At a time when judgment and fear can supersede understanding, we want to see what happens when we remove the labels that define us and, instead, listen to the stories and experiences that shape us. Will it change how we treat our friends? Our neighbors? Or even strangers?

We want to find out. 

Join us on a storytelling experiment titled “FNU,” a play on the commonly appointed label “First Name Unknown (FNU)” given to many new immigrants who arrive in the U.S. with only one name. 

*All featured stories are from Gulfton/Sharpstown residents & community members. We do not share anyone’s identity unless approved to do so.

*Trigger warning** Sensitive subject discussed.

F.N.U. – LEAP OF FAITH

“You start telling yourself, why the hell did I stay so long with him? But it was a love story. It just ended bad.

Every day I said, he’s going to get better. He’s not going to hit me anymore. He’s not going to treat me badly. He’s not going to tell me I’m not good enough. He’s not going to tell me that I pray wrong and he’s the one who taught me the right way to pray. He’s not going to drink anymore. He used to tell me what to wear and if I gained weight he said he wouldn’t buy me new clothes until I lost the weight.

I stayed with him for 5 years and every day it was more violence than before. Until one night I was choked 5 times. He choked me until I couldn’t see anything. It went dark, black. He would then let me go and beat me up, then take me to another room and choke me again. And he choked me so much that night that I thought I was definitely going to die. I could hear my kids screaming in the other room saying they were scared and I couldn’t protect them. It was horrible.

Click here to read more.

Handmade with Love

Students in Gulfton are busy learning new skills and test driving unique and varied career paths through a new community maker program. The program kicked off in December with Jane Long Academy and TXRX Labs partnering to create Christmas ornaments and jewelry. Products were sold at a pop-up shop and benefited the students’ fundraising efforts for the year.

The program has five more events planned including an opportunity for YES Prep Gulfton students to test drive laser cutters and CnC machinery with Bridge Year; a human-centered design workshop at Etoile Academy; an international fair and product development with students from Jane Long Academy’s National Honor Society; and an SEL-focused maker event with KIPP Connect Middle and High Schools and Baker Ripley’s Fab Lab.

Future plans include workshops geared toward parents which will introduce them to high tech skills relevant to the job market. Keep an eye out for our Connect Community Calendar to learn about future events!

Gulfton Holiday Wishes Fulfilled

This past December, Gulfton received an extra dose of holiday joy. Thanks to the generosity of many, Connect Community was able to fulfill the wishes of over 275 people in the neighborhood with gifts including dictionaries, recycling bins, biking gear, violin rests, and more! Click below to view a video with some sweet moments of our community receiving their gifts.

Watch Gulfton Guide Video

C2C Corner

Project 5: Connect to Character (C2C) has developed a 5-week model for after-school programming. Partner teachers have the opportunity to explore a passion of theirs with students while also incorporating social emotional learning (SEL) skills that build self-awareness, social awareness, and the development of positive relationship skills. Projects include robotics, with an emphasis on conflict resolution and relationship skills, and a cooking class centered on a teacher’s story of growing up with a single mom and learning how to cook. C2C believes that Project 5 is a perfect space to build deeper relationships and become more aware and connected with each other while having fun!

Another Year, Another 150 Miles

23 brave souls have joined the KIPP CONNECT MS150 team and they, along with their teachers and volunteers have started training for the ride of a lifetime. And the harrowing rides to get to the bayou each week speak to the urgent need for implementing the Houston Bike Plan so that we have safe trails to ride. Each week their mileage continues to increase as they push themselves beyond their limits. Special thanks to Lee Neathery from Bike Barn for special discounts on cycling gear as well as all those who provided gloves and water bottles through the Gulfton gift guide.

COMMUNITY CORNER:

Census

The Census is upon us and it is imperative that everyone fills it out so that our community gets the resources it deserves for schools and services like CHIP, Medicaid, etc.. To assist with the process, Census takers are visiting neighborhood schools to walk people through the paperwork. If you are interested in having a Census worker speak to your organization, please contact us here. Census takers make up to $24/hour so if you are interested in applying to be a Census taker, click here.

Small Steps

We are all eagerly awaiting the opening of The Small Steps Nurturing Center at St. Luke’s- Gethsemane in August of 2020, which will be open to two and three-year-olds living in the neighborhood. Keep an eye out for our monthly newsletters and community calendar to learn when registration opens.

Food Fair

CCSC & Houston Food Bank are hosting a food fair on February 15th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. To learn more, visit here.

YMCA

  • MLK DAY: 39 neighborhood volunteers spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day serving the community by painting and beautifying the garden at a neighborhood school. Thank you to all of the volunteers and thank you to Principal Hernandez and the San Francisco Nativity Academy for allowing our community to serve.
  • YMCA International: YMCA International offers several services including a 10-week free citizenship class, ESL classes and more. Click here to learn more about the services offered.

St. Luke’s – Gethsemane

  • Student Volunteers: Students from River Oaks Baptist School spent MLK Day helping St. Luke’s – Gethsemane clean and sort the Mercy closet. Thanks to their help, clothes and necessities are now easily accessible to those who may need it!
  • Ashes to Go: On February 29th, St. Luke’s -Gethsemane will be celebrating Ash Wednesday with “Ashes to Go.” To learn more, see here.
  • Gethsemane Cub Scout Pack 1956 is in the works! Join St. Luke’s – Gethsemane as they form a Unit Steering Committee to help identify scout leaders. You do not need to have a scouting background or be involved directly with the unit! Please contact Amy Kelley at akelley@stlukesmethodist.org for more information or to volunteer!
  • Emerge: If you cherish sleeping late and leisurely getting ready to leave the house, then St. Luke’s-Gethsemane has a worship service for you! Emerge Worship Community is a casual and chill worship service for those seeking to check out what church is like. Emerge is a diverse faith community of young people seeking to know Jesus, feel God’s unconditional love and serve the community together. Whether you’re in school, in the working world or both, you are welcome. This casual worship experience meets in the Gethsemane Cafe at 11 am every Sunday morning. And of course, there’s coffee, tea, and donuts!
  • New Website: St. Luke’s -Gethsemane has a new website! Check them out at: www.gethchurch.org

Legacy

The NEW Legacy Southwest Clinic is officially open. Call to schedule an appointment at (832) 548-5000. In addition, Legacy now has Pediatric services at the Baker Ripley Clinic at 6500 Rookin St. Houston, TX 77074. Call to make an appointment at (713) 351-7350. To learn more or to check hours of operation, see here.