DATE:   December 6, 2004
CONTACT: Dr. Karen Middleton, Professor of Management, (361)825-5533; or Melissa Goonan, Public Affairs, (361) 825-2337
University Business Majors Learn Management and Leadership Skills through Civic Project
Class created brand new teen center at Joe Garza Recreation Center

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WHO:       Students from the Leadership and Managerial Effectiveness Class; College of Business Professor Dr. Karen Middleton; Representatives from the Parks and Recreation Department; and Teens from the Joe Garza Recreation Center
WHAT: The Grand Opening of the Joe Garza Teen Center
WHEN: Tuesday, December 7, 2004 from 6-7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Joe Garza Recreation Center, 3204 Highland Avenue

In summer 2003, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities started the American Democracy Project, an initiative to increase the number of college students involved in community volunteer projects. In pursuit of this goal, some professors at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have adopted new classroom strategies and extracurricular programs to engage their classes in meaningful civic actions.

Professor of Management in the College of Business Dr. Karen Middleton is one of those professors. Working through the University's Community Outreach Department, she identified two projects that would benefit the City of Corpus Christi's Parks and Recreation Department and her students. Middleton's Leadership and Managerial Effectiveness class would put its leadership skills into practice by creating a brand new teen center at the Joe Garza Recreational Center and by remodeling the Broadmoor Park Senior Center.

"I wanted the students to get out of the classroom and actually design and lead a project through to fruition," Middleton said. "Our objective is not only for the students to see what it feels like to do this, but to also have the opportunity to meet and associate with business leaders in the community."

To accomplish the renovation of the teen center and the senior center, the students were required to set specific goals, develop communication plans, recruit and manage volunteers, develop a budget, and create a fundraising plan.

The students and the volunteers produced the brand new teen center made up of a game room, a library, a computer room, an audio-visual room and a "meet your friends" room. The second part of the project consisted of remodeling the Broadmoor Senior Center by adding a new entryway, game tables and equipment, and new storage for the senior clients.

The projects were completed with the help of corporate sponsors Whataburger, Inc.; SSP/Circle K; H.E.B.; Mr. J. & Sons Construction, Inc.; L&F Distributors; Pete Roel Enterprises; Care Pharmacy; State Farm Insurance; Pete's Chicken-n-More; Susan Castor Interiors; and Fast Signs.

The Joe Garza Teen Center grand opening will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 6-7:30 p.m. at 3204 Highland Avenue. A fiesta to celebrate the newly remodeled Broadmoor Park Senior Center will follow a week later on Tuesday, Dec. 14 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Broadmoor Center, 1651 Tarlton Street.