HISD’s Westbury High School celebrated the grand opening of its new Wraparound Transformation Center on Monday, a first-of-its-kind, in-house community resource hub.
As the only WTC in the country, Westbury will offer high-risk students and their families comprehensive support services that may not have been accessible in their neighborhoods. These services address critical, non-academic issues that may impact students’ ability to learn by bringing together community partners and resources in one location and embedding them inside the school.
“We like to make sure we are doing everything and all that we can for our kids,” Westbury Principal Susan Monaghan said during the ceremony. “That’s what the Wraparound Transformation Center is all about – providing anything and everything our students need. No task, no problem is too large.”
Housed in a newly renovated area inside of the school, the WTC features a comfortable lounge area, a food pantry stocked with healthy foods and beverages, a student laundry room, a hygiene and school supplies closet, as well as a section for community service providers that includes Change Happens, City of Houston, Houston Community College, and Workforce Solutions.
“You name it, we have it inside the Wraparound Transformation Center,” Westbury Wraparound Resource Specialist Craig Zeno said, who has spent the last two years bringing the WTC to life. “I am excited and so glad that this is here, and we are ready to help the families of HISD.”
WTC staff include wraparound resource specialists, Ascending to Men representatives, outreach workers, community advocates, and health educators. But, according to Zeno, a small group of Westbury student volunteers called Wraparound Ambassadors will play a key role in the WTC’s success.
“They are the ones that are going to outreach to our students and let them know about the services that are inside of the Transformation Center,” he said. “They are going to be my eyes and ears helping us to understand what the needs of our students are.”
And the work already has begun. Westbury senior and wraparound ambassador Leonardo Reyes spent the morning of the ceremony greeting guests and helping to explain the importance of the new resource center.
“The WTC is going to benefit a lot of students because it offers so many resources,” Reyes said. “This will help so many students succeed not only academically but also through the emotional support we have here.”