HOUSTON – Daisy Stiner has spent her career trying to bring support and relief to underserved communities.
Through her work as director of the Julia C. Hester House, in Houston’s Fifth Ward, she’s focused on helping families have better housing and job opportunities in the Houston area.
Established in 1943, the Hester House is one of the oldest community outreach centers in Houston.
“It started out as a hub, a meeting place for community residents,” Stiner said.
“It was a safe haven for the neighborhood children where they could come to after school,” she added.
Stiner said she was inspired by her older brother to get into social work in the early 1960s.
“I attended HBCU Prairie View A&M University, where I was nurtured and encouraged to go out into the world and make it a better place,” she said.
Stiner said her career and experience have opened her eyes to some of the things that need changing. She said disadvantaged communities, which are often communities of color, need better access to basic needs.
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“It is amazing to me that in this rich place that we live called America that there are some children who are denied basic needs in terms of what’s available to them,” Stiner said.
Her work has included getting federal funding for families who need to fix their homes. She’s also helped secure day care housing licenses for black and brown communities so parents can go to work, knowing their children are safe.
“We have a very vibrant youth development program where we provide after-school care for kids and summer care for the summer,” Stiner said. “We have a state-of-the-art gymnasium where the children and seniors participate in recreational activities.”
During the pandemic, Stiner has shifted gears to help provide technology for children to learn remotely. She’s also been focused on economic development in neighborhoods that face more challenges than others.
“To family members who are unemployed, we have our referral services where they can get the services they need to provide stability to their families,” Stiner said.
“We are proud to be a part of that and to be a beacon to the community,” Stiner said. “For the services they need, we try to offer that and supplement those, so families can achieve a part of the American dream families are entitled to.”
For more information about the Hester House, go to hesterhouse.org.