Delano students jump on board to spread holiday spirit through clothing drive
SJVC’s Delano campus proved that – although they may be small – they are mighty when it comes to helping others in their community.
When Diego Perez, Medical Assisting and Medical Office Administration instructor for the campus, realized there was an opportunity for SJVC Delano to help the less fortunate during the holidays, he put the word out that the Delano Sheriff’s Department was conducting their Holiday Clothing Drive. Students, staff and faculty jumped in.
This was the first time the campus had participated in the Sheriff’s Department’s annual clothing drive, so it was hard to know what busy students might be able to contribute. There should have been no doubts. Closets and drawers were thinned, new-but-never-worn items were dragged from hiding places and many clothing purchases were made to help bring a little cheer to so many who are barely getting by.
About 40 students immediately jumped in to help. They communicated the need, set up a collection area and separated and boxed all the generous donations. Freshly laundered clothing students no longer wear or that their children had outgrown, along with some newly purchased items, were gladly received. There were enough jackets, hoodies, scarves, beanies, pants and pajamas to lift many appreciative hearts. There were also newly purchased hygiene products such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other personal care products.
“My favorite part was hearing from the coordinator how the clothes were going to be used and how it would help people that really needed it,” says Esmeralda Nieto, Medical Assisting student. “It felt nice to know that we were able to help out and be part of it.”
Students collected close to 75 pounds of clothing and supplies. That surely sets the bar for next year’s organizers to try to surpass.
“Everyone deserves to receive something during the holidays, and I hope that we were able to brighten up their days by giving those donations,” says Maria Ayala, Medical Assisting student, who collected clothing from her own closets and drawers.
“The Sheriff’s Department was more than thankful for the surprise,” says Diego. “And we were excited for the opportunity to help people out.”
This was the perfect kind of volunteer effort for students – especially for those who are in medical programs. “I feel like participating in these kinds of volunteer efforts will help me in my career because more than likely I will be helping people who don’t have a lot,” says Maria.
Maria knows that an important aspect of providing medical care to patients is compassion and communication. “It is important for people in the medical field to do as much community service as possible, not only to help others but also to educate them about what we do.”
Esmeralda is in complete agreement. “As future medical assistants, we should want to participate in community service because our patients are part of the community; we are part of that community.”
Those student leaders who volunteered to help make this clothing drive a success include Maria Ayala, Esmeralda Nieto, Daniela Serna, Juli Wilson and Wendy Mendez. All are Medical Assisting students who clearly recognize the value of helping others.