February 6, 2019 by HCDE-Texas
Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids (CASE for Kids) Program Coordinator Jacqueline Chavez was recently honored as one of the National Afterschool Association’s (NAA) 2019 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders. The NAA chooses up and coming young afterschool leaders under age 30 for the award.
“The feeling of having all of your hard work recognized is wonderful,” Chavez said. “It made me think of all the people who helped me get to this point in my career. It also motivated me to keep going and continue helping kids reach their full potential.”
In selecting honorees, the NAA sought to highlight emerging professionals who are active in the afterschool community—young leaders who possess passion, creativity and a commitment to youth; who embrace professional development; and who embody the NAA core competencies. Twenty-four individuals were profiled in the winter 2019 issue of NAA’s Afterschool Today magazine. To view the digital edition of the magazine, go to https://bit.ly/2R7MYz9 .
She has been in her current position for about two years and provides support and consultation to service providers and community-based, out-of-school time programs. CASE for Kids provides resources, training and afterschool services for over 14,000 students in greater Harris County.
After graduating from Katy High School and the University of Texas in Austin, she served as an AmeriCorps member with United Way of Greater Houston and Project GRAD Houston, two partners of CASE for Kids. With these programs, she started working with youth outside the classroom through reading programs and mentorships.
While working at the United Way, she would go to different elementary schools during after-school hours and facilitate a peer tutoring program in reading and math. Her ah-ha moment came at the end of the school year when an older student tutor asked if she could be involved in the program every day because she loved working with her buddy.
“I knew the older student tutor made a new friend, but also gained confidence in her math skills,” she said. “It truly was a joy to work with kids in a more informal setting.”
Chavez had a chance to interact with AmeriCorps members from CASE for Kids through different service projects and started to get an idea of what CASE for Kids was all about.
“When my service term ended, I knew I wanted to continue working in the afterschool field and the assistant director of Project GRAD recommended me for a job with CASE for Kids,” she said.
Afterschool and CASE for Kids provides so many opportunities for youth to learn about different careers and hobbies.
“I saw politicians and activists in the making at CASE Debates tournaments where they debated about climate change and education policies,” Chavez said. “Kids in afterschool are exploring and discovering their interests around Harris County, and we need to continue giving them the opportunity to learn about them in a safe space.”