SAC alumna Alina Pineda, who now attends California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), recently began a project called Step Ahead, which helps collect needed school supplies for children from low-income homes and schools.
With the support of CSUF’s Volunteer and Service Center and SAC Service Learning Center, Pineda was able to begin this community-based program .
Her previous volunteer endeavors at various grammar schools such as Harvey Elementary, Diamond Elementary and Monte Vista Elementary, inspired her to launch the program.
“Through volunteering, I realized that there was a pattern, of students not having much needed supplies,” said Pineda. “It’s really difficult when you see children in need.”
The first school to benefit from the program is Monte Vista, for which she raised approximately $1,600 for individual school supplies for Monte Vista’s 743 students. According to Pineda, students at that elementary school lacked basic school supplies such as: scissors, pencil sharpeners, large erasers, washable glue sticks, construction paper, crayons, and rulers.
“I wanted to create a project based on giving back to the community,” said Pineda.
She also noticed while working at Staples, that most of the time teachers purchased supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets, which is another reason why she decided to implement the Step Ahead project. Pineda and others involved in the project donated the school supplies during two school assemblies at the end of April.
Pineda will graduate from CSUF in May, and continue toward her master’s degree from the University of Southern California. She hopes to someday become a public administrator, with the ultimate goal of beginning her own non-profit for children within the Santa Ana community.
“I love children,” said Pineda. “I have the passion to work with others, with the Hispanic community and all of Orange County, since this is where I grew up.”
As Pineda transfers to another institution, she will continue to help the next volunteers take on project Step Ahead, and move on to the next needy elementary school.