"HEALTHY HABITS" (Teaching Children Wellness and Literacy). Participating UTB School of Education graduate students enrolled in Dr. Rubin’s EDLI 6310 literacy course are serving as mentors to undergraduate students enrolled in Dr. Carlan’s EDCI 4322 course. The service learning involves three areas: (1) Children from the Buena Vida Learning Center who participate in various activities that build an awareness of the healthy habits. (e.g., nutrition, dental hygiene), (2) UTB School of Education graduate students serving as mentors, and (3) UTB School of Education undergraduate student learning to effectively implement cooperative learning in order to facilitate the children’s knowledge and awareness of healthy habits. In addition, the graduate students serve as mentors and help the education undergraduate students learn to effectively implement cooperative learning in order to facilitate the children’s knowledge and awareness of healthy habits. They collaboratively work in teams to plan and implement several activities that focus on healthy habits. The participating children from Buena Vida will collaboratively participate in various “healthy habits” activities and create a book that represents what they learned. Each team consists of two-three children and UTB students. The books created and illustrated by each team will be featured in an Open House to be held at Buena Vida on May 5th.
National Latino Children's Institute
"Creando El Futuro" (Words for the Future). The Wellness and Literacy Task force of the Center for Civic Engagement (composed of both education and nursing faculty), Success by Six (Norma S. Garza) and the National Latino Children's Institute (http://www.nlci.org) are partnering in an exciting new family-centered early literacy initiative called "Creando El Futuro--Words for the Future". UTB/TSC faculty that have expressed interest in participating include Drs. Veronica Carlan-Galvan, Renee Rubin, John Sutterby and Ms. Sonia Cunningham. Brownsville is only one of five sites selected by NLCI from around the nation. The initiative uses what I call the "Tupperware" model. However, instead of distributing products for the kitchen, we're distributing products for literacy using parent-coordinators of neighborhoods. Moms will be identified and invited by parent-coordinators to their homes to begin the family literacy training process. The target ages of the children will be 0-6. SB6, NLCI and CCE will provide all the training, materials and resources including --hopefully--stipends. Creando El Futuro is an innovative way of building social capital in our community as well as helping prepare children for educational success--before they begin grade school!
Spring 2004 Wellness and Literacy Task Force. On January 21, 2004, the Center hosted a breakfast at the Sheraton Four Points with faculty and community physicians to discuss the connection between wellness and literacy in the Buena Vida neighborhood. Present were Ms. Sandy Sheehy, Director of Development from the UT Medical Branch, Galveston Texas, Dr. Kathy Bussert-Webb, Dr. Mary Curtis, Ms. Sonia Cunningham, RN, Dr. Veronica Galvan-Carlan, Ms. Norma Garza, CPA and coordinator of Success by Six, Rosalinda Gifford, FNP, Dr. Rose M. Z. Gowen, Mr. Joe Lacher, RN, Dr. Dora Mendoza, Dr. Carmen Rocco, and Dr. Renee Rubin. As a result of this very productive breakfast, the Center, along with nursing and education faculty, Success by Six www.successby6.org and National Latino Children's Institute www.nlci.org is embarking on ground-breaking project in the Buena Vida neighborhood: a series of bi-lingual coloring and comic books for kids of all ages that are not only designed to help with literacy but teach healthy eating habits to parents and their children using foods that are readily available here in this community. Multi-disciplinary teams of education/nursing/behavioral sciences students, guided by experts in nursing and education will join forces to help create these books.
Reading and Writing Improvement Program at Buena Vida Learning Center. Two UTB/TSC classes taught by Dr. Paula Parson are being held at the Buena Vida Learning Center. The last hour of class, university students have an opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom with children who live in that community. On Mondays university interns assess and plan reading intervention activities for the children. On Wednesdays university students work with children who are transported from the Citrus Gardens community for help in developing their reading and writing skills.
Reading Improvement Program at Longoria Elementary School. Students in Drs. Michelle Abrego, Renée Rubin, and John Sutterby's classes are working at Longoria Elementary on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and providing literacy assessment, tutoring, and family literacy nights. This is the third year of the Evening Reading Improvement Program held with UTB students from the School of Education who are tutoring children from Longoria Elementary School in reading. Graduate students in Educational Administration are helping to administer the program which has grown to three classes and over 60 students from pre-kindergarten to second grade. UTB students are assessing students’ abilities in different areas of reading and then preparing specialized individual and small group activities. In addition the program includes activities and instruction for parents on ways they can work with their children at home to improve their child's ability to read.
Teaching, Learning and Service Conference. On November 1st, the Center co-sponsored an all-day seminar with the School of Education entitled "TEACHING, LEARNING AND SERVICE". The conference was was hosted by Dr. Michelle Abrego and Dr. Bobbette Morgan and was a great opportunity for student-teachers who are about to graduate. The conference attendees were presented with various seminars throughout the day by graduate students as service learning projects. These education graduate students are pursuing administration positions in the education field (such as principals and assistant principals) as well as teachers at the elementary and secondary levels. The presenters gave an overview of what works for them in their classrooms and what new teachers will be faced with in their first year of teaching. Participants commented that this type of conference was of great significance that provided them with much information on how to succeed as educators.
Drs. Renee Rubin and Veronica Carlan's Great 2003 Summer Adventure: Linda Vista Learning Project. UTB/TSC students in three classes prepared to become teachers by helping elementary, middle school, and high school students this summer at the Linda Vista Family Center. University students in two "The Environment and Early Childhood" courses worked with the public school students in making bulletin boards, learning centers, and beautifying the outside of the Linda Vista Family Center, a Brownsville Housing Authority facility. University students in "Beginning Literacy for ESL Learners" read stories to the public school students and did related activities. Both classes promoted learning about math, reading, writing, the arts, and many other topics through interesting activities. This was a cooperative project among the UTB School of Education, UTB Office of Civic Engagement, Brownsville Housing Authority, Home Depot, and Walmart.