In 2010, Bonding Against Adversity initiated Healthy living, Dropout Prevention and Citizenship Assistance Programs. All were designed to provide education and assistance to this underserved community. We started with two classes held in one church, and over the course of four years, the programs flourished. In 2014 there were 20 classes held in several different organizations, hosting 800 participants.
- Healthy living programs consisted of three components: classes for nutrition, exercise classes (Zumba©) and healthy living information dissemination teams. Through these programs, the community has experienced a significant decline in mother and child obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes and generally improved awareness about the necessity of healthy living through diet (nutrition) and exercise. As an off-shoot of these programs, the community has created its own small economy of mothers becoming Zumba© instructors, forming and charging other community members for these exercise classes. Also, through Bonding’s partnership, several of the community members have become Harris County Department of Health Certified Health Educators and regularly share information with the community about healthy living and other health-related issues. Because of the success of these programs, Bonding has discontinued offering the programs under its sponsorship with the programs having become the responsibility of the community, but Bonding remains in contact with the community to aid if required.
- From the 2010-2011 through the 2016-2017 school years, Bonding, in cooperation with Aldine Independent School District (AISD) at Hambrick Middle School, MacArthur 9th Grade School and MacArthur High School, offered an after-school program of academic and personal assistance for student’s that had been identified as at risk of dropping out of school before receiving their high school diploma. Over this period, Bonding’s One on One Mentoring for Students with Potential Program was offered to more than 600 students, and Bonding provided scholarships exceeding $35,000 to students and their college and university mentors. During the duration of the program, other than student’s moving away from AISD, only one student dropped out of school to work to help his family with needed income. Unfortunately, the primary fund provider for this program reduced its funding to a level that does not allow Bonding to continue offering the program; therefore, the program has been suspended.
- From the formation of Bonding up to today, Bonding has recognized one of the greatest needs in this and other areas of Harris, Ft. Bend and Montgomery Counties, Texas is assistance for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) who are qualified and want to become United States citizens. Unfortunately, many of these LPRs are unable to afford the cost of citizenship preparation and application, have limited English language capability and some are only semi-literate. To meet this need, Bonding has focused its efforts on providing free citizenship application workshops and citizenship preparation classes. Through these efforts, Bonding assists more than 1200 LPRs per year in becoming U.S. citizens.