28 residents complete leadership training with focus on civic engagement strategies.
Twenty-eight aspiring community leaders from various neighborhood neighborhoods received their Complete Communities University certificates at a graduation ceremony held on May 3, 2023, at City Hall. The program, sponsored by the Department of Neighborhoods, featured a keynote address by Mayor Sylvester Turner and remarks by Shannon Buggs, Director of the Mayor's Office of Complete Communities, and TaKasha Francis, DON Director.
CCU is an 8-week course for residents committed to making a positive impact in their communities. The curriculum focuses on leadership strategies for vitalizing and empowering communities by engaging residents in civic activities, volunteer public service, and active participation in government affairs as constituents and voters.
“Complete Communities University graduates, I salute you,” said Mayor Turner. “As graduates of Complete Communities University, you have demonstrated the ideals of leadership, dedication, and collaboration that it takes to get things done. Your commitment to those ideals speaks to why Houston will be led with integrity and determination into the next generation. We are counting on you to be our leaders of today and tomorrow, and we are committed to providing guidance and support along the way.”
The CCU class presentations explore how city and county governments function and impact neighborhoods, how to effectively navigate City services and local resources, and strategies for building partnerships to address community interests and needs. The classes are conducted online and in person by DON staff with expertise in civic engagement and knowledge of Houston neighborhoods and feature presentations by City departments and community subject experts.
The CCU program was introduced in 2018 by the Planning and Development Department as part of Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities initiative. DON relaunched the program in the fall of 2021, introducing a new curriculum for emerging community leaders and opening participation to residents citywide. Since the program’s relaunch, 114 leaders from neighborhoods across the city have completed the training.
CCU Spring 2023 Graduates
- Yusulf Benson – District A
- Rachel Preston – District A
- Tamara Boston Cooks – District B – Kashmere Gardens*
- Ernestine Tizeno – District B – Kashmere Gardens*
- Dischunara Brown – District B – Acres Home*
- Barbara Aksamit – District C
- Jaharrah Jackson – District C
- Mary Sias – District D – Sunnyside*
- Charleen Jones – District D – Third Ward*
- Shawn Owens Lemons – District D – Sunnyside*
- Aiesha Odutayo – District D
- Desmond J. Watley-Calloway – District D, Third Ward*
- Paula F. Johnson – District D, Sunnyside*
- Ericka Calvillo – District E
- Timothy Luckey – District F, Alief-Westwood*
- Corrie Morales-Kennelly – District G
- Daja Gay – District G
- Diana Davila Elizondo – District H, Near Northside*
- Eric Jason Ross – District H, Kashmere Gardens*
- Kendra Atkins – District I, Magnolia Park-Manchester*
- Carolyn Henry – District I, Second Ward*
- Jeanne Beckerman – District J, Gulfton*
- Kimberly Burks – District K, Sunnyside*
- Elisabeth Johnson – District K, Fort Bend Houston*
- Patrick Osby – At-Large 1
- Jamie Nicole Martin – At-Large 2
- Karla Martinez – At-Large 3
- Keisha M. Pete – At-Large 4
For more information, email DON’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832-393-1061.