By Reina Aguirre
The ELAC Students for Political Awareness Club is teaming up with organizations to help those in poverty in the community and out of state.
The ESPA club organized a shoe drive where people can help donate their used shoes to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing. The used shoes will help finance the distributions of new shoes to people in the community whom may be living in poverty.
“We’re pretty happy that people are collaborating and that these shoes will be given to the less fortunate, those who are low income and it’s a great way to give back to the community and also a good way to spread benevolent,” Daniel Ortiz, president of the ESPA club, said.
So far, ESPA has collected over 100 pairs of shoes over these past few weeks and through the end of the semester.
Professor and ESPA club advisor, Natalina Monteiro will also be collecting the shoes and give them to the Soles4Souls organization that will help spread out the shoes to those who are less fortunate.
The ESPA club is also collecting schools supplies to send to Benito Juarez in Cuba. “Last summer, summer of 2016, a couple of ELAC students went to Cuba. They were some of the first American students to go to Cuba, and spent about a week there and advisor Monteiro was also there, they went to a school called Benito Juarez and in that school a lot of the children lacked school supplies,” Ortiz, said.
The club has been collecting school supplies over the past two semesters, and people have been donating backpacks and school supplies. The club is currently working on getting the boxes of supplies sent to Cuba but due to an issue with funding, there has been a delay with sending the supplies to Cuba. “It’s been somewhat of a mission to get it send from here to Cuba,” Ortiz said.
Additionally, the ESPA club will be giving out two scholarships by the end of the semester in honor of Geeta Chowdhry, a Political Science professor in Arizona, who passed away in 2014. “She was a big influence in my life and in my daughters,” Monteiro said. Two $500 scholarships will go to two club members who have shown the most passion and dedication to the club and the community. The winners will also be picked based on who will be benefiting from the scholarship the most, which will be a person who will be using it properly towards college.
Lastly, the club is also working on getting the library hours extended again so students can access the library’s resources after the last class on campus ends. Ex-club president, Christopher Cruz co-lead a campaign last year at ELAC to extend the library hours and succeeded, the library stayed open until 11 p.m. Mon-Thurs but after two semesters the library revoked the extended hours.
ESPA welcomes students in any major who would be interested in helping the community to join the club. They have a variety of events coming up and are in communication with the American Federation of Teachers to give an opportunity to apply for an internship that helps develop organization and community skills. ESPA will be collecting shoes starting May 1 to July 31 on the main campus Social Science Department on F7-303, office #307s on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesdays.