New division focuses on grassroots leadership development, citizen engagement to empower neighborhoods
The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) recently announced the creation of a new division, the Office of Neighborhood Engagement (ONE). The new division will implement initiatives designed to engage residents in civic activities to make a difference in their communities.
“The new services will provide Houstonians additional access to information and opportunities,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As mayor, my primary focus has been and continues to be the people in our communities. DON’s new Office of Neighborhood Engagement is aligned with the priorities of the city and will truly improve the lives of those living, working, and playing in Houston.”
Coinciding with the creation of the new division, DON is pleased to unveil its new logo emphasizing diversity and unity. The new logo aligns with the department’s identity as “The People’s Department” and commitment to “S.U.P.E.R.” values — Service, Unity, Professionalism, Excellence and Responsiveness.
“We are excited to refresh our department’s identity and restructure our community service components to effectively support neighborhood-driven initiatives,” said TaKasha Francis, DON director. “Our new division will oversee programs that nurture grassroots leadership, inform communities on how to get involved in efforts that benefit their neighborhoods, and encourage residents to vote and play an active role in government. Working in partnership with community leaders and organizations, our aim is to empower people and build stronger communities.”
Paul Green, former coordinator of the department’s Volunteer Initiatives Program, has been named manager of the new division staffed by four community engagement experts.
“It is an honor to serve as division manager of the Office of Neighborhood Engagement,” said Green. “Our team is committed to working with leaders and residents to help vitalize communities. Our programs focus on leadership training, volunteer community service, how to access city services, voter participation, and how to become actively involved in city government affairs. We also offer workshops to inform residents of their legal rights as property owners, tenants, and workers.”
The ONE programs are as follows: Complete Communities University, A Month of Service online workshops, Will Clinics, Neighborhood Matching Grant Program, Citizenship Forums, Volunteer Initiatives Program, Mayor’s Youth Council, Voter Education Program, and Bandit Signs Volunteer Program.
DON’s other four divisions are Inspections and Public Service, Mayor’s Assistance Office, Mayor’s Office of Gang Prevention and Intervention, and the Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities.