Photo Credit: Houston Men’s Final Four Organizing Committee
Doug Hall (President of Houston Final Four Organizing Committee) was in charge of giving the NCAA Final Four a Houston flavor through numerous community service projects involving tons of volunteers. In completing one of their major projects among many this year, The Final Four team partnered with The Mission Continues, Lone Star Veterans Association, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the YMCA OF GREATER HOUSTON to host a Day of Service at The Blue Triangle Community Center in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
Ms. Charlotte Kelly Bryant, The Blue Triangle Community Center executive director, noted that “The Blue Triangle has great tradition and heritage. It was started in 1919 (formally the first branch of Houston’s YWCA). In 1948, ten (10) women of color purchased the whole city block that The Blue Triangle Community Center sits on for $1,000. The city of Houston was so impressed with the women’s determination that it helped them put on a capital campaign to raise $350,000 to build the facility. That is why we are determined to hold on to the community center. Not only does it have a rich tradition, but it also contains a large wall mural painted by Dr. John T. Biggers with an appraisal for $1.3 million.”
The Final Four spearheaded a complete renovation and landscaping of The Blue Triangle leading up to The Final Four Basketball Tournament in Houston this year. The renovations included the building of an outdoor classroom along with much needed inside and outside painting and refurbishing. Even more significant to The Final Four’s overwhelming community initiative was the tremendous number of young volunteers they were able to recruit.
“We are very very fortunate to have Final Four spearheading everything for us to include a complete renovation and redecoration inside the building. They have done power washing on the outside and a complete landscaping.” – Charlotte Kelly Bryant, Executive Director, The Blue Triangle Community Center
Bryant also highlighted the year-round swimming lessons that are available to the community in their 25 meter “salt water” swimming pool for a very nominal fee. On the heels of this very critical renovation, she sees the pool as a very important asset to the community because statistics indicate that the majority of drownings every year are African Americans. So, by taking swimming lessons at the Blue Triangle, children can be swimming like fish in a matter of two months.
Lucy Bremond with the Local NCAA Final Four Community Relations Organizing Committee commented that “The Community Center has created The Blue Triangle Friends to help get the word out about this newly renovated community center. The center is not only for the youth, but also for senior citizens, and we are always looking for more Friends to join the Blue Triangle.”
Bremond shared that, in addition to the facility renovations, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation donated 500 books to create The Blue Triangle Library. The center coordinated with the Houston Independent School District to distribute some of the books to various students in need throughout the community.
To become a part of The Blue Triangle Friends or find out more about The Blue Triangle Community Center, contact Kelly Bryant at 713-826-1056 (cell) or 713-650- 3877 (office or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the Center at 3005 McGowan, Houston, TX 77004 or online at www.the-bluetriangle.org.