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All Aboard! - Texans Can Academies Blog

All Aboard! – Texans Can Academies Blog

August 28, 2020

By Richard Marquez, President/CEO, Texans Can Academies | www.texanscan.org

Have you considered that the characteristics of tenacity and determination are woven into our American culture? For many children, The Little Engine That Could is a beloved “read to me” book that often becomes their first “read along” book. Ideally, the concept of that little blue engine’s “I think I can, I think I can” attitude is introduced at an early age, and becomes a cornerstone for many aspects of our daily life well into adulthood. You can see positive “I Can” messaging everywhere – schools, athletics, the military, the arts, business – It CAN be done! Just Do it! Never Give Up!

There’s a reason “can” is an important and powerful word in our culture; and that is the reason it is in our schools’ name. We want children to read, see, hear and say the word every day.

Imagine if you will, that a young person is never introduced to the ideals of conviction and fortitude. Imagine school-aged children who never correlated success in life with the traits of determination and hard work. We encounter these kids every day at Texans Can Academies.  I can empathize with them and their inability to succeed in a traditional school setting. I was a high school dropout myself.  I still remember that feeling of “the train left the station without me” with regard to my future.  Attaining a high school degree, much less aspiring to a college degree, seemed as futile and out of reach to me as traveling to the moon.

Texans Can Academies, true to its name, aspires to be the organization that imbues kids with an “I Can” spirit. Through our programs, we create a bridge for failed kids to steadily traverse to the other side of the tracks. With assistance from mentors who care, these kids can navigate their way and assimilate into society as wage earners and contributing members of their communities.

The Texans Can Academies help kids find hope. These children often cross our thresholds with battered self-esteem, feeling beat-up by their lack of success in traditional schools and are often even suspicious that we are offering to help get them back on track.

At Texans Can Academies, we believe success in school, and ultimately in life, is tied to reading at appropriate levels and learning to think. Our models show that you can teach any subject to someone who knows how to read. Our bridge for these high school students into the new economy is reading. If we can capture students at a younger age, before they perceive that they will never catch up to the moving train of education, we can offer our innovative reading model. Once an individual can read, he/she can apply what he has read and become an independent thinker.

In teaching our kids to think, we are also instilling social responsibility. Teaching them to think academically, leads them to think socially. We have seen huge strides in students who learn to read on or above grade level, then apply what they learn to think before they act. Impulsivity (violence, drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy) begins to wane as students learn to apply their knowledge to situations they encounter. As the mind matures, so do their reflexes, and they learn to think before doing harm to themselves or to others.

Values such as character, morals and pride are abstract ideas. Thinking helps kids navigate their way in the abstract world. At Texans Can Academies, we feel it is our moral imperative to teach kids to read and think. After all, thinkers move the world.

We won’t let the train leave anyone’s station who is ready to learn. And we will fast track them to a place of HOPE and self-confidence because we know they CAN.

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