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Chávez projects give students drive to serve
by Tribune Staff
Apr 03, 2011 | 1285 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — The community is seeing a ripple effect from the service of Washoe County School District students who are learning about the life and work of community organizer César Chávez, whose birthday was March 31.

The life and work of Chávez as an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist is celebrated around the country for his determination to end labor inequality, especially with his well-remembered slogan, “Sí, se puede,” or “Yes, it can be done.”

Spanish Springs High School was among three schools recognized at the March 22 WCSD board of trustees meeting for their Chávez Core Values Service Learning Projects. This is the second year this program has been in effect. The projects provide opportunities for students to learn about Chávez’s life and work.

Spanish Springs’ project was developed by members of the school’s Latinos Unidos Club, which is the school’s largest student organization with 50 members. The club recently held a baby item drive for teen mothers at Casa de Vida in Reno.

“This project is all of their own volition,” said Spanish Springs Assistant Principal Jay Salter. “The students in Latinos Unidos are incredibly self-motivated and had quite a few options they brought to me to discuss what to do for this project. This is what they chose and it was a good choice on their part. They have a vision of what their community needs and they provided for their community.”

Besides conducting a baby item drive, Latinos Unidos chose to help Casa de Vida to learn about teen pregnancy and figure out how best to help the young mothers served by the program. After researching their options, they used the information to talk to their own peers at Spanish Springs to help them make informed decisions and prevent teen pregnancy.

“Whatever students choose to do, volunteering and community service with the needy can benefit both the community and them,” said Latinos Unidos advisor Flor Gutierrez. “Students gain an understanding about each other and develop a sense of human compassion. The students feel that they are so blessed when helping others.”

Gutierrez said she started the club three years ago to get the campus’ Latino students involved with the different activities Spanish Springs offers and to provide community service opportunities. The club’s motto, Gutierrez said, is, “Help the community with all your creativity and gain an opportunity.”

The board of trustees recognized Chavez’s work with a proclamation at the March 22 meeting, declaring March 31, his birthday, as César Chávez Day in the district. The board also recognized one of Caughlin Ranch Elementary School’s third-grade classes for its service learning project to put together hygiene kits to provide basic necessities. The kits were delivered to the county’s Family Resource Center for distribution among families and students.
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