Pre-Internet, getting your first library card as a kid was a big deal – a rite of passage of sorts. For the kids who attend Colegio La Esperanza, an elementary school in a poor neighborhood in Tijuana, Mexico, it still is.
Before they could get their library cards though, they actually had to get a library because they didn’t have one.
Then, along came one of our employees, Edalia Olivo-Gomez, and the Altrusa Club of Chula Vista, a service club whose mission is to raise funds and provide volunteers for community-based literacy and education projects. Projects like new libraries, for instance.
When Olivo-Gomez heard of Colegio La Esperanza’s lack of access to good books, she presented the idea of building a library for the school to the Altrusa Club of Chula Vista, and the club voted to fund the project.
Volunteering and Fundraising
Volunteering her time wasn’t the only way that Olivo-Gomez, an Environmental Services Team Lead at SDG&E, provided support to the Altrusa Club. She also tapped the Sempra Energy Foundation’sVolunteer Incentive Program (VIP).
Through the VIP, Sempra, our parent company, supports our employees’ contribution of time and talent to nonprofit groups. Employees earn $10 per hour for their charity for every hour of volunteer service per charity (minimum 10 hours). They can earn up to the program limit of $500 for 50 hours of service per year.
Olivo-Gomez has used the VIP for the past couple of years to bolster her volunteer efforts. Deciding to use it again this year to help fund a library and books for the kids at Colegio La Esperanza was an easy choice for her.
“Growing up with parents who had limited literacy ability (they only had the chance to attend school through the third grade), I was taught at a young age the importance of reading,” she said. “The Altrusa Club’s special emphasis on literacy was a key factor in picking them to support through the VIP.”
Now, thanks to the Altrusa Club, the VIP and especially to Olivo-Gomez, the kids at Colegio La Esperanza have a new library, and stacks of books to read and check out. That gives them hope for a better future.
And, that’s just how it should be. After all, the name of their school - Colegio La Esperanza - means School of Hope.