Visit the local schools in Third Ward, and University of Houston students are serving as tutors, mentors, counselors and social workers in training. The college students gain real-world experience while the younger children benefit from role models and one-on-one attention.

“Support from the community and our partnerships is a huge part of pushing us along,” said Blackshear Elementary Principal Alicia Lewis, determined to pull up her school from its “improvement required” state rating. “It does take a village to raise a child.”

The “village” is central to UH’s Third Ward Initiative, which focuses on strengthening education, health, business development and the arts in the shared historic neighborhood.

“The key word of the Third Ward Initiative is partnership. We partner with groups interested in improving Third Ward and help them be successful,” said Elwyn Lee, vice president for neighborhood and strategic initiatives at UH. Less than three years into the Third Ward work initiated by UH President Renu Khator, progress is clear.

“The key word of the Third Ward Initiative is partnership. We partner with groups interested in improving Third Ward and help them be successful.”

Continued Commitment

As Khator said in her most recent presidential address, UH remains steadfast in its commitment to improving the quality of life in Third Ward. “When Dr. Khator pointed out that enhancing Third Ward is a UH priority, it encouraged others to join the effort,” Lee added. “UH is a big part of stimulating partnerships that are beginning to produce real progress.”

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