local homeless people in the Acres Home Community Area. A Helping Hand Project was created because there were families that had no access to these items in the care packages due to the lack of jobs from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Project Backpack
students preparing backpacks 

Jesus Garcia, student in the Marilyn Davies College of Business, collaborated with other organizations in the Spring Branch Community to pass out backpacks filled with pencils, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, and notebooks to 144 community members. Project Backpack was created for the low-income families in the Spring Branch School district and was meant to relieve the stress and worries some of the families on the north side of SBISD of buying school supplies.

Finding Hope
goody bags 

Vincent J. McCauley, Social Work major, along with up to five student volunteers assisted in the development and the implementation of the "Finding Hope" program. The program was designed to address the multi-faceted complexity of homelessness issues facing a majority of those displaced in the greater Houston area. They immediately serviced and distributed 50 "goody bags" in addition to a 3-pound bag of fresh Washington apples. This project was conducted at "The Beacon" in the heart of urban downtown Houston.

Lessons on the Lawn
students on lawn 

UHD alum, UHD graduate student, and community activist, Angelica Jones along with one student volunteer coordinated a plan crafted with the intent of fostering students as well as parents into a sense of community and support children's literacy development by conducting "Lessons on the Lawn". The program is designed to meet each child where they are at academically. A total of 14 community members were impacted both the students and the parents. The project was conducted in the Fifth Ward and Kashmere Garden area.

Behind Closed Doors
group photo of student volunteers in Nigeria 

Science majors Chinaecherem Eze, Natasha Jadagu and Chidozie Oguejio for led a project to help bring awareness to mental health issues, educate about the signs, symptoms, and management resources, and assist in reducing mental and emotional stress. Student volunteers collected donations of school supplies, toiletries and clothing to distribute to families in Nigeria to assist in reducing household financial stress.

Resourceful Houston
hygiene kits on table 

"Connecting the Homeless to Available Resouces" with the help of Post-Baccalaureate UHD student Sinithya Iyengar and Science majors Jauna Melendez and Erin McLean this project was created to help address the lack of resources available to individuals who experience homelessness. Student volunteers helped assemble and packed backpacks with resource booklets and hygiene kits and distributed to individuals experiencing homelessness in the various areas in downtown Houston.

The Boys and Girls of Zyon
kids working in garden 

The goal was to strengthen comprehension, boost confidence, and help build learning skills of low-income elementary school students both inside and outside of the classroom. Led by Psychology major Lakisha Johnson, student volunteers had the opportunity to work one-on-one with elementray students to provide tutoring services and activities to improve their work and study habits.

A Little Lady Camp
Kamaria Swan helping students in classroom 

Kamaria Swan worked with the lead teacher at Flemming Middle School to identify 10 6th grade female students who could most benefit. Girls studied social skill lessons surrounding the following themes: confidence, positive attitude, health, respect, emotional management, self-presentation, networking, financial independence, and goal setting.

A Chance Fur Change
Chance Fur Change mural 

Corporate Communications major, Mikaela Lopez, leads this project to raise awareness of resources available to safely own, adopt, and reduce the number of stray animals in the Near Northside Houston community. Student Volunteers created a "stray animals resource kit" incorporating available information and resources including contacts of local animal service organizations, clinics, hotlines, and businesses.

Helping People, Changing Lives
hygiene care packages 

Students in this project provided assistance to homeless veterans to compensate for the change of the weather and their living circumstances. College of Sciences & Technology major, Lacy Singleton, recruited volunteers to assemble care packages and prepare for distribution to homeless veterans in the Houston area.

Slice of Curiosity
Valerie Rodriguez 

Biotechnology Major, Valerie Rodriguez, helped lead this project by collaborating with minority-serving middle schools in Third Ward, West Houston, and the Northside area by providing students with an opportunity to increase their science literacy and encourage greater involvement in the STEM field. "Igniting Middle School Students to be the Next Generation of Scientists"

Art from Illegal Dumping
art piece made of tire waste 

Students in this project partnered with the City of Houston Solid Waste Department, and the Greater Northside Management District to bring awareness to illegal dumpsites in the Houston area by helping reduce the amount of tire waste in those sites. Led by Supply Chain Management Major, Anibeth C. Turcios, UHD volunteer students revitalized those areas with art pieces. The goal of this project is to discourage illegal dumping and/or encourage the recycling of materials in the future.

Cosplay for Kids
students in cosplay 

Students in this project prepared events for patients in children's hospitals and assisted living centers. UHD students dressed as superheroes and acted out scenes from volunteer-written stories and included patients in the acting as well. Since it's initial student grant, Cosplay for Kids has been active in the Houston area as well as internationally and is now a student organization at UHD. The project was initiated by UHD students and sisters, Milimar and Abigail Murillo.

Around the World Series
Eisha Khan 

The Around the World project started as a result of a conversation amongst young and optimistic college students. These conversations and collaborative efforts prompted student Eisha Khan to apply for the UHD Community Engagement grant. The primary goal of the Around the World Series was to engage the student body of the University of Houston-Downtown, as well as faculty, staff, and community leaders, in learning and becoming better acquainted with different cultures.

Helping Seniors with Technology
group photo of students 

Spearheaded by undergraduate student, Amee Stevenson, UHD students are fulfilling a real community need by inviting seniors at their local community senior education centers to bring in their technology devices and/or questions and students answer their questions and provide advice to better use the equipment.

Gator Pod
group photo of volunteers 

The UHD Gator Pod project was designed to provide college access information and support to marginalized students at Northside High School (NHS), as well as create a college-going attitude. UHD advisors were paired with NHS senior students to mentor and guide them through the college application process. The initiative was lead by Dr. RaShonda Flint and Reyna Romero.

Empty Bowls
student holding decorated bowl 

UHD Sports & Fitness Associate Director, Rhonda Scherer, applied for a staff-led Community Engagement Grant to have UHD students participate in Empty Bowls. The initiative feeds the hungry within their communities by having student decorate bowls that are later sold as artwork at local grocery stores as a way to collect money for the Houston Food Bank.

Money Management Course
Lisa Carpenter speaking at commencement 

Senior UHD Student Lisa Carpenter completed her Community Engagement Grant project during her final semester. Her project empowered clients at the Santa Maria Hostel to be financially self-sufficient by teaching a money management course led by a multidisciplinary team of UHD students.

Empowerment Conference Project

The goal was to empower the community by equipping individuals with life skills and professional development education, tools, and resources. Healthcare Navigation Major, Lydia Graham, conducted this project on her own by recruiting speakers (UHD faculty/staff, medical doctor, local business owners) to speak about financial literacy, health literacy, secondary education and empowerment.

GMO Awareness Community Outreach

The objective of this project, lead by UHD student Nena Mann, was to educate youth audiences about GMO's in foods early in life so that our future generation will be informed about GMO foods without biases.

Feeding Minds to Feed Bellies

Led by student Nia Griffith, the project aimed to address the need for quality, up close and personal nutrition education to low-income individuals in one of Houston's underserved communities. Student volunteers taught smart shopping and transportation tips, simple nutrition improvement techniques, meal planning, cooking help, container gardening and community gardening.

Reach Out and RISE! (Road to Independence, Success & Empowerment)

Business majors Caroline Smith and Devalina Nag lead a project to assist with the development of processes, and execution of The Women's Resource (TWR) of Greater Houston's RISE! Program which teaches personal finance to women and girls in Houston.

Improving Non-Profit Documentation

With the help of the UHD Institute for Plain English Research and Study, students Jennifer Ross and Jorge Martinez establish contact with several local nonprofit organizations and helped them to re-write and re-design their documentation by applying the Federal Plain Language Guidelines. Additionally, they provided introductory plain language workshops for the organizations.