Business students tally over 2K for afterschool programs

Business students tally over 2K for afterschool programs

Dec. 20, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( Myra Linn and La Granada elementary schools in Riverside got an early Christmas present on Dec. 4—stacks of donated games, art supplies, books, ping-pong tables, industrial-sized first aid kits and other paraphernalia.

Nearly 100 youngsters at Myra Linn ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ when an auditorium stage divider was pulled back during a presentation ceremony revealing the colorful bounty. Twenty-five students from La Sierra University stood around the piles of product that included such games as Trouble, Connect 4, Hedbanz, Uno, packs of construction paper, large bottles of tacky glue, craft supplies, stacks of children’s books, Webster’s New World Children’s Dictionaries, bright green basketballs, several hoola hoops, two ping pong tables with paddles and balls and many more items.

The supplies, donated by the students, were to be divided between the two schools based on each school’s assessed needs. Boxes of pencils, paper and other basic items were doanted for use throughout the after school programs of the Alvord Unified School District of which the two schools are a part.

The university students, members of a senior business service-learning class purchased the items by raising nearly $2,600 through corporate contributions, a benefit concert, food sales and a promotional fundraising video. Their efforts also secured approximately $380 of in-kind donations including two, large first aid boxes donated by Zee Medical Inc. in Irvine, a subsidiary of healthcare conglomerate McKesson. Seventh-day Adventist entrepreneurs and philanthropists Tom and Vi Zapara are former owners and founders of Zee Medical. The Zaparas sold the firm to McKesson in 1983. They are also chief benefactors of the new Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business under construction on La Sierra’s campus.

Myra Linn fourth grader Yanelis Reyes, age 9, was happy that the La Sierra students provided “stuff that I would like to play with,” she said. Reyes most looked forward to swirling the hoola hoops, said the youngster. Leslie Sanchez, also age 9, was most interested in the “art things,” she said, while school mate Skylar Marquez, age 10 commented, “It was really nice of them to bring the stuff to us.”

The Myra Linn and La Granada after-school programs serve a total average of 239 students daily. District-wide Alvord has approximately 2,000 students attending after school programs. Carmen Phillips, the Alvord district’s after school programs coordinator said the donation helps meet the one-third matching requirement for the state grant through which the programs are funded. Additionally, La Sierra’s students promote the value of attending college and provide the elementary students with an example of giving back. “It’s been a passion of mine to keep this kind of thing going,” Phillips said. “To see the joy on the kids’ faces is precious.”

The La Sierra University service-learning class, taught by Jere Fox, associate professor of law and management, is titled “Senior Seminar: Religion, Values and Social Responsibility in Business.” Last school year the university’s nationally recognized service-learning program offered 43 service-learning courses taught by 38 different faculty. Nearly 1,000 students carried out more than 13,500 service-learning hours. Undergraduates are required to take three service-learning classes and complete 14 hours of service for each class. Their activities involve tutoring, work with the homeless, senior citizen assistance and many other endeavors at approximately 30 community organizations.

“My hope,” said Fox prior to the school presentation, “is that those who may not have really understood what serving others is all about will actually realize it first hand when they observe, hear and emotionally experience the expressions of appreciation from all they have served and helped.”

This is the second senior seminar service-learning class Fox has led in raising funds for Alvord’s after school programs. His class of 36 students last spring raised more than $3,200 to benefit four after school programs. Students involved in the seminar typically log far more than the required hours, he said. In fact, the fall quarter class contributed a total 88 hours beyond the required hours, and the larger spring quarter class contributed 123 extra hours. “I sense the reason they do this is because during the process they begin to actually understand and believe in the project and realize how they can make a difference in the lives of these young children,” Fox said.

Business management and religious studies major Sterling Spence said the service-learning class first watched a documentary about the public education system and its challenges before embarking on the project. “But I didn’t expect [the challenges] to be so close to home,” he said.

After assessing the two after school programs for their needs, the La Sierra students set a target goal of cash and in-kind donations. They had about seven weeks in which to raise the money before purchasing product for the schools. Some musically gifted students held a fundraising concert on Nov. 1 during Riverside’s monthly ArtWalk event. Some made baked goods offered for donations, and others made and sold between 400 and 500 tamales with the help of one student’s mother and her popular recipe. Students also created and circulated a YouTube video describing the need and seeking donations.

“It was a short period, but it was impressive to me how we came together and were able to do something quickly,” Spence said. “We got to use our business skills to do this project.”

Cliff Requena, a senior finance major, secured the assistance of his mother, Eva Requena, who offered to make tamales for the class to sell. Her recipe is popular among family members, friends and members of La Sierra Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, Cliff Requena said. Together he, his mother, younger sister and girlfriend cranked out a first batch of 200 tamales followed by a second batch of about 300. “When word got out, people started calling us,” he said.

Fox expressed pride in his students’ efforts to help others. “Beyond just meeting the course requirements, the students in this class truly demonstrated what it means to selflessly serve their community, to create value, and make a difference in the lives of school children,” he said.

The fundraising project impacted La Sierra’s students on an emotional level as well. “As they were opening the curtain [on the stage], it made me personally feel like we did something,” said senior marketing major Karli Swarez.

“This class helped me realize our efforts may truly have a positive impact on someone’s life,” wrote student Franci Cho in a paper about her experiences with the senior seminar project. “The feeling of making a positive impact and making a difference helps me feel needed on this earth.”

  • Last update on  January 11, 2013