Helping the Community—By Alex Loya Student Reporter

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In connection with 9 News, CEC would like to invite you to the 9 News Health fair. In the month of April, 9 News will be hosting 3 fairs in the north Denver/ Highlands area. April 6th the wonderful volunteers will be at Regis University from 7am – 12 pm.

Other dates include April 13th and the 21st. The Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital will be hosting this event the 13th from 7 am – 12 pm as well and at Wat Buddha Wararam the 21st of the month at the same time.

This is also a great opportunity to volunteer! To learn more, sign up visit at their page at www.9healthfair.org or call 303-698-4455. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate.

As you can see CEC is a place that is very connected in with its community. We teach the importance of giving back to our community. Throughout these four years of high school I have had the pleasure to make my community a better place. It all began when I joined soccer as sophomore.  For fun the whole team would gather and clean the highlands area.  People from the community acknowledged the team and supported us throughout the whole season. There is nothing better than that warm feeling inside when you know you did something right. I’m honored to say that cleaning up my community was only the beginning of something bigger.

During the winter of 2011, the kind people of the Rotary Club gave us the opportunity to help kids and their families have an unforgettable Christmas in the community that I grew up in. For the past two years I have volunteered at an event called the “Villa Park Block Party.” Every December an elementary school in the Villa Park area is made into a mini North Pole and I become one of Santa’s helpers. The kids in this underserved community have the opportunity to choose a gift for each of their parents. I have done this in the hope to bring families closer and help them have a memorable Christmas because for most of these children that is the most they will receive during the holidays. There is no better gift than watching the children walk in with smiles from ear to ear amazed by all of the gifts. Events like these make me appreciate what I have and it amazes me how a smile can fulfill ones heart.

After the holidays the idea of making changes in our community seemed to be diminishing slowly. As a member of Leadership my friends and I came together and decided to educate students on the dangers of dating violence.  As a teen I have seen how many of my classmates have suffered in a relationship and thought that many of the students in our school can relate and advocate this issue. It was around the time of Valentine’s Day which meant that we had a dance coming up. We took the initiative and held a class after school and showed students how to identify and solve dating violence, as a reward we gave each participant a bracelet that said, “Love with your heart, not with your hands” in hope that we can stop dating violence in our school and community. Almost a year later, students can still be seen wearing those bracelets and we are reminded of how one action can really make a difference. This experience completely changed the way I see relationships, while teaching others I also learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it. I never thought I would experience or see dating violence first hand but after my team became knowledgeable on the subject I realized that a very close friend was in a dangerous relationship and with what I had learned I helped her through every step of the way until she finally got out.

The leadership class has helped the community in several ways and I plan on continuing with these volunteer projects. All of my experiences have helped me grow not only as a leader but as a person.  I find myself constantly advocating for change and convince others to do the same. Today, the changes are evident, I am a more outgoing person and my efforts are shown in everything I do. Working with people and educating them on social issues has become one of my many strong points. In the future I continue to see myself giving back to my community and working with others even at the university I attend to. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for these experiences I would not be the person I am today. I give thanks to the caring students and faculty from CEC.

Proud CEC Student,

Alexandra Loya

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