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By Eduardo Garza, Superintendent of Tamayo Halfway House

Photo: 10K Runners on Causeway
The 10K “Summer Longest Causeway Run” takes place on the causeway between Port Isabel and South Padre Island.

The ultimate goal of the Texas Model is to create a culture that empowers youth to develop self-control and learn skills that allow them to transition successfully into adulthood. The Tamayo House Boys Running Team members are not only learning self-control but they are practicing it daily in their running regimen.

They are finding out that if you train, and train consistently, you will see improvement in your results.

The team from Tamayo House first experienced the rewards of these efforts at a 5K Run on April 6. The boys were all smiles as each of them completed that race of just over three miles.

Seeing their drive, Coach Gabriel Donez and myself knew we could push them to do more. So we asked them if they wanted to participate in a 10K run (6.2 miles) here in the Rio Grande Valley -- the 2019 Summer Longest Causeway Run, which takes place on the causeway between Port Isabel and South Padre Island.

Photo: Nearing the 10K finish line
The Tamayo Halfway House boys were ready for the race with their “Tamayo Strong” t-shirts.

The boys just smiled and said "Yes!". They and Coach Gabriel Donez trained diligently from April 7 until the race on June 1.

The young men went all out and even developed their own logo, “Tamayo Strong,” for their T-shirts, with the help of Tamayo House teacher Alma Becerra.

The group, which calls itself "Kiss My Asphalt,” is truly dedicated. Even after going to school for seven hours or spending hours doing community service events, the boys would change into their running outfits and hit the asphalt.

As the days came closer to the 10K event, some of the boys doubted themselves, but they kept each other motivated and Tamayo staff and teachers encouraged them.

On the day of the run, four Tamayo House boys, Coach Donez and more than 1,400 people from the Rio Grande Valley community and beyond ran the causeway 10K. All four boys and Coach Donez completed the run, with all of the boys placing in the top 20 for their age group!

Photo: Four Tamayo House Youth at the 10K finish line
Lined up at the start, the youth had a few moments of trepidation, but they all completed the 10K.

Out of the huge group of 1,400 hundred runners, the boys took overall places of 71, 82, 281, and 397.

After the event, the youth got to eat lunch at the beach and soak their tired feet in the ocean.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the Tamayo House staff, Retired Sgt. Major (US Army) Enrique Garza who generously helped pay the entrance fees for the boys and staff, and Coach Donez for getting them in shape physically and mentally.

These boys truly are "Tamayo Strong".