Friends of Phillis Wheatley High School
Friends of Phillis Wheatley High School serves Wheatley students experiencing poverty, food insecurity, and/or homelessness, by providing them with essential items, such as clothing and personal care items. We also support students' academic progress and create educational opportunities.
In January 2021, Diane Wolfthal, upon her retirement as a professor at Rice University, wanted to help public school students in need. Her daughter, Leah Wolfthal, former Executive Director for the Center for Urban Transformation, suggested that she support students at Phillis Wheatley High School. Diane took as her model two very successful organizations: the Student Support Network in Maryland, founded by Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, and Community Impact in Harlem, where she had once worked. The administration of Phillis Wheatley High School welcomed the idea of a partnership. Friends of Phillis Wheatley High School is now a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, which provides clothing and personal care items, recruits tutors, presents awards for art supplies to the art teacher and two students, and organizes museum trips, among other activities.
Phillis Wheatley High School
Located in the Fifth Ward of Houston, this high school is named after Phillis Wheatley (d. 1773), who was born in West Africa, sold into slavery at age seven or eight, and became a published poet, the first African-American to achieve this distinction. It has many renowned alumni, including Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, and Ruth Simmons, and currently offers a range of classes including several Advance Placement courses. Nonetheless, ninety-five percent of Wheatley students (or about 750 students) meet the income criteria for free/reduced lunch.
The invaluable wrap-around social worker Rena Alva is organizing the contributions from Friends of Phillis Wheatley High School and even designed a sign to credit us! Thank you to all the donors and to Ms. Alva!
An anonymous donor donated 295 new polo shirts in the school colors (purple, white, black, gray) in sizes from small to XXXL. Thank you anonymous donor!! The wonderful wrap-around social worker Rena Alva has been distributing them.
Sathya Sai Global Council Houston
St. John's School
Metropolitan Volunteer Program
International Center of Medieval Art
Friends of Phillis Wheatley High School Club at Rice
180 Degrees Consulting - Rice University