The Gulf Coast Leadership Council (GCLC) is a 501 (c)(3) organization founded by key religious and civic leaders in Houston as a vehicle to train leadership from diverse faith and community institutions to go beyond providing services in order to develop the capacity to act effectively in the public arena.
In a multi-day training co-sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the Organizers Institute of the West/Southwest IAF, and Gulf Coast Leadership Council (GCLC), 111 predominantly Spanish-speaking leaders from 25 Houston-area congregations convened to learn how to be effective leaders in their communities. Most the leaders came from Spanish-speaking Catholic and Episcopal congregations.
Trainees participated in nine leadership workshops that included topics like the Eucharistic Community as envisioned by St. Paul and leadership practices promoted by Jethro. All the sessions incorporated reflections on Scripture, religious traditions and effective institutional organizing practices. Groups from each parish were encouraged to engage with their pastor and parish leadership to explore opportunities for local training and the development of a listening campaign this year for their parishes and communities.
Leadership Development at Assumption Catholic Church, The Metropolitan Organization
GCLC has hosted numerous Harvey Intake sessions at churches in North, Northeast and Southeast Houston/Pasadena to connect agencies with victims of Hurricane Harvey who are still in desperate need of assistance.
“The purpose of these intake sessions is to bring recovery resources to a targeted neighborhood and community,” Elizabeth Valdez, lead organizer with TMO, said. “While many Harvey survivors have become distrustful and disheartened by the recovery process, these sessions have offered a more hopeful approach by meeting survivors in their congregations. Over 300 families visited the sessions and approximately 80 percent did not have a case manager prior to these sessions. For many, this was their first face-to-face interaction with an agency.”
GCLC leaders organized the sessions and conducted neighborhood walks to bring in clients from surrounding neighborhoods. The host congregations included Assumption Catholic Church, St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church, New Pleasant Grove Baptist, Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, St. Pius V Catholic Church in Pasadena and St. Leo the Great Catholic Church.
Sherry Dunlap, leader with TMO, said the organization hosts sessions at various churches and brings agencies to the people who are in need of home repairs. “Phones calls are made to seek churches who have people who have not received any assistance or did not receive enough support to get back in their homes,” she said. “Some of the people we meet with have unmet needs, therefore, we connect them with agencies who provide support.”
Dunlap said the organization also works to be advocates for the people they are serving. They have met before city council to seek more disaster case managers, with Mayor Sylvester Turner about disaster relief funding, and with Judge Ed Emmett about the bayous that would be included in the bond.
“Meetings are conducted to check on the progress of people we have connected with the agencies, and to prepare for our sessions with the agencies,” she said. “Phone calls are made and received from Harvey victims daily to check on them and advise them as to their next steps.”
The organization plans to continue hosting sessions, which are coordinated in partnership with the Alliance for Multicultural Services, SBP, Wesley Community Center, Avenue CDC, Fifth Ward CDC, and other LISC Collaborative Members....
CCHD Assists Organizations to Help Those Still Challenged with Harvey Recovery, Texas Catholic Herald [pdf]