Precinct One CERT

Written by: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed. D.

Precinct One CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a nonprofit organization that provides the community of Independent Heights with different resources they may need. John Branch, who is the founder of the organization saw a need for the community and made efforts to turn his vision into a reality. The building that currently houses Precinct One Cert used to be a police storefront. Branch played an integral part of getting the police storefront in the community as he submitted a proposal for the need, and the storefront came to existence in 1995.

The police who occupied the building moved out five years ago, and Branch then “started an initiative with the city council and the mayor” to get the community a multi-service center. He made it known to Mayor Tuner that “We don’t have a multi-service center, let us provide services to our community. He then “negotiated with the city, and in the last year they came up with a deal.”

This agreement was signed on October 4th, 2021. In the agreement it was noted that the organization had to pay for and take care of everything themselves, which included renovations and office furniture just to name a few items. Since the organization is a nonprofit, all their resources and funds are strictly donation based. “From that time to this day, we’ve put in labor material almost 60 to $78,000 in the building. It was in that bad of shape. So that’s money out of our pockets, donations, wherever we can get it from.”

Today, Precinct One Cert provides different resources to the community such as food, COVID testing, hosting educational classes, and a handful of other resources. They also provide different services during floods, hurricanes, and other disasters that may arise.

Every person who is involved with the organization are strictly volunteers. “We’re all volunteers, nobody gets paid. If it was a lovely job, everybody would be doing it,” Branch mentioned. One person who has been working with Branch diligently is Natasha Johnson, who is one of the board members. She stated, “We have worked through this dream, and it’s been a rough five years, but we’re here and this is just the beginning.”

The main priority and goal for Precinct One Cert is to put resources back into the community. They want to be the multi-service center that the community can go to for all their various needs. Branch and Johnson have plans on doing events such as food banks, HIV testing, blood banks and so much more. “Our dream is to put services out, so this is our multi-center,” Branch stated.

Since Johnson and Branch grew up in the community, they are confident in knowing what the community needs. Johnson mentioned that “Everything in the community is important to us. Since we grew up in the community, we know where the community has come from, and we know where the community needs to go.”

Precinct One Cert had its grand opening on February 19th and was greatly attended. Many community members attended as well as politicians. Amongst those were Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Precinct One Cert aims to serve the community and is always open. They want the community to feel comfortable in seeking help when they need it. Precinct One Cert started as a dream and now it is a reality, and this is only the beginning.



Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top