A consistent part of the activities at the Academy--as alumnae will certainly remember their own--is giving drives. Spartans have looked toward service as one of the four Dominican Pillars, and as part of a culture of caring.
Recent drives included The Polynesian Club’s Measles Relief drive in partnership with Lowell High School. Club President Lilah Pita ‘20 sent out a message to the student body with a call to action right before finals. “That’s my family getting hurt back there,” Lilah said, referring to the high numbers of people in the Pacific Islands affected by the measles outbreak. “A large part of the population is kids. If this keeps growing our whole future is gone.”
The materials collected are first going to Lowell and then on to the Samoan Community Development Center. “We were already partnering up with Lowell’s Poly Club for an event in early Spring and then as this came up it just made sense. Right now they [America Samoa] aren’t getting the proper vaccinations,” Lilah said. Ms. Pita also shared that as the club continues they want to advocate for vaccination education and mental health: “That is a new conversation in our culture.”
Also, contributing to this drive was also one of our Corporate Work Study Partners, Ogletree Deakins. Student Supervisor Chiyeko Lee shared that their own blanket-making project turned into an opportunity to support the club as Jackie Sierra ‘21 recommended the Poly Cub drive as a place to donate the blankets.
In addition, our very active club Refugees Welcome recently collected blankets, sweaters, socks, toiletries, and some school supplies for Bay Area Border Relief. The items will soon be sent to the organization who will then distribute to children being held in concentration camps near the southern border. Club moderator Joey Deschenes shared, “We are currently in talks to do another fundraiser as mailing the boxes is going to be a bit pricey. It's this type of direct action Refugees Welcome hope will make a difference, if not provide comfort to people who are experiencing a terrifying time in their lives.”
Finally, members of the Spartan Press recently held a bake sale to raise funds for the Amazon Conservation Team, a non-profit working to provide relief for the Amazon forest fires. In a letter to the organization, Mariah Esquivel ‘21 said, “I was inspired as I kept on reading about the work you do to protect the Amazon. That also includes the plants, animals, and indigenous communities living within the rainforests. After reading I felt even more motivated to do my part and help conserve the wildlife and human life in the rainforest.”
The Spartan Press plans to feature the current Australian wildfires in their upcoming issue and will be organizing another fundraiser to benefit relief there.