The BbRL is committed to accelerating the translation of research findings into actionable knowledge that benefits vulnerable communities. One of the several ways we approach this is through our flagship program: The Alpha Youth Leadership Academy. In 2011, with support from UTEP’s provost office and the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP), Dr. Olvera and Maria C. Flores (Director of Community Services |HACEP) founded the Alpha Youth Leadership Academy (AYLA). The mission of the academy is to help youth living in disadvantaged communities become happy, healthy, engaged, and self-sufficient adults. We approach this mission by presenting youth with firsthand structured opportunities to: a) develop the skills necessary to learn effectively and independently and to compete professionally at a high level; b) to experience core human values while providing leadership within their communities; and c) empowering youth with a clear understanding of relevant scientific knowledge attained via hands-on research experiences.
The Academy’s curricula addresses the following topics:
- Life planning
- Authentic leadership theory and development
- Written and oral communication
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Civic and social engagement
- Personal health and wellbeing
- Scientific research
The academy meets at UTEP on Saturday mornings during the academic year. It serves highly motivated youth from when they enter the 8th grade and until they graduate from high school. A cohort of 20 students is renewed every five years. The next cohort will be formed in the Fall of 2017. Applications will start in early 2017.