Cesar Chavez inspired others to serve their community through his dedication to improve the lives of the most vulnerable citizens. On Thursday, March 31, 2016, South Bay Community Services honored Cesar Chavez through a “Day of Service.” More than 200 volunteers and students from Sweetwater Union High School District came together to commemorate Cesar Chavez’s commitment to social justice and community service. The day consisted of cleaning up the area around Castle Park, planting in the garden, and painting a mural on the campus of Castle Park Middle School. Throughout the day volunteers took part in a wide variety of activities at different school sites around Chula Vista as they honored Cesar Chavez through education, celebration, and service.
The event kicked off with an opening ceremony with special remarks from local leaders at Castle Park Middle School. Barbara Ybarra, Executive Director of One San Diego and granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, made a special visit and spoke to attendees about her grandfather’s dedication to improving the lives of the most vulnerable members in his community. Danza Mexi’cayotl kicked off the festivities with traditional dances. ARTS (A Reason To Survive) helped students and volunteers paint a mural of civil right leaders Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong, and Phillip Cruz to celebrate their lives and courageous work. Volunteers also helped remove graffiti and re-beautify the community streets by picking up litter and other debris near Castle Park Middle School.
At Castle Park Elementary School, parents, students and community volunteers joined the World Beat Center and Rondalla Amerindia de Aztlan for a morning of celebration, nature, and activities. They planted new herbs and vegetables at the school’s garden. The World Beat Center taught children about nature and the different birds in their communities. Kids were gifted mini binoculars and birding packets to continue their love of nature at home. Members of the Rondalla Amerindia de Aztlan, many of whom sang with Cesar Chavez, performed Campesino songs.
On their day off, students continued to learn and engage in activities teaching them more about Cesar Chavez and ways they can improve their own community. They walked through a poster gallery hosted by the Cesar Chavez Service Club and Chula Vista College Institute students. The posters displayed information about Cesar Chavez’s life and work and the Ten Values of Cesar Chavez Book Club. Along with a poster gallery they presented collage boards to inspire and share with students the importance of attending college.
At Hilltop Middle School, the school’s Dig It students and volunteers prepared the school’s garden for spring planting. Local youth worked with volunteers for a neighborhood re-beautification and clean up near and around Trolley Trestle, a transitional housing for former foster youth. The day off was filled with learning, community service and connecting with others.
South Bay Community Services provides the most comprehensive range of services and programs to children, youth, and families in San Diego County’s southern region.