HOUSTON --Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced today the launch of a local volunteer program and an accompanying website. Houston SERVICE was developed to address three areas of need in Houston: youth development, veterans' affairs, and CPR readiness. The organization is also launching www.HoustonSERVICE.org to provide details on the service plan, its initiatives, and other ways for Houstonians to become involved in volunteer activities. "This grant enables the city of Houston to help both Houstonians with big hearts and organizations in great need of volunteers, especially those that focus on at-risk youth, veteran outreach and heart health," said Mayor Annise Parker. "I thank both Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation for funding the city of Houston as a Cities of Service Leadership Grant recipient, and look forward to seeing the impact of Houston SERVICE." After assessing Houston's existing service efforts in top-priority categories and collaborating closely with community partners, three volunteer impact initiatives were developed:
- After-School Zones: This initiative seeks to increase both the number of mentors engaged with the city's at-risk youth and the number of young people who are able to participate in academically rich after-school programming
- Houston Veterans Continuing Service: The veterans' initiative will offer peer-to-peer mentoring support to help 250-500 newly returning combat veterans reintegrate successfully into civilian life over two years
- Everyone Can be a Lifesaver: Recognizing heart disease and stroke as the nation's leading causes of death, this initiative will train citizens how to perform effective bystander CPR using compressions only. These volunteer trainers pledge to teach compression-only CPR to five others, which will impact the entire Houston population by having more residents ready to respond to instances of cardiac arrest.