Yesterday, I had the honor of attending the 8th Annual Cesar Chavez Clubs Las Mañanitas Breakfast. It was a morning filled with inspiration and hope for the future. My first inspiration came from seeing more than 200 Cesar Chavez Club leaders from our local elementary, middle and high schools file into the Convention Center ballroom in front of more than 800 community supporters. My hope for the future came from hearing the young Chavista leaders go to the microphone and deliver their introductions of speakers and stories of their experiences as Club members.
Yes, that is a big smile on my face as I take a "selfie" with happy, smiling Chavists from Roosevelt Middle School. My smile lasted the entire breakfast and for most of the day as I thought about the life-changing experiences these young people have access to through the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs.
Our Board President, Richard Barrera summarized the work of the Chavez Clubs much better than I can in his comments on a video by the San Diego Union Tribune. Richard said this on this wonderful short video that worth watching if you too want to become inspired by the work of the Chavez Clubs:
These young people will inherit a world that has a lot of challenges that we as adults are leaving for them. And what the Chavez Clubs are about is saying to young people that not only do you have a responsibility to step up and meet these challenges but that you will be great when you do it!
- Richard Barrera, Chavez Clubs Board President and San Diego Unified School Board member.
After watching the poise and confidence displayed by the Chavista students who came up to the microphone in front of hundreds of people to share their stories about what they are learning in their clubs, I have a renewed hope for the future. These are challenging times when civility, truth and compassion for all people sometimes seem to be lost in divisive political clashes we read about each day. Just knowing that here in San Diego, we are training 1,000 young students about leadership, diversity, non- violence and the other 10 Values of Cesar Chavez, gives me hope that the challenges that we adults are creating today will be overcome by these young leaders in the future.
Leadership is a skill that you need to develop over time, and that is what these young people are showing.
- Richard Barrera
The Breakfast event ended with an inspiring talk by Luis Valdez over Skype. Even though he is in poor health and could not travel to the event, Mr Valdez wanted to share his message with our Chavista students. He encouraged these young leaders to accept the challenges and work for social justice just has he has done throughout his life.
Finally, I was filled with hope by the more than 800 community supporters who joined with us at Las Mañanitas. Their presence at the event and their contributions as corporate sponsors or by purchasing a ticket will allow the Clubs to continue for another year. Hopefully, this breakfast will raise about $100,000 that will be used to continue our 37 Clubs in 20 local schools in San Diego's most needy neighborhoods.
But our annual budget is more than $500,000 and we continue to need the support of foundations, businesses, philanthropists and others who share our passion to build future leaders. Like every non-profit, we struggle each year to meet our budget goals. If you took the time to read this blog post to the end, I would hope that you too are inspired and that you may want to pitch in for a better future. Please consider supporting the Chavez Clubs with any donation you can afford. Your generosity will make a difference in the futures of some pretty special young people in our community. Thank you!