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To improve the quality of life for people of African descent (all people) through programs and activities, with emphasis on Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.

shape.org Tax ID 23-7176982


As one of the most visible and involved community centers in Houston’s African-American community and the Houston community as a whole, S.H.A.P.E. has led the way toward justice, equal opportunity, and institution building in the city, state, nation and world. Because of its deep commitment to the community, S.H.A.P.E. has actively sought ways to oppose injustice and to better the community for all people.

In 1969, S.H.A.P.E. (Self-Help for African People through Education) Community Center was founded. Today, the Center provides:

Family Strengthening & Empowerment Programs year-round, with parent support groups, youth/family guidance and counseling;

Community Empowerment Programs, including a Fruit & Vegetable Cooperative, Wholistic Health Activities, Kwanzaa Celebrations, Council of Elders, Pan African Cultural Festival, Legal Assistance Clinics, Youth & Adult Computer Classes, and Forums for Community Issues, and other Empowerment Activities.

All of these programs are geared towards youth, family and the revitalization and strengthening of the family.

For 48 years and counting, S.H.A.P.E. has survived the ebbs and flows of the civil rights movement. S.H.A.P.E.’s journey from a small organization to one of international scope mirrors the transition of its leadership. The center, which originally had a staff of two, now supports 20 full and part-time/seasonal staff and hundreds of volunteers. The outreach, which began locally, has now gained national and international attention. The people of Gambia embraced the S.H.A.P.E. philosophy and a S.H.A.P.E. Center in The Gambia was born in 2001.

For its efforts in improving the quality of life for children, family and the community as a whole, S.H.A.P.E. has received over 400 awards over the years, including the Jefferson Award, MLK Humanitarian Award, State of Texas (TCADA) Substance Abuse Prevention Award, along with many others too numerous to list. S.H.A.P.E. has made presentations in London, England on “Building Institutions” in 1993 and in Washington, D.C. for the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). It has conducted many seminars for schools throughout the Greater Houston and Southeast Texas area.

S.H.A.P.E. recognizes that the philosophy of interdependence is the key ingredient in the community succeeding in all of its endeavors. By putting aside material gains and comforts, S.H.A.P.E. has accomplished many of its goals for uplifting the African-American community through the seven principles of Kwanzaa – Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith, and to...