It’s hard to believe that the 2013-2014 academic year is already upon us! Today is the first day of school for most young Houstonians and local college students. The importance of supporting public education – the students, the teachers and administrators, and the institutions – cannot be stated strongly enough. Education is the backbone of our community and the extent to which we fortify it determines whether we provide a support system for individuals to excel in life. In Houston, our wonderfully diverse city, those individuals come from different neighborhoods, incomes, and cultures.
I remember my first day of school at MacGregor Elementary. From elementary school to Hogg Middle School to my graduation from San Jacinto High School (formerly located at Houston Community College on Holman), this city provided me with the support system I needed. I’ve spent my life in Houston, working, raising a family, and trying to give back to the community that has given me so much.
As founder of the HOPE Clinic and having spent over three decades in non-profits focused on education, children and families, older adults, and health care, I learned that each area of need is part of the complex fabric that is Houston. Working for organizations like the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast and the Child Abuse Prevention Network and Care for Elders taught me a lot about how to advocate for issues and fight for ALL people. Overseeing the Mayor’s Youth Council and creating internships and volunteer opportunities for young people showed me that civic participation was important no matter how young.
Each student who is about to embark on the new school year has a unique story and untapped potential. Effective leadership at City Hall can help ensure that we do all we can to fortify our educational institutions, as well as other important agencies and community organizations, so that ALL students and their families are afforded an opportunity to excel. Only then will our city excel. I’ll work tirelessly as the next City Council Member for At-Large 3 to provide such leadership and bring all voices to the table.