About the Program

The Greater Austin Crime Commission and University of Texas School of Social Work developed the Longhorn Leaders youth outreach program in cooperation with the university’s Athletic Department and the Austin Independent School District. University of Texas athletes receive course credit for their participation. Five courses have been offered since Fall 2003 working in seven middle schools and three elementary schools. The program is designed to communicate the importance of academic and personal success with middle school students. During the semester, each university athlete makes several personal presentations at each school, emphasizing academic excellence and life “success” skills.

Program History

The program, created by Crime Commission board members Dr. Michael L. Lauderdale and Fred Ligarde, reaches seventh graders at a crucial developmental point, as decisions affect the transition into early adolescence. School failure, involvement with drugs, gangs, or other harmful activities, and delinquency begun in middle school often lead to school dropout and discourage successful developmental transitions. Students at this age are susceptible to influences beyond the family, especially from peers and the popular media. The Longhorn Leaders program provides an alternative, positive message.

The Greater Austin Crime Commission recognized early on that public safety is a community concern. That’s why programs like the Longhorn Leaders are successful. It’s a public and private sector partnership that utilizes the best available resources and improves the quality of life for Central Texans.

– Roy Butler, Past President, Greater Austin Crime Commission