PHARR – In an effort to promote health and wellness among students, the PSJA Pathways Toward Independence (PTI) Program in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) recently hosted a Fit Fest on Friday, April 25, 2019.

According to PSJA PTI Director Veronica Quintana, the Fit Fest was possible thanks to three PSJA Education Foundation Teacher Mini Grants awarded earlier this year and the support from local business partners.

"Everything we do revolves around student achievement,” said Quintana. "Through this event we wanted our students to embrace fitness and healthy eating habits.”

The PSJA PTI Program promotes the continued development of vocational training skills and/or functional independent living skills to assist special needs students ages 14 to 21 in becoming emergent adults in the community. Through the continued partnership with South Texas College, students can earn college certificates in Employability Skills, Customer Service, Office Skills, Floral Design, Photography and Cake Decorating.

The three educators awarded PSJA Education Foundation Teacher Mini Grants totaling $3,000 included Irasema Gomez, Gloria Cardona, and David Villegas. To showcase their projects, they collaborated to have fitness stations set up at the outfield of the Carnahan Parent/Community Center for the Fit Fest. Besides taking part in activities during the sessions, students were also able to enjoy water and healthy snacks provided by business partners.

In addition to the PSJA PTI’s efforts to promote health and wellness, PSJA ISD will be making a districtwide effort to participate in Healthy Texas Week powered by the nonprofit It’s Time Texas. From April 29 - May 5, Texans are encouraged to shop for healthy items, sweat by getting active, and share photos and videos of their activities on social media.

According to Quintana providing these opportunities for students would not be possible without the support from the PSJA Education Foundation, PSJA ISD administration and over 15 local business partners who provide job shadowing and internship opportunities for PTI students.