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Southwest Key E-Newsletter
Southwest Key

August, 2010

  Opening Doors to Opportunity
So Young People Can Achieve Their Dreams
June/July 2010
In This Issue
East Austin Children's Promise An Update and A Request

School Learning Platform Honored

Ms. Valerie Goes To Chicago To Get Out The Vote

Latino Arts Preservation Program Video
Southwest Key Employees Running To Wellness
Buffalo Welcomes Youth With A Purpose

Celebrating GED Graduates

Houston Family Day
Our CEO, Dr. Sánchez Elected To NCLR's Executive Committee
SWKey In the News
(KVUE, 07.20.10)
(Statesman Op-ed 07.20.10)
(Giving City, 06.28.10)
(Ahora Si, 06.25.10)
(FOX 7, 06.12.10)
(UT, 06.02.10)
Upcoming Events
@ Southwest Key
6002 Jain Lane, Austin
 Event Info at 512.462.2181 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512.462.2181      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Connect With SWKey


Get Involved 

Southwest Key is seeking:
Event Volunteers
School Volunteers
Comm. Outreach Volunteers
Fundraising Volunteers support our East Austin College Prep Academy and
other programs happening
in East Austin.
Contact Victoria Gutierrez
if you are interested: 512.583.2567 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512.583.2567      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Contact Us

Southwest Key National Headquarters
6002 Jain Lane
Austin, Texas 78721
512/462-2181 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512/462-2181      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Greetings From the Southwest Key Familia!
Welcome to our June/July 2010 newsletter and thank you for joining us. We are proud to share these Southwest Key stories from all over the country. We hope they will inspire and encourage you to open a door to opportunity for a child, and support Southwest Key Programs.


The Southwest Key Familia

East Austin Children's Promise - An Update and A Request

Our proposal for one of twenty Promise Neighborhood federal grants was submitted at the end of June. The grant will accelerate our East Austin Children's Promise work and the community transformation and education efforts we have already started.  

The Children's Promise enjoys widespread support with backing from more than forty community and neighborhood associations, nonprofit partners, corporations, arts and faith-based organizations and elected public officials. We are proud of this extensive support, and look forward to working in partnership with them all as we move forward.

For the current list of supporters, please visit

We also have a request, we need your help. The US Senate Committee on Appropriations,  the body who hold the purse strings for the grants, is now proposing to cut the 2011 allocation for Promise Neighborhoods from $210 million down to $60 million.

We have a short window to urge the Senate Subcommittee to reinstate the full funding of $210 million in their markup of the bill.
We need your help to advocate for the bill and call our Senator. Hearing from as many of you in person, your personal testimonies about the local efforts we are making in Austin will go a long way. Our Senator's contact information is listed below and thank you in advance.
Washington DC Office
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4304
202-224-5922 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-224-5922      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
202-224-0776 (FAX)
202-224-5903 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-224-5903      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (TDD)
Austin Office
961 Federal Building
300 East 8th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
512-916-5834 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512-916-5834      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
512-916-5839 (FAX)
Talking Points and Ideas For You
Today we call to ask for your strong support of the $210 million in proposed Promise Neighborhoods funding put forth in President Obama’s proposed FY2011 budget request. We ask you to be a champion for this funding.
The Promise Neighborhoods program is a tremendous step forward in our country’s attempt to break the cycle of poverty for American children.  Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone’s work in Harlem over the past 10 years, the Promise Neighborhoods program aims to foster similar holistic, long-term support systems for children across the country.
There is strong community support for Promise Neighborhoods—nationwide more than 940 communities submitted Letters of Intent to Apply (representing every state including 48 tribal areas and 170 rural communities). More than 340 communities submitted an application for the first competitive 10 planning grants and these and many others have their sights set on implementation grants in the FY2011 budget.

School Learning Platform Honored
A video called “Voices From the Field,” featuring our East Austin College Prep Academy and produced by one of our educational partners, The World Wide Workshop and their Globaloria program, is an official selection for the Lights. Camera. Help. nonprofit film festival, happening in Austin, July 29-31.

The film was chosen from among 235 worldwide entries and features a student from our East Austin College Prep Academy talking about the Globaloria learning platform, and the impact it has had on her life.
Our East Austin College Prep Academy, in partnership with The World Wide Workshop Foundation and AMD, is the first school in Texas and the first charter school in the country to integrate Globaloria as a school-wide teaching and learning platform. The academy is leading the nation in offering this game-making course as core curriculum to all its students starting in the 6th grade.

Globaloria is a college-prep and career-prep course in which students learn how to create educational games that solve social issues. The Globaloria curriculum is aligned with the Texas Content Standards for Mathematics (TEKs), ELA and Technology Learning and is designed to teach STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by engaging students through this innovative platform and approach.

Here is the video and I would encourage all of you to go see the video live in person and support the film festival. It is being held in Austin, Texas between July 29-31, and you can get more information and buy tickets here.

Congratulations to the World Wide Workshop, and everyone connected with the program and film!

Ms. Valerie Goes To Chicago To Get Out The Vote

One of our employees, Valerie recently attended voter outreach training in Chicago, here is her story.? ?
“As part of my job at Southwest Key, I have been involved in various initiatives to reach out and mobilize the local community. Whether it has been increasing voter registration, organizing judicial public forums, participating in our Leadership Development Program or hosting a summer speakers series, I believe individuals and organizations can enable positive change in people and neighborhoods wherever they may be.
I was lucky enough to be awarded a grant that enabled me to recently attend a three-day National Council of La Raza (NCLR) training session in Chicago. The training consisted of a multi-state network of community-based organizations coming together to better understand how to organize field campaigns and promote sustained civic education and participation in the political process.?  ?The training demonstrated strategies that reduce barriers to electoral participation in the Latino community, encouraging Latinos to become registered voters and become part of the political process. To find their voice if you will.
I’d like to thank the NCLR and Southwest Key Programs for giving me the opportunity to attend the training. Aside from making a ton of new friends, I am inspired to use the new skills and techniques I learned for the benefit of the community I live in and serve every day.”

Latino Arts Preservation Program Video

photo courtesy Kris ContrerasOne of the ways we help build community is supporting the arts.

The Latino Arts Preservation Program is run by Southwest Key Programs and supports the preservation of Latino art forms, namely mariachi, ballet folklorico and bilingual theater in East Austin.
Children and their parents learn, then help create and perform the pieces in a cultural exchange with other areas of Austin.                                                     photo courtesy Kris Contreras

In just over two years since the program started, it has become tremendously popular with kids and their parents, who are now also heavily involved. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this program happen, especially our friends at Impact Austin.

We made a short video to document and celebrate the program. You can watch it here
Southwest Key Employees Running To Wellness
One of our wellness coordinators Jaylyn writes – “Doing what we do every day means our employees are generally an energetic bunch. So our wellness program takes an active approach, encouraging and supporting staff to ensure their good health, so they are fit and ready for any challenge.

One of Southwest Key's Wellness Program initiatives for 2010 is sponsoring employee activities that encourage and enable staff to participate in healthy activities. Staff not only reap the benefits of feeling better, but stress is reduced and morale boosted.

Southwest Key employees from all over the country have literally jumped in with both feet and are taking advantage of our wellness initiatives.

Casita El Paso was the first program to organize a 5K, and many other programs are following in their footsteps, including California, Conroe, and Brownsville's All-Rio Grande Valley 5K in August. Recently, our Phoenix program organized a 5K fun run with nearly 50 participants! Everyone who participated was recognized, and the winners won special prizes. Our San Francisco/Bay Area based employees also ran in the famous Bay To Breakers 12k run.

More photos from Bay to Breakers can be found here.
As we care about our employees and their health and wellness, all Southwest Key programs are encouraged to take ownership of their Wellness Program and start organizing their own events.”
Buffalo Welcomes Youth With A Purpose
Another way Southwest Key helps kids is through our collaboration and partnerships. Recently, Youth With A Purpose (YWAP) leaders Bob, Charles and Ian, visited one of our programs in Buffalo, New York.  Here’s how they wrote about their visit.

“Through relationship building, leadership facilitating and power moment mentoring, we had a blast. We shared stories, music and laughter as well as pizza and wings.
The people we met at Southwest Key demonstrated by their actions that they are dedicated, caring and compassionate. They are making a difference in the lives of some troubled young people. 

YWAP believes that all children are gifted. Spending time with the folks at Southwest Key reinforced that belief. We talked about dreams and how to help each other.”
Celebrating GED Graduates
The Travis County Day Enrichment GED Program recently celebrated the success of its 2009-2010 graduates.  In attendance were family, friends and staff from Southwest Key’s Day Enrichment Programs (DEP) and the Travis County Probation department.  The night started with an invocation led by Eve Williams, Travis County Program Coordinator.  Students marched in dressed in their caps and gowns to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance, as all in attendance were on their feet applauding them.
Ms. Gooding, Southwest Key Regional Director started proceedings with an inspiring speech filled with words of wisdom for our graduates.  Each student was introduced by GED Teacher, Ebony Stewart, and given the opportunity to say a few words of their own.  

One student, a very deserving young man who took a two hour bus ride to the DEP office to ensure his scholarship was submitted before the deadline, was awarded a $500 scholarship to Austin Community College courtesy of Southwest Key.  Guests were served dinner and cake celebrating the graduates’ accomplishments.  It was a very moving moment as staff held back tears of joy.

Congratulations Day Enrichment GED graduates!

Houston Family Day
Our Houston program manager writes “our Houston Early Reporting Center program recently held its first ever family day, and it proved to be a great success. Many current and former students were in attendance along with their families and several Harris County probation officers also joined in the fun.

There was food, face painting and balloons for the kids and good healthy dialogue with family members. There was a lot positive feedback from the families about our program and the services we provide for their youth.”
Our CEO, Dr. Sánchez, Elected To NCLR's Executive Committee
We are proud to announce that Dr. Juan Sánchez, CEO and El Presidente of Southwest Key Programs, has been elected to serve as Secretary of The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. He was elected at the NCLR Board of Directors meeting recently held in San Antonio, Texas.
He said of his election “I am honored to be elected and serve as Secretary of the NCLR. I believe this organization is at the forefront of bettering the lives of millions of children and families across this country. I am looking forward to playing my part in ensuring the NCLR continues to open the doors of opportunity for everyone in this country.”
Congratulations Dr. Sánchez!
Thank you for reading this issue of Southwest Key’s E-Newsletter. You will hear from us again in September as we share our news and successes of 2010.


The Southwest Key Familia

Published bi-monthly by:
Southwest Key Programs
6002 Jain Lane
Austin, Texas 78721
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