Third Ward church opens affordable childcare center to help with community in need

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HOUSTON – Located in the 2600 block of Holman Street in Houston’s Third Ward, Trinity United Methodist Church is serving as a different kind of sanctuary.

Church leaders opened their new childcare center Tuesday.

Alicia Lewis has dedicated her life to education.

“When schools do well, when children do well, communities do well,” she said.

Lewis is the principal of Blackshear Elementary in the Third Ward.

“We are 100% economically disadvantaged, but that doesn’t stop our kids from excelling,” Lewis said.

Two years of children learning in a pandemic hasn’t helped. Staff changes and an increase in need, even has Lewis taking on two roles this spring break.

“I have a group of third graders that I’m working with that I’m trying to get to the master levels of performance,” she said.

Lewis can’t do it alone, and now parents in the Third Ward community have more access to educational childcare.

“We created the school to inspire future first,” Senior Pastor, Ed C. Jones, said.

The oldest church in the neighborhood has a new purpose -- it’s called the Trinity Preparatory Academy, which is a childcare center for children ages 8 weeks to 12 years old.

“It’s $150 a week,” he said. “For those who do not have those means, we definitely want to make sure we provide scholarships to those who have a great need.”

Nicole Thomas, a mother of three, said for years, overnight jobs were her only option.

“You know why I worked overnights? Because I wanted to be there with my son, I wanted to be there with him during the day,” Thomas said.

The Third Ward community is changing the conversation around childcare.

“It takes everyone working hand and hand to make sure our scholars overcome obstacles and overcome their circumstances,” Lewis said.

The program has room for 75 children, and right now they are 40% full.

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