The Greater Austin Crime Commission and University of Texas School of Social Work developed the Longhorn Leaders youth outreach program in cooperation with the university’s Athletic Department and the Austin Independent School District. University of Texas athletes receive course credit for their participation.
Fall 2008 Class
Dr. Michael L. Lauderdale
Longhorn Leaders Tasha Jones and Drew Bishop listen in class.
The program is designed to communicate the importance of academic and personal success with middle school students. During the semester, each university athlete makes several personal presentations at each school, emphasizing academic excellence and life “success” skills.
The Longhorn Leaders program has generated an enthusiastic response from schools and has promoted positive community interaction between university athletes, students, parents, teachers, and law enforcement. The Greater Austin Crime Commission underwrites the costs of developing materials for the program, including trading cards for each athlete and a half-hour video documentary.
The program, created by Crime Commission board members Dr. Michael L. Lauderdale and Fred Ligarde, reaches seventh graders at a crucial developmental point, as decisions affect the transition into early adolescence. School failure, involvement with drugs, gangs, or other harmful activities, and delinquency begun in middle school often lead toschool dropout and discourage successful developmental transitions. Students at this age are susceptible to influences beyond the family, especially from peers and the popular media. The Longhorn Leaders program provides an alternative, positive message.
Visit the Longhorn Leaders online at LonghornLeaders.com