Texas Tech University students and faculty volunteer time to create programs that impact the leaders of tomorrow
The Center for Adolescent Resiliency (CAR) aims to nurture local youth to promote healthy adolescent development. To achieve this, the center houses the United Future Leaders (UFL) and Community Advocacy for Students (CAP) programs to provide a space for Lubbock youth to develop healthy life skills that will carry them through school and life.
“Each program uniquely supports youth and scaffolds their learning to optimize their functioning, relations with others, and physical and mental health,” Assistant professor Christy Rogers, Ph.D. said.
Rogers runs a program of research to investigate how salient relationships affect adolescent development.
“Using multi-informant multi-method approaches, I examine the processes through which social relations influence adolescent decision-making, behavior, and well-being across time,” Rogers said. “I ultimately want to better understand the social resiliency factors and underlying mechanisms that promote positive youth development.”
CAR's research activities are an important part of the center's overall impact. CAR collects data from program stakeholders to determine whether the center's processes achieve positive outcomes. The results are distributed to academic peer-reviewed outlets, practitioners, and community partners to better other communities.
“The center provides opportunities for students to apply research in working one-on-one with youth in the community. Students receive training and uniquely support youth to build life-long skills.”
Texas Tech University students are an essential piece of each program, acting as volunteers and participating in practicum experiences each year.
“Students are trained to engage with program participants as mentors, advocates, and facilitators, but also as co-learners,” CAR director Sara Dodd, Ph.D. said. “Students learn to continuously assess the context of youth development, and to adapt and innovate curriculum to meet the ongoing needs of those we serve.”
Students volunteering with the CAPS program advocate for students receiving alternative education placements in Lubbock ISD because of behavior or discipline issues. Student volunteers conduct one-on-one meetings and group sessions.
The UFL program serves Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, and Meadow ISD to host after-school leadership programs for 5th and 6th graders, a leadership conference for 6th - 12th-grade students and their parents, and a UFL Talkington Leadership Camp for Incoming 8th graders.
“My experience with the center allowed me to participate in some of the behind-the-scenes work that the programs do to serve the students they work with,” HDFS student Journey Roddie said. “Such as planning and facilitating a leadership camp, becoming an advocate for students, and providing informational videos for parents.”
The programs at CAR are typically year-round and ongoing, providing numerous opportunities for student involvement and faculty collaboration. In addition to the community partnerships with Lubbock ISD, CAR also partners with Covenant Health System and United Supermarkets. Representatives from community partners engage in carrying out the center's mission by serving as advocates or advisory board members.
The center has an opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of families, students, and youth practitioners daily. CAR is unique in its breadth of collaboration and universal concepts that can be used by youth everywhere to thrive in their respective environments. The program presents a unique opportunity for TTU student to serve their surrounding community and make a lasting difference in the lives of others.
“Most TTU students have a genuine desire to engage with the university and wider Lubbock community but don't always know how best to get involved,” Director of CAPS Linn Walker, RN, CWPC, said. “Through their time with CAR, they develop valuable and translatable skills and receive focused mentoring. When students finish their volunteer or learning experience with CAR, they depart with valuable professional competencies and a sense of accomplishment in being encouraged to contribute to CAR's mission by implementing their gifts and talents.