Hector Sanchez Castaneda
University of California, Santa Barbara’s Community Affairs Board organized a three-hour long event for the youth of Isla Vista on Feb. 14 at Children’s Park. The activity—titled “Juguemos”—is usually held o Thursdays at the Isla Vista Elementary school in coordination with Isla Vista Youth Projects, but third-year biopsychology major and CAB Youth Outreach Coordinator Maricarmen Zavala expressed her wish to extend the activity to the whole community by forming the weekend edition of Juguemos.
“As a Youth Outreach Coordinator, my goal is to benefit the youth in our community,” Zavala said. “We just want to get volunteers out there and we want them to get more involved in the community, and some people like playing sports so this is where they can help and play with the kids.”
The event began at 12 PM, and kids from the neighboring residential area soon arrived to partake in the festivites. Activities like soccer, frisbee, and football were the main attraction. Third-year political science and English double major and CAB Co-Chair Adrian Gabriel stated the importance of volunteering.
“CAB is all philanthropy and volunteering, and I think we’ve done a good job in strengthening community ties,” Gabriel said. “Especially with non-student groups. We have three positions that deal with youth.”
The positions Gabriel mentioned include the Youth Outreach Coordinator, Childcare Director, and the Family Literacy Program Coordinator.
“I think it’s really important for UCSB to be invested in this community,” Gabriel said. “I know after four years we just leave, but we really want to leave an imprint here, and some kind of structure for the future generations of students to really get involved with people here at Isla Vista.”
In addition to sports, snacks and drinks were offered to the kids, and they also had the opportunity to make Valentine’s Day cards for their families and loved ones. Third-year political science major and CAB Alternative Break Coordinator Jeremiah Copeland expressed his opinion on the event.
“I thought it was really awesome actually, this is my first time [coming to this event],” Copeland said. “It’s like an hour or two where [kids] can just not really worry about anything besides playing. I know that sometimes their schoolwork gets them down, relationships, or anything, and this is a moment where they can just come and have a good time.”
Copeland also expressed the importance of volunteering to make a change.
“We as college students, we’re pretty busy,” Copeland said, “Some of us have jobs, we have a lot of classes obviously, we need to do a lot of studying. It’s easy to get lost in all the work that you’re doing, bit it’s important to remember that there are people everywhere that need help. Everyone has an hour or two to go and do something awesome for the community.”
For those wanting to learn more about CAB, they hold weekly meetings every Wednesday night at 6 PM in the Graduate Student Association Lounge, located in the Multicultural Center.