Roughly 75 fourth- and fifth-grade students at Socorro Independent School District elementary schools will have a new opportunity to get fit this summer.
Prissilla Escobar, a current University of Texas Austin sophomore and former Socorro High student, has put a plan into motion she's calling "Prissilla's Pledge Camp."
"The motto of UT Austin is, ‘What starts here changes the world,'" Escobar said.
She said she learned the phrase during her freshman orientation, and it sunk in.
After her first year of college, she shadowed an El Paso pediatrician for a summer.
"I came past a lot of children who were obese. It was really sad they had a lot of health problems," she said.
She began her second year by switching her major from anthropology to nutrition.
From there, Escobar said she decided to make a difference in her community by giving back over a summer and organizing a free summer camp for students who are in need of a more active and healthier lifestyle.
"We want to teach them that they can be healthy on their own and exercise on their own," Escobar said.
Beginning earlier this year, Escobar received approval from SISD to use the Student Activities Complex for her camp. That includes the field, some equipment, and a locker room.
The camp will focus on three main categories each day of the camp, according to Escobar.
Those categories include fitness, nutrition education, and bully prevention.
The camp is slated to run from June 1 to June 28, from 8 a.m. to noon. The camp will be held Mondays through Thursdays.
The goal of the camp, according to Escobar, isn't to feel like a summer physical education course. Instead, she said she hopes the camp will offer students fun activities like football games, soccer games, relay races, and tag.
Escobar said the camp planning is still in the works. She is receiving curriculum planning assistance from professors at her college, as well as local El Pasoans.
So far, Escobar has locked in three sponsors for the event, which will allow her to offer the program for free.
The sponsors are Sierra Medical Center, the Paul Foster Texas Tech School of Medicine, and the AHEC program.
Still, Escobar said she needs more sponsors, as well as volunteers and guest speakers for her camp. Specifically she's looking for doctors or nurses, dietitians, college or high school athletes, and anyone else interested in speaking about health to students.
Celina Rose de la Cerda is one volunteer who has already signed up.
"I would love for kids to grow up and have more confidence, more self-esteem, just be happier and enjoy their childhood while they still can and not end up with problems," Cerda said.
Just last month, she officially recorded a total weight loss of 87 pounds.
Cerda said became overweight around eighth-grade, but was never able to keep the weight off when she lost it.
Finally, she decided to commit to a healthier lifestyle.
Cerda said she now carries a photo of her former self with her everywhere she goes. The photo carries a message, written in green ink—"never again."
She said she's excited to speak with children, and hopefully help them avoid childhood stress she dealt with as a result of her weight.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the camp this summer, there are requirements. Volunteers must be at least 18. They also must pass a background check, and be available for at least one week of the program. Shifts will last longer than the camp, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. They must also be willing to get active with the students, Escobar said.
To contact Escobar regarding the camp, email her at Prissilla9@aol.com.
Escobar said students will receive notice in school next month about signing up for the program.
Spaces will be limited to 75 or possibly 150 applicants, but depending on the success of the camp, it may become an annual event, Escobar said.