TSC helps strengthen family wellness, self-care in the community

Brisa Ceniceros and her son Kevin, a rising junior at Rivera Early College High School, recently stopped by the Texas Southmost College campus to pick up a COVID-19 Wellness Box.

The Wellness Box pick up happened during a kickoff distribution event hosted by TSC’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center in collaboration with the Brownsville Independent School District and BISD Communities in Schools.

During the 2020-2021 school year, TSC’s 21st Century program launched a series of parent training sessions that covered topics such as substance abuse awareness and gang prevention to COVID-19 wellness awareness.

To close out the COVID-19 Wellness Awareness session, all 21st Century parents received a COVID-19 Wellness Box that included a thermometer, disinfectant wipes, gloves, face masks and shields, disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer.

“It’s programs like these that make parents like me conscious about what our children and families are facing. It gives us insight into our new realities,” said Ceniceros. “TSC’s 21st Century program helps us guide our children and reinforces what we are already trying to teach them about health, safety, college and the world. It helps us unite toward one goal – our child’s success.”

Ceniceros added that each session has been invaluable to her and the wellness box she received is going to benefit her entire family.

“The pandemic is far from over. That’s why we’re still wearing these,” she pointed at her face mask. “So, everything in this box is going to ensure that we have what we need to not only take care of ourselves, but those in our community. Because if I’m protecting myself, I’m also protecting you.”

Other wellness box distribution events are planned for the month of July at each of the 10 BISD campuses that house TSC’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Prisci Tipton, TSC director of Special Instructional Projects, said preparing the kits and planning distribution events has been months in the making because of COVID-19 disruptions.

“We are so excited that everything has come together,” she said. “This is how we strengthen wellness for the families in our community. This is powerful.”

She said every school year, parents of the children who participate in TSC’s 21st Century program are asked to complete a survey about the types of sessions they are interested in, and a COVID-19 wellness-related course was highly sought.

“With everything we are experiencing with this pandemic, there was a dire need for a wellness session, and I’m proud that our team, along with Communities in Schools, was able to provide this for our parents,” said Tipton. “The ultimate goal of the session was to raise awareness about protection against COVID-19 for the 21st Century families.”

The training session focused on promoting good hand washing behavior, hygiene, physical distancing, the use of face masks when necessary and self-care.

For 21st Century parents like Jesus Carr, who is a former community first aid and CPR instructor, getting a refresher on safety practices and receiving a wellness box that his family can use to take precautions is priceless.

“I’m so happy to see that to TSC, our health and safety come first,” he said. “Just because we’re vaccinated and have vaccines readily available, doesn’t mean we can let our guard down and seeing this type of care for our students and communities is great. I’m extremely grateful and as a parent it makes me more comfortable knowing that my daughter will be a part of this great school.”

Carr’s daughter will be attending TSC in the fall to pursue an associate degree in Criminal Justice.

“We have seen so much thankfulness and gratefulness from our parents,” said Tipton. “We have even seen a sigh of relief for some. Our goal is to always get our students to the next level, to higher education, and that doesn’t only come from academic opportunities, but also from promoting wellness and self-care. Success is made up of several influential factors and it’s our job to continue meeting needs and removing obstacles.”

For more information about TSC’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, contact your child’s school counselor.