CGIU 2014 Commitments

Commitment to Action Title: Care 4 Homeless Houston
Report Prepared by: Zuan-Fu Lim

Commitment: Care 4 Homeless Houston aims to serve the homeless people in the community, through partnership with Change Happens!, by providing care packages containing much needed items – such as such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, body wash, a pair of socks, and a blanket – for the target group, engaging University of Houston health care students by visiting the homeless on a regular basis, and, most importantly, by raising awareness within the student population about the issues surrounding homelessness.

Commitment UpDate: The implementation of the project is now being facilitated by the Bonners team at the University of Houston, a group of high caliber students dedicated to advancing volunteer projects that benefit the University of Houston community. We will meet with founders and directors of homeless shelters to determine if our current plans will be impactful, as well as presidents of student organizations that may be interested in joining the commitment. The funding from the University of Houston allows us freedom to brainstorm more elaborate ideas such as local speakers, documentaries, and volunteer training to aid in fulfilling Care 4 Homeless Houston’s commitment.

Commitment to Action Title: The Houstonians Organizing People for Education (H.O.P.E.) Collaborative
Report Prepared by: Kim Mai Le
Additional Project Team members: (Non-CGI-U commitment makers) Adilene Mendino, Manuel Navarro, Sabrina Galloway, Kyle Knight

Commitment: Houstonians Organizing People for Education (H.O.P.E.) is the collaborative effort of 5 University of Houston students to enable and increase access to higher education among Hispanic and other minority Houston area high school students. Their experience at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Latino Leadership Initiative program demonstrated the endless opportunities that can be afforded when the pursuit of a higher education is a reality.  The H.O.P.E Collaborative has a desire to change the struggling junior’s mind about dropping out of school or give the overwhelmed senior practical tips on writing the best college entrance essay. We believe to impact one is to impact many.

Commitment UpDate: Since attending the CGI-U in March 2014, my group and I have successfully organized an event in partnership with YMCA-Houston. We have gathered approximately 50 high school students to attend our workshops, Story of Self, Strategy & Networking, and Financial Aid, and we have brought in current college students and other industry professionals to answer and discuss students’ questions about various career paths.

With the CGI-U funding, The H.O.P.E Collaborative was able to afford equipment and supplies for my commitment as well as marketing materials that enable us to attain more sponsorship and partnerships. In this upcoming year, we are planning two events each semester: This Fall, we will work with Project Grad and then Alief ISD on November 15, 2014, reaching approximately 75 at-risk high school students. In the Spring, we will continue to partner with local Houston high schools.

Commitment to Action Title: Microfinance Incubator
Report Prepared by: Marisol Garcia De la Cruz
Additional Project Team Members: Kevin Kwok, Calixto Mejia

Commitment: Microfinance Incubator provides business mentorship to low-income entrepreneurs in the Houston Area. These entrepreneurs are typically underserved by the commercial banking industry and therefore struggle to find credit in order to take full advantage of their productive opportunities. Microfinance Incubator will also provide entrepreneurs with financial literacy and resources to create a sustainable business.

Commitment UpDate: The funding for our commitment has been used for bringing food and office supplies to our monthly meetings with the entrepreneurs. We also bought a laptop for dictating the business classes and bought QuickBooks licenses for six businesses. All this support has directly benefited participants to the incubator and helped them continue growing their businesses.

Commitment to Action Title: The Dunia Health Team
Report Prepared by: Batoul Abuharb

Commitment: Recent polio outbreaks serve as a stark reminder of the underlying instability of health access in the Middle East. The Dunia Health team has spent the past year developing and testing a reliable web-based mass-texting mechanism to remind patients of missed immunization appointments for their children in a consistent, culturally appropriate way. This system increases productive staff time, alleviates wasted time and stress for patients, optimizes use of scarce vaccine resources, and ultimately reduces the incidence of vaccine-preventable infectious disease.

Commitment UpDate: This summer, the Dunia Health team spent time in refugee camp clinics in Amman, Jordan and Gaza to continue to develop our program and refine our implementation process. Our proudest achievement this summer was bringing in a child who had been 112 days late for his immunization. One text message made a big difference. Funding from UH had a major impact on our ability to convey our message to our clients, our donors, and others who are in a similar field as us. Our ability to educate the public about the need that exists with this specific population of refugees in the Middle East is the most valuable part of our mission.