CARE and Beyond - fun and holiday gifts bring warmth and cheer to MSJC students' families

December 22, 2014​

More than 50 single mothers and single fathers from low-income families received gifts for their children during a holiday celebration on December 20, 2014 hosted by Mt. San Jacinto College Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) Program.

The CARE Holiday Celebration was a successful event because of the generous donation of one hundred toys from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, the Soboba Casino, and the Soboba Foundation. The time and creativity of the MSJC staff, the San Jacinto Fire Department and local high school students from MSJC’s Upward Bound program also helped to make the event memorable for the students and their children.

The San Jacinto Fire Department escorted Santa, (Ed Saucedo) of Mt. San Jacinto College, to the event held on the San Jacinto Campus, where families from surrounding areas ate warm meals, took photos and enjoyed other holiday festivities.

“The CARE program and this event means the world to the parents and children” says Martha Crawford, interim director of the CARE program. The families not only show appreciation of the festivities, but they express a sense of gratefulness and belonging that goes beyond the celebratory event. 

Ashley Holt, an MSJC student and mother of two says, “this is the only real event we get to go to before Christmas time and we’re blessed and fortunate that they put this on for us.” Cherie Johnson, another student and mother of two boys from MSJC says, “we look forward to this event every year and it brings our family closer…the help we get from the CARE program is extraordinary, not only at this time of the year but throughout the semesters…they help me uphold my 3.8 grade point average” said Johnson.

Vice President Daisha Smith of Upward Bound Student Organization at San Jacinto High, says that she and her team enjoyed coming to work early to prepare holiday gifts, decorations and activities for the families. Smith believes this is a great opportunity for people to be of service to the community.

During the CARE Holiday Celebration, Crawford thanked the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Soboba Casino and Soboba Foundation, San Jacinto Firefighters, MSJC’s staff and Upward Bound volunteers who came together to spread warmth and joy during the holiday season.

Crawford believes that the CARE program and holiday event is important to the community because it gives inspiration and hope to the forthcoming generation. She feels the value and importance of college education can be seen by the success of the students of the past.

CARE is a supplemental support program of the EOPS (Extended Opportunity Program and Services) at Mt. San Jacinto College. EOPS and CARE are staffed with employees who are dedicated to bring hope, joy and caring, not only throughout the semester, but during the holidays.

CARE is a state-funded program designed to provide assistance and support for single parent, head-of-household students, who are participants of the CalWORKs/TANF and EOPS program. The main goal is to help students obtain a degree, certification, transfer and/or marketable job skills.

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Santa arrives at Mt. San Jacinto College’s CARE Holiday Celebration, escorted by the San Jacinto Fire Department.

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MSJC student Ashley Holt and her children Mia (left) and Elijah (right) enjoying the festivities during Mt. San Jacinto College’s CARE Holiday Celebration.

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MSJC student Cherie Johnson and her sons, Stephen (left) and Anthony (right) enjoy coming together as a family during Mt. San Jacinto College’s CARE Holiday Celebration.