Community Outreach 2021-22

2022 YWTeen Summer Camp Leadership Program

During summer 2022, AAUW Corpus Christi Branch members continue to volunteer with the YWTeen summer camp leadership program at our local YWCA.  Branch member Dr. Diana Cardenas led a summer camp session with 11 YWTeen participants who addressed the questions “What is America?” and “Who is an American?”  Five teams and a project manager generated categories — geography, people, climate, rights — to organize ideas which were displayed on posters.

Two teens, sisters, told the group about being Americans who were born and reared on the King Ranch.  Their great-grandfather emigrated from Mexico to work and live at the King Ranch. The sisters expressed pride in their families, the ranch, Texas, and the US.

The YWTeen program is for 5th and 6th grade girls, ages 10-12.  It is modeled on the nationally researched Girls Circle program, teaching girls how to consider actions and outcomes; how to treat people respectfully; how to become leaders; and how to formulate goals for their lives.  At the leadership camps, girls receive input and mentoring from successful women from all walks of life.  Mentoring teaches them that they, too, can become successful and make valuable contributions to their families, schools, and society.

Dr. Cardenas commented, “I delighted in interacting with the teens and hearing their positive ideas about being Americans.”

YWTeens participated in a 2022 summer leadership camp program led by Dr. Diana Cardenas.

2022 Recognition to College-bound Seniors from Miller High School

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Corpus Christi Branch and Del Mar College AAUW student organization partnered to honor the achievement of 20 college-bound senior girls at Miller High School and Metropolitan School of Design.

Kelly Gonzales, chairperson of AAUW’s Community Outreach Committee, collaborated with Miller High counselor Gerald Padilla and with Cheryl Sanders, advisor for Del Mar College AAUW student group, to recognize the senior girls and their plans for higher education.

Members of AAUW Corpus Christi Branch and the Del Mar College AAUW student organization joined Miller High School honorees.

Honorees are Isaura Amador, Catalina Casarez, Jocelyn Castillo, Cheyenne Collier, Jadriana De La Garza, Azelie Gonzalez, Kira Gonzalez, Leeah Garcia, Jaylene Garcia, Rozallie Gonzalez-Tucar,
Briana Morales, Brianna Martinez-Acosta, Marissa Naranjo, Natalie Rangel, Renee Rangel, Nicole Reyes, Briana Tobias, Belicia Vasquez, Abigail Ramon, and Cienna Salazar.

Shirley Selz, past president of AAUW, praised the girls’ decision to continue to achieve in their education, careers, and lives.

Cheryl Sanders, DMC Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and AAUW Branch member, expressed pride in the girls and introduced the key speaker, Samantha Luna, vice president of Del Mar College AAUW student organization.  Luna, a returning student, wife, mother, small business owner, and former member of the Student Government Association, offered enthusiastic, positive words for thriving in college.  She noted, “A happy life is a string of happy moments.”  These moments include establishing a relationship with an advisor, navigating academic responsibilities, learning about scholarships, and becoming involved in clubs, such as AAUW, which empowers women through support, encouragement, and opportunities to succeed.

Sanders highlighted the importance of DMC AAUW’s participation: “Celebrating the accomplishments of the senior girls who plan to pursue higher education is significant because this step is a once-in-a lifetime achievement, and it marks the beginning of new adventures and opportunities that will shape our future community leaders.”

Sharing her sentiments are Del Mar College AAUW group members Dorothy Barringer, Kaila Cavazos-Guerra, Miranda Rodriguez, Alanna Perez, Linda Ibarra, Andrea Grant, Savannah Leos, and President, Sofia Jimenez.  Belinda De la Cruz is co-advisor with Cheryl Sanders. The group members chose to present gift bags of items useful to the seniors for their college days.

Catherine Cox, the new president of AAUW Corpus Christi Branch, presented awards from the Branch to the senior girls.  Miller High principal Sandy Salinas-DeLeon and counselor Gerald Padilla congratulated the senior girls and the parents in attendance.

The local KRIS-6 News station covered the event and broadcasted the coverage that evening.  You can also see more pictures on the Del Mar College AAUW Facebook account.

Story by Dr. Diana Cardenas

2021 Holiday Shopping for YWTeens

The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch has an annual tradition of spreading some holiday cheer by sponsoring a “Holiday Shopping Spree” for the YWCA YWTeens program.  This 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.  In December 2021, strict COVID-19 restrictions were temporarily lifted, allowing our Branch to host the holiday event in person.

On December 11, 2021, members of the Branch assisted 50 YWTeen girls in selecting five holiday gifts each for family members and helped them bag and label their gifts.  To adhere to recommended health and safety guidelines, gift items were displayed on tables for the shopping spree, and several Branch members donated an abundance of bags to reduce the face-time required for wrapping presents.  Each girl also took home a custom bead bracelet made on site and a “goodie” bag of treats donated by Branch members.

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 they truly enjoyed the custom bracelets made just for them.

Special thanks go to the many AAUW members who help make this year’s event a success: Dottie Ewing, Diana Cardenas, Catherine Cox, Susan Birchfield, Vickie Natale, Carrie Roach, Shirley Selz, Deanne Purcell, Nancy Wesson-Dodd, and our Community Outreach Chair Kelly Gonzalez.

AAUW Branch members Shirley Selz, Susan Birchfield, and Diana Cardenas displayed some of the gift selections available for the YWTeens.

Stacks of holiday bags, ribbons, tissue, and tags were donated for girls to use for their selected family gifts.