Cesar Chavez Service Fair held to promote volunteer opportunities

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CSUN students crowded Cleary Walk as part of the Cesar Chavez Service Fair to get opportunities to volunteer around the community.

The purpose of the fair is to get students to participate and become leaders within an organization to make a difference within their community.

Chavez was an American civil rights leader who founded the Unified Farm Workers. He fought to improve the working conditions and lives for migrant farmworkers.

Sofia Aprahamian, a sophomore kinesiology major, talked about what it was like to be a part of the fair as a member of the Unified We Serve organization.

“Unified We Serve is a volunteering program dedicated to helping the community and (to creating) festivals like this one.” said Aprahamian. “Having an event like this promotes students to help out and network with groups out there”

Along with volunteering opportunities there was also free salsa dance lessons provided by CSUN’s Salsa Libre, free pizza and live music.

There were about 50 non-profit organizations from the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Los Angeles.

One of the organizations, Program for Tortured Victims (PTV) focuses on treating and rehabilitating tortured victims from over 70 countries.

Sophie Westacott, Development and Communications Manager of PTV said, “Our organization is set around the political issues of the world. PTV receives many Syrian clients coming over to America to escape the turmoil, LGBT clients from Russia escaping sexual persecution, and clients from Uganda”.

Westacott explained the reason why there was such a huge influx of international people, is because California has one of the highest population of refugees than any other state in America.

“It’s important for CSUN students to get involved in this organization or any other organization because it’s a valuable experience to know what’s going on in the world and to know when to participate locally on a global issue,” said Westacott.

Another organization on campus was Circle K International (CKI). As one of the largest community service organizations, CKI spans 17 countries with over 13,000 members.

It is part of the Metro Division along with Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Long Beach, El Camino College, UCLA and USC.

One of the members, John Ramirez, a sophomore business major talked about the uniqueness of the organization.

“CKI is a self-governing organization that elects its own officers, conduct their own meetings, and facilitate their own activities. I joined this club because it helped me to break away from being shy and getting involved within my own community.”

Travis White, a junior criminology major, talked about the importance of host the fair.

He said, “Having the Cesar Chavez Service Fair is vital for CSUN students because we are honoring a man who has been involved in the community for a greater outcome of his people. This inspired me to get involved in the Unified We Serve organization to better myself as a person and to encourage other people to make a difference as well.”

The fair was hosted by the Unified We Serve organization as well as the Chicana/o Studies.

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