I’ll make this short…or at least attempt to 🙂
Believe it or not, Change Happens is actually the name of a Non Profit Organization here in Houston. I was opportune to take a tour of their facility today. It was arranged by my Coordinator in Justice For Children, the organization where I currently intern.
The building is located right there in the middle of Houston’s Third Ward…it’s pratically the only good-looking building in the area. Third Ward if you don’t know is grappled by the infestation of drug and pretty much everything else that is to be expected of a community of such reputation!
We (2 other interns with myself) approached the door, and pressed the intercom, the door was opened for us and we sat in this serene reception area, with two marble angel sculptures adorning the corners to our right. “It looks like church”, one of the intern remarks.
And then we were directed to this conference room – named Gabriel – where we watched a video that summarized what Change Happens does. The founder, one Rev. Leslie Smith took it upon himself to start a rehabilitation project in the neighborhood – and it’s been 20 something years since then. He is said to have named the two conference rooms in the building after Angels (the one on the 2nd floor was named Michael)
Now what do they do? In summary, since I promised to not make this too long, they are involved in the community by providing outreach services – like helping families to apply for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc; helping youth prevent engaging in risky behavior – teaching abstinence , prevention programs; Mentoring Programs for juvenile offenders to transition into the community; Homeless Services Programs, where they provide housing for homeless individuals, and help them transform their lives such that they can apply for jobs, etc; HIV Prevention and Education; Summer and After School Programs for the kids…
Now what really attracts me is the facility itself!
As we continued our tour from the Gabriel room, we walked into the LIBRARY! Yes, they had a library which contained a lot of books, and a reading section for the kids. By now, I had already started noticing on the walls that there were artworks, only I didn’t know that they were going to appear everywhere…even up to the third floor. We were shown the classrooms where the kids studied, and there was a transparent window, where they said parents could peek to see, smile and wave at their kids and stuff…
Especially in the break rooms, the artworks there were specifically from Haiti where the founder goes about twice a year…and these are original artworks from painters and artist there!
Another thing I loved is the open space of the facility. We were told that because everyone was really involved in the field, they don’ really need an “office” as much… I love that!
I’m excited about this today because I have a reassurance that my vision is doable! Read the about section if you’re not familiar with it. It is very similar to my vision, and to witness the beauty of something that started from two crack houses, which were renovated, energizes me! They started their offices there – 20 years ago! And today, totally a different story!!!!!!
That’s what growth is about…and GROWTH happens to be one of my core values. I believe we never stop growing! Growing for me is accompanied by these other supporting values; knowledge and learning – which is what I’ve tried to spend the most of my life doing! It’s the end of the first half of the year, and I’m somewhat proud of myself that I’ve read about 20 books, some of which are completely antithetical to beliefs I’ve held strongly for a while – all for the sake of growth. I’m also grateful for opportunities to grow, like this internship for example, and even something as simple as attending some local event, volunteering, etc! It’s not something I take for granted! Life is a learning field, and I’m willing to learn as much as I can before I pass on to the great beyond! – hoping before I do, I get the chance to use what I’ve learned to impact the world in some way.
And to understand why this tour today is huge for me, Change Happens is directly connected to most of my core values: Growth, Service (which I wrote about here –>), Creativity, Balance…
Don’t know if this is too long already…but I’ll end with what would be my theme song for this CORE VALUE of mine – GROWTH!
Baby steps Ayokunle, baby steps…and soon I’ll get to that PLACE I LONG TO BE!