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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Hurricane Harvey stirs up community spirit on Temecula campus

September 29, 2017

SJVC Temecula students raise funds for Hurricane Harvey reliefThe Temecula campus’ Diversity Club, HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) Club and Business Administration Club members threw themselves into action as soon as the world got news of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Houston, Texas.

“Watching the devastation was very emotional for many of us,” says Robyn Whiles, Campus Director. “We were talking and wishing we could do something, and immediately turned that into a quick call-to-action.” Instructors and club student leaders took it from there. A 30-second video announced a campus fundraiser to the entire student body.

“I got chills when Mrs. Whiles was talking with our students,” says Tammy Earnhardt, Student Learning Resource Coordinator, General Education instructor and Diversity Club advisor. “Our own SJVC students have family there.”

An all-day event was planned for September 7th that would include food sales and a dress-down day. Fliers were circulated to let students plan their participation. Surrounding businesses were also invited to drop by the campus and buy some of the pastries, snacks, hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob and coffee being sold to raise funds.

“It gave me a sense of community because the businesses surrounding our school even came out and bought some of the goods we were selling,” says Korina Hill, who is about to graduate from the Medical Assisting program. “It was remarkable to see.”

For some students, raising money for those whose homes were devastated by Hurricane Harvey was a very personal effort.

“Many of our students have family members in Texas,” says Richard Moriarity, Medical Assisting instructor and HOSA Club advisor. But it was the family of SJVC students, staff and faculty that came through for Texas hurricane victims. They were happy to contribute to efforts being made all across America.

“I have friends and family in Houston and feel like they would have done the same thing for us if it was reversed,” says Medical Assisting student Kryshelle Plunkett, President of HOSA Club and one of the student organizers. “I was already researching places to donate to this hurricane relief before we started this on campus.”

Everyone on campus was eager to participate in the fundraising event at any level. “It was a true collective effort,” says Mr. Moriarity. “It didn’t matter what we were selling or what people were getting for their money; it wasn’t bargain shopping. It was about helping other people.”

All three classes – morning, afternoon and evening – had an opportunity to participate and contribute to the cause. At the end of the day over $800 was raised to give to the Red Cross for disbursement.

Student leaders of this fundraising event not only expressed their compassion for others, they also got a preview of what kinds of interaction with others their careers might bring.

“It was applicable to the real employment world, as well as everyday life,” says Shyanne Roney, HOSA Vice President and a student organizer for the event, who soon graduates from the Medical Assistant program. “Whether it’s the patient who might be suffering, you have that same empathy for those who lost all they had in this (hurricane) devastation.”

This fundraising event has an impact on all who participated. “I was so comforted and filled with joy that so many people were coming together to donate to the victims of the hurricane,” says Medical Assisting student Lauren Hunley, Diversity Club member and an event organizer.

No one wishes for tragedy, but experiences gained from lending a helping hand can set a lifetime of selflessness in motion. “It is a rare opportunity to impact someone’s life,” says Mr. Moriarity. “My message to students is that when you see that, you should seize the moment. Do it!”

Robyn Whiles sums it up: “It speaks to the culture of our campus. One small idea can grow, flourish and achieve with a team effort.”

Student organizers for the Hurricane Harvey fundraiser:

Diversity Club Participants

  • Sayne Suarez del Solar (President)
  • Kryshelle Plunkett (Vice President)
  • George De Leon (Secretary)
  • Dominique McKenzie (Treasurer)
  • Danielle Watson
  • Korina Hill
  • Lauren Hunley
  • Meaghan Miller
  • Sandra Varela
  • Monica Sihan

Business Class Store Participants

  • Anthony Gardner (Management/Advertisement)
  • Lissette Blum (Treasurer/Book-keeper)
  • Luis Lopez (Treasurer/Book-keeper)
  • Connie Sanchez (Inventory)
  • Sara Drasin (Inventory)

HOSA Club Participants

  • Kryshelle Plunkett (President)
  • Kristara Diaz Brown (Vice President)
  • Meaghan Miller (Vice President)
  • Tomika Briggs (Treasurer)
  • Jahmelia Crowder (Secretary)
  • Danielle Watson
  • Lauren Hunley
  • Tracy Calhoun
  • Tyler Harbin
  • Angelica Rodriguez
  • Anna Lisa Ramos
  • Shyanne Roney
  • Korina Hill
  • Jaime Nolasco
  • Sarahi Diaz