By Kimberly T. Rodriguez
Staff Writer/Graphic Designer
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., in partnership with the City of Las Cruces, will host the second annual Teen Lock-In. The program is free and will be held this Saturday, September 5, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Meerscheidt Recreational Center, 1600 E. Hadley Ave.
The program educates 12-to-19-year-olds in order to prevent pregnancy, bullying, gang violence, and promote healthy life habits, budgeting, leadership skills, and learning how to apply for college.
Teens can participate in Zumba, relay races, bubble ball soccer, basketball, volleyball, arts and crafts, and many more fun activities.
The Round Up/Oncore Magazine recently sat down with Jamar Cotton, the New Mexico director of undergraduate affairs for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
TRU: How long has the event been going on?
JC: It originally started in the early 2000s by the founding charter member from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. We brought it back in 2007, and then it was on hold for a couple of years, but we brought it back in 2014. In 2015 it will be our second annual.
TRU: Why was it brought back?
JC: To help with things that may be going on and with things (teens) are going through in life. Also provide motivation and inspiration to those that may need it. To interact with peers that might have gone through the same situation. Also, to create that positive atmosphere that teens need.
TRU: Anything new for this year’s program?
JC: We added more volunteers, we got different agencies, different individuals that are coming to share their stories or their programs that we didn’t have last year. We added more activities. We got more sponsors that are willing to help us out in items that we might need for the event. It’s looking good.
TRU: What was NMSU’s response to the program?
JC: It actually went good. We got phone calls and emails from staff and students from NMSU looking to participate. We are excited to see the outcome as far as the NMSU community goes.
TRU: What did you get out of the program?
JC: I got a lot. I was once a teenager before, I was once lost before, I didn’t have resources, I didn’t have the inspiration and motivation at one point. There are people that came into my life, that helped me to get to where I’m at today. That’s one reason why this program is important to me. I understand where these teens are coming from. For me it hits home as a personal deal, dealing with what these teens are facing today. I get to make it personal, I get to know these teenagers with what they are going through and how they go about it. I want to share information with them on things that might help them change their outlook on life. It’s also a learning experience in getting engaged with teens and peers.
To register for the event, either as a participant or as a volunteer, contact or visit Meerscheidt Recreational Center or Jamar Cotton at (575) 405-3140.
Registration ends at 6 p.m. on September 2.