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Saint Mary’s College sends love to local community center

| Thursday, February 16, 2023

Maria Gonzalez-Diaz and Christin Kloski host an event asking students to stuff snack bags and write messages of encouragement for a local community center.Katelyn Waldschmidt | The Observer
Maria Gonzalez-Diaz (top) and Christin Kloski host an event asking students to stuff snack bags and write messages of encouragement for a local community center.

On Tuesday, Saint Mary’s students had the opportunity to stop on their way to lunch and spend a few minutes helping people who attend various programs at La Casa de Amistad, a South Bend community center. Christin Kloski, director of student equity, describes the organization as “a non-profit that serves our immigrant community.”

The table was hosted by the office of the common good and the office of equity for the “To Immigrants With Love” Day of Action. The hashtag #ToImmigrantsWithLove was used in student-written messages that will be passed out to members of the community center along with snack bags for children. 

Maria Gonzalez-Diaz, coordinator for the office of the common good, said the event is all “about spreading the love to the great South Bend community.” 

Kloski talked about the importance of La Casa for the South Bend community.

“They offer an array of programming ranging from after-school program tutoring all the way to adult programming,” she said.  

Gonzalez-Diaz added that La Casa also offers a preschool and kindergarten for children, immigration services and citizenship classes.

Part of the tabling event was to make students aware of volunteer opportunities at La Casa, which Kloski said any student can get involved with.

“It’s a program that you can really just help students with their homework and tutor them in certain areas where they might find a little bit more difficult,” Kloski said.

Gonzalez-Diaz said students can find more information about volunteering on the La Casa website.

“If [students are] interested, definitely go to the homepage and there’s a form where they can choose whatever they want [to volunteer],” she noted.  

This event was also part of the broader ‘I stand with Immigrants’ series, Kloski added.

“It’s a really important program that we’ve collaborated with the Office of the Common Good [to create]. This really just to support our immigrant community,” Kloski said. 

Gonzalez-Diaz spoke about the importance of having this series and more events like this on campus. 

“I feel like sometimes people don’t realize that immigrants are all around us. Just getting people to be kind to everybody is a very important thing, especially in the current climate.” 

Gonzalez-Diaz said that this kindness is part of the hashtag #ToImmigrantsWithLove and that what she wants students to take away is a few minutes of reflection, thinking more about her previous message of people being unaware of immigrants in their own community.

Kloski talked about how small events like this are a great way to get students involved without requiring too much commitment.

“It’s a really easy way to give back in a more simple way versus driving off campus and volunteering,” she added.  

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