Texas Tech students volunteer to mentor Lubbock area youth through programs offered by the Center for Adolescent Resiliency
The Center for Adolescent Resiliency (CAR) in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) provides programs that support youth development in the Lubbock community. CAR offers programs like the United Future Leaders (UFL) and Community Advocacy Project for Students (CAPS) to middle school and high school students. In these programs, students experience a caring environment where they can develop healthy academic, social, and physical habits.
“Volunteering for the CAPS program brought so much joy to my week,” Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) student Kathryn O'Keefe said. “I loved being able to take a break from my school and focus on my students for the time we would meet. It was always a great reset break because many of the things we would discuss helped me in my own life.”
While volunteering with CAPS, O'Keefe had weekly meetings with a local middle school student who was struggling with transitioning from an alternative education center back to public school. The meetings were centered around conversations to help them learn more about themselves and cultivate new habits in their life to help them succeed socially and academically.
“It has given me a great opportunity to learn how to have tough conversations and be able to use those conversations to help and support an individual,” O'Keefe said. “It also has confirmed that what I plan to do for a career is something that I enjoy.”
O'Keefe learned about the program through Human Development and Family Sciences professor Ann Mastergeorge, Ph.D. who introduced her to Linn Walker RN, CWPC, the director of CAPS.
“I wanted to experience a scenario close to what I would be doing in my career without me having my license to practice professionally,” O'Keefe explained. “I also wanted to be involved with a program that I felt was making a difference”
HDFS student Journey Roddie said that volunteering with CAR helped shape her professional aspirations by introducing her to new learning and teaching environments. The CAPS and United Future Leaders programs allowed her to explore her strengths and weaknesses.
“I was able to work with the surrounding community by volunteering as an advocate for the Community Advocacy Project for Students and working as a student assistant for United Future Leaders,” Roddie said. “Being a part of these programs allowed me to work hands-on with students within the Lubbock community and gain insight on how each program impacts the lives of the students they serve.”
Roddie ultimately decided to work with the center because the work centered on areas that she is passionate about.
“The students we meet with are truly so sweet and they genuinely want to learn from you in your meetings,” O'Keefe said. “We do not always know what the background of these students' lives are like, but for them, knowing there is someone rooting for them and being constant in their lives gives them so much hope.”