El Paso, TX
Ruben believed that students are most successful when they go beyond simply mastering academic subjects. Tired of seeing the “brain drain” in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, Ruben looked for a new way to help young people put their skills into action and benefit their own communities. He founded CYnergy Fellowship (Civic.Youth.Energy), a project of the Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Texas at El Paso. CYnergy was dedicated to empowering high school students to tackle prevalent issues by devising effective community-based solutions. In the summer of 2005, CYnergy hosted an intensive week of leadership training that connected CYnergy Fellows with university students, faculty and local, state and national leaders and celebrities to help discover their emerging potential. During the training, the Fellows received guidance on how to turn their passions into effective strategies by developing campaign and media plans, motivating and mobilizing others, enhancing speaking skills, and learning about key political issues such as border relations and community development. CYnergy received national attention, drawing in speakers such as actor/activist and People for the American Way Board Member Alec Baldwin.