CSUN student wins Newman Civic Fellowship Award for her community involvement

Previous+Newman+Civic+Fellow+Award+winner%2C+Travis+White%2C+21%2C+a+graduating+senior%2C+works+with+Tabitha+Sanchez%2C+sophomore+communications+major+and+recent+Newman+Civic+Fellow+Award+winner%2C+with+the+volunteer+program%2C+Unified+We+Serve.+Photo+Credit%3A+kristine+Quilang+Castro%2F+Contributor
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CSUN student wins Newman Civic Fellowship Award for her community involvement

Previous Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, Travis White, 21, a graduating senior, works with Tabitha Sanchez, sophomore communications major and recent Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, with the volunteer program, Unified We Serve. Photo Credit: kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Previous Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, Travis White, 21, a graduating senior, works with Tabitha Sanchez, sophomore communications major and recent Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, with the volunteer program, Unified We Serve. Photo Credit: kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Previous Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, Travis White, 21, a graduating senior, works with Tabitha Sanchez, sophomore communications major and recent Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, with the volunteer program, Unified We Serve. Photo Credit: kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Previous Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, Travis White, 21, a graduating senior, works with Tabitha Sanchez, sophomore communications major and recent Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, with the volunteer program, Unified We Serve. Photo Credit: kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Allessandra Lopez

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Previous Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, Travis White, 21, a graduating senior, works with Tabitha Sanchez, sophomore communications major and recent Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, with the volunteer program, Unified We Serve. Photo Credit: kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Previous Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, Travis White, 21, a graduating senior, works with Tabitha Sanchez, a third year student, communications major and recent Newman Civic Fellow Award winner, with the volunteer program, Unified We Serve. Photo Credit: Kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Tabitha Sanchez, a second year student at CSUN, received the Newman Civic Fellow Award in June and is now showcasing her first event she will be hosting on Nov. 24 at the Satellite Housing Community Center called "Poverty Runway." Photo Credit: Kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

Tabitha Sanchez, a third year student at CSUN, received the Newman Civic Fellow Award in June and is now showcasing her first event she will be hosting on Nov. 24 at the Satellite Housing Community Center called “Poverty Runway.” Photo Credit: Kristine Quilang Castro/ Contributor

While many CSUN students will be enjoying the holidays with the ones they love, there are those who are not as fortunate. Twenty-year-old communication studies major Tabitha Sanchez, loves to give back to those in need.

Sanchez believes that helping others is her primary purpose in life.

“It is part of my mission to give back to those who are less fortunate and to be that example,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said that her mother inspired her to be considerate and giving towards the community. Her mother would often give back by cleaning homes, feeding the homeless, volunteering at non-profit organizations and taking commitments at 12-step programs.

“She has always been the one to set the example for me,” Sanchez said. “Witnessing her example always inspired and motivated me to give back.”

Aside from her mother inspiring her to give back, Sanchez was determined to help the community at a young age. Sanchez attended San Pedro High School where she began to recognize what she was passionate about and sought out resources to help people. Sanchez was involved with the Boys and Girls Club of San Pedro, which in turn provided Sanchez with a lot of volunteer opportunities at CSUN. Sanchez volunteered for Adopt a Family, Zumbathon, Relay For Life and many others.

After coming to CSUN, Sanchez started working with the Unified We Serve organization hoping that she could help the CSUN community in some way.

In order to contribute to the community, Sanchez has helped in benefiting the community by giving food packages to underserving families, she has participated in food and clothing drives, delivered holiday cards and helped raise donations for cancer survivors.

Seeing how Sanchez has helped so many people in different ways, her acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed. In fact, Sanchez was nominated and won the Newman Civic Fellow Award.

When she was first nominated for this award Sanchez said she was surprised and a little uncomfortable. “I like to believe I’m an individual who gives with a giving heart and expect nothing in return,” Sanchez said.

Even though Sanchez did not expect to receive any recognition, her friends and peers were excited for her. One individual who believes that Sanchez has gone above and beyond for her community is college pastor at H. O.P.E.S. House Christian Ministries, DeVon Johnson.

“In early years, she would be so eager to help but would grow frustrated when she couldn’t help people with immediate needs,” said Johnson.

Before becoming part of United We Serve, Sanchez helped out at Carousel Pre-School and Aunt Ronnie’s Day Care. She would make holiday cards and sing with the children of retired individuals. She also participated with Youth of the Year, Dolls 2 Divas, Open Mic and countless other events.

Now that Sanchez is a resident advisor in the dorms, she hopes to get the CSUN community more involved with campus activities. Sanchez hopes to bring awareness about troubling issues that people don’t often stop to think about. “I’m currently learning how to apply everything I’ve learned to my programs and events so that my residents benefit from it,” Sanchez said.
Resident Advisor, Taylor Ikeni, said that Sanchez knows how to create an impression on people.

“Tabitha is a definition of a social butterfly. I feel like she knows everyone on this campus, so serving the community is basically second nature to her,” Ikeni said. “She was especially impactful among the incoming freshmen class in 2013.”

Sanchez hopes to make a difference on the CSUN community this holiday season. In order to bring light to homelessness, Sanchez is hosting an event on November 24th known as “Poverty Runway.”

“There is this preconceived idea that homeless people go to where they are at because they didn’t try to accomplish anything in life,” Sanchez said.

This is an event in which she hopes to provide students with statistics on homelessness, while having a clothing and can food drive at the same time. She doesn’t want to have a drive just to have one, instead she wants to reassure the community that this project is for a just cause. Sanchez plans to make this event different from all the rest by engaging residents of student housing.

This event is going to be organized as a fashion show in which students dress up and have statistics about homelessness hanging around their necks. Sanchez also hopes to have facts and graphs about homelessness displayed on foam boards. She felt that “Poverty Runway” was a suiting name because she didn’t want to make a mockery against the message of homelessness.

She also played around with the words so that audience members would be reminded of the television show “Project Runway.” Everyone is welcomed to join in on the event. In order to participate, residents are encouraged to bring a can of food for submission.

While students may be taking off for the holidays, Sanchez urges them to get more involved with those who need help. Seeing that CSUN is a school with diversity, Sanchez wanted to raise awareness to poverty. She says that some students can relate to it because they have lived it, know someone who has or are still currently living it. Sanchez wants to raise money and help those in need remember where they came from.

Sanchez wants students not to feel obligated to help the less fortunate, but hopes that they will be supportive out of the goodness of their hearts.

“I want the CSUN community to know that it isn’t really about them, it’s really about the community at large,” Sanchez said.