By Janet Curiel |Staff Writer|
“Today, we show the world that we are ‘SB Strong’ by demonstrating our unity and care for this community through service,” said President Tomás Morales, referring to the tragic terrorist attacks on Dec. 2 that shook the locality of San Bernardino.
The impactful speech was given during an 8 a.m. breakfast on April 16, to kick off the 4th Annual Coyote Cares Day Event.
Coinciding with National Volunteer Week, over 600 CSUSB students, staff, alumni, and faculty were registered to volunteer at 17 locations, which gave students an opportunity to meet and work alongside local movers and shakers in their community.
Volunteers decked out in the free commemorative groovy t-shirts, participated in activities such as environmental cleanup, beautification, restoration projects and assisted in food disbursement facilities and nonprofit organizations.
The impact on students may have inspired some to strive to be more involved in the community.
“Today is extra special, because we all come out together, and it makes us aware of the community service out there to be done,” said Patty Cortez, a third year participant in the event who built free library bookshelves to be distributed around San Bernardino.
“Knowing that programs like this are available to aid those in such a predicament is amazing and the fact that I was able to help, even if just for a day, is so rewarding. Coyote Cares Day may only come around once a year, but the impact it leaves on those involved lasts a lifetime,” stated Darrell Jones, who assisted at City Mission
Ministries by packing 200 crates and over 100 bags with different grocery items.
At the beginning of the event, some volunteers doubted the impact they could make in a single morning, but it was evident after three hours what a group is capable of accomplishing.
“It’s good to be reminded how many people are in need. Even if it’s [volunteering] just for a few hours, we have something to give, and reminds us to be grateful for what we have and not to wait for events like this to volunteer and give back,” said student Melissa Moore, who volunteered at Mary’s Mercy Center chopping preparing, cooking and serving food.
“It felt nice being able to help clean up at Lytle Creek. Earlier in the year we had a KSA hike there actually, and in a way it felt as though we were returning the favor to the park for being allowed to hike there,” said student Pedro Hughes, who volunteered with a large group from the Kinesiology Student Association.
I had an the opportunity to talk with President Morales days after the event. “You know, it warms my heart, people taking the time out on a Saturday,” Morales said when discussing the huge turnout to this years event.
Morales and his wife spent their Saturday volunteering at an emergency shelter for women, as well as the
Helping Hands Pantry Distribution Center.
The event concluded with live musical performances and provided lunch for the volunteers.
The University’s Office of Community Engagement, Recreation & Wellness, The Office of Special Events and Guest Services and Sodexo all supported in the production of the Annual Event.
For some volunteers, this experience came close to home. My mom was a single mother and we sometimes had to get food from a food pantry growing up,” said Moore.
Anyone interested in giving back to your community for future projects, please visit the CSUSB Office of Community Engagement website, which also lists local upcoming events that are in need of volunteers, or call (909) 537-7483.