World Language department gives back

Pilar Valdes, Assistant Pulse Editor

In addition to collecting donations for the American Red Cross during Spanish classes, the World Language department is also gathering supplies to send to Puerto Rico to help those impacted by the recent Hurricane Maria, French teacher Elizabeth Martinez said.

Spanish teacher Karly Enright organized donations for the Red Cross in Puerto Rico and Mexico. Over two weeks, 10 Spanish teachers raised $1,010.75 that will be split evenly between the two countries, Enright said.

Enright desired to help in Puerto Rico and Mexico because of the Spanish classes’ focus on Spanish-speaking countries and their culture, she said.

“We have a responsibility to think in a global way, but act locally and do what we can here even though it might not be much,” Enright said.

Ten Spanish teachers asked each of their students to make a contribution of $1, Enright said. Each teacher has about 130 students, so Enright’s goal was to raise about $2000.

As the Spanish classes closed the opportunity for monetary donations, Martinez opened up the opportunity for World Language department teachers to donate supplies to Puerto Rico. Martinez extended an aid opportunity made available through her husband’s company that collected essential items for the island.

“I had been talking with my colleagues about finding meaningful and impactful ways to directly contribute,” Martinez said. “When my husband sent me the details from his company it seemed like a great way to ensure specific items are being given directly to where they are most needed.”

Both relief efforts have focused mainly on Puerto Rico due to the island’s greater financial need and increased obstacles to overcome, Enright said. Additionally, Martinez felt connected to Puerto Rico because of her past travels.

“My husband and I spent a week in Puerto Rico living in an apartment and met many great people,” she said. “We drove all around [Puerto Rico] and feel a special connection to this island and its people.”

Both teachers emphasized the importance of giving back to those in need, and hope students learn valuable lessons through these relief efforts.

“If students take even a moment to think about what it would be like to lose their home, or belongings, or stability, they might achieve greater empathy for and insight to the rest of the world,” Martinez said.