DEL RIO, TX — A group of Del Rio youth committed to self-improvement, like skills, and a little fun finished the four-week Summer Groups program as part of BCFS-Health and Human Services-Del Rio’s Services to At Risk Youth (STAR) program. In the annual program specifically designed for community youth between the ages of 10-17, BCFS-Del Rio Family Support Specialists create learning environments where youth explore various techniques for effective communication, shared their thoughts about healthy self-esteem, learned coping skills and anger management, and discussed recognizing—and removing themselves from—potentially harmful or dangerous situations.
“The main goal of Summer Groups is to keep the youth engaged even though they are out of school,” said BCFS-Del Rio Program Director Delia Ramos. “Hopefully, they take what they have learned in Summer Groups and apply it in the new school year.”
Each session featured a team-building exercise incorporated into the discussion.
“The self-esteem group,” explains Ramos, “uses an activity where each student passes around a lunch bag, and on the outside of the bag, everyone in their class writes what they think of that person. The person puts their own descriptors inside the bag, the things that people wouldn’t know about them unless they talked with that individual.
“The exercise is a fun way to help kids realize their inherent worth. By the end of the exercise, everyone in the class learns something new about their classmates.
“For the anger management session, the youth form teams with the goal of balancing ten metal nails on one more nail,” Ramos says. “They have to work together while keeping their emotions in check.”
BCFS-Del Rio incentivized participation in Summer Groups with raffles associated with each session.
“For each session attended, youth earned another chance in a raffle for prizes that included a movie gift basket and a flat screen TV,” she says.
“We’ve received good feedback about each session,” says Ramos. “The kids are very engaged, they are committed to the program, and excited to come to class.”
BCFS-Del Rio operates the STAR program in an effort to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, runaways, truancy and child abuse by helping youths and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills. STAR Services include free counseling in a home or office setting, crisis intervention, training for parents and youth, and emergency residential placements. STAR serves youth 17 years or younger and their families in Val Verde County.
BCFS-Del Rio also operates the Del Rio Domestic Violence program for DVDR provides safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence. DVDR promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through collaboration, public information, education and advocacy. Services provided to victims include face-to-face support, legal assistance, referrals to access community resources, emergency medical care, and safety planning. DVDR’s community outreach involves classroom instruction on healthy relationships, collaboration with law enforcement, self-defense education, and the establishment of “Safe Homes” in the community.
For more information about BCFS-Del Rio’s work in the Val Verde County community, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.