Community Assets Project premieres as important new facet of Texas GDx
This story is by Tomas Miriti Pacheco.
Earlier this month, the first-ever Texas GDx concluded, closing a landmark digital experience for a new generation of NHIers and furthering a decades-long legacy of competition between the state’s regions.
One of the many ways in which the program pushed the boundaries of the Great Debate was the implementation of the Community Assets Project.
“We learned quickly that in this space, especially for senior trainers, you would need a different approach to engaging students, particularly in their self-learning,” emphasized Julio Cotto, Senior Vice President over Education and Training.
In developing the program, NHI’s curriculum team took inspiration from a prior Great Debate program, the Cultural Exhibit.
“The CE used to engage parents mostly,” Cotto explained. “Chaperones who would come to the two Texas Great Debates would bring an exhibit and the parents would have to present it, working with students to earn points for the team. This inspired the project, the prompt for which encouraged participants to involve their families. The goal was to bring back a parent and community competition element.”
In addition to including the community in the competition, the CAP centers on the community itself.
“NHI is a community equity building organization,” continued Cotto. “NHI’s community development strategy is focused on harnessing the intrinsic and existing talents, resources, and assets that already exist within the Latino community. It focuses on the future, laying the groundwork for the creation of new social narratives. NHI instead looks to maximize assets and resources.”
This year, Dallas best embodied this mission with Project Comunidad 131, winning 1st place and 172 points for the team. “Comunidad 131 is a project focused on promoting Latinx diversity in our local communities by combining the 21st century’s technological resources with other traditional ways of sharing knowledge and ideas,” said Stephanie Espinoza, Head Coach of the Dallas Team.
The decision to root the project in technology stemmed from participant Diego Delgado, who sought “a way to unite a bunch of flavors” through an app. In its final form, it still highlights this combination of diverse elements, offering information about local Latinx-owned business, COVID-19, and Little Free Latinx Libraries.
The making of the project also helped to bring together its participants. “To me, Comunidad 131 serves as an example of how much more powerful our community is when we unite,” Espinoza asserted. “From a Head Coach’s perspective, this is also a huge source of pride, not only because it won first place, but because it shows how much our kids have improved and how much their understanding of NHI philosophy has grown and continues to do so. I am incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to lead them alongside the rest of our staff. The NHI Dallas family feeling can be compared to no other.”