Community Connect
Office of the Vice President for Community Services

Center for Civic Engagement

Empowering Students through Community Work

By Brian Halderman

Jauregui helps teen build a robotic arm at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center. Photo courtesy of Matthew Jauregui

Jauregui helps teen build a robotic arm at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center. Photo courtesy of Matthew Jauregui

During this past academic year, the UTSA Center for Civic Engagement placed more than 20 students with 12 nonprofit agencies as part of the Rowdy Corps program. Rowdy Corps is a community-based program that allows undergraduate work-study-eligible students to be placed off campus in a community-based organization. The intent of the program is to provide students with a quality placement for career exploration, job skill development, and personal growth. The program supports nonprofit organizations with much needed assistance in a variety of roles that enhance and augment their mission.

Matthew Jauregui, a 19-year-old sophomore English major, was placed with Family Service Association in the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at the Neighborhood Place on San Antonio’s Westside. The Teen Tech Center serves at-risk Hispanic teens by providing a space for the exploration of their passions through technology and art. The goal is to inspire, create initiative, and foster community in guiding the teens along a positive path for future education and career exploration.

“I really did not have the best communication skills, but since I got partnered with the Teen Tech Center, I have been answering important phone calls, leading meetings and doing outreach presentations.” he said. “This experience has definitely helped me be a more responsible and engaging person. I feel more prepared than ever before.”

Jesus Garcia, the center coordinator and Jauregui’s supervisor agreed.

“Matthew has grown in confidence and leadership while placed with our agency,” he said. “His willingness to learn and experience what happens in the center makes him a great find in a college student who is just starting out in his interested field of education.”

Aside from Family Service Association, students were placed with NowCastSA, Artpace, Childsafe, Christian Senior Services, the DoSeum, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, Good Samaritan Community Services, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, KLRN, Providence Place and San Antonio Youth Literacy.

“We are being strategic in our placement sites to provide experiences that would be applicable with a variety of student majors and interest,” said Carolina Canizales the program coordinator for Rowdy Corps.

“We are excited to bring aboard additional community partners in the new academic year and we hope to offer this opportunity to more students.”

The program aims to teach civic responsibility to students. "Rowdy Corps is a great opportunity for students with aspirations for personal growth and community empowerment,” said Garcia. “It has been a unique experience for us with mutual benefits for the UTSA student and our agency.”