By Brian Villalba
The East Los Angeles College Feminist Club and ELAC Students for Political Awareness have achieved their goal of raising funds for the Students and Soldiers Justice Memorial. Saturday was the 15-mile bike ride for the SJM foundation, which assists homeless students and student veterans.
SJM is an organization of students for students, with special attention to the difficulties student veterans have to cope with. SJM foundation’s mission statement (is) to create a safe sanctuary for our college students and student veterans to be able to strive and be able to go out into the world well-prepared for the workforce, their families, for life.
The bicycle ride was a fundraiser for the cause, and to spread awareness through the student body and clubs at ELAC. Angie Rincon is the president of the Feminist club and she is also a co-founder of the SJM Foundation. She coordinated with ESPA and recruited members of the Sociology club and Political Science club to participate.
The 15-mile bicycle ride started in Montebello and ended at the Santa Fe Dam. The Feminist Club and the Political Science Club organized and decorated the area with balloons and a variety of food and refreshments at the Santa Fe Dam. The menu had steak, hot dogs, hot links, deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese for the traditional BBQ enthusiasts. There was salad for the lighter eaters and there were cupcakes for everyone.
Brass dog tags with “SJM. Foundation” on them were handed out to those who participated. The raffle was conducted with French bulldog puppies running around chasing the ducks as a background. The Santa Fe Dam Park decorated and populated with the participants embodied the peace and tranquility that the SJM foundation wishes to inspire in those it seeks to assist.
There was a common theme throughout the event that showed the type of care and hospitality that would inspire the SJM Foundation. SJM Foundation provides Students eligible with a safe environment and sanctuary for six months while providing learning and supportive services for the student.
First, SJM Foundation helps the student or returning veteran with enrollment in a college, trade school or University. The students are assisted also with course selection, transportation and application for financial aid. There is also an achievable objectives plan which includes all sorts of survival skills that will help the student become more independent.
SJM Foundation also includes some in-home counseling. There is one on one sessions and group sessions. Special attention is given to the veterans who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. There is synergy in the mission statements of both the Feminist Club and that of SJM Foundation as justice is a central piece of the inspiration of both.