History of Project Unity's Impact in The Brazos Valley
1995: Jeannie McGuire created and secured funding for Project Unity while working for the Bryan School District as the coordinator for its parent education programs. Funding was secured through Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as one of their Texas Families Together and Safe programs across the state of Texas.
Project Unity opened its doors in the basement of the Bryan Adult Learning Center, located adjacent to Carver Preschool on MLK Blvd where high crime, low educational attainment, and poor health status were prevalent. The neighborhood “Family Center” provided child abuse prevention services while bringing agencies together to address obstacles to services that families in the neighborhood were trying to access. Forty-five different helping agencies provided services from Project Unity’s neighborhood Family Center. Project Unity also purchased a mobile unit to carry representatives from health and human services agencies into areas where they were most needed. “I do believe that oftentimes we professionals give up way too soon on the parents and the family. I really do believe that they have so many strengths that they can bring to their family unit. They just need a little bit of support, a little help”. (Jeannie McGuire, : Partnerships At Work: Lessons Learned From Programs and Practices of Families, Professionals and Communities, funded through Title V, Social Security Act Maternal and Child Health Bureau,1997)
In addition to Project Unity services from the Family Center, Project Unity held town meetings for people in the neighborhood to voice their concerns regarding safety for their children. As a result, a couple of things were done. Kemp Gym was open Friday and Saturday nights (for 4 years) with over 100 Texas A&M volunteers mentoring to 200 neighborhood kids and a crossing guard was hired to cross children through a dangerous intersection where parents testified that they had been hit by cars when they were children going to school. Basic needs were met regarding food pantry distribution on a weekly basis.
1996: Project Unity was selected one of six national winners of the 1996-97 “Award for Excellence in Community Collaboration for Children and Youth Programs.”
1997: Project Unity was one of six model programs in the national publication: Partnerships At Work: Lessons Learned From Programs and Practices of Families, Professionals and Communities, funded through Title V, Social Security Act Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
1998: The Bryan Adult Learning Center moved to 1700 Palasota Drive and Bryan ISD moved Project Unity into a portable building alongside the adult learning center. Project Unity continued its mission for Texas Families Together and Safe which was: to improve and enhance access to family support services; increase the efficiency and effectiveness of community-based family support services; enable children and youth to safely remain in their own homes; and to increase collaboration among and between local community-based programs, state and federal agencies, and children, youth and families. Project Unity continued providing food for families on a weekly basis.
2000: Project Unity became a 501c3 non- profit organization with its legal name: Unity Partners. The City of Bryan Community Development awarded Project Unity the “Beck Street House” located at 1400 Beck Street near downtown Bryan for $1.00 per year.
2000-2004: Project Unity was awarded one of 11 “TANF Local Innovation Projects” across Texas by Texas Department of Human Services and was evaluated by the University of Texas School of Social Work as having significant statistical increase in moving persons from welfare toward self-sufficiency.
2001: Project Unity was awarded the Daily Point of Light award by former President George Bush at his library in College Station.
2004-2011: Project Unity provided tuition for Project Unity clients to attend Blinn Jr. College and/or Texas A&M University to reach their employment and educational goals.
2005: KATRINA: Project Unity competitively secured National Emergency Grant funding as well as United Way of America funding in order to provide case management and subsidized employment for 11 Hurricane Katrina Evacuees who were temporarily or permanently relocated to the Brazos Valley region.
2006-2016: Project Unity secured a contract with Brazos Valley Council of Governments to provide medical, housing and case management services for HIV/AIDS clients in the Brazos Valley seven county region.
2008-2016: Project Unity’s Safe Harbor Supervised Visitation program offers a child-friendly environment for children to visit with the non-custodial parent when high family conflict results in court-ordered supervised visits.
Currently, Project Unity is serving Clients through these 8 programs:
HOPES: Healthy Outcomes Through Prevention & Early Intervention
Family Resource Center
Special Health Services
Fresh Start 4 Vets
Brazos Healthy Communities
FAYS: Family and Youth Success
JTEP: Job Training & Employment Program