May 24, 2012 was a big day in the lives of the Harlingen Outreach Center ARMY and GEMS youth. The ARMY cadets escorted the GEMS girls down the red carpet and up onto the stage to showcase their individually selected ensembles for Quelle Boutique, a unique shop located in downtown Harlingen.
The narrator, Kelly Sanchez, Quelle Boutique owner, described the various outfits. She also explained what each model plans to do after graduation and where they would wear their outfit.
Some seventy community members attended. $578.00 was raised for arts supplies for the GEMS and ARMY programs.
A gourmet lunch was served by Chef Bryan and desserts provided by Starbucks. The event was hosted by the K B Foundation of Texas supported by Quelle Boutique, Chef Bryan, Harlingen Family Dentistry, Ninfa Espitia at Salen Envy, Nichele Aldrete Personal Stylist, and Starbucks,
The program was introduced by Tommy Ramirez, CEO Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department along with Assist Deputy Chief, Rose Gomez and Annie Romero, the Outreach Center Coordinator.
Event co-chairs Julie Herrington, Valerie Salinas and Gail Thomason put together an outstanding event. We applaud their efforts to give our youth the opportunity to present themselves in a most professional and dignified manner. A most pleasing event for all.
Here is a the recipe for Oriental Coleslaw from the Heard Cookbook that Chef Bryan served.
1 package slaw mix
2 packs Ramen beef noodles
1 (2 oz) pkg slivered almonds
2 pkgs salted sunflower seeds (3 oz)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp oil
2 pkgs Ramen beef seasoning
Mix slaw with crumbled Ramen noodles. Add almonds, sunflower seeds and green onions. For sauce, mix vinegar, sugar, oil and Ramen beef seasoning. Add sauce immediately before serving. 8-10 servings.
About ARMY and GEMS
The Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department operates two community-based programs that are gender specific to the needs of males and females. Three years ago, CCJJD implemented the Academy for Rehabilitation and Motivation of Youth, aka ARMY as an intervention program for boys between the ages of 14-17 years of age. The para-military program is designed as a “day academy” as the boys attend school during the day at an alternative school and afterwards go through an array of “wrap-around” services (i.e. counseling, vocational, recreational, physical training, skill building, etc.). The majority of juveniles referred are from the Brownsville, Harlingen and San Benito school districts.
Seeing the success of the ARMY Program, CCJJD mirrored the ARMY Program to a female day academy known as Girls Empowering and Motivating Success, aka, GEMS. Last November, the department was awarded a grant to implement the gender specific program but it was designed to be more therapeutic, not para-military. The structured program for females was offered to females who are first time offenders. Rather than going through a formal adjudication/probation process, these young ladies were afforded and opportunity to participate in the program that includes attending an alternative school, along with “wrap-around” services similar to the ARMY Program but tailored for females (counseling, volunteering at the Humane Society, vocational, recreational and recently a Fashion Show.) Participation for both ARMY and GEMS programs runs approximately six months long and is under the supervision of trained and certified probation staff. The majority of programming takes place at the Harlingen Outreach Center.
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