Texas Tech University

Community Advocacy Project for Students (CAPS)

Community Advocacy Project for Students

Systemically disadvantaged youth need assistance if they are to change their life trajectory to one of growth, empowerment, and resiliency. Embracing and uplifting youth to recognize their own strengths and potential serves as a catalyst for this change. “Someone needs to go out of the beaten path and take these children by the hand…by the heart and lead them back” (Tender Apples: A Biography of Ettie Lee, 1965).

The Community Advocacy Project for Students (CAPS) advocates for students moving through transitions within the school system; specifically, students from an alternative education setting who struggle in returning to their middle or high school campus. Voices often have been muted or silenced due to negative patterns of misbehavior and disciplinary action. CAPS empowers and advocates for these youth by providing a unique resource in the educational setting that builds resilience through learning life skills (defined by the World Health Organization (1997) as “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”). 

CAPS matches students with community volunteers who serve as advocates for the students and as liaisons with school administration. Our advocates model a supportive and trusted adult presence through weekly meetings with students at their school, working alongside them in a safe space to develop and practice life skills. Grounded in a comprehensive wellness philosophy, advocate-student sessions focus on topics such as healthy relationships, identity, emotional security, physical safety, and belonging. CAPS advocates also facilitate groups throughout the school district to support students struggling with commonly occurring issues such as grief and loss, emotional regulation, and bullying. Lessons are tailored to meet the needs of the students and are designed to help them to leave the group more skilled and empowered to progress forward. Through collaboration with school district leadership and individual campus administration, CAPS assists in growing a culture of well-being in the school setting.

“It's almost like that community piece. Multiple adults [are] involved in this child's life that are rooting for him, that are behind him, that, even when he makes a mistake, we don't go away. Everybody makes mistakes. We're still going to help support you and see you through.”  - Stakeholder

Vision statement

Establish a systemically based community designed to engage, support, and nurture youth where they will feel safe, loved, and able to thrive.

Mission statement

Empower youth to achieve personal and academic success through life skills development and authentic engagement utilizing community advocacy.

Center for Adolescent Resiliency