Delores McGruder lived in Cleme Manor for twenty-five years and returned this past fall to bring joy and educational activities to current young residents and their parents. While she lived at Cleme Manor, Delores took advantage of financial literacy programs that taught her how to save and eventually helped her purchase a home of her own. She was more than a neighbor you could rely on for a cup of sugar—she befriended many of the residents and shared her support whenever she could.
Even after she left Cleme Manor, Delores continued to look for more ways to give back to residents. This past fall she applied for and received a grant from the Urban Transformation organization to host four meetings at Cleme Manor where children and their parents could participate in educational, artistic and recreational activities. She also provided healthy snacks to the 122 youth and adults who participated. McGruder dubbed this effort the Mustard Seed Program, inspired by a conversation with an HPD officer who shared her vision of helping children in the community. A mustard seed is known to be one of the smaller seeds but grows into a large plant firmly rooted in the ground.
The program was offered through Operation Pathways, The NHP Foundation’s subsidiary providing onsite resident services. In December, this culminated with a fun holiday party where Houston City Council Member Letitia Plummer came and provided meals and gifts to participants. The Council Member said, “Mustard Seed became part of the community; really doing great things with the kids. Delores McGruder is someone I respect highly.”
Delores’s personal story is very inspiring. She came from humble beginnings and was left to fend for herself at an early age. Despite her circumstances, she completed her education and graduated third in her class from Houston’s Wheatly High School. She went on to earn degrees from Texas State University in psychology and sociology. Her heartfelt message to children, “Choose love and not hate and color doesn’t matter. You can achieve great things.”
Where Delores McGruder lives matters.