The Houston Independent School District, the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and the Houston Police Department joined forces Monday to announce the launch of a juvenile justice diversion program that aims to transform the lives of HISD students in the Fifth Ward.
The program, which will be run by the Fifth Ward redevelopment corporation’s new Center for Urban Transformation, will assist students, ages 12 to 16 who are accused of nonviolent offenses. Instead of utilizing the court system, the CUT program will offer mentorship opportunities, volunteer work, and community-based supportive services.
When you meet Tristan Love, assistant principal at HISD’s Secondary DAEP campus, you first notice how polite and smartly dressed he is – wearing a light gray suit, pink bowtie, and polished shoes. He has a sparkle in his eye and a smile for everyone. It’s a far cry from his former life as a gang member.
Love’s politeness and respect extend to his students at the school, who are among the most behaviorally challenged students in HISD. They all have been sent to Secondary DAEP from their home campuses, many of them gang members. But this doesn’t faze Love. He’s living proof that coming from poverty, a broken home, being a gang member, and living a life of violence doesn’t mean you can’t have a bright future.
“I tell my students, my job is to serve you,” Love said. “If I hadn’t run into the caring adults I did when I was younger, I don’t really know where I’d be.” Continue reading