The strong spirit of community involvement demonstrated by California Western students sometimes reaches across the border into Mexico, a mere 30 miles from the law school's downtown campus.
La Raza Law Students Association recently teamed up with Power Mentor on a one-day mission to Tijuana to bring the El Faro orphanage food, donations, and to install lighting in one of their rooms. Two of the organizing members of Power Mentor, Kevin LaChapelle and California Western graduate Agustin R. Peña '12, were instrumental in putting together the event.
A caravan of four cars headed from San Diego to Tijuana, with La Raza President 3L Marisol C. Swadener, Vice President 2L Luis M. Gonzalez, 1L Jairo Castaneda, and 2L Julia Y. Yu, also La Raza members.
La Raza used half of the proceeds from its bake sales for the orphanage fund to purchase lighting and wiring supplies. Power Mentor purchased hot dogs and veggies, and La Raza students cooked the food, served the children, and cleaned up afterwards.
“La Raza members have a strong sense of giving back to the community,” said Swadener. “We seek to provide aid to those that need it the most and to influence them in a positive way. We all had a great experience and are looking forward to returning sometime this trimester. Each one of us was able to connect with the children and bring a little ‘light’ to their day.”
Former La Raza Law Students president Peña was extremely proud of the students from California Western who went on the humanitarian mission.
“The La Raza members embodied part of the purpose and mission of their organization; an unwavering dedication and commitment to serving the community,” said Peña. “It’s easy for attorneys to also become consumed with practice and not have many opportunities to work side-by-side with the law students and this was a great opportunity to do just that.”
Power Mentor was founded by Peña and LaChapelle to empower the community by developing leaders through mentorship—helping people overcome challenges and achieve their purpose in life.
Peña is a deputy district attorney in the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, working in the South Bay trial division.
About La Raza Law Students Association
La Raza Law Student Association (La Raza) strives to promote and strengthen its working relationship with the San Diego-Tijuana legal community and with other Latino-based, local organizations—they seek to raise awareness about issues pertinent to the underserved and underrepresented segments of the Latino community. They aim to enhance the social and cultural environment of the law school and advance its spirit of diversity. They look to spur an active debate over the need for social justice and systemwide reform through service and advocacy. All students are welcome to join and/or take part in all La Raza-sponsored activities.