On-campus volunteering events commemorate 9/11 anniversary

By Ethereal Violet Reyes, Sept. 7, 2021

The Center for Community Engagement is hosting its fall Bronco Stampede of Service from Sept. 7 to Sept. 10 to honor the heroes and victims of 9/11 by providing the Cal Poly Pomona community with the opportunity to participate in philanthropic service projects at the CLA building’s paseo.

The multiday event, in partnership with L.A. Works, an organization that has mobilized volunteers in areas of need since 1991, will coincide with the 20-year commemoration of the 2001 attacks on the U.S. The event’s purpose is to welcome the campus community back by offering them a chance to bond and benefit local humanitarian causes with hands-on work.

“I was just born so I didn’t see the aftermath of 9/11, but we should always honor the victims and the people that were impacted by it,” said Jacob Alquicira, volunteer project lead and business administration student. “With COVID-19, we had this major pandemic, and it impacted so many people, so instead of turning inwards and letting those tragedies isolate us, we can do more and put those feelings into service projects.”

Bryant Fairley, director of the Center for Community Engagement, discussed the daily activities making up the week’s events.

Tuesday’s packaging of afterschool activity kits with items to keep young minds engaged for The Youth & Family Club of Pomona Valley will kick off the week. On the following day, volunteers will arrange welcome home kits for individuals transitioning into Pomona’s Hope for Housing homeless shelter. On the last days, volunteers will decorate onesies for new mothers to benefit the House of Ruth which assists domestic violence victims and also make seed balls for UrbanMission/South Pomona Farm to help beautify blighted areas and provide nourishment with vegetable seeds.

In past collaborative efforts with L.A. Works, the Center for Community Engagement has brought CPP volunteers to L.A. Works’ larger scale events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. This time around, L.A. Works is taking on a greater leadership role for the event, providing the university with the materials necessary to fulfill the different needs of local organizations.

Micayla Anderson, communications specialist of the Center for Community Engagement, highlighted that the event is not only a time to reflect on the tragic loss of life during 9/11 but an opportunity to unite with others after a year of not being unable to do so.

“Everything that’s happening with the ending of the war in Afghanistan is a great reminder of how we all need to come together, and events like this that remember the pain of the event but also celebrate ways that we can connect to the most vulnerable in our community can continue to keep us focused on the right things,” added Fairley. “We’re not just reliving the trauma but passing forward opportunities for folks to be lifted up, and that spirit of lifting others up and getting people together is what we’re trying to highlight through our event.”

In addition to packaging the kits with supplies, volunteers will also have the chance to design items and personalize them with provided materials such as markers and stencils. Fairley said he is encouraging volunteers to decorate kits with warm, positive messages or heartwarming quotes for the recipients.

Although the event is celebrating unity and the return to in-person activities, Anderson assured that the outdoor activities will follow COVID-19 protocols and organizers will require masking and the completion of campus’ health screener.

“I believe coming together as a community is healing,” said Alquicira. “It feels good to collectively do something to improve society.”

The Center for Community Engagement extended the registration to be open all week; students can sign up on the center’s website.

Feature image courtesy of Micayla Anderson

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