It amazes me how quickly the year has passed. In great reflection and gratitude, we look back to some of the highlights of 2013 and forward to what the New Year has in-store for us here at The Harris Foundation.
I am happy to share with you that our RWJF Community Health Leaders (RWJF CHL) program just celebrated a monumental milestone. This past December, the RWJF Community Health Leaders held their 20th Anniversary celebration in Philadelphia to pay homage to the men and women who helped to make the program such a success. The RWJF CHL's National Program Director, Janice Ford Griffin, says the "Community Health Leaders are characterized by three specific traits-they are courageous, they are creative, and they are committed". For twenty years, the program recognized and honored a total of 206 extraordinary individuals who have overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities, especially among society's most vulnerable populations.
Our Dare to Dream (DTD) program began its eighteenth year working with schools in Harris County, Texas last school-year and is currently in eleven elementary and middle schools; providing students with a curriculum focusing on self-improvement, community service and career building skills necessary to become a productive member in society. In 2013, the DTD program fostered a partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Houston Branch to integrate a financial literacy component into the current DTD curriculum. This new addition helps bring awareness to finances and how important money management is to the student's future.
I am also grateful for our successful partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation for supporting the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC) for over eight years now. The EMBHSSC has provided middle school students with the opportunity to expand their minds and their career horizons through our summer camps held at universities across the nation. This past summer we hosted camps at twenty different universities and reached over 950 students in the hopes of inspiring them to explore their infinite possibilities through STEM education.
In 2013 we witnessed the expansion of our first financial literacy program RockIt! The pilot launched in 2012 with the Houston Independent School District's (HISD) Marshall Middle School garnered such success with its fresh approach to teaching money management skills. The program helps students eager to learn entrepreneurial skills and the business of managing and marketing a music band in a fun and interactive gaming environment. This year RockIt! has expanded into five schools in the Houston area.
It is an exciting time for The Harris Foundation and the communities we serve. We truly believe there are "infinite possibilities" for the future of our children and communities across the world. As always, we thank you for your support and look forward to bringing you more great news in 2014.
Bernard A. Harris, Jr.
President and Founder