Inside HPP’s third floor conference room, an army of school supplies and backpacks greet the eye. Michelle Cordoza and Ariana Ramos stop in the midst of their packing session to examine their progress to date, an impressive line of stuffed backpacks emerging from the corner of the room. By the end of the day, with the help of volunteers, over 470 backpacks are assembled and ready for our children in need. Interning since July, Ariana and Michelle have taken HPP by storm with their incredible enthusiasm, compassionate attitudes, and successful efforts with HPP’s annual School Supplies Drive.
Calling on friends and relatives to help our families get a head start back to school, the go-getters launched the drive and raised over $500. With the added benefit of a generous donation of backpacks from Old Navy, HPP was able to use the funds and purchase enough supplies to ensure our children put their best foot forward as they start the new school year.
“We learned so much from this experience, and we’d definitely do this again!” Ariana and Michelle both exclaimed.
“One morning while I was coming into the office, I saw the little girl of an HPP client crossing the street with one of the backpacks we helped assemble. That moment in and of itself made everything worth it, and it was wonderful,” Michelle recounted.
Participants of University of California, Santa Cruz’s Community Studies field study internship program, the college students were drawn to HPP’s sustainable model for breaking the cycle of childhood poverty. In addition to the school supplies drive, Michelle and Ariana have been able to experience an in-depth glimpse into a family resource center by working on a variety of research and hands-on projects related to HPP’s many services.
“We didn’t fully understand Section 8 housing before HPP, but now we can tell you all about it!,” Ariana remarked.
HPP Family Case Manager Carlos Cortes shared words of praise. “I’m so thankful for them; they’ve been so helpful! And they always have a great attitude.”
Their exuberance shines through in their warm words about HPP: “HPP is such a wonderful, encouraging place for so many families, and the staff truly support each other. Interning here has really opened our eyes to the level of poverty that exists in our community. It is amazing being at an organization that is not just a band-aid for these issues but truly work hard to address them.”
Ariana and Michelle, HPP is so appreciative and lucky to have you here! Thank you so much for all of your fantastic efforts!