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A Partnership without Limits


“During these times of uncertainty, we are all looking out for the best interest of our students. We all want to remove the barriers to educational success.” - Adonis Galarza, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

A man and two kid wearing masks stand behind donated desksOn August 11th, only days into JUSD’s 2020-2021 school year, the Department of Parent Involvement and Community Outreach was dealing with a high volume of phone calls. Parents were struggling to make ends meet and assist their children with online instruction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, community needs have far outweighed the resources available. ​​

That Tuesday afternoon, a parent called with a special request for her two school-aged children: could PICO help find desks for her kids to work on during distance learning? As luck would have it, two donated desks were sitting in storage. Jose Campos, Director of PICO, cleaned them up and delivered them to the family the following morning.​

Man in a mask carries desks The “feel good” story became popular on social media, with many parents expressing that they too lacked the proper workspaces for their children. Through the act of helping a mom and her kids, PICO had identified a greater need.

Meanwhile, a non-profit organization in Jurupa Valley was posting online about offering desks to support distance learning. When PICO reached out to the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, it was clear that the number of desks offered would not meet student demand, so the two groups formed a partnership to better achieve their shared goal.

“When the goal is serving the community, organizations must work together to make a greater impact,” said Jose Campos.   

Desks lined up beside a school bus A call was placed to Robert Roth, Director of La Sierra University’s Stahl Center for World Service, expressing the need for student desks. Fortunately, Mr. Roth had old desks designated for donation and was happy to provide them to CCAEJ for their event.

On August 20th, JUSD’s Transportation Department dispatched six bus drivers and their vehicles to pick up the desks and transport them to CCAEJ, located off Sunnyhill Drive in Jurupa Valley. Desks were dusted and polished, then families arrived at their scheduled pick up times to bring them home. School backpacks were also provided. 

A man and a woman stand with backpacks in front of the CCAEJ sign
Kenya Ceveydra, parent of a sixth grader at Ina Arbuckle, spoke about the impact the new workspace would have on her son: “He no longer has to Distance Learn from the dining room table where he gets so distracted.”

​Thanks to the efforts of CCAEJ, with support from PICO and La Sierra University, distance learning became a little easier for many students and their families.