La Sierra biz class raises $4.5k for After School programs
Dec. 17, 2013
By Darla Martin Tucker
Christmas came three weeks early this year to youngsters at two Riverside elementary schools.
On Dec. 5, at Orrenmaa Elementary School on Filmore Street, dozens of young students fidgeted while sitting cross-legged on an auditorium floor in front of a stage, uncertain why they were there. They listened to a brief introduction by students from La Sierra University’s Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business. Then a stage curtain was pulled back and the elementary children, with many ‘wows’ and ‘ohs’, witnessed the reason for their assembly: a colorful bounty of numerous games, balls, hula hoops, books, art supplies, stacks of notebook paper, baseball helmets, mini ping pong tables and many other items filled the stage.
It was all for them and their counterparts at Foothill Elementary School to play with during their After School programs, in total, more than $4,500-worth of supplies purchased with funds raised by the La Sierra students.
“I was like, this is awesome,” said Xavier Banks, age 10. “I never knew what was going on, but when I saw everything I was grateful for it.”
“I felt so surprised,” said Andrea Barajas, also age 10. “I would like to play with everything.”
The schools are part of the Alvord Unified School District which administers funds for approximately 2,000 students in the district’s After School Programs. The donation of supplies helps meet the one-third matching requirement for the state grant through which the programs are funded.
The donation of needed supplies “shows our students other people care. It shows them the importance of assisting others,” said Carmen Phillips, Alvord’s After School Programs coordinator. In addition, the university students are good role models for the elementary children and reiterate the district’s philosophy that everyone can go to college, she said.
The La Sierra business students, part of a fall quarter University Studies class taught by Associate Professor of Law and Management Jere Fox, raised $4,526.97 in cash and in-kind gifts over six weeks. The fundraising was part of a Service-Learning component of the class that aims to benefit the community and instill volunteerism.
Before engaging in efforts to raise money, the students visited the two schools to determine the resources needed. Once money began coming in from various activities, the students set up an online shopping cart on Amazon.com and began electronically selecting the needed items which were eventually purchased and shipped to Fox’s Riverside home during Thanksgiving week. After the Thanksgiving break, the business students picked up all the shipped items and delivered them to Orrenmaa Elementary for the presentation.
The La Sierra students’ many fundraising activities included a yard sale and bake sales as well as a car show, bake sale, and raffle held at the Riverside Hyundai dealership on Auto Center Drive in Riverside. Rathyna Gomer, a senior human resources management student and motorsports competitor organized the show, which included a 350Z Nissan, NSX Acura and other autos. Gomer reached out to her fellow car enthusiasts on Facebook to find exhibitors and ultimately raised between $450 and $500 through the event.
“It was so nice to see their faces,” Gomer said following the student presentation at Orrenmaa. “It was really heartwarming. They’re so cute.”
“It melted our hearts. It was just in time for Christmas, too,” said senior accounting and finance major Christine Del Mel.
Tyler Nichols, a senior business management major together with his family sold baked goods at the car show and at the School of Business. He was also impacted by the school children’s reaction to the haul of games and activities the business class purchased. “It was really emotional,” Nichols said. “I really enjoyed it a lot” to see the children’s responses.
The class was divided into fundraising teams who competed to raise at least $1,000 and win a free dinner courtesy of Fox. Nichols, Gomer and Del Mel teamed up and brought in more than the required amount at $1,800 in donated funds.
La Sierra undergraduates are required to take three service-learning classes and complete 14 hours of service for each class. Fox said his class this fall far exceeded the 14-hour requirement with their efforts to aid the After School program. In 2011-2012, the university’s nationally recognized Service-Learning program offered 43 service-learning courses taught by 38 different faculty members. Nearly 1,000 students carried out more than 13,500 service-learning hours.
The University Studies course taught by Fox incorporates the service-learning component with the social responsibility part of the course curriculum. “By doing so, the business students in the class experience first hand the importance, purpose, and rewards of helping and serving others within their communities in a responsible way,” said Fox.
This is the fourth class Fox has led in Service-Learning fund raising for Alvord’s After School programs. His classes combined have raised approximately $14,500 over the past 18 months which have helped 12 out of the 16 Alvord programs. Fox’s next University Studies class in spring quarter 2014 will provide supplies for the remaining four Alvord After School programs.