TMD teams up with local youth foundation

Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force
Story by Master Sgt. Michael Leslie

Date: 07.12.2019
Posted: 07.16.2019 15:28
News ID: 331633
Youth program visits Texas Military Department

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Military Department Family Services Youth Program partnered with the Andy Roddick Foundation to welcome elementary school children to learn about the military July 12, at Camp Mabry.

The program gives at-risk children from three east Austin elementary schools the opportunity to continue learn during the summer.

“There is a high need at those schools for quality out-of-school time,” said Erikah Padilla, a program associate with the Andy Roddick Foundation. “We provide the opportunity for these kiddos to be engaged and learning during the summer with the free summer programs, as well as, the afterschool program.”

The idea for interacting with the military came from their summer theme of superheroes. This week’s highlight was Captain America, which relates to the service as he was a Soldier in the comic series.

“We studied during the week real life superheroes and the military service so we came to Camp Mabry to learn more and engage,” said Padilla. “We love the opportunity to see it first hand and get to interact with great members from our military and our Army.”

The day’s agenda was full with physical training, a STARBASE engineer experiment, a visit to the Texas Military Forces Museum and an anti-drug presentation from the Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force.

“We partnered with Counterdrug and they gave us a great presentation on keeping ourselves safe and healthy, and a great presentation on drug prevention,” said Padilla. “They also participated in a [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] activity where they took part in an egg drop experiment, so they got to create their own catapult for the egg to be protected, so they did some great STEM activities with STARBASE.”

This was the first time visiting a military base for many of the children.

“It just gives them a great sense of pride of who they are and it opens the doors and more opportunities for them,” Padilla said. “Some of these kiddos could be our future military members which I think is a very strong message.

“It’s very inspiring for them to see all these men and women who are serving our country; to see it all in front of them and come to life. For them, this could be their future, so it’s very meaningful and inspiring.”