Let It Be Known That ...

"The old of our people are the Elders of our race and must be listened to, must be looked after, must be given meaningful work, must be loved and cared for, and must be treated with the highest level of respect. The Elders of our race are the reason that we are here." ~ Madhubuti

"Their shoulders have been our elevation factor." ~ Deloyd T. Parker, Jr.

What is the Elders Institute of Wisdom?

There has always existed an informal network of Elders. Therefore, the Elders Institute of Wisdom at S.H.A.P.E. Community Center is a formal network of elders whose collective wisdom is drawn upon to educate, guide, direct, and/or lead our community.


Who qualifies as an Elder of our people, and our community?

You must be know in the village/community.

You must be a long time resident of our village/community.

You must show evidence of self-determination.

You must have respect for all ages, gender, and ethnicity.

You must have African-centered values and behaviors.

You must be able to discern the needs of our people.

You must be committed to improving community conditions.

You must be a spiritual, trustworthy, and moral person.

You must be willing and ready to serve the people/village.

You must be 50 years or older.

What are the categories of Elders?

There are two categories of Elders in our village/community:

  • Elder in Training: 50-57 years old with the above qualities and who is still developing, learning, and evolving.

  • Certified Elder: 58 years and older with the above qualities and who is still learning and evolving. 

“Let him/her speak who has seen with his/her eyes.”

 African Proverb


What are the duties and responsibilities of our Elders?

1. Advise and give guidance about activities of the village.

2. Serve as an extended family member to youth and families.

3. Serve as a role model for youth and families.

4. Serve as advocates for youth and families.

5. Share “the story” of the community and culture.

6. Play a major role in all African-American celebrations, especially Rites of Passages for our Youth.


What is the relationship between the Elders Institute of Wisdom and the Council of Elders?

Members of the Elders Institute of Wisdom will elect members to serve on a group called the Council of Elders. If those persons chosen to serve on our council are chosen based on the aforementioned qualifications then it is clear, or without doubt, that they are wise persons and are prepared to lead the village/community ……they must be certified as an Elder.


Elders meetings are every:

Tuesday & Thursday - 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center @ 3815 Live Oak • Houston, TX  77004

713-521-0641 office 713-526-5164 fax