Message from Mayor Annise Parker
In January of 2009, the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act ushered in a new era of service and civic engagement. Houston, as a Cities of Service Leadership Grant recipient, is at the forefront of this national movement. I am pleased to join our President – and mayors of over 100 cities across the nation – in answering this call to service and announcing the release of Houston SERVICE.
Houston SERVICE is the City’s high-impact service plan, developed with the support of Cities of Service, a bi-partisan coalition of mayors nationwide dedicated to engaging citizens locally to make a difference against pressing City issues. The following pages outline a coordinated strategy focused on matching volunteers and established community partners to Houston’s areas of greatest local need. The service plan is a blueprint for action in Houston, designed in response to the feedback of hundreds of community partners that overwhelmingly agreed our efforts must focus on addressing pressing local challenges:
1. Increasing students’ college readiness
2. Strengthening veteran services
3. Preparing our citizens to respond to emergency situations
As a result, Houston SERVICE will harness the collective talent and energy of our citizens to accomplish these primary goals:
- Provide after-school educational programs for at-risk youth
- Enhance mentoring programs for our returning veterans
- Educate citizens on life-saving CPR techniques
- More generally, increase citizen access to volunteer opportunities in the City
Houston is a City of open arms and warm hearts. In 2008, I saw first-hand the outpouring of support and record volunteer response in the wake of the destruction of Hurricane Ike. Houston SERVICE will create a volunteer support infrastructure to accommodate and sustain this passion for service while strategically addressing the most pressing needs of our great City.
I thank the many community partners without whom this effort would not be possible, and the citizens of Houston who continuously and consistently make me proud to call Houston home. Together, we will make a difference.