Barbara Jordan Endeavors

Outreach and Development Project

Statewide Need
More than half of Texans are black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian or Native American and are less likely to receive the services and support their families need. A better understanding of the different values, cultures and customs in Texas can help to inform the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities’ future advocacy work, planning and grant project development. We hope to accomplish this by building relationships with organizations that are working to improve the lives of individuals from ethnic minority cultures, to support leaders to change the systems that provide supports and services, and to assist people of ethnic minorities who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to have better access to services and supports.

Project Goal
Build capacity to raise awareness of available resources for students with IDD, their families and the community. Partner with consultants to provide educational workshops and informational materials. Partner with consultants to reach youth and their families through monthly workshops primarily at Barbara Jordan High School and secondarily at various other school districts in and around Houston.

Project Summary
Four hundred and twenty-five families took part in 14 life-building community outreach educational workshops. The workshops’ approach to the students was high encouragement with a focus on “unique abilities” instead of disabilities. Through the Barbara Jordan Endeavors (BJE) supportive process, the students discovered and demonstrated a newfound ability and self-awareness. Testimonials showed that students exhibited a unique rise in self-esteem, capability and higher achievement, with a more positive working relationship with parents and family.

Although there were many successes, one example stands out. One of the BJE students with severe learning disabilities saw such a rise in her newfound ability, self-esteem and encouragement that she compelled her father, who has paralysis and uses a wheelchair, come out of years of seclusion to join the BJE program. Many students from other school districts across the city also joined the program and their respective teachers and principals requested that the BJE program be provided for their schools, as well.

“Victim to Victory with a Purpose,” a collection of stories from the program, touched a diverse group of cultures and backgrounds with new insight, awareness and appreciation for the many unique and valuable talents and abilities that individuals with IDD contribute to our community. Additionally, resources assisted in educating and enlightening the community on sensitivity, language and the proper etiquette, and created opportunities for inclusion of people with IDD.

  • Impact
    • 14 workshops served 425 families
    • Adult participants demonstrated a rise in self-esteem, dedication, determination, capability and desire to achieve more for their children
    • Students exhibited a rise in self-esteem, capability and higher achievement, with a more positive working relationship with parents and family
    • The community was educated on sensitivity, language and the proper etiquette to create opportunity inclusion for people with IDD

Project Period
Aug 2011 – Jul 2012

Geographic Reach
Statewide