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Care packages bring a bit of early holiday cheer

thank you tweetRecent SAISD graduates attending college outside of Texas may be surprised when a large care package filled with goodies shows up at their door this month. It wasn’t Santa making his rounds early; these special care packages were put together thanks to collaborations between the SAISD Foundation, the Department of Postsecondary Initiatives, and two local businesses.

Earlier this semester, employees from Valero Energy put together care packages for SAISD alumni. And, just last week, employees of the Freeman Coliseum did the same for recent Sam Houston High School graduates. 

“Education is really critical to me, the Bexar County Commissioners Court, and my board,” said Derrick Howard, executive director for Bexar County Community Arenas and former member and chairman of the SAISD Foundation. “We are always looking to participate in community partnerships and looking at ways to give back.”

A dozen Freeman Coliseum employees, alongside SAISD college alumni advisors and representatives from the SAISD Foundation, packed sturdy cardboard boxes full of snacks, laundry detergent, mini-speakers, tumblers and other useful treats. 

“I really think this is important to do this because these kids are far away from home; it is their first semester being gone,” said Nikko Delgado, receptionist at Freeman Coliseum, as she unfolded a big, white cardboard box. “We just want to support them, to help them succeed in their lives.”

SAISD Postsecondary Initiatives college alumni advisors Andrew Cervantes and Desiree San Martin cheerfully stuffed the care packages alongside Freeman Coliseum employees. The college alumni advisor positions that Cervantes and San Martin fill are new to SAISD and funded by the five-year, $8.4 million grant that was awarded to the District two years ago by the Valero Energy Foundation, the local energy company’s philanthropic arm. The grant funds SAISD’s Pipeline for College Success program, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of students who enroll in and complete college. 

“We want to make sure that our students are not only getting into school but [we also follow along to] see how they are doing their first year,” said Cervantes. “We want to break down any barriers and make sure our students are aware that there is someone from the school district who is available to them and assist them throughout their college career.”   

Care packages will also be going out in February to recent graduates in colleges across Texas, with the involvement of other local benefactors. 

The Postsecondary Initiatives team is also supporting alumni who are attending college locally. Last month, the team donated a variety of food and personal care items to a number of the Alamo Colleges, including to the S.H.A.R.E. Center at Palo Alto College. 

“Just because they leave SAISD doesn’t mean they stop having needs,” said Desiree San Martin, Postsecondary Initiatives college alumni advisor. “A lot of our students are on the free and reduced lunch program and when they go to college, there is not always a place where they can get a free and reduced lunch. The S.H.A.R.E. Center is an excellent place where they can come and get emergency meals. It feels good knowing we can still support our students after they leave the K-12 setting.”  

Whether an SAISD graduate attends college out of state or right here in San Antonio, the Postsecondary Initiatives team will be finding creative ways to help serve them on their educational journeys. 

Follow SAISD Postsecondary Initiatives on Twitter.


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