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National TRiO Day promotes community service

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By Nikki Martinez

nikmart20@gmail.com

The TRiO programs of CSU-Pueblo and Pueblo Community College will celebrate National TRiO Day with a book, art supply and toy drive until Friday, Feb. 25, and community service at Sangre de Cristo Hospice will take place from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Feb 26.

National TRiO Day, considered a National Day of Service, is a way to promote community service to students involved in the TRiO programs and college students, said Jen Haight, program coordinator for Upward Bound at CSU-Pueblo.

The TRiO programs, which include Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the Southern Colorado Equal Opportunity Center, are working with non-profit programs NeighborWorks of Pueblo and Sangre de Cristo Hospice to carry out these service-oriented activities.

Photo courtesy of ED.gov.

Students and community members are encouraged to donate gently used or new items, which include children’s books, stuffed animals, puppets, CDs, markers, pencils, construction paper, activity books, granola bars and water bottles, Haight said.

The donated items will be used to help stock the Hospice Grief Library and its Kids Grief camp, a summer camp for children dealing with the loss of a loved one, according to a press release.

Donations can be dropped off at East, Central, County, Centennial and South high schools, at PCC’s Upward Bound Offices in Academic Building, Room 154 and TRiO Students Support Services in Room 174, or at CSU-Pueblo’s Upward Bound in the Occhiato University Center, Room 004, and Student Support Services, Room 035.

Community service will include the organization of the Hospice Grief Library at the Sangre de Cristo Hospice and the maintenance of hospice facilities, as well as organization of the collected toys and books.

“We (the TRiO programs) focus on community service and good citizenship. For this day, we wanted to raise the bar,” Haight said. “It’s easy for us to rake up leaves, but to actually go to a hospice house and raise the level of community service we will show an additional outlet of how you can assist in your community.”

Though nearly 100 college and high school students are expected to participate, all CSU-Pueblo students and community members are welcomed to join in the community service efforts, Haight said.

Natasia Martinez, 16, an Upward Bound Participant from South High School, said TRiO Day gives her a sense of accomplishment and pride.

“Upward Bound has given students like me an opportunity to go to college and succeed in my future,” Martinez said. “It’s only natural that we have an obligation to our community. We have been given the gift of charity and we (TRiO participants) must spread that message of giving.”

After the community service efforts on Feb. 26, community service participants will gather at the NeighborWorks office, at 1241 E. Routt Ave., for a luncheon and awards ceremony.

For more information contact Haight at 719-549-2750.