By Kimberly T. Rodriguez
Staff Writer/Graphic Designer
In the Meerschedit Recreational Center gym, 21 teens played dodgeball with brothers Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc, as part of the second annual Teen Lock-In.
The nonprofit fraternity organization, in partnership with the City of Las Cruces, hosted the program, which featured presentations aiming to prevent teen pregnancy, bullying, gang violence, and promote good life habits, such as budgeting, leadership skills, and learning how to apply for college.
La Piñon Sexual Assault Recovery Services and the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department were also invited by the fraternity to speak to teens regarding their services and how to avoid bad influences.
“In Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. we are a community,” says Brother Paul Johnson. “We love to show younger adults the proper way of growing up and keeping them off the streets. This is my second year (volunteering for this event) and we try to do little things, like we have the Doña Ana Sheriff coming out here to teach them how to protect themselves.”
Johnson himself has kids, which inspires him to help adolescences in staying away from harmful habits and also to prepare for college.
Robyn Howzell, an NMSU Spanish/journalism major, was invited to speak to the group about how life-changing studying abroad can be.
“It’s our individual experience we thought we would share with the children here, especially in a lock-in program, that again it would be something else to add to their list of things to think about that are positive things to do,” says Howzell, a Spanish/journalism major. “And also so they can have their broad perspective and understand culture and diversity more so.”
Studying abroad is often cited as a good thing to have on a résumé, as it can show potential employers a job candidate is open to new experiences and may be able to think outside of one’s cultural preconceptions.
Following the presentation, the teens participated in Zumba, basketball, bubble ball soccer, open gym, and a party with DJ 2-Smooth.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., hopes to include high schools around Las Cruces in next year’s program, in order to help prepare teens for college, how to dress for a job interview, and practice teamwork.