Texas Tech University

Human Development and Family Studies' Center for Adolescent Resiliency (CAR)

Thriving in Youth Empowerment

Center for Adolescent Resiliency (CAR)

Over the years, the Center for Adolescent Resiliency (CAR) has gone by many different names and housed many different programs established within the College of Human Sciences in the 90s. One thing that hasn't changed is the dedication to reach the youth of the surrounding community by providing a caring environment.

CAR works to establish positive atmospheres for middle school and high school students where they can develop healthy academic, social, and physical habits. The center consists of two main programs; Covenant BodyMind Initiative (CBMI) and United Future Leaders (UFL) that both offer opportunities for youth to interacting with each other and the community in positive ways. Participants in CAR learn from quality mentors who teach skills to equip them for their paths to adulthood and beyond.

Community Advocacy Project for Students (CAPS)

linn walker ttu caps cmbiThe Center for Adolescent Resiliency was awarded a grant from Covenant Health to fund the Community Advocacy Project for Students (CAPS). CAPS was developed in response to a need recognized by the Covenant BodyMind Initiative (CBMI) team through their work with secondary education students in the area of wellness. This grant represents the strong partnership between Texas Tech University, Covenant Health and the Lubbock Independent School District.

"This funding facilitates expansion which means more advocates, thus enabling us to reach more students," Director of CAPS Linn Walker, RN, CWPC, said. "What a meaningful impact this will have on our community and the advocates themselves."

The Human Development and Family Studies program at Texas Tech University worked to create what we now know as CMBI. Through partnership with Covenant Medical Center, the CMBI program was created to promote childhood health and wellness for middle school and high school aged youth. The CBMI program will soon be transitioning to the new initiative, CAPS. CAPS will officially launch on July 1, 2018.

Students often struggle in transitioning from an alternative education setting back to a public middle or high school campus. CAPS is dedicated to working with this vulnerable population by serving both as an advocate for the student and a liaison for school administration during this time of transition.

"I enjoy learning about the students, as they learn about themselves and the innate abilities they possess to overcome obstacles," Linn said. "Seeing students begin to advocate for themselves in an appropriate manner and move in a positive direction is very rewarding."

Linn stresses that the program reinforces its meaningful impact on the community through the service of program advocates.

"We hope the students will gain a better understanding of themselves as well as the realization that they have a support team; people they can trust, people who will not give up on them, and people who believe in them and their ability to succeed," Linn said.

United Future Leaders Partners with Family Promise of Lubbock

sara dodd ttu car directorDuring the fall of 2016, a staff member from Family Promise of Lubbock (FPL) reached out to United Future Leaders about a partnership between the two programs. Director for CAR, Sara Dodd, Ph.D. says that this new partnership was seamless, with Family Promise of Lubbock expressing that UFL was the right program to empower them moving forward.

"It was a no brainer for the UFL team to explore options to best serve their youth, and the team began to work on a curriculum that would be implemented the following school year."

The UFL staff dedicate their time to preparing lessons for youth participants that build relationships and focus on self-reflection. The newly founded partnership provides young leaders an opportunity to experience and grow through the monthly leadership program at UFL, which would otherwise not be possible, given many of the children's current living situations.

"The United Future Leaders program's unique collaborative partnership with Family Promise of Lubbock is important in providing leadership opportunities for not only youth participants, but also for the UFL Staff and HDFS service learning students who facilitate and implement the program," Dr. Dodd said.

Fast forward to January 2018, the many months of dedication paid off when updated curriculum incorporating existing UFL themes to better serve homeless youth and families officially rolled out at FPL.

UFL looks forward to providing caring adult mentors who take the time to get to know each participant, building confidence and providing reassurance for their future paths. With ULF and FPL's partnership still in the beginning stages, Sara stresses that the progress already being made is quite promising for the future of UFL.

Dr. Velez selected as Visiting Assistant Professor at Universidad CES

velez-gomez ttu car assistant directorPaulina Velez-Gomez, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Research at CAR was named Visiting Assistant Professor at Universidad CES in Medellin, Colombia. Dr. Velez-Gomez was awarded this role as an acknowledgement to her teaching, mentoring and research contributions to the master's degree program in child and adolescent mental health from Universidad CES. The role allows Dr. Velez-Gomez to teach graduate and undergraduate courses, advise in research, teach seminars, and serve on master's committees.

"Working at CAR has helped me to be able to gain experience in connecting research and practice when working with adolescents," Dr. Velez-Gomez said. "This experience could be of interest to the students in the psychology department at Universidad CES, who are preparing for careers in different fields."

With a background research and programming contexts concerning youth in the U.S. and Colombia, the role is a natural fit. Dr. Velez-Gomez will continue in this position while continuing to serve CAR, including the pursuit of study abroad opportunities between Texas tech University and Universidad CES.

Director of CAR, Sara Dodd, Ph.D. says that Dr. Velez-Gomez has played an instrumental role in providing building opportunities for Texas Tech faculty to teach at CES.

"During my time at CAR, I have also worked to establish a research collaboration with Universidad CES. Within this collaboration, we are aiming to adapt and implement some of our programs to be used with adolescents from Medellin."

As an alumna of the psychology program as Universidad CES, Dr. Velez-Gomez says she is looking forward to share her Texas Tech experiences with other students in the program.

"These exchanges could potentially enhance awareness, knowledge, and cultural competence of all students and faculty from both universities."

Each year at Universidad CES, three distinguished alumni are selected to participate in the De Regreso a Casa program, with each being invited to share their global work experiences. The program aims to establish international collaboration with institutions and CES.

Dr. Velez-Gomez gladly shared her work with CAR as a great example to CES faculty and youth practitioners. This experience provided her with the opportunity to offer a workshop for parents in Colombia, furthering the development of international collaboration between Texas Tech and Universidad CES.