Over the past year, the Loma Linda University School of Public Health Student Association (SPHSA) has been fundraising and supporting an Inland Empire non-profit organization called Youth Hope. Youth Hope’s objectives are to “build confidence and promote self-sufficiency for homeless, runaway, and underserved youth, ages 14-24 by providing trust, hope, support, and education.” SPHSA organized a fundraising social event as well as a clothing drive with all proceeds and donations going to Youth Hope.
On February 12 the SPHSA raised over $1,000 from their annual university wide social event, Pathology of Love. This year’s carnival themed event included booth games, face painting, food, speed dating, a date auction, and live music. The event allowed its roughly 400 attendees to socialize with peers from different schools around the Loma Linda campus as well as donate to a good cause.
The SPHSA collaborated with the LLU Schools of Dentistry and Nursing to organize and host their winter quarter community event. The event encouraged students and community members to donate new or slightly used clothing for youth. After three weeks, over 1,000 articles of clothing and shoes were donated.
“While I was sorting out the donations, it was evident that some students were thinking of the youth that would be receiving the donations and not just in cleaning up their closet,” said Ms. Noemi Avalos, community vice-president for SPHSA, “they added bracelets, perfumes or other appealing complementary items to go with the outfits they had donated, that made me almost want to cry.”
Immediately following the clothing drive a forum on youth homelessness was held. It began with a short film and concluded with a panel of four experts in the field: Brenda Dowdy, Homeless Education Program Specialist, Dr. Daniel Handysides, a professor of the Public Health School, Ms. Dolores Dickson, a youth advocate and Ms. Heidi Mayer, executive director of Youth Hope. The discussion focused on bringing awareness to the school and community about the scope of the youth homelessness in San Bernardino, its causes and what we could do to alleviate the problem.
On April 8 from 1-5 p.m., SPHSA in collaboration with the San Bernardino County and local non-profit organizations will participate in administering a survey to help identify homeless youth in San Bernardino County.