Quick Facts

HAP Mission Statement

To help children and their care-providers (teachers, parents, foster parents, other caring adults) learn the skills, and develop the relationships for success in school, at home and in the community.

HAP was founded in 1974 to serve children.
The HAP motto is the HAP commitment.

Kids Come First!

Project CLASS Training Services

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Children Learning Appropriate Social Skills
Benefits children 3-5 & 6-12 years old
Benefits children 3-5 & 6-12 years old
Benefits parents, teachers, & caring adults
Benefits parents, teachers, & caring adults

Last Year's Accomplishments

Project CLASS for Schools
  • Trained 3,350 teachers, teacher assistants and school administrators
  • Provided services to 33,000 children
Project CLASS for Community
  • Services Provided to 30,000 Children
  • Increased Contacts: Google Analytics
  • Increased Contacts: Facebook Analytics
  • Increased Contacts: YouTube Analytics
  • Increased Website Utilization
  • Increased Downloads
  • Increased Views
  • Increased Listens
  • Increased Trainings & Trainees
  • Increased Digital Book Readings
  • Evaluation Questionnaires

Linked to: Children's Books, Parent & Education Activity Guides, Book Animations, Songs, Music, Song Animations, Demonstration Videos, & Other Videos & Training Sessions focused on Social Skills Development


Three kindergarten boys standing together

What are Project CLASS Results and Demonstrated Outcomes?

  • Increased social skills usage by children (30% to 200%)
    (Follow Instructions, Pay Attention, Ask Permission, Accept No, etc.)
  • Increased social skills teaching abilities by teachers (25% to 100%)
    (Use of social skills language; Use of Praise & Positive Attention; Use of Reminder Prompts, etc.)
  • Increased appropriate behavior by children (30% to 200%)
  • Decreased inappropriate behavior by children (20%+ decrease)
  • Decreased disciplinary referrals for children by teachers (20%-80%)
  • Positive Assessments by 80%-96% of teachers and principals across the dimensions of Project CLASS Usefulness; Helpfulness; Development of Valuable Skills; Positive Impact on School Climate; Improved Student Behavior; Increased Academic Teaching Time; Decreased Disciplinary Time; Increased On-Task Behavior; Improved Academic Performance
  • Increased positive teacher-student interactions in the classroom (30%-50%)
  • Decreased negative teacher-student interactions in the classroom (30%-50%)

Long-Term Longitudinal Impact

(Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Study, Perry Study, Syracuse Study)

  • Significantly higher wages and earnings later in life (>100%)
  • Aggregated returns range from $3 to $200 for every dollar spent
  • Effectively disrupts the chain of poverty
  • Greater educational attainment
  • Greater employment stability
  • Greater pro-social community participation and engagement
  • Reduced school drop-out rates
  • Reduced criminal activities
  • Reduced dependence on welfare

Annual Operating Budget

$1,601,381 for 2024

Budget for 2024

85% Program Expenses
(57% Project CLASS for Schools)
(28% Project CLASS for Community)
13% Management Expenses
2% Fund-raising Expenses


Houston Achievement Place (HAP) was established in 1974 by a group of concerned Houston citizens. This beginning followed research by the University of Houston School of Social Work into model programming across the country with the goal of addressing the needs and problems of children in Houston.

After an extensive review of potential programs over eighteen months, a relationship was established with the University of Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas) and the Achievement Place Research Project. This relationship developed into the founding of Houston Achievement Place in March, 1974, as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt social service agency focused on the implementation of the Teaching-Family Model in service to Houston children.

From the outset, HAP served Houston children in residential homes staffed by Teaching-Parents, with these services continuing to this day. In 1992, HAP expanded into Therapeutic Foster Care. HAP services are built on a foundation of Training excellence, one of the hallmarks of the Teaching Family Model. In 1979, HAP achieved recognition as a Certified Teaching-Family Training Site.

In 1997, Project CLASS (Children Learning Appropriate Social Skills) was developed to harness HAP Training expertise for implementation to benefit both residential and non-residential settings. Based on community need and program success, Project CLASS is a cluster of training initiatives teaching core building block social skills to children ages 3-12, using music, songs, and movements to accelerate skill development and retention.

Executive Director

Paul Gilford, LCSW

Program Director

Denise Larson, LMSW

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Board of Directors

Emeritus Past President*

Norma Acker, Social Worker *Emeritus

Madeleine Appel, Experienced Volunteer *Emeritus

W. Clifford Atherton, Jr., Gulfstar Group, Inc *Emeritus

Katelyn Beall, KPMG

John R. Breeding, Uptown Houston *Emeritus

Kevin KC Carmody, Insurance Consultant *Emeritus

J.C. Clemens, Flagship Capital

Susan Cohen, Momentum Midstream

Milby Dunn II, Columbia Lloyds Insurance

Larry Ellis, Briar Capital *Emeritus

Ron Farmer, US LED

George Ford, Children’s Protective Services (retired), Attorney

Paul Gilford, Houston Achievement Place, Executive Director

John Hartman, Entrepreneur *Emeritus

Anissa Jones-Thomas, Educational Consultant

John Kajander, Partners for Community Health *Emeritus

Carol Lewis, Texas Southern University *Emeritus

Paul Lombardo, PCSL, Inc.*Emeritus

Allison Miller, Beck Redden LLP

Linda L. Murphy, Experienced Volunteer *Emeritus

A.Y. Noojin III, Shell Oil (retired) *Emeritus

Sara Olayemi, Shell Oil

Bruce Padilla, American Heart Association

Martha Seng, Jackson & Ryan Architects (retired)

Keith Short, Real Estate Attorney *Emeritus

Robyn Stewart, Licensed Prof .Counselor

Tom Stewart, Insurance Executive (retired)

Cynthia Swaren, Experienced Volunteer

Jason Swaren, Chord Energy

Emily Taylor, Walker and Byington

Karen Tripp, Tripp Law *Emeritus

Margaret Tucker, Experienced Volunteer

Adrian Villacorta, Villacorta Law Firm

Robert Warren, Energy & Oilfield Services

Jason Williams, Bissinger, Oshman & Williams LLP

Jeff Zaruba, Equinor (retired)

Conflict of Interest Policy

Any duality of interest or possible conflict of interest on the part of any Board member shall be disclosed to the Board and made a matter of record, especially when the interest becomes a matter of Board action. Any Board member having a duality of interest or possible conflict of interest on any matter shall not vote or use personal influence on the matter and shall not be counted in determining the quorum of the meeting to permit the vote on the matter when permitted by law. The minutes of the meeting shall reflect that a disclosure was made, the abstention from the voting and the quorum situation. This policy shall not be construed as preventing the Board member from briefly stating their position on the matter, nor from answering pertinent questions of other Board members since their knowledge may be of value.