Change Happens!, formerly known as Families Under Urban & Social Attack (FUUSA), is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, community-based organization. Founded in 1989 by Reverend Leslie Smith II, Change Happens! has "empowered people to help themselves," particularly those families and youth at-risk within the Third Ward Houston community. Since its founding, Change Happens!, has grown from 1 program to over 18 programs, with a staff of over 60 employees. In 2001, Change Happens! received recognition from the Texas State Legislators for outstanding performance in providing application assistance to uninsured families in Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria Counties. The agency has been awarded numerous certificates of achievement from the Department of State Health Services. Change Happens! has also been chosen by other state and federal officials to provide on-going assessment, training, and technical assistance to other start-up, non-profit agencies seeking to build capacity.
In 1993, Change Happens! implemented a youth drug prevention program, the RESCUE program. RESCUE initially focused on preventing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in youth. Through continuous program evaluation, other components were added. RESCUE Youth is now a comprehensive, multi-component program consisting of mentoring, abstinence education, delinquency prevention, as well as alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention. RESCUE Youth provides community and school-based prevention and intervention services to youth ages 6 to 17 in over 25 Houston area schools.
Change Happens! provides after-school and summer programs for youth ages 6 to 17 in Third Ward and Acres Home. Data indicates that youth participating in the after school and summer programs enter the program with multiple risk factors, including: neighborhood/community (economically poor, criminal subculture); peer (associating with deviant peers, poor relationship skills, low association with pro-social peers); family (single parent households, parental difficulties, e.g. drug abuse, ineffective discipline and supervision, lack of family support); school (poor academic performance, disciplinary problems); and individual (poor problem solving skills, alcohol and other drug abuse).
In 2005, Change Happens! moved to a newly built 27,000 sq. ft. three-story youth center and office building, located at 3353 Elgin Street. With the construction of the new building Change Happens! is looking to a bright new future. Each day Change Happens! continues to provide services to adults and at-risk youth in Houston.