Through Boys & Girls Clubs of America Texas Alliance’s state funded contract with the Department of Family and Protective Services the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV has been awarded a $27,000.00 grant to implement the TEXSYN Project. This project which began September 1 focuses on the SMART Moves program for youth ages 9-17.

Developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), SMART Moves (Skills, Mastery and Resistance Training) is one of the few national prevention programs currently addressing the problems of alcohol and other drug use and teen pregnancy in one comprehensive curriculum. Unlike other programs, SMART Moves confronts young people in a positive way, equipping them with basic life skills, problem-solving and decision-making abilities and communications skills, all designed to boost self-confidence and self-esteem.

“SMART Moves works because it provides us with age-specific curricula that engage the Club staff, parents, community and older teen members in a team approach to prevention,” said Lizette Galvan of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV San Carlos Unit. “We are especially pleased that the new and improved SMART Moves has expanded its themes to include topics such as finding the courage to make your own decisions, avoiding risky sexual situations, drug trafficking, drunk driving and other forms of drug involvement.”

For more than a decade, SMART Moves has been successfully used by hundreds of Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide. In a study conducted by Columbia University, SMART Moves was shown to dramatically reduce the use of drugs and the rate of crime in public housing communities (13 percent drop in youth crime, 22 percent drop in drug activity, 25 percent decrease in crack usage over a three-year period). The program has also been recognized as one of 10 exemplary primary prevention programs by the U.S. Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and singled out for praise in The Making of a Drug Free America: Programs That Work by Mathea Falco.

The SMART Moves prevention program has been scientifically evaluated and documented for its effectiveness by exposing young people to protective factors that promote positive behavior, health, well-being and personal success.

“I can speak firsthand as to the effectiveness of SMART Moves,” said Alba Escobedo, former club member and current staff. “SMART Moves works because it empowers young people by increasing their knowledge about alcohol and drugs. It teaches them how to ‘say no’ to negative peer and media pressure. Working with the professional staff, we are able to incorporate the lessons of SMART Moves in a wide range of activities that kids can relate to.”

The Boys & Girls Club has played an integral role in the Edinburg community for 39 years, providing daily programs and services to over 16,000 young people. During the School year the Club is open Monday — Friday, 3:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and during the summer the hours are 7:30 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. The Club offers programs that emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, and sport, fitness and recreation. If you would like to learn more about our joining the Club, learning more about the SMART Moves program or other youth programs call 956.383.2582 or visit our website www.edinburgkids.com. If you would like to make a contribution please contact Sabrina Walker-Hernandez, Chief Professional Officer at 956.383.2582 or email swalker@edinburgkids.com or you can text “CLUB” to 20222 to donate $5.00.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley is a proud City of Edinburg partner and Hidalgo County United Way Agency.