Community Outreach

2024 Recognition to College-bound Senior Girls from Miller High School

On April 30, 2024, the AAUW Community Outreach Committee, along with the AAUW Del Mar College student group and Miller Career Counseling staff, celebrated and gave recognition to 20 college-bound senior girls from Miller High and Metro School of Design.  Diana Reyes, incoming chairperson of the Community Outreach Committee, opened the celebration with praise for the partnership among the three groups “that allows us to celebrate you and express our belief in your ability to succeed.” 

The invited speaker for this gathering, Ms. Anai Austin, who graduated from Miller, congratulated the girls for their accomplishments and urged them to continue the path to higher learning and new experiences. As vice president of AAUW DMC, Ms. Austin actively participates in carrying out goals of the group in addition to her role as treasurer for the Student Government Association. In her address to the senior girls, she noted, “You can progress by yourself, but you can be unstoppable with a team.” Personable, articulate, and optimistic, Ms. Austin informed the girls that college is about growth, and they need to “remember their worth, power of their intelligence, and resilience to achieve personally, academically, and socially.” Also, she recommended that they surround themselves with people who will support and champion their college efforts, particularly resource individuals. As a campus leader, Ms. Austin encouraged the girls to speak up to advocate for themselves and others to make a difference on campus, in the community, and in our world.  In her parting statement Ms. Austin told the girls to believe in their ability to create their futures.

Ms. Cheryl Sanders, sponsor of AAUW DMC and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, thanked Ms. Austin, a former Buc, for her support of the senior girls. Ms. Sanders and other members of AAUW DMC gave the girls pretty and useful items for college.  Catherine Cox, president of AAUW Corpus Christi, presented each senior girl with a nice graduation card with a monetary gift.

Mr. Gerald Padilla, Career Counselor, announced cheerfully that this collaboration among Miller High, AAUW Corpus Christi, and AAUW DMC—now in its fourth year—stands and is embraced as a school tradition. It is a result of his interaction with Kelly Gonzalez, Chairperson of the Community Outreach Committee, who begins plans early each year.  Additionally, Principal Sandy Salinas-DeLeon congratulated the girls selected for recognition and lauded their hard work and commitment to achieve.

Following the celebration, Mr. Padilla informed the Community Outreach Committee that the girls graduated on Friday, May 31, 2024, and that all have been granted admission to a college or university.  In addition to his good news about the graduates, Mr. Padilla shared a sad note. He accepted a new position as counselor with Flour Bluff ISD in the fall.  Members of the Community Outreach Committee thank Mr. Padilla for his years of productive engagement and wish him well.  Members also look forward to meeting the new Miller High career counselor to plan the Spring 2025 senior girls’ celebration.

Story by Dr. Diana Cardenas

AAUW representatives pose with the Miller High School college-bound senior girls who were honored.

Peace of Mind Seminar 2023

AAUW’s Planning Committee for the 3rd Peace of Mind presentation — Kelly Gonzalez, Diana Reyes, Shirley Selz, and Diana Cardenas — hosted two experts in the field of senior care on October 21, 2023: Ms. Melissa Bergeron, Care Consultant with Mir Senior Care Management and Care Consultants; and Mr. Gene Lopez, PT, Ph.D., Fall Prevention Specialist and owner of FYZICAL Therapy. Offering their decades of knowledge, training, and experiences, both experts engaged audience members.

Standing: Dr. Catherine Cox, Branch President; Diana Lopez, Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center; Dr. Gene Lopez, speaker;  Dr. Diana Cardenas, Branch Program Vice President; Melissa Bergeron, speaker; Frances Mir, owner of Mir Senior Care Management and Care Consultants. Kneeling: Diana Reyes, Branch Community Outreach member; Kelly Gonzalez, Branch Community Outreach Chair.

Ms. Bergeron: “Navigating Medical Management.” In her segment Ms. Bergeron outlined 4 basic foundational pieces necessary to function as an effective advocate for a loved one.

Establish a Care Team You Have Confidence In– This includes medical professionals, other service providers, family and friends, and anyone else who assists you in caring for a loved one.  Observe members of the care team and hold them accountable for their responsibilities and actions.

Get Organized – Having the necessary information and tools is essential. Create a medical binder, a financial/legal binder, and a helper contact list. Identify specific documents for access to medical information and finances to conduct business on a loved one’s behalf.

Communicate – This is a cornerstone of being a good advocate. Understand the wishes and goals of a person in need of services. Practice continuous communication with your loved one and the care team.

Practice Self-Care – A burned-out, run-down, unwell caregiver cannot deliver good care and advocacy. Take care of yourself and recognize that doing so is not a selfish act, but a gift to self and others.

Based on her years of practice, Ms. Bergeron described 3 scenarios for effective advocacy: preparation, appropriate medication management, and managing hospital discharge.

Preparation – the Book. A simple three ring binder to house all the collected information will eliminate turning the house upside down trying to find essential documents.

Medication Management – Gather all medications, vitamins, OTC meds, and supplements into one location and utilize pill boxes that fit a person’s needs.

Hospital Discharges – The best time to start planning for discharge is just after a family member is admitted. While it may seem too soon, planning allows time to be prepared and to minimize stress.

Dr. Lopez: “Safety, Mobility, and Preventing Falls to Maintain Independence.” In his presentation Dr. Lopez described common falls and injuries that lead to incapacity, fear, injury, and hospitalization. He showed specific exercises, used in his clinic, to improve the balance of his clients to minimize falls.

He was accompanied by Ms. Diana Lopez, whose visual presentation helped the audience understand the anatomy of the ear, the physiological ailments of the inner ear, and their effects on balance and the sense of well being. Also, she provided research data, numbers of people needing medical care and admittance to hospitals for severe injuries from falls. She pointed out the loss and cost to the nation.

Dr. Lopez helped the audience members understand falls by demonstrating, physically on a mat, the kinds of falls, the parts of the body involved, and effects, such as shoulder, back, and leg damage, and severe head injuries. For example, he simulated the process involved in stumbling and how to react—by using leg muscles– to minimize the impact on the body, particularly the head.

A segment that attracted this audience member was his explanation of orthopedic rehabilitation offered to his clients. Dr. Lopez described the special equipment necessary to help clients overcome pain and immobility. Clients who use canes, wheelators, and rollators can strengthen muscles and gain motion with the use of suspended harnesses.

Dr. Lopez stressed his focus on research studies and findings to drive his therapies.  Also, with its team approach, therapists and clients develop a sense of family, a factor that aids physical improvement.

Shirley Selz provided a handout to attendees.

Shirley Selz gave out a useful handout to help individuals, families, and care givers gather and organize essential legal, medical, and financial information to minimize alarm and crises and to promote peace of mind.

— Story by Dr. Diana Cardenas
— Photos by Lara Gephart

2023 YW Teens Holiday Shopping Spree

The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch has an annual tradition of spreading holiday cheer by sponsoring a “Holiday Shopping Spree” for the YWCA YWTeens program.  The event is structured to provide five holiday gifts that the ten-to-twelve-year-old girls in the YWTeen program can give to their family members.

On December 9, 2023, we had 41 pre-teens participate in the event.  As families arrived and signed in, we had a separate room where girls could enjoy a mug of hot chocolate and other goodies.  Families were provided with supplies to make a few keepsake ornaments while the girls were shopping.

Girls took turns going upstairs at the YWCA to select presents for their family members.  Then, each girl selected bags, tags, ribbons, bows, and paper to wrap their presents.  AAUW Branch members assisted girls with the wrapping process, teaching about measurements of paper and ribbon and how to fluff tissue for maximum effect.

Nancy Wesson-Dodd, president and CEO of the YWCA, stated that selecting and wrapping (or bagging) gifts for family members is an uplifting event for these girls and that “the smiles on their faces said it all. This day of being lifted up will be with them forever.”

Archives for Community Outreach Activities

Events held in 2022-23
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