UHDPD Brings Holiday Cheer to Ketelsen Elementary
By Mike Emery
Santa usually delivers toys in his red suit, but on Dec. 19, Ketelsen Elementary students received holiday cheer from some neighbors wearing blue.
For the fifth year, the University of Houston-Downtown Police Department greeted Ketelsen students with toys in tow. It's all part of the department's ... and the university's...relationship with the nearby elementary school. It's also part of sharing the holiday spirit with children who may not otherwise receive presents.
"Many of these students' parents have limited financial resources," said UHDPD Sgt. Trinity Delafance. "This might be the only present these children receive this season, so we're more than happy to bring toys to them and bring some smiles to their faces."
Delafance was part of a UHDPD delegation that included fellow officers, as well as the UHD Gator Mascot. Assisting them with the distribution of wrapped items were Shelene Livas, principal of Ketelsen, and faculty members.
Livas agrees that the initiative helps these students experience the joy of the holiday season, but also said that meeting police officers is a positive experience for the students.
"Having UHDPD's Police Department visit our campus helps connect officers with these children," she said. "They can develop a positive images of police and understand that they are here to help them."
Livas added that the relationship between the University and its police extends well past the holidays.
"We've been pleased to partner with UHD on a number of projects," she said. "We hosted UHDPD officers during our Fall Festival earlier this year. And in recent years, members of the university have helped revitalize our school garden. It's a great relationship that keeps growing."
More than 130 toys were delivered this year, which resulted in two toy dropoffs by UHDPD officers.
"We're here to serve the community," Delfance said. "This is a perfect way to do just that ... by making these kids' holiday one they will always remember."
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.
As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).
For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.