September 6, 2004
Here are a few highlights of summer activities at the UTB/TSC Center for Civic Engagement. For more information, please visit our website www.civicengagement.com.
Dr. Selma D. Yznaga (School of Education) completed the successful "Road To Self Esteem" series with Buena Vida moms and daughters during the summer, culminating in a mother-daughter luncheon at Johnny Carino's. The moms and daughters were awarded certificates of completion. Thank you Dr. Yznaga!
Dr. Zelma Mata (School of Education) hosted a week-long camp for Buena Vida children on campus and, along with two student assistants, taught baton-twirling and dance folklorico. The recital at the gym annex was well-attended. Thank you Dr. Mata!
The "Stuff The Bus" project, led by Dr. Debbie Huerta and the Counseling and Career Services department, in conjunction with the Business Affairs Division and Project GearUp, donated school supplies for over 75 children in the Buena Vida project.
The Center was awarded three grants: one very large grant from the Compassion Capital Fund (HHS/Administration for Children and Families) to create the "Buena Vida F.I.T.ness Network", a Kids Voting grant from the Brownsville Foundation for Health and Education, and a grant from "Kids Helping Kids" to help create a "Living La Vida Sana" health literacy initiative.
The Center has launched the "The Scholarship of Community Engagement" that will help faculty integrate research and community service. In particular the Center is offering assistance to faculty who plan to present at conferences and/or publish articles in journals. The Center invited two faculty members, Professor James Storbeck, Ph.D. and Professor Sonia Cunningham, RN MS, to join the Center as Fellows in the areas of "action research" and "community health and leadership" respectively.
Students are now organizing to begin the "Raise Your Voice" campaign on campus to engage students in the citizenship and democracy process leading up to the general election on November 2nd. RYV is an initiative of Texas Campus Compact and the national Campus Compact. Dr. Juliet Garcia is a board member of Campus Compact (www.compact.org ).
The Center is spearheading the KidsVoting-Brownsville initiative in all K-12 schools, public and private, across Brownsville. During the month of October the Center will be hosting a city-wide "MasterMinds" competition on social studies, government and citizenship. The competition will culminate with a "Pep Rally" with a MasterMinds finals competition at Sunrise Mall on Saturday, October 30th, three days before the general election. Each school will have its own KidsVoting polling place and ballots. We anticipate over 30,000 K-12 students will vote on November 2nd.
The Center has been collaborating with Success by Six and Norma S. Garza on a "Shop N Learn" project, to create a learning environment in a local grocery store. In conjunction with the "Vida Sana" initiative, faculty, students and community volunteers will create a family literacy environment with practical in-store activities to increase parent-child interaction, story-telling, reading and literacy. Professors Marvin Lovett, Ph.D. and Fellow James Storbeck will create a research project to assess the potential marketing and promotions impact on a Latino barrio. The project has the interest of national organizations.
The Center has agreed to assist the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Angela Burton, CEO, in collecting data for the COLI survey to help determine the cost of living in Brownsville.