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Dear Community Member,
The Center has completed a very successful 2004-2005 year with hundreds of students involved in service learning projects and programs around our community, led by over 50 faculty in the Schools of Education, Health, Business, Engineering and Liberal Arts. During the summer, we are continuing our implementation of the Compassion Capital Fund grant in the Buena Vida barrio, as we develop the first social services network with community and faith organizations and the new Buena Vida Leadership Council. We are already planning new service projects for the 2004-2005 academic year, in the areas of Wellness, Education and Business. Here are a few highlights of the Center's work during the past year:
Buena Vida F.I.T.ness (Families in Transition) Network.
Last year, the Center was awarded a three year capacity-building grant from the Department of Health and Human Services/Compassion Capital Fund to develop a new "F.I.T.ness" (Families in Transition) social services network for the downtown/Buena Vida barrio with community and faith-based organizations. The Center, in collaboration with its strategic partner United Way of Southern Cameron County, will develop the F.I.T.ness Network with technical assistance and sub-awards, to deliver ongoing Wellness, Education and Business services and training. TA workshops on Outcomes Measurement, Non-Profit Financial Management, Board Development and Strategic Planning Basics were delivered by Ms. Wendy Hanson (UWSCC) and Ms. Mariana Whitley (CCF Program Coordinator) to over 70 community and faith agencies in Brownsville. Eight subawards totaling $105,500 were made to the Buena Vida Resident Association, Valley AIDS Council, Brownsville Adult Literacy Center, Livingway Church, Iglesia del Pueblo Pentecostal, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, and Cameron County Projects - Kids College. First year benchmarking surveys of the barrio were taken by Dr. Belinda Reininger, UT Houston School of Public Health.
Kids Voting Brownsville.
The Center led the Kids Voting Brownsville which was a great success--over 40,000 kids across Brownsville voted in the November general election (80% turnout) and over 20,000 voted in the City elections on May 7th. The Master Minds events seemed to galvanize the attention of kids all over Brownsville. We received reports from community and campus leaders who "ran into" kids wearing the special T-shirts at restaurants, the mall, schools--even at the flea market. The Center would like to thank all the principals, teachers and parents who helped make Kids Voting Brownsville 2004 a success. The Kids told us they want to do this every election in Brownsville. In preparation for the May 7th elections, focus groups were conducted by Lisa Yingling, KIDS Voting Coordinator and Jason E. Moody, Communication Council President, Council Members and volunteers to create a "KidsVoting Brownsville Voter's Guide." Special thanks to Cherie Pawkett's 5th Grade class at Episcopal Day School, Leticia Davila's 7th Grade class at Saint Joseph Academy, Laura Garcia's and Ricardo Bochas' 5th Grade class at Livingway Christian School, Ana Cano's 7th Grade Class at Oliveira Middle School, Celia Ontiveros 5th Grade Class at Canales Elementary School, and Michelle Morales' 5th grade class at Hudson Elementary. On Saturday, April 16th a KIDS Voting Town Meeting was held by elementary and middle school students who asked city and school district candidates questions on issues at Dean Porter Park. A panel of students asked the city candidates questions about park improvement, finding jobs for parents and improving city drainage, among other issues. Mediating this town meeting was Dr. Anthony Knopp who is a professor at UTB/TSC. Students across Brownsville were asked what issues were most important to them before the town meeting. Questions were directed to the candidates by the student-panelists. Other questions that were asked to BISD candidates ranged from the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act and how many times they have visited a classroom in the past year. The most important aspect of this event was interacting with the candidates.
Scholarship of Community Engagement
(SOCE) is the Center's initiative designed to connect academic scholarship with community service and bring new knowledge to the community. The Center hosted an “Action Research” seminar for faculty who were interested in community-based research. Dr. David Diehl from Austin, Texas spoke. Over 20 faculty attended. The goal of the SOCE project is to support faculty and students in their quest for new knowledge that will help us better understand and solve community issues. CCE student/scholars and staff were assigned to assist faculty listed below in their respective research projects. Awards were determined by a community advisory panel. During the past year, ten faculty were awarded mini-grants to engage in community research and present their findings at regional and national academic conferences.
Read Aloud Meriendas, Family Read Aloud and Shop-N-Learn.
Drs. Veronica Galvan and Renee Rubin, John Sutterby and Michelle Abrego led their classes in innovative service learning projects: Read Aloud Meriendas, Lopez Elementary Family Read Aloud Program and the Shop-n-Learn. Norma S. Garza/ Success by Six Students visited eight families during the semester and showed parents and grandparents how to read to their (grand) children. The result: now eight families will be training other families in Buena Vida to read to their children. also continued their very successful Longoria Elementary Evening Reading Improvement Program as a service learning project. Over 50 families participated. Shop N Learn is an innovative collaboration between the Center, Success by Six and Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts at Lopez Grocery (in Buena Vida) where grocery shopping will be seen as a great opportunity for children and families to engage in healthy buying habits and learning activities. The weekly activities are led by CCE staff Sra. Magda San Roman and Srta. Janine Rosagary. Activities will enhance children's social skills and help with development. Children and parents have the opportunity to draw, sing and play musical instruments together. Children songs were played, Buenos Dias, La Piñata, El Chocolate, Estrellita, La Araña Pequeñita, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and invited our participants to sing along or follow the rhythm with a musical instrument of their choice. The children have a great time and the parents enjoy watching their children. Some parents who sat down with their little ones were part of the action. The quality time they spent together was priceless!
Applications now being accepted for the 2005-2006 Civic Engagement Scholar Awards.
The Center plans to award ten (10) $2,000 scholarships to outstanding UTB/TSC students for the 2005-2006 academic year. Click Here to Download the Application. Scholarship applications must be returned in person, fax or by email by July 15th to: The Center for Civic Engagement, 1301 E. Madison (three blocks from campus on Madison street), Brownsville, Texas. Tel. 982-0122, Fax 982-0128 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.