A Glimpse of S.H.A.P.E.'s History (2017)


———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.

S.H.A.P.E. (Self-Help for African People through Education) Community Center was founded in 1969. For over 47 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 25 full and part-time staff and hundreds of volunteers who are the key component to S.H.A.P.E.'s success. The outreach, which began locally, has now gained national and international attention. Today, the center provides many programs and activities that serve as tools to strengthen families and communities.


S.H.A.P.E. has been honored in Washington D.C. for their efforts in combating drugs during the early 90’s. The center has also been historically involved with the organizing of the Million Man March, the Million Family March, and the Millions More Movement where thousands of families were transported from Harris County to the Gulf Coast Area to Washington, D.C.


For its efforts in improving the quality of life for children, family, and the community, S.H.A.P.E. has received more than 500 awards including the Jefferson Award, MLK Humanitarian Award, UNCF Leadership in the Minority Community Award, Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Houston Outstanding Community Service Award, the State of Texas (TCADA) Substance Abuse Prevention Award, and an award from The Ladies of Distinction.

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 HISD schools and has made presentations to over 100 schools in the HISD, Ft. Bend County ISD and Rice Consolidated ISD and others. S.H.A.P.E. has played leadership roles regarding numerous justice issues over the years including nationally recognized cases such as the Clarence Bradley Case, the Ida Delaney Case, the Byron Gilliam Case, the Gary Graham Case, as well as the implementation of a Police Civilian Review Committee and support of People United Against Police Brutality along with a plethora of other movements of activism.

While directing the After School Community Watch, S.H.A.P.E. and its staff have been successful in removing many hand guns and other weapons from youth on the streets of the Houston's inner city communities, as well as transitioning those youth into functional family programs. S.H.A.P.E. has instituted several economic development programs and activities including the Black Economic Development Association, T-Shirt/Silk-Screening Operations, a nutrition program and a restaurant that supports food and catering entrepreneurs along with an additional availability of catering services.


S.H.A.P.E.'s staff and volunteers have accomplished many of its goals for uplifting the African-American community and the community at large through collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, self-determination, creativity, unity and its faith in "The Greater Power" to persevere. S.H.A.P.E. recognizes that the philosophy of interdependence is the key ingredient for the community to succeed in all of its endeavor started and nurtured over 47 years ago by S.H.A.P.E.'s co-founder Deloyd Parker.


Deloyd T. Parker, Jr. has been the Co-Founder and Executive Director of S.H.A.P.E. for over 46 years. Growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, Deloyd's parents, Mrs. Ruby Parker and Mr. Deloyd Parker, Sr., instilled in him a sense of humility, a willingness to help, the courage to face adversity, and the strength to fight injustices whenever and wherever it raises its ugly face. Deloyd worked in the Ujamaa Villages of East Africa and traveled to many countries in the eastern part of Africa, spreading S.H.A.P.E.'s philosophy. His most recent trip to Africa was in the summer of 2000. He went to The Gambia in West Africa where he met with the President of The Gambia and was able to expand relations with the government as well as grassroot community leaders. The initiation of the SHAPE philosophy was embraced by the people of The Gambia and "The S.H.A.P.E. of The Gambia" was born.


Deloyd along with countless volunteers, staff and supporters have built S.H.A.P.E., a comprehensive and holistic community institution. Deloyd Parker attributes all of these accomplishments, achievements, successes and victories to embracing the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa (Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith) and to.