The Good Life Outcomes program aspires to promote a vision that advances inclusion, equity, and racial and social justice in the Houston/Harris County community. The program aims for equitable opportunities and outcomes for all by operating within a framework of three pillars -- Awareness, Advocacy, and Action. Each pillar has a set of related strategic activities focusing on Educational, Health Care, and the Criminal Justice System.
This program is unlike other programs for a variety of reasons. First, the program includes creating a broad coalition of members from various institutions. The strength of the diverse voices carrying the message is a powerful component to change policies. Moreover, the coalition encourages membership from the population that are most at risk and adversely affected by social injustices, thereby giving them a voice and empowering them to advocate on their own behalf. In addition, this project includes a “collective impact” approach, bringing people together, in a structured way, to achieve change.
Change Happens! has a 31-year history serving vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and has worked to build creditability and trust. This uniquely positions Change Happens! as a leader that can build and activate action to impact racial equity.
Elevate voices, stories, priorities, and knowledge to make local systems more responsive to the needs of the community.
Build power from the community to gain system-level engagement.
Establish partnerships to increase and sustain participation of diverse groups.
Create opportunities for people and the local community to co-create solutions toward social justice.
Implement inclusive practices to address the needs of people affected by targeted issues.
Increase access to health insurance and health care coverage.
Increase equity in the design of education systems, student disciplinary measures, and how resources are allocated.
Reduce structural inequities that exacerbate youth involvement in the criminal and juvenile justice system.
MEET THE GLO STAFF
LeMARCUS "Leo" NEWMAN
MEET THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ADVISORY BOARD
Name: David W. Brown
Title: Health Educator
Organization: Change Happens
David W. Brown serves as a Board Member for Harris County Department of Education Position 7, At-Large. Mr. Brown, a first-generation high school and college graduate is a proud husband and father of three. After graduating from college, he became a full-time entrepreneur and community activist. Mr. Brown is currently a Health Educator with Change Happens. Mr. Brown holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on Public Administration, and currently working on a Doctorate in Business Administration, Specializing in Leadership.
Name: Ruth Buzi
Title: Community Volunteer
Organization: Community Volunteer
Ruth Buzi, LCSW, Ph.D., is a graduate of the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston and has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science from the University of Texas School of Public Health. She is also a graduate of the Studies in Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston. Dr. Buzi was part of the Baylor College of Medicine Teen Health Clinics for 27 years. Her last position was as Associate Professor and Director of Social Services. As a clinician, administrator, and academician at the Teen Health Clinic, she has carried out numerous qualitative and quantitative studies and implemented various clinic and community oriented programs related to adolescent health. This includes teen pregnancy, young fatherhood, mental health, and HIV. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Buzi retired in May 2020 and is now an independent practitioner and consultant.
Name: Jacque Daughtry
Title: Executive Director
Organization: Literacy Now
Jacque Daughtry is the Executive Director of Literacy Now (formerly Making It Better) and has been with the organization since its inception in 2006. Along with the Board of Directors, she is responsible for strategic planning while directing the staff to accomplish board-approved plans and goals. Jacque also develops programs, policies, initiatives, and procedures for the organization. Jacque received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business, emphasizing Personnel Management, from the University of Houston and had 25 years’ experience in accounting and business management in the for-profit sector before joining Making It Better. Her passion for serving children and her community as a church volunteer and in multiple volunteer capacities at each HISD school her children attended, paved the way for her to help launch Making It Better. Jacque considers it an honor and privilege to serve the organization’s students, their dedicated staff, volunteers, and board of directors, and their Houston ISD partner schools. She also serves the community through active participation on the Greater Houston Partnership’s Education Committee, Change Happens! Good Life Outcomes Community Engagement Advisory Board, the Houston Community College Alief West Houston Business Community Steering Committee and as a women’s Bible study leader at BridgePoint Bible Church.
Name: Dr. Carla M. Davis
Title: Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Section of Immunology, Allergy, and Retrovirology in the Department of Pediatrics; Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program
Organization: Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Carla M. Davis is a Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Section of Immunology, Allergy, and Retrovirology in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, as well as Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program. Dr. Davis is focused on improving the quality of life for infants, children and adolescents with food allergies and is published in the area of food allergy and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease. Her interest is the expansion of the current treatment of food allergy through translational clinical trials and community educational and diversity initiatives.
Name: Sheara Jennings, PhD, MSW
Title: Associate Professor and Humana Endowed Chair in Social Determinants of Health
Organization: University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
Sheara Jennings is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) and the Humana Endowed Chair in Social Determinants of Health. Since joining the GCSW in 2004, Dr. Jennings has been actively engaged in leadership, research, teaching and service. Her research has focused on the well-being of Black and LatinX youth and families in the areas of academic achievement, teen pregnancy prevention, healthy marriage/relationships and community-based interventions. Her current research activities focus on the delivery and evaluation of community-based projects designed to promote healthy marriage/relationships and address the well-being of minority youth via positive youth development strategies. Dr. Jennings has worked in a variety of higher education settings including: a top-10 business school and school of social work; a historically Black university; and an urban, tier one university. Her varied positions and roles represent the culmination of 20+ years of leadership experience. Through these appointments, coupled with practice experience as a master’s level social worker, professional trainer and diversity consultant, Dr. Jennings has developed a wide range of skills and the ability to work with diverse individuals and groups. Her approach is collaborative, task-oriented, analytical and strategic.
Name: Elwyn C. Lee, J.D.
Title: Vice President for Neighborhood & Strategic Initiatives
Organization: University of Houston
Vice President for Neighborhood and Strategic Initiatives, University of Houston, Dr. Lee grew up in Houston’s Third Ward attending public schools including Yates high school. His last two high school years were at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts, after which he attended Yale College graduating magna cum laude. Following Yale Law school graduation, Lee joined WilmerHale, a large firm in Washington, D.C. Returning to Houston, he taught employment, personal injury, administrative and ethics law on his way to becoming the first tenured African-American law professor at UH Law Center.
Subsequently, Lee has served in several administrative positions: interim director of the African American Studies program; twenty years as Vice President for Student Affairs responsible for a comprehensive array of student and enrollment services; and his current vice presidential role, Executive Leader of the UH Third Ward Initiative, that collaborates with neighborhood stakeholders to address disparities in education, health, economic empowerment and art exposure. For two decades he worked with Change Happens in many ways including helping draft the application for the $750 thousand Wells Fargo grant won by Change Happens. He is active in several other Third Ward organizations such as the Super Neighborhood 67, Third Ward Complete Communities, EEDC, SHAPE Community Center, and Project Row Houses.
Name: Sujeeta E. Menon, LMSW, ABD
Title: Program Coordinator
Organization: Change Happens
Sujeeta E. Menon, LMSW works at Change Happens! as a Program Coordinator for the VOICES program, a wraparound program to reduce the risk of girls in the Harris County juvenile justice system. Ms. Menon has 15 years of social work experience in Singapore and Houston. Between 2012-2016, Ms. Menon directed a 20-bed residential treatment facility to support justice-involved girls, which prompted her research and practice to support the desistance of girls within the justice system. Ms. Menon is deeply invested in systems change, gender and trauma-responsive care, and culturally relevant intervention for girls involved in the juvenile justice system. Ms. Menon is expected to graduate with a PhD in Social Work in May 2021 from the UH Graduate College of Social Work. Her dissertation is focused on the needs and experiences of justice-involved girls, designed to better elucidate their unique pathways to successful re-entry. Ms. Menon is also certified in RealityTherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, psychodynamic, Restorative Justice, Mental Health First Aid and is a now a certified Trauma-informed care trainer by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She has published her work in a variety of journals focused on youth development and juvenile justice.