The University of Texas of Brownsville and Texas Southmost, Brownsville
80 Fort Brown
Brownsville , TX 78520
Phone: (956) 882-5133
Fax: (956) 882-5039
Title: Making the Break - Healthy Lifestyles
Project Director: Silva Hilda, Ph.D.
Project Amount Funded (FY 2006): $240,687
Target Population: Hispanic/Latino Youth, Grade 10
The Making the Break - Healthy Lifestyles program seeks to increase the protective factors available to 40 youth in Brownsville, Texas by providing and promoting: positive adult role models; parental involvement; extracurricular activity; cultural pride; physical and personal wellness; academic enrichment; and career counseling. These objectives are fostered through after-school activities, a summer program, and close partnerships with local schools and community-based organizations including: Porter High School , The Brownsville Police Department, and Healthy Communities of Brownsville. The core components of “Making the Break - Healthy Lifestyles” focus on academic enrichment, career development, cultural enrichment, personal development and wellness, and parental involvement. The program provides a broad spectrum of academic activities for participants including: academic counseling with the creation of an individualized academic plan, academic tutoring three days per week; and an annual academic workshop focusing on leadership skills development. Personal development and wellness activities include: a year-round gym membership and sessions with personal trainers; lifestyle workshops focusing on nutrition and diet, and a culturally appropriate health symposium on health and nutrition for participants and their parents, and a five-day nutrition academy during the summer; character education training on society and law, and the summer Junior Police Academy to discourage criminal behavior; and an annual summer retreat to the UTB/TSC campuses. Students attend cultural events such as Brownsville Charro Days, plays at the Camille Lighter Playhouse theater productions, and the Brownsville Jazz Festival, and are required to write reaction papers based on their experiences. Other cultural enrichment activities include attendance at cultural celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo and Mariachi Luna Azteca, and cultural workshops on Hispanic culture. Career development is encouraged through resume workshops, career workshops conducted by the UTB/TSC Career Services Center, and the opportunity to work up to 15 hours per week in a paid internship. Students' parents are encouraged to attend various program activities, especially the lifestyle workshops and the nutrition academy. In addition, the program director and the prevention specialist will meet with parents at the beginning of each term, and a newsletter will be circulated at the beginning of each semester with program updates.