ABOVE: Harris County Precinct 1 Commisioner Rodney Ellis with kids at the Street Olympics
The Harris County Commissioners Court recently approved nearly $150,000 in federal grants for Precinct One programs that assist young people and senior citizens.
The nonprofit, Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics Inc., was awarded a $42,024 Community Development Block Grant for the Harris County Aquatics Program, $28,993 for Discovery Camp and $58,502 for the Summer Games, and the Seniors Drama Program received a $20,000 grant.
In 1986, the late Commissioner El Franco Lee created the ever popular Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics Program, affectionately known as the “Street Olympics” to implement and sustain year-round programs that provide training, support and resources that lead to healthy and productive lives for Houston-area youth.
Since its inception, it has grown from a summer only recreational program to include four major components that address the social service, health care, educational and vocational needs of Harris County youth. The Aquatics Program offers swimming lessons and competitive swimming for youth. In July, Learn-to-Swim students compete in a friendly competition at the Harris County Aquatics Center. Discovery Camp, which runs through the summer months, offers children ages 6-13 a one-day adventure that includes educational activities, games, crafts and projects that give them hands-on experience to help understand nature in natural settings at Challenger Seven Memorial and Deussen parks.
The Summer Games give Harris County youth at participating agencies a chance to compete in traditional street games such as kickball, jacks, hopscotch, Hula Hoop and foot races. The best participants at the agencies – which include Houston Parks and Recreation Department sites, YMCAs, churches and other youth centers – earn the right to compete at the Final Event in August at NRG Arena, where they can win medals.
The Seniors Drama Program, directed by playwright Thomas Meloncon, provides acting and dance lessons. Seniors participate as actors, understudies and costume designers. Throughout the year, they perform plays that raise awareness of crucial issues affecting seniors.