BU students jumped into the spirit of giving this holiday season after a late November 2012 shooting at the Hispanic Center in the Lehigh Valley killed one person and left four injured.
The tragedy struck close to home for a group of education majors who participated in a practicum in the Bethlehem and Easton school districts in 2012 and, at the same time, became involved in the Hispanic Center. “We interacted with the children, cleaned up around the neighborhood, and did a few other things with the center,” says BU student Erin Wandler, a senior from Bath. “The center even made us dinner once to show their appreciation. We became really close with them.”
Devastated by the shooting, Wandler looked for a way to help. “I contacted my professor about what had happened,” she says. “We collaborated and decided that we could do something to help them through the holidays.”
Wandler, along with the other practicum students and the BU Helping Others Club organized a university-wide toy drive to collect holiday gifts for the families of the center.
“We spread the word over Facebook and word of mouth,” says Wandler. “In the end we collected about 100 toys to give to the center. It was so much more than I ever expected.”
The students went to the Hispanic Center in mid-December to give the gifts to the center director, Lorna Velazquez.
“It felt great to be helping out in a small way,” says Wandler. “The help of other people from the practicum and the university will affect so many people. They even encouraged me to come back and visit in the summer.”
–CJ Shultz ’13