In partnership with Harris County Precinct One, Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Discovery Green and others, the historic Julia C. Hester House celebrated its 75th anniversary on Saturday, March 23 with an outdoor jubilee. Included in the celebration was a free performance by Cirque Zuma Zuma, a family-friendly, high-energy show with pulsing African music performed by talented young acrobats from African nations.
“We are thrilled to bring this caliber of entertainment and activities to the Fifth Ward community,” said Commissioner Rodney Ellis, whose Precinct One partners with Hester House. “I’m equally excited to recognize Hester House’s ongoing service to the community with our partners.”
In honor of the milestone anniversary, Discovery Green partnered with Hester House to give the Fifth Ward community an opportunity to see the thrilling, acrobatic Zuma Zuma show.The jubilee also featured other entertainment, games and giveaways that took place at the community center’s campus and the adjacent Boyce-Dorian Park.
“Discovery Green was excited about bringing world-class entertainment to the Fifth Ward community for this momentous occasion,” said Barry Mandel, Discovery Green’s president and park director. This partnership with Hester House is the first event that is part of Discovery Green’s initiative to expand programming outside its downtown location.
In addition to Zuma Zuma, other performances included Atherton Elementary School’s Drumline, Hester House Swinging Seniors singers and Finnigan Park senior line dancers.
“Hester House and Harris County Precinct One appreciated Discovery Green’s gracious sponsorship of Cirque Zuma Zuma for the jubilee,” Commissioner Ellis said. “That performance only accentuates the thousands of positive programs Hester House has brought to this historic community over the last 75 years.”
Hester House, which receives some funding from Precinct One, provides youth, adult and senior programming as well as social services that include life skills, financial literacy, and employment and educational assistance.
Hester House serves the Fifth Ward community in the same spirit in which it opened by continuing to be an anchor for families, youth and seniors.
“After three-quarters of a century, Hester House doors are still open to the Greater Fifth Ward community,” said Daisy Stiner, executive director of Hester House. “Our staff is proud to continue the tradition of service envisioned by the founders.”
The Hester House legacy began in the early 1900s when Julia C. Hester, a school teacher, and her husband, A.Z., opened their Fifth Ward home to provide a safe, nurturing place for all youth in the community. Their home quickly became a central gathering place in Fifth Ward.
Named in her honor, Hester House community center opened its doors in late 1943 with funding from the Houston Community Chest and Council, which would later become the United Way of Houston. The year 1944 marked Hester House’s first full year of service. Today, Hester House continues to build on its legacy in the Fifth Ward with dynamic programming and vital services that meet the diverse needs of its ever-growing community.