New ‘TUF’ program helping Hillsborough students with first impressions

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – There is a new program rolling out in Hillsborough County school. Train Up First, or TUF, helps kids learn to brand themselves.

“What makes it work is that it’s relevant it’s what students need to hear.” said Ciciler Russ, the community school coordinator at Greco Middle School in Tampa.

Dr. Russ already introduced the TUF program to her students. It’s now expanding countywide.

“We teach the kids first impression and how you carry yourself throughout the day is how people see you. Just like Nike, just like Beats by Dre, we use those as examples because kids know those brands,” Dr. Russ said.

The non-profit program was started by Tampa mom Andria Rogers. She created TUF to inspire youth to take control of their journey through an interactive curriculum teaching social and emotional life skills. The program is now mainstream in many schools in Tampa Bay and nationwide.

Educators who have already used the program in its early phases say it is impactful with changes obvious in the student body.

“We want to operate with prevention versus repair and anticipate what may happen,” said Russ.

TUF prides itself on being different from most educational programs because it focuses on social and emotional intelligence (SEL) and its influence on a person’s lifelong success both academically and in real-life situations. The program teaches children how to manage emotions, set and achieve goals, experience empathy and form positive relationships and, in turn, make responsible decisions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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