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Aetna Voices of Health Competition




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BakerRipley brings resources, education, and connection to more than half a million people each year. Founded in 1907, the organization empowers Greater Houston's underserved populations to increase their educational attainment, improve their financial well-being, strengthen their community engagement, and take active steps to promote their health and well-being.

For 111 years, BakerRipley has delivered impactful and relevant regional community development solutions. Combining evidence-based practices with local experience, we ask questions, and listen and harness the power of community leaders. We build connections, ignite aspirations and facilitate holistic strategies that build on a community's strengths. This is Appreciative Community Building. It strengthens communities through engagement around a common vision, marshals the resources aligned with that vision, creating impact for individuals, neighborhoods, and the region.

BakerRipley's reach spans 60+ service sites, serving male and female neighbors from every ethnicity. Over two-thirds of our target population has an annual household income of under $25,000. Our four divisions are:

Public Sector Solutions: We help low-income families fulfill basic needs like child care and utilities. We also offer disaster recovery services and operate 11 Workforce Solutions offices.

Choices in Education: This includes Head Start and Early Head Start education as well as two public charter schools, serving more than 15,000 children each year.

Community Based Initiatives: Over 200,000 individuals each year rely on our six community centers for youth programs, wellness programs, community-wide health fairs, adult education, financial education, free income tax preparation, immigration/citizenship assistance, and more.

Sheltering Arms Senior Services: We help seniors age in place through our Dementia Day Center, senior centers, home care, and through respite and critical support for family caregivers.

Our Health & Wellness programs are holistic, accounting for physical, social and economic factors that foster a thriving community. These are just two examples:

BakerRipley's Urban Farm at the Harbach-Ripley Health & Wellness Center is a novel mechanism for improving the health and wellness of residents in this under-resourced community. The farm offers a holistic approach to wellness - focusing on nutrition and health education, healthy food access, and community engagement as drivers of community well-being. This approach informs the diverse services offered at the farm including hands-on learning opportunities; access to space for growing and planting; and celebrations, events, and activities that foster community connections. These holistic services reap holistic benefits, including psychological (stress/anxiety reduction), physical (exercise and nutrition), social (interaction, sharing, and connection), and intellectual (gardening knowledge and skills).

Opportunities at the Urban Farm are experiential, giving participants hands-on involvement in planting, tending, and harvesting of herbs, vegetables, and fruit. Through this active participation, partakers not only gain fundamental gardening skills, but also make connections to nutrition, mental health, and more.

Our Commit to be Fit (CTBF) program increases participants' healthy food intake, physical activity, and preventative health activities; fosters positive attitudes surrounding health and wellness; and provides increased access and use of primary and preventive health care services.

Participants engage in any of the following activities, which each generate a certain number of incentive points that enable them to access rewards: nutrition and health classes; bed adoption and participation in community gardening classes at our farm; chef demonstrations and classes; physical activities like Zumba, Yoga, and Walking Club; referral and access to health resources (health insurance enrollment, annual well-woman exam, connection with a medical home, onsite screening); and food fairs coupled with health education.

Over 110 years ago, a dedicated schoolteacher named Sybill Campbell found a little girl sleeping in the rain on the steps of Rusk School. The girl was waiting for her siblings to finish school and take her home because their mother was at work.

Inspired to find a way to help families in Houston's Second Ward, Miss Campbell opened a free day nursery and kindergarten, and later, sewing groups for older girls and their mothers.

She realized she would need to forge partnerships to support her vision to help children in the community. She met Alice Graham Baker, a prominent woman in Houston society, who was taken aback by the lack of facilities available for the newly-arrived in the neighborhood.

So, she gathered 12 of her peers and created the Houston Settlement Association. Settlement Houses were a common concept in Europe, where the upper class and those less fortunate could live together and teach one another. They recognized people's universal aspirations of wanting to earn, learn and belong, and built on the strengths of the people they served.

Another prominent Houston woman, Edith Ripley, and her husband contributed to the movement, leaving their estate to create the Daniel and Edith Ripley Foundation.Together, the Houston Settlement Association and the Ripley Foundation partnered to build Ripley House in our city's East End Neighborhood, which still stands today.

These women who brought the Settlement House Movement to Houston, did a great service to the city, hoping to help every resident of Houston have an opportunity for an education, for health, for work, and to become an informed participant in democracy.

Today, BakerRipley continues to keep our region a place of welcoming opportunity for everyone who is working for a better life.

Our contact info:


For more information about our programs and how you can be involved in impacting your neighbors for good, please contact Jeff Kramer, VP of Development, at 713-669-5302.

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