DP’s Youth for Direct Relief Blossoms During Their Annual Flower Drive

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DP’s Youth for Direct Relief Blossoms During Their Annual Flower Drive

Photo credit: Kimmy Lac

Photo credit: Kimmy Lac

Photo credit: Kimmy Lac

By Maya Al Sabeh, Features Editor

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For the Youth for Direct Relief club at Dos Pueblos High School, the month of April was filled with rose petals and travel. For its sixth year in a row, the club participated in the Flower Drive, an annual event organized by the Direct Relief International, a nonprofit with its headquarters in Goleta.

The Flower Drive allows many people in the community to donate their money to Direct Relief in return for having flowers sent to their friends, loved ones, or any local residents.

Along with local high schools Laguna Blanca High School, San Marcos High School, and Santa Barbara High School, members of the DP club volunteered their time to drive around their communities, sending flowers to residents.

For the DP Youth for Direct Relief club, participating in the Flower Drive this year was a chance to rekindle the spirit of volunteering in the hearts of many peers and community members.

The club started off with a strong support system of thirty members. Together, they had the opportunity of going to Guatemala on a trip of service.

“The summer after our first year we went to Guatemala, when the students graduated from high school,” Eliesa Bollinger said, DP ceramics teacher who has also served as an advisor for the club since its creation. “We went along with Dr. Toro who’s an ob/gyn and we took medicines and helped at Xeila Aide, a hospital for women and women’s issues.”

As the years progressed, the club fluctuated in size. However, the quantity of the students participating did not reflect the progress and involvement of the club in the community. Through their continuing efforts of outreach to the community, the club has refortified its member base.

The clubs’ delivery schedule entailed deliveries once a week, and these occurred usually on Mondays to households in downtown Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Isla Vista. In total, Youth for Direct Relief has managed to raise fifteen thousand dollars.

The fifteen-thousand dollars in donations will be sent by Direct Relief International to fund a nurse to work at a school in Haiti.

For Susana Sinclair, 11th grader and president of Youth For Direct Relief, the true reward of giving lay in seeing the residents’ reactions as they were gifted their bouquets.

“I think it’s really neat to see the looks on people’s faces, and it brings me a lot of joy,” Sinclair said. “You know they don’t expect it and they’re really appreciative.”

Vivian Le, an 11th grader and treasurer for the Youth for Direct Relief club, also volunteered her time to distribute flowers and shares how this act of kindness has altered her viewpoints on the greater community.

“It gave me insight on philanthropy and how people are willing to assist you in order to support your organization,” Le said.

Events organized outside of school have played a major role in the club’s service to the community. Bollinger explains that opportunities for humanitarian clubs are a bit limited on campus.

“If you’re a group interested in humanitarian issues, you can’t raise money on campus for the cause,” Bollinger said. “All the money we’ve collected in our ASB accounts belong to the students, but we are able to help outside and with that the girls get community service.”

This year, the club participated in numerous fundraising parties and created health kits for those in need. The club was even recognized on live television for their efforts.

“We were actually featured on TV for the flower-drive envelope stuffing, which is basically getting all the envelopes and letters ready to be sent out for the Flower Drive,” Sinclair said.

The club is hoping that their efforts and participation in the community will encourage more students to do the same.

“What I’d like to see is students using their time and service here, learning organizational skills, learning how to work with the community and giving back to the community for something greater,” Bollinger said.

The bouquets of flowers were delivered to Santa Barbara residents thanks to the Direct Relief’s Flower Drive.

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