By: Claire Caton
Nearly 40 UHD students from Assistant Professor Traqina Emeka’s victimology course recently welcomed 15 children from the House of Tiny Treasures (HTT) to campus for an interactive, spring art project.
The project provided the children with a reprieve from the challenges of their daily lives, while also enabling the students to use their interpersonal skills to encourage the youngsters from HTT, Houston’s first nationally accredited early childhood development center dedicated to serving homeless children and their families.
“We are proud to extend UHD’s long-standing relationship with the House of Tiny Treasures through this fun activity,” said Emeka. “Each holiday, our students ensure that the children experience the joys that other kids celebrate by providing them with warm coats and gifts in December, a festival during the fall semester and a spring celebration at HTT. Thanks in part to the tireless work of Paulette Purdy, UHD director of College Administration and Operations, our students continue to offer friendship and joy to these little ones at HTT.”
In addition to using oil pastels to create individual paintings, the children ate lunch with their student chaperones on campus and then spent the afternoon at a UHD-hosted spring festival at HTT, which included an egg hunt and other activities.
The students prepared for the event by coloring dozens of eggs and gathering candy to distribute to the children and their families at the spring festival.
“This opportunity for the children to interact with members of the Houston community really helps to build their vocabularies and literacy skills for life,” said Heidi Duty, program coordinator at HTT. “Positive experiences such as this one enable the children to relax, make new friends and just enjoy being children.”
The project was as rewarding for the students as it was for the children of HTT. “By encouraging the homeless children through this outreach project, I feel like I’m able to have a positive impact on their lives, despite the negative experiences many of them have faced,” said Nerica Angol, a UHD senior studying criminal justice. “Knowing that these children don’t have the benefits that I did growing up, I’m eager to help them in any way that I can.”