Campus Generosity Evident in Student Coat and Food Drive
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 14, 2012 – Five students in the School of Graduate Studies at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College have spearheaded a campus-wide food and coat drive that has resulted in boxes overflowing with donations.
The drive culminates with a presentation of the donated items to Good Neighbor Settlement House and the Ozanam Center at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 at the Education and Business Complex courtyard.
“We are so pleased with the tremendous outpouring of support for this undertaking,” said Leslie Wood, a Harlingen resident and 2011 graduate of UTB and TSC with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice. “Ozanam and Good Neighbor will make the warm clothing, coats and non-perishable food available to those who are truly in need.”
Wood, along with fellow graduate students Gabby Ortiz, Letty Cavazos, Jesus Guevara and Cristela Chavez, collaborated with the Students Together, Involving, Networking and Guiding (STING) Program, a component of the Student Success Center, to organize the drive.
“We wanted this project to have sustainability, to be ongoing and not just a one-time thing, so we worked closely with STING in its implementation,” Wood said. “STING is now committed to undertake the annual coat and food drive next year and beyond.”
Numerous campus entities joined forces with the graduate students and STING to lend a hand, including the Center for Civic Engagement and Campus Police. Parking fines being paid at Campus Police are being accepted in the form of canned food that is being donated to the drive.
“This idea grew out of a requirement for community service as part of a class we are taking with Dr. Selma Yznaga,” said Guevara, a 2001 graduate of Brazosport High School and a 2006 graduate of UT Austin. “A large component of the counseling and guidance profession is advocacy and promoting social responsibility. In our future profession we will be in positions to determine community needs and to collaborate with other organizations and agencies to help alleviate those needs.”
The STING Program began in 1998 to facilitate academic success for first-time college students and to assist students in making a smooth transition to university life and its expectations.
“STING is largely successful due to the Peer Mentor Program,” said Dr. Beatriz Becerra-Barckholtz, Director of Student Success. “Caring peer and staff mentors help students in achieving academic success, personal development and in navigating their way through their first year out of high school.”
Aside from more classroom courses, Guevara, Wood, Cavazos, Ortiz and Chavez will participate in a practicum and two internships before achieving their M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance. Under the supervision of Licensed Professional Counselors and Dr. Melissa Alvarado, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, they will directly counsel community members at the UTB Community Counseling Clinic. Their internships will take place at local mental health sites. After achieving their master’s degrees, they must pass state and national exams to become LPCs.
The counseling clinic is located in the Education and Business Complex on University Boulevard. The clinic, a nationally recognized, award-winning training lab for students in the Counseling and Guidance Program, specializes in the mental health care needs of a largely underserved Hispanic population.
For more information on the Coat and Food Drive, contact the STING office at 956-882-6575. For more information on the UTB Community Counseling Clinic, contact 956-882-7792 or email@example.com.