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Posts published in “Day: August 4, 2022

Galena Park Library open for most services

Galena Park Library Staff L-R: Sisi Medina, Branch Manager Librarian, Nancy Vela, Cindy Castro, Venezia Gallardo & Silvia Romo-Duarte. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Pandemic and Burst Pipes had caused closure

By Allan Jamail

Galena Park, TX. – July 26, 2022 – All of the Harris County Public Library (HCPL) Branches were closed to the public due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic from March 2020 to May 2021. From June 2020 to May 2021, many of the HCPLs, including the Galena Park branch, offered virtual programs and curbside pickup for library materials and activities for all ages.

Ms. Sisi Medina, Galena Park’s Branch Manager, said they also continued to connect with the local schools with Crafts To Go during summer school in 2021. In addition, she said they offered some one-on-one English as a Second Language (ESL) and U. S Citizenship classes via online teaching sessions.

Galena Park’s Branch closed indefinitely due to damages caused by a broken pipe during the statewide killer freeze of February 2021. The branch went through renovation until Fall 2021 but continued to serve the public in a limited capacity. They offered online programs, and continued ESL and Citizenship classes. Local users were redirected to Jacinto City’s Library.

Medina said they held weekly Pop Up Library with their Curiosity Cruiser from May 2021 to December 2021 in the library parking lot, and hosted their two annual celebrations in the parking lot as well: Booapalooza for Halloween, and Curbside Posada for winter holiday celebrations. Finally in December 2021, they partially opened using just their lobby to members providing laptop and printer services again.

Teens and young adults using free adult computers. All ages can read on-line books or check out books for points to win many different prizes and an engraved metal Reading Medallion with lanyard. Library members can sign-up to win 4 Houston Astros tickets, for more details visit: hcpl.beanstack.org. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

They reopened to the public on January 3, 2022 with new extended hours. With a small collection of books on shelving carts, borrowed furniture, and equipment they offered some normalcy back to the community. They now have children and adult computers available for research, gaming, and school class assignments connected to printers. Medina said, “We have the largest collection of Spanish books in both fiction and non-fiction in the entire county.”

Medina said, “We’re still not fully furnished, but we’ve been able to resume in-person programs and some services. We have our full collection of books on new shelving and new computer equipment. Our Summer Reading Program events have been well attended and we look for ward to having new furniture soon. We hope to be able to resume in-person ESL and Citizenship classes in the fall 2022.”

COUNTY PROVIDES $48M FOR CHILDCARE

New program funded by American Rescue Plan funds will allocate historic $48 million dollar investment for childcare and early childhood development

HARRIS COUNTY – June 14, 2022, In a 3 to 2 vote, commissioners court approved a new program investing $48 million American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds for childcare and early childhood development in Harris County. It is the largest known investment of ARPA dollars by any county or city in the nation for early childhood education.

“Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment of any type of public program. Those positive effects also endure throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rates and future earnings while reducing any possible contact with the criminal justice system,” said Judge Hidalgo. “ We have an obligation to go beyond just the minimum standard of funding roads and bridges and public safety. We also have an obligation to support our next generation of workers and innovators and leaders.”

The program will increase accessibility to high quality childcare and early childhood development by 10% in the third-largest county in the nation. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality child care desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality child care in their area. Due to the high cost of childcare, often one parent is forced to stay home, preventing them from entering the workforce and costing families lost wages.

NS Rotary hears of East Harris County Empowerment Council

Rotary President Ken Wimberly thanks Traci Dillard for her talk on the EHCEC by presenting her with the traditional Gold Rimmed Cup for speakers.

CHANNELVIEW – At a recent luncheon meeting of the North Shore Rotary Club, Traci Dillard talked about the activities and goals of her social organization, the East Harris County Empowerment Council.

Founded in 2008 by Terence “Trey” Narcisse, of Barrett Station, the goals and mission of the Coucil are to Improve the Quality of Life. Dillard said that the Council “Connect Communities. Empower People. Transforms Lives.”

The EHCEC serves 6 areas with 5 school districts: Channelview, Crosby, Galena Park, Jacinto City, North Shore and Sheldon. The staff for this work has grown to 17 persons, Dillard said.

Some of the programs of the Council include food fairs, leadership learning, vaccinations, small business grant applications, back to school giveaways, holiday dinners for needy families, and more.

Dillard characterized East Harris County as an underserved area with great needs. There are food deserts, healthcare deserts, high poverty rate, and lower than average life expectancy. She said that the Council works in all of these areas to provide resources and opportunities.