Brownsville teen wins contest

BROWNSVILLE — Pop-Tarts, Kellogg Company and United Way Worldwide have awarded Brownsville teen Andres Guerra a $5,000 grant as part of the recent Rep My City Challenge — a contest that awards young people ages 13 to 22 with the most inventive ideas that can help better their community.

Andres won for his idea to create a city-wide day of giving, geared toward providing clothing, shoes, personal hygiene products and food to anyone in need.

“The Rep My City Challenge empowered young people to think differently and use their imagination to make a positive impact locally,” said Joe Beauprez, Pop-Tarts marketing director. “Andres’ concept addresses real needs in our community, in a simple, well-thought-out way.”

Andres has been working with United Way of Southern Cameron County to create and execute this event that will take place later this year. “We were very pleased to hear one of our star volunteers was awarded with this great opportunity,” said Wendy De Leon, communication and events coordinator, United Way of Southern Cameron County. “Collaboration is key when it comes to important projects like this and we are happy to have the support of many community partners.”

Committee members for this project include Jessica Gonzalez, Brownsville Independent School District parent volunteer; Joe Colon-Uvalles, Texas Rising; Yvette Vela, Cameron County District Attorney’s Office; Veronica Rosenbaum, Brownsville Wellness Coalition; Melissa Garcia, Break the Cycle; Felipe Diaz, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley student; Debbie Rodriguez, Cameron County Children’s Advocacy Center; Stephanie Wilson, Big Heroes; and Nurith Galonsky-Pizana, City of Brownsville Commissioner

“United Way has always welcomed the ideas of our next generation. The quality of submissions we received in the Rep My City Challenge was impressive, and highlights how young people can drive real solutions to community problems,” said William Browning, Chief Transformation Officer, United Way Worldwide. “We look forward to implementing some of their ideas, and encouraging their passion to continue making a difference in their community.”

The Rep My City Challenge asked young people ages 13 to 22 to develop a creative way to address the issue that has the greatest effect on friends and families in their community. Submissions included ideas to address local food insecurity, the need for after-school activities, crime in their neighborhood, mental health issues, or others.