Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Howard Zinn, an American historian, playwright, and social activist once said, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” Zinn’s words perfectly describe the huge impact people have once they come together for a great cause. Ever since they were founded, SBCC Thrive LA has helped communities across Los Angeles to discover and develop tools for individuals and their families in order for them to thrive as a community.I’ve had the honor of being a part of such an amazing organization that always gives to others without always expecting something in return. This organization has made a core commitment to gift the resources and leadership communities need to lead healthy, productive and self determined lives.
Although this organization centers around hispanic families, families from different backgrounds are always welcomed. There is no room for discrimination when it comes to working together to help each other. I had the pleasure of interviewing instructor Yesenia Rodriguez, who’s in charge of the Familias Unidas de la Comunidad de Glendale. When she was asked about what was the ultimate goal of this organization, she genuinely replied by saying, “We are not a traditional social services agency, we are a non-profit organizations that consists of a community of people working in partnership to create and create systems of support that empower individuals, families and communities. We all come from a wide variety of cultural, professional and educational backgrounds, we are all drawn together by the shared belief that everyone has the ability to contribute to their community regardless of their background or circumstance.” Her voice held so much compassion and she had a small smile on her face the entire time, which demonstrated that she truly enjoyed her line of work. The people of this organization are determined to bring equality and peace to their communities.
Their work is composed by five impact areas. Each impact area practices a unique set of strategies that support the organization’s main goal of creating resilient, empowered, and economically self-sufficient communities. SBCC’s mission is to reduce economic and social inequality in communities through relationship-based community organizing and trustworthy resident-driven civic engagement. I was curious to know what drives these people to invest so much time in their community and Yesenia happily answered with, ” Our mission is being driven in SBCC’s core belief that worthwhile social impact must be resident-led and community-driven. SBCC has impacted individuals, strengthened families, and transformed communities in partnership with community residents for more than four decades.” Through all their hard work, they have managed to promote local leadership so residents become active agents of change.
When it comes to joining together to make our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world better, one of the most important things we can do in order to accomplish this is to find out what we have in common. When we share something with the people around us, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, it can help us make connections we never realized we could and with people we never expected we would connect with. This organization creates big events that anyone is welcomed to and where there is no age limit. For example, for Cinco de Mayo a festive event is held in order to introduce the community to Mexican traditions. It’s a day where everyone can come together and eat good food while listening to music that’ll want you dancing all day long. The event is runned by volunteers of the community who are giving up their time in order to spread joy to other around them. Another well known event is “El Coraz√≥n no Envejece” which means the heart does not age. This event allows the elders of the community to come together and feel young again. It’s a family event that allows elders to do activities that they thought they were too old to do anymore. We make them get up on their feet to dance and even dare them to do some karaoke because who doesn’t like a good jam session. They are reminded that age is just a number and we are only as old as we feel.
Although this organization’s main goal is to give to the community and provide them with a safe place to live, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish their goal without their amazing volunteers. The volunteers are the core of this mission because they take what they learn during the meetings and put it to practice outside of the meeting room. In order for this to be successful, the volunteers are provided with seminars and informational meetings. In the two hours that they spend together once a week, an hour is used on them. They start their meetings with some sort of ice breaker or activity to help them bond even more. No matter how close they already are, these activities help them maintain an open mind. The instructor is in charge of targeting a different issue in every meeting. They are taught about the importance of self-care, drug abuse, finance, race, family etc. With this information, they are being trained to help and work with different types of people.
In one of the meetings Yesenia talked about the importance of being able to understand one’s children. She mentioned the different stages a child goes through and the ways a parent can communicate more with their children. As a teenager I was asked to put my input in how a teen’s mind works and how we feel with some things our parents do. In this meeting, I learned that while I may have a fixed belief on something, it doesn’t mean that others share the same belief. Even if they’re our parents. The purpose of this volunteer program is to create a community where its residents will not be discriminated against based on their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or income. Communities are being taught how to stand on their own two feet without the help of others who aren’t themselves. As long they have each other, there will be a solution to every obstacle they encounter.
I have been involved in this organization since I was 10 years old. At first I was just another kid who had to wait in the daycare for her mom to finish doing her adult duties. As I grew up, I went from seating in a room for two hours doing arts and crafts to helping plan our next community event. Alongside my mother and many selfless women of my community, we dedicate our time in are a change. We bring those who live around us together and we make sure we spread whatever valuable information we learn from our director to others.
It’s amazing what people can do when they come together. All they need is a small push in the right direction then they’ll know what they have to do to make things right. No matter how small the action may be, what matters is the intention they’re doing it with. This organization has proven that they’re all about giving guidance to create leaderships in communities all over Los Angeles.

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