POPA Helping Houston

POPA Helping Houston, the Post Oak Parents Association’s community service program, returns for its second year of getting out into our city and making a difference in our communities. Our monthly volunteer days give us the chance to make positive impacts in a variety of areas and for people throughout town. Post Oak families really came through during the days after Hurricane Harvey, and we continued in that spirit of helping others with volunteer opportunities throughout last school year. Some of the volunteer days last year included painting/refreshing the library at Nat Q. Henderson Elementary, blanket-making for low-income families, sorting donated books at Books Between Kids, cleaning up a portion of Buffalo Bayou with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and warehouse work with the Salvation Army and Houston Food Bank.

In addition to helping others, we also want to strengthen the bonds amongst out own community. Volunteering together really does that. And so does lunch! Or the park! So after our volunteer days this year, when we can, we’ll be getting together afterwards for a lunch here, a brunch there, or maybe just some fun at a local park. Anything to get to know each other better.

We are busy working on our monthly schedule. Books Between Kids, the Houston Food Bank, and our blanket-making on MLK Day, among others, are all on the list. Keep an eye out in The Post for dates and places as they get confirmed. And if anyone has ideas for future volunteering opportunities, please contact me [contact info in My BackPack]!

—John Duboise, POPA Community Service Chair

How You Can Help

We now have the opportunity to continue that effort throughout the school year. Details to follow. Please read the weekly Post Highlights emails for updates throughout the school year.

  • September 29: Books Between Kids, 8:00 a.m.
  • October 20: Undies for Everyone, 10 a.m. to noon
    Undies for Everyone enhances the self-esteem, dignity, hygiene, and success of disadvantaged students by providing them clean underwear. Disadvantaged elementary and middle school students and their families attend a UFE partner event where each child receives a bag with five pairs of underwear.

    Our volunteer activity will be a group packing at the UFE warehouse (4019 S. Braeswood). Group packings usually last about two hours and include an introduction to UFE and a discussion about why community service in general is so important. We will then complete a variety of important assignments, which may include unboxing, rolling, reorganizing, packing, and counting underwear that is scheduled to be distributed.
  • November 17: Houston Food Bank, 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. at 535 Portwall St., Houston, TX 77029
    The Houston Food Bank is a solution to both hunger and food waste. We will be working in the warehouse, where most of the projects involve inspection, sorting, and repackaging of donated food items for community distribution. Please plan to arrive at least fifteen minutes before your scheduled volunteer shift, so 7:45. Early! Closed-toe shoes REQUIRED. Smashed toes are no fun, so we strongly enforce this safety precaution. Casual dress, long pants (preferred), t-shirt with sleeves.
  • December 15: Don Greene Nature Park (6009 Cypress St., Houston 77074), 8 a.m. to noon
    We’ll start with a brief tour of the property to explain its features and purpose in Houston’s urban ecological movement, and then we will tend trails, plant, pot seeds, cover invasive bamboo, clean benches, and pluck invasive plants. We will only cancel if it is raining excessively. We usually work on cold days with light rain, so be prepared with gloves, hat, layers of clothing, and solid shoes. Students may bring their own shovel and rakes.
    RSVP online.
  • January 21: Community Service activity in Post Oak gym, 8:45 a.m. to noon
    Join us for blanket-making benefitting The Center for Children and Women along with Casa de Esperanza-House of Hope for Children. Our goal is 60 blankets! Join us in the Bissonnet Campus gym for an hour or stay all day. This activity is for the whole family (kids of all ages are welcome).


Past Projects

    We met at a Salvation Army warehouse to box supplies for families impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
    We provided volunteer hours to the Food Bank.
    We met in our own gym to make blankets for a health clinic that serves low-income families.
    Books Between Kids is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 to serve Houston’s at-risk children by providing them with books to build their own home libraries. Volunteer projects vary depending on need, but volunteers often help count books, sort books, pack books into boxes, move boxes of books around the warehouse, prepare school inventory lanes, prepare boxes of books to be sent off to schools, or even clean and reorganize the warehouse.
    We removed invasive plants…that means weeding! A couple of hours of getting your hands in the dirt is good for the soul!
    POPA has been partnering this year with Nat Q. Henderson Elementary in the upper eastside of Houston to do a weekly literacy event called A Bridge of Books where Upper Elementary students read with Henderson first and second graders to help practice and promote literacy. It’s been a terrific program and much appreciated by the folks and students at Henderson Elementary, and a great experience for Post Oak kids, too. 

    Henderson Elementary’s library needed a full overhaul. POPA Co-Chair Nicole Pedersen worked with Council Member Jerry Davis to secure funds so we could buy paint, a new rug, take off burglar bars, and give the library a refresh.
    We worked with City Council Member Jerry Davis to provide peer to peer mentoring of students from the northeast side of Houston. Upper Elementary students who wanted to join and commit to four Saturday afternoons, learned how to tutor children in literacy and meet with kids from the northeast side neighborhoods.