By Kathleen Ramirez |Staff Writer|
Solid energy efficient economy, good public schools, low crime rate, clean streets, thriving and culturally diverse communities – this is my imaginary San Bernardino.
In my opinion, it is imperative that we recognize all the potential this city has to offer.
When people hear about San Bernardino it is automatically associated with crime, bankruptcy and corruption.
As students of Cal State University of San Bernardino, I feel it is our duty to help make this city a better place.
“I grew up in San Bernardino and have watched it get worse and worse,” said student Rudy Gamez.
“I would like to think that we can help, but there is no platform for young people to be heard and given the chance to make things better,” added Gamez.
San Bernardino was once a local hot spot back in the ’20s and ’30s and had great potential.
The first McDonald’s to open its doors was here in our very own city of San Bernardino in the 1940s, and was originally a barbecue joint.
You cannot talk about the rich history of San Bernardino without mentioning Route 66 and the Wigwam hotel, which is a great roadside attraction for everyone.
I have always wanted to visit the Wigwam Hotel and stay in the infamous teepee hotel rooms.
So what happened? How did a once sprawling city turn into a scary place to live, and what can we, as students, do to turn things around?
Personally I think it is important to become more involved with programs that give young people the opportunity to help give back to the community, so we can then gentrify the city and start a revival in the deteriorating areas.
“…when I graduate I do not know if I would want to work here in San Bernardino but if there were more opportunities and it was a safer environment, then that would be a different story,” said student Amy Wagner.
If more students get involved in community outreach programs and help clean San Bernardino up and make a point to aid those less fortunate in the community, I know with time will we make an impact.
“There is a program that has started here on campus called Project Rebound, and it is an advocacy for students that have parole or probation difficulties,” said student Danny Cedeno.
“It helps them with transportation needs, psychological counseling, peer mentoring, academic advising, all things I want to be a part and help students with,” added Cedeno.
This is a small step but it is a step in the right direction, and I think it is a great start to rebuilding our city.
Project Rebound is not the only program that is offered here on campus that encourages students to become more involved with volunteer work; there is also Community Outreach Program (COP), and The Office of Community Engagement.
For those looking to be more active in the community outside of CSUSB, there is also Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County.
It has been serving the city since 1965 working with low-income communities contributing food banks, family development services, energy, education, and environmental services, according to capsbc.org.
The Community Action Partnership is always looking for volunteers to join them in their humanitarian efforts to help make San Bernardino great again.
There is also the City of San Bernardino Organization that offers volunteer work for the city, retired seniors, and for youth sports, all you need to do is visit their website at sbcity.org and sign up!
There are so many opportunities available to us all we need to do is devote a little time out of our busy schedules, a little effort goes a long way.
I think it is amazing that these programs inspire students to be active citizens and to commit themselves to helping others, it is something we need more of.
If more students take action and realize that any act of kindness does help, we can definitely create a brighter future for the residents of San Bernardino.
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